How to Build an Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen

Knowing how to build an outdoor kitchen will allow you to create a great new area for your home without spending a fortune. Cooking and eating outside are increasingly popular pastimes and outdoor kitchens have come a long way from the hibachi and the plank picnic table of the 1960s.

Good Planning Saves Money and Time

It is important that you know exactly what you want in your outdoor kitchen before you make the first mark. Are you looking for an area to grill a few burgers and store cold drinks during summer pool parties? Are you looking for a wood burning bread oven, a commercial quality propane grill, or a formal dining area? Whether it is one of those choices or something in between, the first step is to define your needs as well as your budget.

Some questions that you will need to answer before building your kitchen are:

  • How do you plan to use your kitchen?
  • How big do you want it to be?
  • Do you want a permanent structure?
  • How much can you afford?
  • How much work will you do yourself?
  • Where will it be located?
  • What materials will you use?
  • How will you define the edges of the kitchen and dining area?
  • Will you need to add a gas line or waterlines?
  • What permits are required?

Locating Your Outdoor Kitchen

Location is very important. The kitchen will impact the look of both your house and yard. It is important that it be a beautiful addition rather than an eyesore. Many people build the outdoor kitchen very close to the house. This keeps it convenient but also means that the style will need to flow with the look of the house.Keep in mind your privacy when you are planning a location, as well as your neighbors' comfort. If you are having a late night cookout and the kitchen is located near the neighbors' bedroom window, your good time may keep them awake. Plan to locate your kitchen well away from other people's property.

Once you have decided where to place the kitchen you need to create a site map. This is little more than a piece of graph paper, with your kitchen plans drawn to scale. Include any large trees, gardens, walkways, pool, or other features that could have an impact on your project.

Materials

Because your project is going to be subjected to all kinds of weather conditions, you need to choose materials that can stand up to the elements.

  • Concrete
  • Flagstone
  • Soapstone
  • Stainless steel
  • Brick
  • Sealed tile
  • Pressure treated lumber

Flooring

If you build your outdoor kitchen on an existing patio, make sure that it can support the weight of whatever you plan to install. Otherwise you will have to choose a flooring material such as concrete or flagstone.Creating a floor for your outdoor kitchen will be much like building any patio with the exception of any extra water, gas, and electrical lines that may need to be run. The placement of the appliances, sinks, refrigerators, and other items must be planned far ahead of time and the necessary utilities installed. The sinks and any dishwashers will be hooked up so that they drain into the household's main sewer line so that the gray water is disposed of properly.

Cabinetry

The next step will to install the cabinets and appliances that you have chosen. Do not place wood cabinets too close to the grill or wood burning oven. Many people choose stainless steel for their outdoor kitchens, because it is easy to maintain, is not a fire hazard, and will not be affected by weather.

The primary function of the cabinets will not be to store items as much as it will give structure to the room. The cabinets link the various components of the outdoor kitchen together to make a cohesive whole. They also are there to hold the counters that are necessary for preparation and workspace.

Ready-made cabinets for outdoor use are the easiest way to create the kitchen of your dreams. They are made to withstand the environment, and all you need to do is to stack them next to each other and add a few screws here and there.

The countertops and other surfaces will also need to be made of material that can withstand harsh conditions and a lot of use.

  • Wood that is weather resistant
    • Teak
    • Cypress
    • Mahogany
    • Cedar
  • Poured concrete
  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Soapstone
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Zinc sheeting

How to Build an Outdoor Kitchen Specifics

While almost anyone can learn how to build an outdoor kitchen, the steps are more involved than can be detailed here. There are many specific instructions available on the Internet. Here are some of the resources to help get you started:


The most complex outdoor kitchens can take several weeks and a lot of money. If you are building a simple version, then you may be able to put it together in two weekends for under $1,000.00. Whichever you choose, knowing how to build an outdoor kitchen yourself will save you money and give you a sense of accomplishment when it is finished.

How to Build an Outdoor Kitchen