Ideas for Getting Your Grilling Space Ready for Outdoor Entertaining

No matter your budget, check out these ideas for creating an outdoor kitchen made for partying.  

Now that the outdoor entertaining season has begun, are you dreaming about the ultimate outdoor kitchen? One where you’ve got everything you need at hand and you don’t have to go running back inside every two minutes? An entertaining space where you can set up a fancy cocktail bar and beverage center? Most of all, a grilling station that’ll make you look like you’ve got barbecue skills like Bobby Flay? We’ve got a few ideas to help you outfit your outdoor kitchen whether you’ve got a limitless budget and two acres or just a small hibachi on the veranda. 

Photo by: Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

Grills

Let’s start with the grill (if the stove is the heart of the kitchen, then the grill can be the heart of the patio). If you’re shopping for a new grill, there are so many options it can be mind-blowing. First you have to decide on your fuel – charcoal or gas? If you can’t decide, go for a duel-fuel hybrid model. Then your budget will narrow down the number of choices. At the high-end, Kalamazoo’s Hybrid Fire Grilling System starts around $11,000 and includes a myriad of bells and whistles. Some models are even tri-fuel, so you can cook with wood too. If your budget is more modest, both Char-Broil and Sears carry duel-fuel grills starting at around $229. 

Photo by: Matthew Gilson for Kalamazoo

Matthew Gilson for Kalamazoo

If you’re an urban griller who cooks out on a balcony or you like to take your grilling to the park or the game, there are some great smaller and portable grills that can help you whip up a feast.

With folding side shelves and a cabinet just under two-feet wide, Char-Broil’s RED Urban Infrared Grill fits neatly on a small patio or balcony. Despite its name, it isn’t a true infrared burner, but rather relies on propane and radiant heat for its cooking power. Nevertheless, it’s under-$300 price tag makes it a good option.

A little over two-feet tall and weighing in at a mere 35 pounds, Weber’s portable Q-series grills start around $170. These sturdy little grills have a handy push-button ignition and a cooking surface starting at around 1-1/2 square feet, enough room to cook plenty of burgers or brats at the beach.

The Urban Griller

The Urban Griller

While a fully functional outdoor kitchen may fit nicely in a suburban setting, that doesn’t mean the outdoor living movement is confined to those with quarter-acre lots. Urban outdoor living is definitely on the rise as well, enabled by smaller grill units made specifically for balconies and shared patios.

Photo by: Weber Grills

Weber Grills

Pizza Ovens

Outdoor pizza ovens are all the rage. If you can afford the top of the line, go for a wood-fired Chicago Brick Oven. Their low-dome, high-heat design cooks pizza the way it’s meant to be cooked. You can buy the dome then have it encased in stone or brick so it becomes a permanent fixture in your backyard.

Natural Stone Outdoor Kitchen Featuring Pizza Oven, Stainless Steel Grill and Bar Seating

Natural Stone Outdoor Kitchen Featuring Pizza Oven, Stainless Steel Grill and Bar Seating

The natural stone of this outdoor kitchen looks beautiful against the backdrop of bright green trees. A smooth, patchwork stone patio is contrasted by the rough natural stone of the counter and kitchen structure. A pizza oven and grill are met with sleek countertop which continues arching creating space for bar seating.

Photo by: Trevor Boyle Studio

Trevor Boyle Studio

If a built-in model isn’t your thing, Kalamazoo has stainless-steel gas models that don’t require much assembly, and retail for around $6,000.

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Fire Pizza Oven

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Fire Pizza Oven

If that’s still too much, opt for the KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit. The kit fits onto a standard charcoal kettle grill turning it into a pizza oven, it goes for around $140. Still out of your budget? Just get a plain $20 pizza stone and put it on your grill and close the top. 

Cabinets and Bars

Danver Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen Covered

Danver Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen Covered

Photo by: Danver

Danver

Are you looking to build an entire outdoor kitchen? Stainless-steel cabinets are the most popular due to their durability and ability to withstand a variety of climates. Plus, they’ll likely match your grill. Outdoor cabinets are now being manufactured in a waterproof, marine-grade polymer. The plastic-like material is very low-maintenance and comes in a variety of colors. If you want to go with wood cabinetry, try teak, bamboo or cypress. 

3 Ways to Make an Upcycled Bar Cart

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If you don’t have the space or funds for new outdoor cabinetry, go to the thrift store and find something you can upcycle into a rolling cart or outdoor side table. Bulky end-tables (circa 1980s), baby changing tables and TV carts are all good candidates for making upcycled outdoor furniture. The only power tool you may need is a drill to put the casters on the bottom of the legs so you can move it around your patio. Use sandpaper to take off the existing finish; you don’t have to take it all off, just enough to help the new finish adhere better. Then apply a coat of spray primer and a coat of exterior-grade spray paint. Check out these three bar cart projects:

Setting the Table

HGTV Going Yard 108 - BellLongBeach

HGTV Going Yard 108 - BellLongBeach

Detail of the table setting at the home of James and Hilary Bell along with daughter Kate in Long Beach, CA., as seen on HGTV's Going Yard, which underwent a makeover that took their large, partially decorated patio that fell flat of a full makeover and complete the dream of the Bell family to have a relaxing retreat that is part tropical and part Martha's Vineyard for entertaining friends and family and offering their family ample space to grow together. The patio is retooled with a dining area, a relaxing area near a fireplace with built in bench seats, a custom bench built around their hot tub with pavers built into the ground in that area, a trullus with built in raised planters with a thick border to allow for additional seating, a custom built tea room in the back of the yard with a walking path to a bench area that overlooks the yard. This offers the family various places to hang out throughout the yard to offer each individual their own space as well as plenty of family space and lots of entertainment space for celebrating with those they love.

Photo by: Jamie Rector

Jamie Rector

Even if you don’t have all the high-end grilling gadgets and deluxe outdoor furniture, you can still make your party a class act with a few little touches. Go to your local dollar store and get some pillar candles. Start with a pretty tablecloth (use a bed sheet if you have to) or table runner to dress the table, then add a bowl of fruit or a few flowers for a bold pop of color. 

After: Outdoor Dining Area

After: Outdoor Dining Area

A wood and rope chandelier helps tie together this outdoor dining space.

From: Fixer Upper

Here a burlap runner and a mix of old and new wine bottles filled with grasses make for a darling setting and didn’t cost a lot to put together. 

HGTV Going Yard Episode 109 - Morgan

HGTV Going Yard Episode 109 - Morgan

Detail of the table setting at the home of Crystal and Joel Morgan which will undergo a makeover that will take their large, overgrown back yard full of spiders and bees and with no flow nor destination and turn it into a movie oasis with a style mix of vintage eclectic with influences of Hemmingway and the Riviera. There will be an outdoor theatre space that doubles as a sports space for their kids Hannah and Colin. There will be a relaxation area with a hammock, a play area with a custom made hopscotch space and a chalkboard for art and keeping score for various games the kids would play. There will be an outdoor dining area that overlooks the yard and a planter box bench area for additional seating along with a shade lounge with hanging swing seats. The yard will finally have some privacy with a canvas fence put up to hide the neighbors and bring the whold yard together with space for the whole family now and as they grow up.

Photo by: Jamie Rector

Jamie Rector

Use food as your centerpiece.  Place finger foods – like grapes, cherries or strawberries – in large bowls and place them in the center of your table. It’ll look charming and give guests something to nibble on while they wait for the main course.

Outdoor Kitchen Trends

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CI-Kalamazoo_Outdoor-Kitchen-Pizza-Oven_s4x3

Outdoor grilling area with an outdoor kitchen design on the backyard patio.

Danver Stainless Steel Ddc Llc Outdoor Kitchen

diy_bc13_outdoor-kitchen_06_grill-detail_h

DIY Network's Blog Cabin 2013 is a circa-1892 coastal cottage located along the Crystal Coast in North Carolina. The home has been remodeled, based on online voters' selections, and will be given away to one lucky winner in a home sweepstakes in Fall 2013. Pictured is the outdoor kitchen.

Photo By: Frank Murray

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