If nothing else, remember this: you don’t need a lot of space or money to transform your backyard into a beautiful and functional outdoor kitchen.
Regardless of how large or small an endeavor this project will be for you, you need to consider certain aspects of it very carefully. Do you, for instance, need to install a range hood?
To answer that, think about how much wall or awning space your yard has. Think, too, about how close your neighbors are. If you live in a neighborhood where all the properties are small and close together, you’ll need to install a range hood just to make sure that your neighbors aren’t constantly subjected to those wonderful aromas that your cooking produces. Otherwise, you’ll no doubt have lots of unexpected dinner guests knocking on your door and peeking over the fence!
Just as with any home renovation project, there are a myriad of choices you’ll have to make and many pitfalls to avoid. Here’s how to make the best of the experience.
List it. Compile a list of all the elements you absolutely want to have in your outdoor dream kitchen. Don’t worry about cost. There are many economical products that are very similar to the high-end products we’ll often see gracing the pages of design magazines. Your contractor can help you locate lower priced alternatives to the appliances and devices you have listed. For instance, instead of going for custom built cabinets, Home Depot, Ikea, and many other kitchen retailers carry prefabricated kits that look great without breaking the budget.
Spend money where it counts. As I mentioned, you can find many alternative products, like refrigerators, barbeques, cabinets, and counter tops, that are similar to the high end products, but that are placed at a lower price point. Where you do want to spend your money is on those less visible (but extremely vital) elements. Setting up the plumbing, electrical, and gas lines is a skill bestowed only on those trained and certified. Don’t place low cost over safety in these areas. A quick Internet search should tell you what the going rate for any of these professionals is in your area. Each of these trades is also part of a professional association that you can contact for specific information about individual tradespeople and what to expect from the trade members.
Light up. Don’t underestimate how dark your backyard can get at night. Also, don’t underestimate how much you might like to use your new outdoor kitchen after the sun goes down. Ensure that you get the most out of your renovation time and dollars by considering the best type of lighting for the space. Even if you don’t think you’ll use your outdoor kitchen very much after sunset, make sure you build in adequate lighting regardless. Consider that once your outdoor kitchen is complete, you might want to be out there all the time. Also, think of the re-sale value that doing a complete and proper renovation will net you … even if you don’t think you’ll ever sell!
Over to you: What are your outdoor kitchen must-haves?