Building a great outdoor kitchen on a budget

An outdoor kitchen can be a great way to spruce up your yard and create an outdoor space that you, your family, and guests will love. They’re great for summer barbecues and celebrations, and they can be a great asset to birthday parties. The only caveat? They can be quite costly. For some, building an outdoor kitchen on a budget is a must — and it’s possible to do! Outdoor kitchens on a budget can end up being some of the most creative spaces, as you work to find your way around the larger costs of some items.

A built-in outdoor woodfire oven

What do you put in an outdoor kitchen?

An outdoor kitchen space often features grills and cooking sets of some kind, outdoor seating, counter space, and sometimes even a bar. With creative solutions, you can easily achieve an outdoor kitchen while working within a budget. Many items that add up to a large cost can be avoided if you aren’t too picky about what you put in your space, and you can always design it so that you can improve the kitchen later on down the line.

One of the most difficult pieces to stay on budget with may end up being the ground your outdoor kitchen is on. Many people opt for a masonry option, like stone, concrete, and slate to give their kitchen a solid foundation. If you want it to stand out a bit more, you can also choose to do a ground-level or floating deck. Decks tend to be the most expensive option after factoring in the wood, foundation, and leveling that needs to occur to ensure your outdoor kitchen has a solid foundation. By going with a stone/slate foundation that lies on the ground, you’ll be able to save on costs and install it yourself so long as you start with an area that’s relatively level.

How can I build an outdoor kitchen on a budget?

One of the best ways to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget is to work with salvaged materials like reclaimed wood or recycled stone and brick. They lower the cost, and as long as you don’t care too much about how “stylish” your outdoor kitchen is, you’ll have your pick of materials to use in your space. The other thing to focus on is inexpensive furniture. Although many people choose to go for cohesive sets, that option often ends up being expensive. Keep in mind that costs do add up. You can go to places like flea markets to find affordable sets of furniture, window boxes, and lights to add ambiance to the space.

A built-in outdoor grill

The grill

Purchasing a premade outdoor grill will help avoid the cost of custom selections and installations. Your grill will be ready to go, and there are plenty of options to choose from! (As an added bonus, you can even choose a grill that you love and can easily move with you if you ever decide or need to go to a new space.)

Another cost-saver will be to use propane to fuel your grills instead of natural gas, as running gas and electricity to your outdoor kitchen will increase costs. Keep in mind that even purchasing a premade grill, you’ll want to opt for one that’s a bit costlier but still works within your budget. After all, if you have to replace the grill once a year, it will cost you more in the long run than if you sink a little bit more into the investment where you can.

Other furniture and seating

If you’re looking for bar-height seating, you can opt for a cloth chair (like a director’s chair) with a removable cover that can be washed. If there are any accidents, stains, spills, dirt, etc. that gets on it, you’ll be able to clean it and won’t have to worry about replacing the whole thing. You’ll have to remember to bring them in during harsh weather, but chances are you won’t want to sit outside long in the cold winter months, anyway.

When it comes to tables and chairs and a tight budget, you can also opt to get mismatching furniture. As you first set up your outdoor kitchen, keeping within a budget can be more important than having each item go together. So, use what you can get! It will have more of an eclectic vibe if you have different chairs and tables for everyone to use, but that will just make it memorable. Plus, down the line, the table set will be one of the easier features to replace.

Plan for your outdoor kitchen’s future (as desired)

By selecting things like mismatched furniture and premade grills, it will give you a good opportunity to not plan for the future of your outdoor kitchen, but it will allow you to decide if you like having one without sinking too much money into it. Especially if you aren’t looking to stay in your current space for the rest of your life, choosing more easily replaced and movable items will allow you to save up for your own future and eventually build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams in your new home.

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