Considering an Outdoor Kitchen? Read This First

Leah Lopez Cardenas
Updated October 28, 2021
A father grilling in an outdoor kitchen
Photo: AzmanL / E+ / Getty Images

An outdoor kitchen offers so much more than just a barbecue grill alone

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If you're thinking about investing in an outdoor kitchen, you may be surprised at all the ways you’ll enjoy the space. The benefits are many, ranging from keeping summer energy bills down to making your home the happening destination for hosting fun parties outdoors. However, as with any new home addition, there is a significant cost associated with building an outdoor kitchen and you may not be able to use it year-round. Here’s an overview of things to keep in mind as you consider adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard oasis.

What’s Included in an Outdoor Kitchen?

A small, simple kitchen in the backyard may include an outdoor range and countertop for food preparation. A larger outdoor kitchen design can feature a top-of-the-line outdoor grill and stove top, refrigerator, several cupboards, and a durable food prep counter.

Of course, an outdoor kitchen also needs comfortable seating, which can vary from a table and chair to extended seating with cushioned outdoor couches, chairs, and coffee tables.

The Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen

No matter the scale of your outdoor kitchen, you'll be pleased with these pluses:

Better Social Life

Entertaining at home is a more relaxed, less expensive way to get together with family and friends than going out to eat. You may even find that friends are eager to come over, given the inviting atmosphere an outdoor kitchen creates.

Easy Entertaining

Instead of prepping food and cooking in the kitchen, you can spend time with your guests around the outdoor kitchen. Bonus: they may even help with the prep.

Less Mess Inside

Outdoor cooking limits the mess you'll make inside your home. That’s especially helpful if you’ve tidied up inside for a special event, for instance.

Lower Energy Bills

Instead of firing up the oven in the summer and creating extra heat that your air conditioner must deal with, cooking outside helps keep energy bills down.

More Time Outdoors

In climates with long, cold winters, people treasure time outdoors. And no matter where you live, an outdoor kitchen lets you take advantage of the great outdoors and fresh air.

The Disadvantages of Outdoor Kitchens

A fully equipped outdoor kitchen in the backyard of a house
Photo: Eirasophie / E+ / Getty Images

While an outdoor kitchen can add a lot of fun and socialization to your life, there are a few drawbacks to consider before you take the leap with a project like this.

High Maintenance

Maintaining an outdoor kitchen is not always an easy task. Because it’s outside and exposed to all kinds of weather and grime, your countertops, appliances, and furniture need to be cleaned more frequently (and sometimes more painstakingly) than an indoor kitchen might. Plus, you’ll likely have some winterizing to do to keep your outdoor kitchen in high functioning order when it starts to get colder outside.

Limited Use

Depending on the climate you live in, your outdoor kitchen may only be usable for a few summer months of the year. While it can help make those summer months magical, consider if the amount of time you’ll get to spend using your outdoor kitchen is worth the money you’ll be putting into it.

Cost

Outdoor kitchens can be pricey and it could take a while to save up before you can start the project. 

How Much Does an Average Outdoor Kitchen Cost?

The average cost of an outdoor kitchen ranges between $5,000 to $23,000 depending on the size, structures, and accessories you have installed with it. Hiring an outdoor kitchen builder near you may increase the overall cost, but they can help you create the backyard oasis of your dreams that you may not be able to achieve if you DIY your outdoor kitchen.

Does an Outdoor Kitchen Increase My Home’s Value?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what we value most in our homes, particularly outdoors. In a recent Angi State of Home Spending report, 17% of those surveyed said outdoor space updates were their most desired project. That means installing an outdoor kitchen may be a desirable feature that helps your home get sold when you decide to put it on the market. Plus, you’ll also get lots of pleasure from adding to your outdoor living space while you're in the home.

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