7 Questions to Consider Before Building an Outdoor Kitchen

Stacey Marcus
Written by Stacey Marcus
Updated September 3, 2021
An outdoor kitchen and a dining table in a paved patio
Ozgur Coskun - stock.adobe.com

Grill yourself before you build

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Fired up about building an outdoor kitchen? Dining al fresco is a great way to spend time with family and friends. But before you begin building, consider factors like how much you can spend, how you’ll use the space, and what needs to be included in your outdoor kitchen. 

“Taking the time to consider key factors when building your outdoor kitchen can help you design a space that fits your lifestyle, backyard, and budget,” says Andrew Fulchino Jr. of FLC Corp, a landscaping company. 

He outlines seven questions to consider when planning your outdoor kitchen.

What Is the Purpose of Your Outdoor Kitchen?

The first task in building an outdoor kitchen is to define its purpose. Will you be using it occasionally to entertain, or cook for your family several times a week? Do you intend to cook on a stove, barbecue, or make pizzas? Outline the ways you will use the kitchen so you can design a functional space that best aligns with your lifestyle.

What Is Your Budget?

Know what you are willing to spend on the project. Realize the amount is most likely a guideline and leave wiggle room for unexpected expenditures that inevitably occur in building projects. Research the cost of an outdoor kitchen to have a realistic idea of what your budget can buy.

What Amenities Are Important?

Based on your budget, pick out your must-haves. Does your outdoor kitchen need a stove and grill? What about a dishwasher and sink? A fireplace or fire pit, refrigerator, or pizza oven? Some homeowners even have televisions and pergolas installed. You will also need to hire a local plumber to run water or a gas line.

What Is the Size of Your Outdoor Kitchen?

A man cooking a meal in an outdoor kitchen
Anchiy/E+ via Getty Images

It’s important to consider the size of your outdoor kitchen and how it works with your home, patio, backyard, and landscaping. Take into consideration the scale and placement. Here’s a hack: Use a tape measure and spray paint the area where the outdoor kitchen will reside to envision how it will look in your yard.

What Materials Will Be Used?

Building an outdoor kitchen requires an experienced local mason or landscape architect near you. They can help you select materials including bricks, pavers, and natural stones that can withstand the elements as well as the high temperatures of fire pits and stoves. Visit a quarry or showroom to see samples of slabs for a true understanding of colors and textures.

What Permits Do You Need to Build an Outdoor Kitchen?

Check with your city to see what permits are needed when building an outdoor kitchen. While the mason may not need to pull a permit, you may need a permit for structural, plumbing, electrical, or ductwork changes.

What Type of Lighting Will Be Installed?

It’s important to think about lighting in the initial stages of your outdoor kitchen so your local electrician can wire it before your builder builds. Make sure your lighting correlates with the scale of your kitchen. There are many lighting choices, including wall lights, pendant lights, or even linear suspension lights if your outdoor space features high ceilings.

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