When the weather gets hot, the hot get going! Now it's time to spend lazy afternoons and evenings on the deck or patio in your new outdoor kitchen. Soak up that sunshine, ocean views and glorious sunsets. A functional patio with an outdoor kitchen takes outdoor entertaining to another level. There's no more running back and forth to refill drinks, or grab the dishes for the barbeque. Everything you need is right at your fingertips.
Once your guests leave, clean up is a snap. In fact, most spills can be taken care of with the garden hose. If you have a pool, there are no wet bodies running in and out of the kitchen for drinks and snacks if you've included a fridge in your outdoor kitchen design.
Where to Begin?
Start with a budget of about $20,000, but depending on who you hire and the extent of the project, you could easily spend $50,000 or more. Remember, this isn't just a luxury expense, this is a functional upgrade that will add value to your home and provide you and your family hours of added enjoyment.
Start thinking about how you want to use the space, and make notes. Is it just a kitchen you'll be adding, or are you revamping the entire patio area? Will there be a dining area, a spot for more intimate seating, a BBQ pit. Will this be used for casual dinners for friends, or large scale entertaining?
Where do you want to sit when you're eating? Is there a view you'd like to incorporate into the plan? Or maybe you'll be poolside. Finally, will your kitchen be covered or exposed?
Think about the various appliances or kitchen features you want close at hand. What started out as a built-in barbeque and counterspace may end up in something a little more elaborate once your done. Features you might see in an outdoor kitchen include:
- Built-In Oven
- Separate griddle or fryer
- Expansive counter space
- Fridge (full size or under counter)
- Wine Fridge
- Refrigerated drawers
- Pizza or Wood-Burning Oven
- Herb Garden
All of these things need to be considered before hand, to ensure the addition goes as smoothly as possible. The more "after-the-fact" changes you make, the more expensive the kitchen will be.
So, Who's Doing the Work?
Landscape Designer or Architect - if there is considerable work to be done to integrate your kitchen into a current or new landscape plan, it's a good idea to consult a professional.
What will the kitchen be built on? Providing the designer is providing the landscape services as well, they should be looking after your choice of outdoor flooring or decking.
General Contractor - If it's a big project, it helps to have a director to coordinate the key players and ensure they're sticking to the plan. This is where the contractor can assist.
Kitchen Designer - Going straight to a professional kitchen design company could save you a lot of heartache. They'll view your area, listen to your needs and draw up a plan. Then they can provide options for all your elements from the cabinetry, counters, appliances, to the sinks. They also handle the installation end of the project.
An outdoor kitchen is a pretty big project that involves considerable planning, possible permits and scheduling of trades. Allow at least three months for the completion of your new kitchen. That being said, if you want to enjoy it for summer holidays, start planning in February.
Permits: Your designer or architect should be able to advise and coordinate this.
Great Features You May Want to Consider
There's nothing worse than finishing a project and saying, "I wish I'd have added ..." Here are a few popular features that would enhance any outdoor kitchen.
- A pull-up bar (either raised or lowered), makes a perfect spot for guests to mingle while you're cooking, or for the kids to sit and grab that quick snack. It also offers an alternative to a larger dining table if space is a concern.
- A roof over the cooking area protects your new kitchen from the elements. The cook will say 'thank you' if they get caught in the rain while grilling the steaks.
- Make sure your choice of fridge(s) fits your lifestyle. If you have the room, a fullsize might be perfect for beverages and snacks. Others are happy with a small under counter fridge and/or maybe a wine fridge.
- Don't forget the little things. Do you enjoy listening to music while cooking? Good quality outdoor speakers might be a nice perk. What about lighting? That string of patio lights offer a nice atmosphere, but might not cut it when you're preparing a meal and need to see what you're doing.
- Cupboard space is a concern in every kitchen. Make sure you've allowed for enough and that you're utilizing all the counters to include extra storage underneath.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the scope of this project. Don't forget, you don't have to know how to do everything, just take notes of what you like, what features fit in with your needs and lifestyle and then let the experts take if from there. Browse through photos of completed outdoor kitchens to get an idea of what you like and what you don't like.
Ideabooks on Houzz (like the one below), PINTEREST and Instagram are great places to start. We'd be happy to provide references for any trades that we've used in the past. We'd love to hear any comments or suggestions from anyone who has been involved in this type of a project, whether you're a homeowner or in the business.
Tim Shepard, Broker/Owner
Destin Real Estate, LLC
Cell: (850) 259-4133
Toll Free: (866) 678-SOLD
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