Building an Outdoor Kitchen – Top 5 Planning Considerations
Over the last few years, the trend of outdoor kitchen building has exploded in popularity. Once an expensive and unnecessary luxury reserved for wealthy homes, there are now many affordable and practical options that have allowed those of us in the middle class to take advantage of the benefits of an outdoor cooking space.
While some of the simpler outdoor kitchen styles can be built by basic DIYers, these are not going to be your typical spring home improvement projects, and there are many things that must be taken into consideration before diving into this trend. A properly planned and constructed outdoor kitchen area can provide an intriguing and sociable addition to your home, allowing for more flexibility and luxury when entertaining friends and family. Beyond this, an outdoor kitchen could significantly impact the value of your home and provide a tremendous ROI when done correctly.
But by the same token, rushing onto the bandwagon without carefully considering all that an outdoor kitchen will cost and entail could lead to a wasted investment and a homeowner who is in over his head with a difficult project. This is not meant to discourage anyone considering the addition of an outdoor cooking space, but before you begin shopping for grills and countertops, make sure you have taken the following elements into consideration.
Let’s face it, the main concern with an outdoor kitchen– as with most home improvement ideas– will usually be the cost. Depending upon the complexity of your design and the various elements it will include, an outdoor kitchen could cost anywhere from $5,000 all the way up to $50,000 or more. Obviously, a simple grill and countertop setup can be purchased and constructed for a relatively low amount, but many homeowners desire more comforts like a refrigerator, brick oven, stone patio, television and others.
While larger appliances and major design elements can be easy to consider and add into the overall cost of the construction, you will need to carefully plan all of the features that you would like to include and what will be required of each. For instance, you may want to install a sink, but you will also need to consider the plumbing costs and practicality as well. Similarly, you need to decide how how your grill, appliances and any electronics will be powered and how much this may add to energy costs.
Additionally, there will be many more subtle features and luxuries that are necessary and easy to overlook when planning your outdoor kitchen. Seating, fans, decorations and similar features can quickly add up and significantly increase the cost. Try to consider all design elements and additional comforts well in advance.
Even if you know that you can afford an outdoor kitchen and all the comforts that will be included, you should still consider how practical the idea really is. While it may provide a great area for outdoor fun and entertaining, it can only be used for a few months out of the year. Also consider how often you would use it even during summer months. Would it only be for parties? If so, how many parties do you generally throw in the warmer months of the year?
Another important consideration is the regular maintenance that will be required with your outdoor kitchen. The more features and luxuries you have, the more upkeep that will be involved and the more possibilities for damage and breakdowns.
If you have carefully considered all of the above factors, you may be ready to add a great outdoor cooking space to your home. When done right, an outdoor kitchen can be one of the most exciting, rewarding and entertaining additions to any home.