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How much does it really cost to build an outdoor kitchen?

The kitchen is a place where memories are made. Family events, holiday gatherings, meals with friends, and sentimental smells all blend together in that special space. What better way to continue that tradition than with a beautiful outdoor kitchen space?

When considering such an addition to your home, there are several details that merit examination. It’s important to include all the important elements, allot the right amount of space, and shop for the most effective materials. This can cost a pretty penny if you don’t take the time to get educated about the process as a whole. Aesthetics and preferences will also play a role in your bottom line. Let’s take a look at the most important questions to ask when you are planning an outdoor kitchen build.

What should an outdoor kitchen have?

blue and white dishes on white shelf
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Although some elements of an outdoor kitchen will vary from person to person, there are things that qualify as necessities. First, storage. Whether it is cabinets, bins, or shelving, a way to store your outdoor tools and dishes will prevent dozens of trips back to the house. Whatever type of storage you use, make sure it is weatherproof.

Second is a grill, of course! You’ll need a good-quality grill, and most prefer a propane gas model, as it is easiest to manage. Next, most outdoor kitchens benefit from sink space. Quick access to water and an immediate basin to clean items off is a functional luxury you don’t want to forego. Also, good counters for food prep are always excellent. Granite and marble are great choices.

Lastly, an outdoor refrigerator, even a small one, allows for easier transport of meats and ensures a cold drink anytime. All things considered, the cost of an outdoor kitchen will fluctuate depending on the quality of the materials and the size of the space.

How much space will I need?

outdoor kitchen
Ozgur Coskun/Shutterstock

A common problem with many outdoor kitchen spaces is that in trying to save money, one might skimp on the size of the area. This is a line of thinking you want to avoid, as the usability is limited with a restrictive layout. You’ll want to consider things such as counter space on each side of the grill to set down plates and food. Also, you want room to move on either side of the grill if more than one person is assisting with preparations.

If you have an outdoor fridge, it is obvious that you want that placed in a way that allows access to everyone, especially when serving beverages. A great way to gauge space is to consider how many people you will likely be entertaining on a regular basis. If you have patio furniture that seats 12 people, but your outdoor kitchen accommodates perhaps three people at a time, this is not ideal. Look at the layout of your yard space as it is right now and try to picture the way a kitchen might alter the way people will move in the designated area.

What are the best materials worth investing in?

person grilling food on barbecue outside
Jo Jo/Unsplash

In regard to the base material for the kitchen structure, it is widely agreed upon that natural stone is the preferred way to go. Some will opt for brick or even cement to cut costs, but these options often do not weather well and lack the aesthetics you’ll love. Natural stone is incredibly durable and is capable of supporting another fantastic material: Granite countertops. Granite will stand up to every season and will not chip or dent during chopping. Heat will not warp it, either. Sealed granite, in particular, is non-absorbent, which is a helpful feature.

Lastly, it is crucial not to skimp on your grill. Stainless steel is always a wonderful option, and of all places to really splurge for your outdoor kitchen, this is the detail to spend a lot on.

As with any property addition, an outdoor kitchen build offers a lot of possibilities and hours of memorable experiences. The cost to build one will range anywhere from $7,500 to well above $10,000. This will greatly depend upon the size, materials, and quality of appliances you choose to purchase. If there are portions of the space you can construct yourself, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars in labor costs. With thorough planning and a mind for detail, you can create a culinary paradise in your own backyard!

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HappySprout Contributor
Use these 7 tips to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget
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Outdoor kitchens are quickly becoming one of the most coveted features in a home. Not only have the last few years taught us to love the space we're in, but it's encouraged us to spend more time in our outdoor living spaces. An outdoor kitchen is an excellent way to enjoy the fresh air while hosting a party or just cooking dinner for the family.

Unfortunately, outdoor kitchens can be an intimidating project to take on. Once you consider all the features like cooking station, countertops, plumbing, electric, seating, and more, you can see how it can be an expensive addition to a home. However, it's important to remember that an outdoor kitchen can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Here are our tips for staying on budget while creating the perfect outdoor kitchen for you and your family.
Planning for success
The most essential part of any project is planning. Without a clear plan, it's likely that your project will go off the rails, over budget, and might never be finished. We recommend taking the time to assess your current space and create a wish list. This might mean going onto Pinterest or Houzz to find some inspiration photos or pulling from your own imagination to create the perfect space for you. Either way, make a plan, write it down, and set a game plan.

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Good, better, best: Outdoor sheds for garden storage
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Once you start to hunker down on the gardening life, you’ll eventually find yourself in need of space to store all of your planting tools. Luckily, plenty of garden storage sheds exist out there. Still, having a host of choices can be overwhelming, in and of itself! If you have limited garage space or don’t want to go back into the house every time you need to grab your supplies, an outdoor garden shed may just be what you need. Ahead, we break down three choices for the top picks out there and give them a good, better, best ranking to help you choose one that suits your home and needs.
Good: Rubbermaid Horizontal Storage Shed
The Rubbermaid Horizontal Storage Shed is a good choice when you’ve accumulated quite a few garden supplies but don’t need a full-blown shed yet. It has a convenient, horizontal size at 34 x 55 x 28 inches, the perfect dimensions for storing your fertilizers, pruning scissors, gloves, watering cans, sprays, and other tools. The construction is also high-quality—it’s made from a water-resistant resin material and features double-walled construction that resists leaking and denting.

Because it’s essentially plastic, this outdoor garden shed resists rot, mold, and insect damage as well. At $230, you get a high-quality product that can compactly store supplies for a small garden, and the assembly shouldn’t take you any longer than half an hour. The drawback is that it is relatively modest in size, so you’ll need extra storage when you expand your gardening toolkit. And while it can accommodate a lock and some shelving, you’ll need to purchase those items separately. Some reviewers have mentioned slight warping when you leave the shed outside for too long, so be careful about extreme temperatures!

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What you should be cooking in your outdoor kitchen this October
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Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s time to fire up the grill in your outdoor kitchen one last time before it gets too cold for outside gatherings. Luckily, there’s no shortage of delicious recipes that take advantage of fresh autumn harvests. In addition to the herbs that you planted in the late summer, you can also whip up meals with all the gourds, leafy veggies, and fruits that you might have in your garden right now. From an herb-stuffed fish as your main dish to sweet grilled apples and pears as dessert, we’ve rounded up the most delicious autumn recipes to try in your outdoor kitchen this October.

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Veggies such as kale, spinach, and arugula do well for early autumn harvests, and they‘re also excellent salad bases. For some autumnal flair, chop up and roast root veggies such as sweet potatoes or beets. Pop in the protein of your choice—chicken breast and tofu are easy go-to's that you can heat up quickly on your grill. To use even more of your garden goods, add herbs such as tarragon and rosemary to enhance the dressing or vinaigrette for your fresh salad.
Barbecued carrots
Barbecued food doesn't only have to be summer fare. A great autumnal recipe for your outdoor kitchen is barbecued carrots with some toasted pecans. After coating your carrots in oil and grilling them for around 20 minutes, toss them in a dressing with vinegar, soy sauce, fresh herbs, garlic, and ginger. Add in toasted pecans or the nuts of your choice for extra texture and flavor. Obviously, carrots aren’t the only veggies that you can grill—you can try cooking broccoli, corn, and more! Grilled veggies make for easy and delicious side dishes that will surely win over your guests.
Grilled fish with lemon and herbs
Fish with lemon and herbs is one of the most laidback recipes you can prepare for your autumn soirées. It’s uncomplicated, but still filling and flavorful. All you need to do is stuff the fish of your choice with lemon, garlic, and herbs. Then, drizzle oil on your fish and leave it on the grill for six minutes or so on each side. Fresh herbs that work perfectly for this dish include parsley, thyme, and dill—whatever is handy in your herb garden!

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