An outdoor kitchen is a great backyard feature that will give you more usable areas for family activities and entertaining. You can enjoy the backyard for cookouts with the kids, quiet dinners for two, or parties with friends and neighbors. An outdoor kitchen will encourage year-round activities, even when it’s a little chilly outside.

Choose the Location

The location you choose for your kitchen will determine convenience and comfort for outdoor dining, as well as building and installation costs. By locating your outdoor kitchen close to the house, you’ll have easier access to things you need from your indoor kitchen such as food, drinks, dishes and utensils. It will also save you money, since a kitchen located further away from the house will require electricity, a water line, and a gas line if you have a gas grill. Installing lines will increase your utility costs, and you will need to find a contractor who’s qualified to run the lines to a main connection.

Choose Your Equipment

When planning your outdoor kitchen, you’ll find great equipment and accessories to choose from for any size budget. The most important and most expensive piece of equipment is the grill. Outdoor kitchen grills are available in gas, electric, charcoal, wood-fired, and even hybrid models that cook with all options. In addition to all types and sizes of grills, you can choose cook tops, side burners, griddles, deep fryers, rotisseries, smokers, and pizza ovens. If you want to add refrigeration features, there are refrigerators and freezers with ice makers, wine and beverage coolers, and tap beer kegerators. Other convenient features include sinks, dishwashers, warming drawers, storage compartments, trash bins, built-in cutting boards, and overhead lighting.

Choose Your Materials

* Flooring – Choose a durable, flooring material that’s easy to clean. Concrete, natural stone, slate, brick, and porcelain tile are good for resisting food and drink spills and stains. For long-term durability and weather protection, it’s best to use a sealant on concrete, natural stone and slate.

* Cabinets – The base of your outdoor kitchen can be faced durable materials like concrete, stone, brick, stucco, wood, or metal. When choosing materials for your cabinets, look for finishes that are durable and easy to clean, and colors that enhance your home’s style.

* Countertops – Outdoor kitchen countertops can be built in quartz, slate, tile, natural stone, brick, concrete or metal. Choose countertop materials that are stain resistant and easy to clean and maintain in your outdoor environment throughout the year.