Tips for an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens have become an extremely popular outdoor extra for new homes, especially in warmer climates.
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This colorful outdoor kitchen features tile countertops and a stainless steel cooking area.

Outdoor kitchens have certainly become one of the hottest items in home building in the last few years. You can get the same options from your indoor kitchen and you can put those things in your outdoor kitchen. For example, you can get cabinets, grills, refrigerators, but there's one thing that's totally different — everything has to be waterproofed.

The most basic item for your outdoor kitchen is a barbecue grill — don't forget that what makes it a kitchen is that you have a place to cook. You have a few options when it comes to an outdoor grill, you can get something that is prefab, something semi-custom or something that is customized.

You can get something as extravagant as a drop-in stove that's got six burners and a gas kit. You might hire a kitchen designer for your indoor kitchen, but for a more casual outdoor kitchen you might want to do it yourself.

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Spanish Veranda

Having the cooking area tucked into the wall of the house enables easy hook up to water and utilites.

Outdoor Kitchen with Bar Seating and Sliding Glass Walls

Perfect for socializing with friends and family even if the weather turns on you, this sliding-glass-protected deck sports a professional gas grill and outdoor kitchen, with bar seating and rustic stonework.

Elegant Outdoor Kitchen With Ceiling Fans

This high-end kitchen is covered for rain protection, can be cooled off with ceiling fans, and the glass patio doors can be fully opened to allow good weather into the indoors.

Lakeside Outdoor Eating Area

Enjoy a relaxing meal with a beautiful view on the lower deck of the Mancano, as seen on DIY Network's Lake Life.

Photo By: Back Roads Entertainment ©© 2013, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All RIghts Reserved.

Bauccio Outdoor Kitchen

This open-air kitchen sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A large mirror hangs over to the back wall to reflect the view. The retractable roof provides the opportunity to use the space no matter the weather.

Outdoor Kitchen with Dining Area and Fire Pit

A large wood pergola provides shade for a large stone outdoor kitchen, grill and dining area fronted by a matching fire pit and large cascading water feature.

Rustic Outdoor Kitchen with Seating and Grill

Outdoor kitchens are moving beyond basic grills with built-in appliances, refrigerators, garbage cans, storage cabinets and special features such as pizza ovens and side burners. This outdoor kitchen with bar seating is created by YardApes.

Photo By: YardApes

Stone Outdoor Kitchen

In this galley-style outdoor kitchen, guests can chat while the hosts prepare a meal with the built-in appliances underneath the shelter of a pergola. Use of stone and rock give the space, by Atlanta Deck and Fence, a rustic yet traditional look.

Photo By: Atlanta Deck and Fence

Tropical Covered Outdoor Kitchen

A waterfront estate in Naples, Fla., boasts an outdoor kitchen worthy of entertaining year-round. The kitchen has a bar and dining table, along with high-end countertops, stainless steel appliances including a wine cooler and oversized grill with a vent hood and a vaulted wood beamed ceiling. The home was listed by Premier Sotheby's International Realty in 2015 for $18.9 million.

Photo By: Premier Sotheby's International Realty

Outdoor Kitchen with Island and Pergola

This expansive outdoor kitchen, by Atlanta Deck and Fence, has an abundance of appliances, such as a built-in refrigerator, warming drawers and storage. The stone islands are topped with durable countertops, and lighting is suspended from the pergola.

Photo By: Atlanta Deck and Fence

A BBQ grill is the most popular choice for outdoor cooking, but there are other outdoor cooking options:

  • A fireplace is a good option. A fireplace outside can easily be transformed into a place outside where you can cook. The idea of being able to congregate around this outdoor fireplace and cook really adds to this outdoor room feeling.
  • More casual than a fireplace, a firepit can also be used to cook — with a rotisserie, skewers or a grill over the open flame.
  • Another way of cooking outside is to include an outdoor oven in your kitchen. The outdoor oven that you "may" want to consider is more of a traditional oven—a brick or stone pizza oven, for example.

Some additional considerations for your outdoor kitchen include:

  • Like an indoor kitchen, your outdoor version might include countertops and storage cabinets. For the countertop in your outdoor kitchen two options are brick or stone.
  • The counter space can also be used to eat on. Usually when you are planning for an eat-on counter, you want to make sure that it's at least 15" deep and approximately 24" wide per person.
  • Storage cabinets need to be waterproofed on an outdoor kitchen, and there are many woods that are resistant to rot — such as redwood. Stainless steel that matches a grill, for instance, is another good option for cabinets.
  • No kitchen would be complete without a sink. Outdoor sinks are either fed with a hose or connected to the home's water supply. Good choices for your outdoor sink would be either stainless steel or ceramic.
  • You might want to consider keeping your kitchen sheltered from the elements. You can definitely have a shelter over your kitchen area, but experts wouldn't recommend having a ceiling or shelter over the grill area because of all the smoke.
  • Finally, it's important to consider the proper flooring. You must try to avoid using flooring that is slick, which eliminates tile or marble right off the bat.
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