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.

Browse Pictures of Outdoor Kitchens

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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

Backyard Patio With Two Built-In Grills

The outdoor entertaining potential of this home is maximized with the addition of two heavy-duty grills. An ample countertop makes quick work of food prep, while a bamboo backsplash adds visual interest.

Photo By: Joel Tomlin, III, LLC. ©Scripps Networks

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 Surrounded by Trees with Stainless Steel Appliances

This compact yet opulent outdoor kitchen holds an array of built-in stainless steel appliances, including storage and warming drawers, a refrigerator and a grill. The kitchen, which uses Belgard materials, shows how some homeowners are investing in outdoor entertaining.

Photo By: Belgard

Modern Indoor and Outdoor Kitchen

Licensed contractor Chip Wade, host of HGTV's "Elbow Room," added a garage door that transitions as the clear ceiling of the wood trellis on the Atlanta patio. With the addition of a garage door for easy indoor/outdoor access, a custom concrete table, an outdoor seating area and new appliances, the kitchen area is perfect for entertaining large groups.

Photo By: Chip Wade

Traditional Outdoor Kitchen with Beamed Ceiling

A beamed wood ceiling and columns define this spectacular outdoor kitchen, which has a built-in grill, refrigerator, sink, storage and warming drawers. Speakers and lighting line the inside of the vaulted roof. The kitchen uses Belgard materials.

Photo By: Belgard

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

Smart Seating

Eight turquoise adjustable-height bar stools with a metal frame and footrest provide colorful seating at the custom live-edge table.

Photo By: Photos: Christopher Shane/Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Enjoy the View

The fire table seating area on the lower deck overlooks expansive nature and water views.

Photo By: Photos: Christopher Shane/Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Well-Built Table

Cast from tinted fiber concrete and heavy gauge steel, the rectangular propane fire table includes a 50,000 BTU burner, lava rock, a protective storage cover and more.

Photo By: Photos: Christopher Shane/Styling: Elizabeth Demos

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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