Outdoor Kitchens Hotter Than Ever

  • Outdoor Kitchens Are Hotter Than Ever

    By:  Lori Walker Sartain


    Outdoor kitchens gain popularity

    Over the last 10 years, outdoor kitchens have become extremely popular in both new construction and remodeling ventures.  These alfresco prep areas are great for entertaining or just spending quality time with the family.  My husband and I decided to add an outdoor kitchen to our new home design, and we love it!


    Before the outdoor kitchen, I cooked the majority of our meals.  Now with music and sports piped outdoors to my husbands “space” he calls his outdoor home, I don’t cook as much anymore.  He even watches the food network to get great grilling ideas and cooks at least 3 times a week.  I have been married for 20 years and wish I had built one 19 years ago.  Did I tell you I love my outdoor kitchen?


    What does an outdoor kitchen look like?

    Today’s outdoor kitchen replicates indoor kitchens but some offer special features like covered bar and buffet areas.  The latest products on the market for backyard designs include luxury grills, equipped with capabilities of stovetop cooking, kitchen islands, vent hoods, beer dispensing units, refrigerators, dishwashers and sinks.


    I was pleased to find that my local gas company offered great products at a discounted price for using all gas appliances.  What I liked most about the products, they came with a lifetime warranty.  When you have a built in, make sure you get a great warranty and make sure all appliances are certified for outdoor use.


    Planning your space

    An existing backyard concrete patio is a great place for an outdoor kitchen. If you are planning to put your outdoor kitchen on a deck, additional support may be required.  My outdoor kitchen is right out our backdoor.  We chose to cover it so that we can enjoy it during any type of weather.  Whichever route you chose, your outdoor kitchen should be close to the house to save you steps when you need to go inside for additional supplies.


    Typical Space Requirements



    Cooking grills can range from 24 to 48 inches wide and can be 15 to 26 inches deep.  Remember to place the grill in a place where smoke will not blow into the eating or seating area.  Today’s grills for the outdoor kitchen are really sophisticated.  Some grills have built in smokers, commercial quality woks, warming drawers and pizza ovens. 


    Eating areas

    Make sure you have plenty of room for your eating area.  Measure your table and allow at least 42 inches between the edge of the table and the wall, deck railing or other fixed object so there is room to walk and be seated.


    Counter Space

    I enjoy having lots of counter space; open counter space comes in handy when preparing food and it can serve as a holding area for food for serving purposes.  You may even want to add a food prep area and a clean up area, including a sink.  Under counter space is great for storage.



    Adding a built in fireplace or pizza oven is common for outdoor kitchens.  A fireplace can make it cozy in the winter months and adds warmth to the atmosphere.  Pizza ovens are fun and great for entertaining, but these added extras will also add cost to your outdoor leisure area.



    For the basic outdoor kitchen you can expect to pay around $3000 but some outdoor areas are so lavished that they can cost up to $15,000.  It all depends on what you chose to put into your kitchen and the materials used for your counters and built in base.


    Outdoor Fun

    Alfresco kitchens are fun for the whole family.  Everyone loves the smell of grilling food and everything seems to taste better when cooked on the grill.  Creating the perfect backyard kitchen has become simple and men seem to love cooking on the outdoor grills.  My husband is becoming an amazing grill chef.  Did I tell you I love my outdoor kitchen?