Outdoor kitchens are all the rage, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spending time outside to thwart the spread of the virus has reminded us how much we love the great outdoors. More and more people are opting to use their backyards as an extension of their home. These outdoor entertainment areas can include an outdoor kitchen, pool, patio, jacuzzi, firepit, and more.
Unfortunately, most new homes don’t come with outdoor entertainment areas. So if you want to create one, you’ll have to start from scratch. But where to begin? DYM Builders Group has created this handy guide to help you on our journey to a beautiful outdoor kitchen.
Work with a trusted contractor
If you think an indoor kitchen is complicated, trust us when we say an outdoor kitchen is even more complicated. Not only do you have to get electricity, water, and gas lines to your new space, you also have to take the outdoor elements into account. You can’t use materials that won’t withstand water and heat, both of which your outdoor kitchen will be getting lots of.
Plus, if you want to build an outdoor kitchen, chances are you want other outdoor features, too. A trusted contractor can help you create a cohesive vision and complete all your projects on the same timeline. Additionally, other features like firepits and jacuzzis will also need water and gas hook-ups, so it’s best to run those lines from your meter all at once.
Decide what appliances you want
If you want to build an outdoor kitchen, you clearly have a desire to cook outdoors — whether you want to entertain or just have an option to to avoid smoke and odors in your house.
You can choose from a variety of appliances including grills, smokers, cooktops, wine fridges, ice makers, and sinks. What you choose to include will depend on your individual needs and your budget. Keep in mind that some appliances will need a gas, electric, or water hook-up. This will lead to additional time and money toward your project.
Choose a frame type and shape
What shape and size do you want your outdoor kitchen to be? Some people just want a linear kitchen with a grill and some space to prep food. Others want a bigger U- or L-shaped kitchen with room for a sink and a bar.
Most outdoor kitchens are made using a frame, which come in a few different types. You can purchase a frame premade, usually fabricated from metal. You can also build a frame out of wood. Lastly, you can construct a frame out of concrete or concrete blocks.
Pre-made and wooden frames are most likely your cheapest option. But pre-made frames mean you can’t customize your size or shape. Plus, concrete is the most durable option, and will withstand the use of heat and electricity. While concrete blocks are more expensive than your other two options, they’ll stand the test of time and allow you to create an outdoor kitchen to your liking.
Pick your materials
While you won’t actually see the inside of your frame once you’re done, you’ll have lots of materials that will make up the aesthetic of your outdoor kitchen. These include the countertops, the patio flooring, the patio cover, and the frame exterior.
Just like your indoor kitchen, your countertops are a huge aspect of your outdoor kitchen. David Malka, co-founder of DYM Builders, urges customers to use natural stone countertops outside. These countertops, such as granite, travertine, or marble, can withstand heat and the outdoor conditions. Concrete countertops are another viable option, although they can be very heavy and have to be custom-poured.
Most likely, your outdoor kitchen will sit on top of a patio where you and your guests can sit, drink, and cook. The patio may extend into other parts of your yard, or match the material around your pool. The shape and size of your patio is a big design decision. You can choose from different types and colors of materials for your flooring. Options include brick, slate, wood, concrete, and more.
The frame exterior is like the cabinets in your kitchen; they’ll make up the aesthetic of your kitchen that’s not your appliances. You can match your frame exterior with the theme or concept of your outdoor kitchen. For example, you may choose concrete or stone for a more modern look. For a farmhouse look, you could choose tile or wood. Or for a rustic look, you can choose a stone like travertine. It’s up to you, but you’ll have to work with your contractor to ensure your material fits in your budget and your individual needs.
Your patio cover is another big element of your outdoor kitchen. You may want your outdoor kitchen out in the open, in which case you don’t need a patio cover. But to provide some shade and keep part of your yard out of the sun, you may choose to get one.
Covers vary greatly in size, type, and material. Your contractor can help decide what’s best for you. From an awning to a pergola, the choices are limitless.
Put it all together
Of course, you want your outdoor kitchen to be part of your second home. Who knows, you may end up cooking outside more than you do inside! In order to love your outdoor kitchen build as much as you possibly can, it’s important to tie it into the rest of your backyard and home exterior. A designer, like the designers at DYM Builders, can help you create a cohesive vision. A contractor can also help you tie in your other outdoor elements, like firepits, into your outdoor paradise.