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Get Cooking (Outside) With an Outdoor Kitchen

The weather is perfect, and you are enjoying hanging out in your backyard. It’s time for lunch or dinner, but you don’t want to have to go inside. Maybe it’s time to think about installing that outdoor kitchen.

Amenities that support indoor/outdoor living are also a huge selling point when marketing your home. In fact, adding an outdoor kitchen sees an average return on investment of 100 percent to 200 percent, according to this Inman article.

So, what type of issues do you need to consider when installing an outdoor kitchen? We’ve gathered a few key points:

Planning the Structure 

Grilling experts the BBQ Guys want to remind you that your outdoor kitchen will need an insulated grill jacket to keep the structure cool, and that you should also install vent panels. Keep in mind that you will need to plan for storage and proper food-preparation areas. Consider adding a pizza oven, a built-in griddle, a refrigerator, or a wine cooler. If you really want to go all out, consider adding a built-in entertainment system. Just like with an inside kitchen, design your outdoor cooking space to have a good working flow.


On top of planning to store propane tanks (and don’t forget to always have an extra one on hand), depending on the features of your outdoor kitchen, you may need to have access to utilities. “When planning layouts, keep in mind the best practical placement or installation of the necessary gas, water and electrical supply,” HGTV says. According to the company, adding plumbing will cost approximately $1,800, while gas lines will add about $500 to $600 to the project. Check with a local contractor for a more accurate picture of pricing before you start building. 

Exposure to the Elements 

Plan to build with low-maintenance materials and to avoid porous surfaces. According to, granite countertops are durable and can stand up to various weather conditions. “Sealing granite countertops is a good idea to prevent stains,” the company adds. Concrete and soapstone are also excellent choices for outdoor kitchen countertops. When it comes to flooring, “don’t let fashion override safety, say The House Designers. Though concrete is the most popular and widely used outdoor flooring option, ceramic tile, natural stone, and brick are also good options. Avoid porous tiles and stones because they can be slippery.

Free-Standing Barbecue Grills

Maybe you don’t have the space for an entire outdoor kitchen. Good news — outdoor grills have really advanced over the past few years. Some models offer smoker boxes, infrared burners, warming racks, thermometers, and rotisserie kits. The BBQ Guys offer a list of best free-standing grills in their BBQ Grill Awards, based on price and performance. And, The Spruce rates smaller grills.

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(Photo: iStock/piovesempre)