One way to set your backyard apart from those in the rest of the neighborhood is to add an outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people recognize the convenience and socialization opportunities that these spaces provide. By putting electric grills, food preparation areas, and some basic appliances outside, you can transform your yard into the perfect location for everything from a low-key cookout to a full-scale dinner party. Before designing and building your outdoor kitchen, however, there are several important factors to take into consideration.
Outdoor kitchens can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. From built-in grills to granite countertops, sinks, refrigerators, and even dishwashers, there is a wide range of appliances and amenities designed to make outdoor entertaining as easy as possible. When deciding which features to include, try to make an honest assessment about how likely you are to use the item in question so you don’t waste money on an expensive appliance that will ultimately be neglected.
Protecting your outdoor kitchen from the weather should be a top priority. Some folks elect to put a roof over the kitchen to limit exposure to rain, snow, or direct sunlight, while others just cover the area with a large tarp when not in use. Also, if you live in a locale that is subject to extreme heat in summer and cold in winter, then you have to make sure the building materials used in your kitchen can withstand the temperature variations. For example, stainless steel built-in grills and tile countertops are both durable enough for outdoor use in any climate.
There are generally two schools of thought as far as location goes. On the one hand, some folks like to have the outdoor kitchen close to the house because this makes it easier to set everything out at the beginning of the party and remove all the dirty dishes at the end. On the other hand, some folks prefer having the outdoor kitchen farther away to prevent cooking odors and smoke from entering the home. Although electric grills don’t generate nearly the amount of smoke as charcoal or gas barbecue units, there are still some emissions to contend with, so this could be an issue for you.
As with any home improvement project, you must weigh the cost of the job against the potential benefits. Designing and building an outdoor kitchen can be an expensive proposition even if you diligently shop for the cheapest electric grills, appliances, and materials you can find. But the value you would receive in terms of enjoyment and property appreciation could go a long way towards offsetting the initial investment.
Obviously, designing and constructing an outdoor kitchen involves more than deciding how many built-in grills to install. Once you evaluate your wants, needs, and limitations in terms of the above factors, you’ll have a better idea of what it will take to get the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.