Outdoor kitchens: How big should you go?

On June 13, 2017 in Home Improvement

Outdoor kitchens: How big should you go?

outdoor kitchen

There is a time-honored tradition in America that says outdoor cooking is a man’s domain. Yes, that is stereotyping, as many women are highly skilled grill masters and enjoy it immensely. Nevertheless, there is something almost magical about the relationship between a man and his grill. Men who can’t boil water on a kitchen stove are transformed into “expert chefs” (albeit self-proclaimed sometimes) when standing in front of a charcoal or gas-fired grill.

In this month of Father’s Day, wouldn’t the addition of a deluxe outdoor kitchen or an upgrade to an existing setup be a wonderful enhancement for your home? It can always be positioned as “dad’s space” but it is the type of home improvement that will bring joy to everyone in the family for years.

Making a functional and comfortable space for outdoor living

Porch.com says outdoor kitchens expand living spaces and allow homeowners to cook, eat and entertain more conveniently, more extensively and more often. Each space can be tailored to specific tastes and budgets. Outdoor kitchens can be as simple as a grill, table and chairs, or they can be as elaborate as a fully outfitted kitchen complete with built-in appliances and seating.

Do it yourself, or bring in the professionals?

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can find almost everything you need to build a great new outdoor kitchen at any of the large home improvement retailers. They offer step-by-step guides to help you create a plan, determine what you need to buy and put everything together for a professional-looking finished product.

It is important to keep in mind, if you choose the do-it-yourself route and plan on adding electricity and/or natural gas lines; hire a licensed professional to complete the installation.

If taking on a home improvement project of this magnitude isn’t your thing, there are designers and contractors in just about every community in America. They would be more than happy to help you create an attractive and functional outdoor kitchen.

An ounce of prevention…

In all cases you should make certain your buildout or renovation meets the building codes applicable to your area. Filing the appropriate paperwork and having your finished project scrutinized may seem onerous, but if the work is not certified by an inspector, you could be subject to enforcement actions, fines and face issues with insurance, property taxes and other matters.


What you spend can vary wildly depending on what you have in mind. With your own hard work and know-how, you might be talking just a few hundred dollars to build an outdoor kitchen that suits your needs. If you want a professionally designed and built facility with the latest and greatest in new appliances, you could easily spend tens of thousands or more.

HGTV offers information on what expenses to expect and tips on how to minimize the impact on your budget. It is important to consider that expenses incurred for such home improvements provide more than just enjoyment. Such enhancements boost property values and if you sell your home you may be able to recoup a large part of your investment.

Thinking of enhancing your backyard with a new or updated outdoor kitchen? LightStream may be able to help.