Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor Kitchens in Hardscaping Options

Few summer pleasures are as much fun as a cookout. The smell of grilling food is mouth-watering, everything tastes great and it's hard not to have a good time - that is, unless you're the hurried host running back and forth between the grill and the kitchen for the chicken and steak, forks and knives, beer and wine, and ketchup and mustard. And when everybody's done, all the leftovers must be lugged back inside.


An outdoor kitchen can help you slow down and spend more time with family and friends by putting all the ingredients for outdoor dining close at hand. It can be as simple as a storage cabinet for cooking gear or as ambitious as a full kitchen with grill, refrigerator, sink and eating area. Either way, your yard will gain an outside “room” that's a natural gathering spot.


Outdoor kitchens cost from about $3,000 to $15,000 and up for higher-end versions with an assortment of appliances. Although it's tempting to compare outdoor kitchens to the one indoors, there are some key differences.


For example, while a grill and counter space for preparing food are essential, a refrigerator and sink aren't. But including them can boost the value of your home by helping your outdoor kitchen qualify as a second kitchen. “The increase may equal the cost of the project,” says Pam Young, a Sacramento, California-based designer and founder of Patio Kitchens, which makes outdoor cabinetry. And though indoor-kitchen design includes a raft of rules and caveats, outdoor-kitchen designs are much more casual.


How elaborate should yours be? That depends on what you and your family need. For example, if you barbecue only once a week or so, a grill and a counter-high storage cabinet covered with tile or stucco should do it. The cabinet will protect supplies from the weather and the countertop will provide work space when you get down to cooking.


Like to eat outside as much as possible? Then you'll want storage space and a counter or table for dining, along with a sink and refrigerator.


Outdoor Kitchens add to the real estate value of a home. Consider your cost in outdoor kitchens as an investment . Make sure to blend your design with your house surrounding to add to the aesthetic appeal.

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