Designing an Outdoor Kitchen For Maximum Value and Usability

Designing and Building An Outdoor Kitchen

Creating an outdoor living space is a beautiful way to extend your indoor space into the great outdoors. Exterior spaces for dining, cooking, and entertainment are typically more affordable than adding interior space to your home and provides you with a comfortable way to enjoy the good weather with family and friends.

Along with the trend in outdoor living rooms, homeowner's are choosing to expand their outdoor space by creating patio kitchens that can rival those found in the home. A full-blown outdoor kitchen can add value to your home and give you years of enjoyment. When it's time to sell, an outdoor kitchen is an enjoyable feature that can impress prospective buyers and help your home sell quickly.

Let's look at several considerations when planning an outdoor kitchen for your home.

The First Step, Define Your Needs And Plan Your Space

This outdoor kitchen provides a grilling station just outside of the great room and 3-season porch.

Creating the perfect outdoor kitchen is unlike any hardscaping or landscaping project you've ever taken on. Because it's a functional space, the first step is to consider your needs. Creating a functional outdoor kitchen involves much more than merely installing a grill. Focus on the features that you and your family will enjoy the most. Have you ever dreamed of having a wood-burning pizza oven? Or a six-burner built-in barbecue with an integrated smoker? Sit with your family and your designer and define your needs. You'll need to determine which features are “must haves” to design a kitchen that can fit both your needs and your budget.

If you determine that your ideal kitchen consists of a built-in barbecue and some extra counter space, by all means, go for it! But this isn't truly an outdoor kitchen. To be a true kitchen, your space should have all of the amenities of your indoor kitchen including a sink, counter space, food and beverage storage, as well as a cooking surface.

The Nuts and Bolts of Outdoor Kitchens

To create an actual outdoor kitchen, you'll need to include plumbing, drainage, electricity, and gas for cooking. While drainage doesn't necessarily mean hooking into your homes sewer line ( check your local building codes), you can plumb your sink drain to provide irrigation for your landscaping. You will, however, need to connect to your home's plumbing in order to have running water for cooking and cleaning. You'll also need electricity for any lights and appliances like blenders, and a refrigerator.

Running utilities is not the only complicated element of designing your patio kitchen. You'll also need to consider the masonry work involved. It's important to consider placement of your space as well, to keep the costs of running utilities down. It's always best to work with a qualified design-build remodeling contractor who has experience with designing outdoor spaces. They can help you not only with the aesthetic design of your space, but they can also help you to choose the perfect place for your kitchen on your property to maximize efficiency.

Five Ways To Maximize Value

While the primary goal of any home improvement project is to increase the enjoyment of your home, a well designed, functional outdoor kitchen can add usable space to your home as well as increase its value. To gain the most value for your investment, it's important to create an inviting, well-planned professionally designed space. Creating a “thrown together” outdoor kitchen can detract from your home's value.

Here are five things to do to maximize the value of your investment in an outdoor kitchen to add value to your home when it's time to sell.

The outdoor kitchen in this lake house uses a vented hood to exhaust grilling smoke.

1. Design your outdoor kitchen to complement your homes exterior. Your design-builder can help you to choose materials that compliment your homes exterior style. Stick to complementary colors to make your outdoor kitchen feel like an extension of your home.

2. Decorate your space to bring the indoors out! Decorate with accessories that are complementary to the space closest to your outdoor kitchen. For example, if your outdoor space is right outside the French doors in the living room, use similar colored materials and textures to bring harmony to your design.

3. Don't forget the floor and ceiling. If you're creating a whole new space, instead of a concrete slab consider budgeting for beautiful concrete pavers, or a textured, stamped concrete slab. If you don't have an existing cover, the addition of an elegant pergola or retractable awning can provide shade, protect your kitchen from the elements and create a visual focal point. Creating a well-defined living space will add value.

4. Consider adding “fun” features. Your outdoor space doesn't need to be merely a kitchen. Consider adding features like an outdoor pizza oven, sound system, weather-resistant flat screen, dining area, or a fire or water feature to enhance the mood.

5. Don't skimp on the grill! Sure, it's a full kitchen, but the best part of entertaining outdoors is cooking on an excellent grill! Purchase the best grill you can afford and try to get an option that has at least one interesting feature, like a dual gas or charcoal grill, a built-in smoker, or an infrared grill for searing your steaks to perfection.

Adding an outdoor kitchen is a fabulous way to add a useful, comfortable outdoor living space your family will enjoy for years. While it's not an inexpensive project, with proper planning, excellent design and high-quality construction it is a feature that prospective homeowners will love if you ever decide to sell.

The most important element in executing your project is to hire the right contractor. Working with a full-service design-build-remodeling firm can ensure that you'll not only get a kitchen that is aesthetically pleasing and fits your home's existing décor, but you'll get high-quality workmanship and stay within your budget.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 1/3/2019.

If you're considering creating outdoor living space, speak with the designers at Degnan Design-Build-Remodel. We've helped our clients to design outdoor living areas that perfectly match the exterior of your existing home. Our designers are on top of the latest trends and technologies available for outdoor living and can help you to capture your creative vision. Contact us and let our team give you the outdoor space you've been dreaming about!