Creating an outdoor kitchen is a great way to utilize your home’s yard and expand your living space. On average, creating an outdoor kitchen will cost you between $32.50 - $100 per square foot.
The return on investment (ROI) for an outdoor kitchen is difficult to measure. Quicken Loans reports that homeowners can expect anywhere from 50% to 200% of the original cost of building the outdoor kitchen to be the ROI.
Perhaps more important than an outdoor kitchen’s ROI is its ROE (return on enjoyment). This feature is a sure-fire way to set your home up to be the hub for gatherings with friends and family.
Here are five features to consider when creating your own outdoor kitchen.
1. A Great Built-In Grill
Whether you're a gas grill enthusiast or an old-school charcoal grill master, your grill will be the centerpiece of your outdoor kitchen.
Besides your personal preference, you should also consider the space above and around your grill before choosing between gas or charcoal. If you’ll be grilling under a covered structure or on a deck, a gas grill is the safest option.
If you’re planning on using your home’s natural gas supply, you’ll need to consider where you’ll tie into it when deciding where to place your grill.
Think carefully about how and what you like to cook and choose a grill to fit your specific needs. Again, this is about ROE more than it is about ROI.
2. A Cold Storage Option
There are plenty of options when it comes to cold storage outside; from refrigerators to freezers, to beverage fridges there’s an option to meet your every need.
If you plan on storing food outside, make sure your choice is food safe certified and always set to 40 degrees or lower. However, if your plan is to use the fridge for beverages, you’ll want a fridge that operates between 40 and 45 degrees.
Additionally, the refrigerator you choose for your outdoor kitchen should be outdoor-rated. This will ensure that your unit will perform well in the outdoor’s fluctuating temperatures.
However, even outdoor-rated refrigerators don’t work well when the outside temperature dips below 40 degrees. So, if you live in an area with cold winters, your best option is to bring your refrigerator inside during the colder months.
3. A Functioning Sink
With a little pre-planning, you’ll be able to ensure your sink setup meets your unique outdoor kitchen needs.
Consider how you plan to use your sink. If you’re looking to wash dishes you’ll want a hot and cold hook up. Will you tie the plumbing into your home’s existing draining system or create a dry well? Neither choice is simple, and the cost of tying the plumbing into your home’s drainage system can add up depending on how far away your outdoor kitchen is from your home.
Make sure the basin and faucet you choose are designed to stand up to the elements. Materials like stainless steel and copper are smart choices.
4. Plenty of Prep Space
Having adequate counter space in your outdoor kitchen will help make food preparation and service a breeze.
Professionals recommend at least 12-24 inches on either side of your grill and at least 18 inches on both sides of the sink.
Once again, make sure the material you choose for your counters is food safe and will stand up to the elements. Popular choices include granite, stainless steel, concrete, and outdoor-rated ceramic tile.
5. Task Lighting
When you’re creating your outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to make sure your grilling area is well-lit. You can achieve this through overhead lighting, wall sconces, or counter-mounted task lighting.
Whatever you choose make sure the lighting is rated for use outdoors and resistant to humidity.
There’s no shortage of pre-made and custom products for outdoor kitchens. Pick what suits your needs and your budget and watch your ROE increase immeasurably.