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How to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget and create the ideal cooking space

An outdoor kitchen can be a great way to spruce up your yard and create an outdoor space that you, your family, and your guests will love. These spots are 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—thankfully, that’s entirely possible! All you need is some careful planning and some creativity.

Keep reading to get our tips on designing and building your dream outdoor kitchen without breaking the bank.

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A built-in outdoor woodfire oven

What do you put in an outdoor kitchen?

An outdoor kitchen space often features grills and cooktops, outdoor seating, counter space, and sometimes even a bar. You might also want to have a sink and/or a refrigerator or cooler. All of these features can lead to greater expense, but you can stay within budget by deciding what you absolutely have to have in your space. Maybe you just need a grill and somewhere to sit right now, and that’s fine! Still, you might want to leave the design open so that you can add to it later as your budget and needs change.

One of the most difficult parts of staying within your budget may not be the kitchen itself, but the ground it’s 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. However, decks tend to be the most expensive option once you account for the wood, foundation, and leveling work. By going with a stone or slate foundation that rests 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’re less expensive than new materials and are better for the environment. As long as you don’t care too much about your kitchen having the most cutting-edge style, 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 matching sets, that can often get expensive. 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 is using 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 if you’re 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 invest a bit more upfront in a high-quality grill.

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, or dirt, you’ll be able to clean the covers and won’t have to worry about replacing the whole piece of furniture. You’ll also need to remember to bring your furniture inside during harsh winter weather so that heavy snow and ice won’t cause damage.

When it comes to tables and chairs on a tight budget, you can also opt to get mismatching furniture. Especially when you’re first setting up your outdoor kitchen, mismatched furniture is better than none at all, 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, tables and chairs can be among the easiest changes to make if you decide to swap them out later on down the road.

Outdoor Kitchen With Granite Countertop
Photo By Ozgur Coskun/Shutterstock

Plan for your outdoor kitchen’s future

By selecting things like mismatched furniture and premade grills, you can establish your outdoor kitchen without making a huge investment. Especially if you aren’t looking to stay in your current space for a very long time, 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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What you should be cooking in your outdoor kitchen this October
Pizza spinach

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.

Fresh salad with kale, spinach, and arugula
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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How to choose the best outdoor sink for your entertaining area
Outdoor sink

Setting up an outdoor kitchen can be quite an undertaking, but it's well worth your time, energy, and money if you want to prepare food for your guests outside. Naturally, an outdoor kitchen and an outdoor sink go hand-in-hand. The process of selecting and installing an outdoor sink, however, can be a confusing one. Deciding on the material alone can put you down a rabbit hole, so what are the main factors to consider when setting up a sink for your outdoor kitchen? Keep reading to find out!

Benefits of having an outdoor sink
Before we get into the details, let’s consider the general benefits of having an outdoor sink. Though you could always dash indoors to access your bathroom or kitchen sink, keeping one outside can be very convenient. If you prepare meals during a barbecue or cookout, an outdoor sink makes it easy to wash food and dishes outside instead of lugging things in and out of the house. If you have a double-basin sink, you can even chill your drinks on one side. Even when you're not hosting guests, having an outside sink during the warm-weather season can be helpful. You can use it to clean your harvests before bringing them into the house, for example. You can also use an outdoor sink to water your potted plants and wash your hands and other materials while working on outdoor or garage projects.
What to consider when you install an outdoor sink
Some sinks at big-box and hardware stores come with everything—faucets, fittings, the whole shebang! However, you may want to source your own components for easy customization and the best prices possible. There are three essential components for an outdoor sink: the basin, faucet, and plumbing.

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5 weatherproof outdoor cabinets you can order from Amazon today
Family enjoying meal

Outdoor cooking is a sensational way to enjoy the long, lazy days of summer. Spending time with family, learning a new skill, and getting some sun are only a few of the benefits of creating an outdoor kitchen. However, while there are numerous ways to cook outdoors, nobody thinks to store their grill tools, pots, pans, or anything else they use. Spring is here, and summer isn't too far behind; it might be time to think about storage solutions.

While many people choose to store their tools in their home, there are weatherproof outdoor cabinets that will keep your cooking utensils away from Mother Nature and keep them handy to your grill. Here are the best and most unique waterproof outdoor kitchen cabinets that you can buy right now from Amazon.

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