Getting an outdoor kitchen can be a great investment in many ways. It can increase the value of your home and provide a great way to entertain guests outside—creating lasting memories.
But outdoor kitchens come in many varieties with many features to choose from. This can make choosing the right outdoor kitchen daunting.
So if you’re thinking about getting an outdoor kitchen, here are some things to look for:
- Cooking appliances
Of course, the main feature of any outdoor kitchen is its cooking appliances. Here, you have a few options:
A built-in grill slides neatly into the work surface area, helping to optimize space. You can choose between a flat-top grill or a grated grill.
Side burners such as these are great for cooking multiple things at once. They let you cook a broad range of meals without having to run back and forth between the outdoor and indoor kitchen for an extra stove.
Ovens are an essential part of any outdoor kitchen, allowing you to cook various meals. You may even consider a pizza oven, which is becoming increasingly popular (and doesn’t just cook pizza but also casseroles, veggies, desserts, and more).
- Cleaning features
Anytime you use your outdoor kitchen, you’ll end up with dirty appliances and dishes. So it’s important that it comes with standard cleaning features.
You’ll want a trash bin so that trash doesn’t get left outside, where it can accumulate and potentially attract animals to the yard.
A dishwasher may be helpful so that you don’t have to lug all the dishes back inside the house to wash them. You can clean them right there.
A sink that’s built into the outdoor countertop makes rinsing and hand-washing dishes much easier, too.
- Food preparation features
To prepare food in your outdoor kitchen, it helps to have plenty of counter space. This gives you room to work. You can choose from several material options: ceramics, tile, stainless steel, wood, concrete, granite, soapstone, and more. Just know that higher quality material will cost more but also last longer. Consider an island for extra space, says TheSpruce.
An outdoor refrigerator can keep food and beverages cool. They’re great for cold drinks on a hot summer day and keeping salads, desserts, and other sides fresh.
- Lighting and heating
You’ll want to keep your outdoor kitchen properly lit and heated. Lighting has two main purposes: functionality and ambiance. You want enough light to see what you’re cooking but not so much that it takes away from the ambiance.
To keep from getting too cold in the evening, you may want to install outdoor heat lamps or a fireplace. This can help keep you and your guests warm, add a nice aura, and even let you roast marshmallows and hot dogs.
- Safety features
No outdoor kitchen is complete without necessary safety features like ventilation and insulation. Ventilation helps direct smoke from where the cooking is happening, and it’s crucial for keeping appliances from getting ruined.
Proper insulation helps prevent heat from being transferred to other structures and catching them on fire. You can also build with fire-resistant materials and put a fire extinguisher on site.
Lastly, make sure that your outdoor kitchen is relatively affordable. Set a budget early on so you can narrow down what features and options to get.
Building the right outdoor kitchen is always about striking a balance between features and cost. By doing your due diligence, you can make sure you build the right outdoor kitchen for you and your family.