Add an Outdoor Kitchen to Your Backyard

Outdoor kitchens have become one of the most popular summer home improvements because they can significantly increase a home’s resale value. There are several other benefits to building an outdoor kitchen, including: it extends your living space; improves your quality of life by being outdoors; and adds a high-end luxury element to your outdoor living space. It can be center stage to hosting THE get-together of the season, a staycation, or a celebratory family gathering. To make the right decisions for your budget and lifestyle, here are some things to consider before adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard.

Will it be cost-effective?

Based on a simple style design that includes everything you’ll need for a functional kitchen outdoors – grill, additional cooking options (burner, pizza oven, BBQ smoker, etc.), sink, refrigerator/icemaker/wine cooler, storage, and systems (electrical, ventilation, plumbing, etc.) – the cost can range from $2,000 to $10,000.

Of course, more complex designs using materials such as brick, stainless steel, and granite will increase the total cost of your home improvements project. Mid to high-end outdoor kitchens, including custom builds, range from $15,000 to $100,000.

If you’re firing up the grill any chance you get as soon as the weather cooperates, then an outdoor kitchen would probably be a good investment for you and your family. Especially here in the Lower Mainland where you can get mileage on outdoor living spaces at least three seasons out of the year, installing an outdoor kitchen might be a viable alternative to renovating or updating the kitchen inside your home.

How much do you want to spend?

When thinking about adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard, there are three main options.

1) You can DIY your outdoor kitchen. The design will be unique to you and your yard. This will reduce labour costs, but you will still need to consult an electrician and plumber to ensure the install meets all current codes. You might also be required to apply and pay for any applicable permits.

2) Hire a company to design the outdoor living area and build and install the outdoor kitchen. This would be a custom build. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be pricey, a custom build is the most expensive option of the three.

3) Purchase an outdoor kitchen kit, also known as a prefab kitchen. If you like to DIY, a kit cuts down on material costs since everything you need is included. Kitchen kits are cost-effective because they usually don’t need a contractor and can be put together in a day with the help of a friend and tools you most likely already have on hand.

This build is going to last for years to come. What features and those little extras would you like to include – a dining area; a fire pit; a bar complete with barstools? Make a list of everything you want in the outdoor kitchen – give each item on the list a monetary value. Don’t forget to factor in things such as:

  • Running water
  • Electricity
  • A stone retaining wall to separate the kitchen from the garden
  • Construction materials – metal alloys are cheaper than brick; ceramic tile countertops are less expensive than granite ones

Where in the backyard should the kitchen be located?

While it might seem that an outdoor kitchen can be installed pretty much anywhere in the backyard where there’s enough space to accommodate it, there are some logistical things to consider.

The most practical place for an outdoor kitchen is as near to the house as possible. If your outdoor kitchen design includes a sink and/or electricity/gas, the less expensive it will be to connect to utility lines. Proximity to the backdoor also makes it convenient to fetch needed items from the indoor kitchen. The house itself can provide some protection to the outdoor kitchen from the elements.

However, if the only place for the outdoor kitchen that affords the most privacy is at the back of the garden, build the kitchen there. Ensure there is shade but it’s not directly under trees that can shed leaves onto countertops and appliances. Budget extra funds to dig trenches for power lines.