If you think the kitchen is the heart of the home, then consider bringing that space for entertaining and relaxating to the outdoors this summer. The options for an outdoor kitchen are endless â€” sinks, refrigerators, lighting, roofing and the list goes on.
If this sounds appealing, then you are not alone. More than 70% of homeowners who have outdoor space are looking to enhance the patio with the goal of making it more relaxing.
An outdoor kitchen might not be at the top of your list of home renovation or building plans â€”Â it isnâ€™t the cheapest project, nor a necessityÂ â€” but it is sure to boost your summer fun, as well as the value of your property.
Hereâ€™s how you can go about bringing the food and festivities outside.
Start planning early: Outdoor work can be done any time of the year, but above-freezing temps are preferred. The timeframe to complete an outdoor kitchen can range from 2-3 weeks to four months, depending on the complexity. Starting the process six months before you want it completed should allow sufficient time to create a functional and stylish kitchen plan.
Set the budget: As with all home renovation projects, itâ€™s better to figure this out in the beginning. And like all home renovation projects, this will be a meeting place of your financial abilities and what you need and want. Being able to start with a patio or deck that is already there may keep costs down.
Draw up the design: Kitchen designers, landscapers and professional renovators can all lay out your outdoor kitchen. Consideration should be given to blending the outdoor kitchen into the overall look of your landscaped outdoor space. This is also the time to check the strength of an existing deck if you are not starting from scratch.
Hire a professional: If you havenâ€™t already hired a professional renovator as part of your design process, now is the time. They can verify your budget and design, requirements for municipal permits, electrical, plumbing and gas requirements, assess existing decks as well as build any structures necessary for your vision.
Research Materials: Your style preference and budget are considerations, but durability is key. Exterior materials will differ greatly from your indoor kitchen as they need to withstand winter cold, including pipes that drain easily for winterizing. Stucco, concrete and stacked stone are commonly used for structures that encompass countertop, storage and appliances.
Understand the appliances: The staple piece of your outdoor kitchen, and likely the most expensive, is the grill. Whether your chosen grill will use a propane tank or rely on gas lines, it will have a big impact on your budget. Decide if you areÂ fine replacing a propane tank or would prefer to run gas lines and hook up your grill directly.
Ironically, not all fridges are designed to withstand the winter. Outdoor fridges must work harder to maintain a constant temperature when the weather fluctuates and a high-grade stainless steel model will reduce rusting.
Keep covered: Shade and shelter from the rain comes in many forms and price points, from a budget-friendly retractable awning to a full gazebo roof wired for sound and TV.
Think lighting: Have a long think about what you will use the area for. Will you be reading or playing games with friends? Then perhaps you need more lighting over the seating area, as well as where you prepare the food. Hosting dinner parties? Then consider more ambient lighting that highlights architecture.
Now, itâ€™s time to let your renovator do their thing and before you know it, youâ€™ll be cooking!