Articles » Tips: Turn Your Deck or Patio into an Outdoor Kitchen & More

Tips: Turn Your Deck or Patio into an Outdoor Kitchen & More

Tags: Kitchen Remodeling, Home Improvement, Decks and Patios, Landscaping

Turn Your Deck or Patio into an Outdoor Kitchen & More

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If you are ready to take your barbeque grill and work area to the next level an outdoor kitchen area is something you should consider.  This could make the difference between using your deck or patio weekly versus monthly; putting the deck, patio furniture and extra living space to good use, turning your backyard deck or patio into more than just a place to eat and socialize with.

The popularity of the backyard deck and patios and barbequing has become the great American pastime and the equipment we have to work with has come a long way.  If you are considering an outdoor kitchen there is some simple planning involved that will help ensure the success of your project. 

First, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What type of cooking do you want to do in your outdoor kitchen?
  2. How much space is available on your deck or patio for your cooking area?
  3. How many people do you plan on accommodating at any one time?
  4. Does your deck or patio have a roof or awning to shelter your cooking area?
  5. Are gas lines, electrical outlets and plumbing readily accessible to the area?
  6. Do you plan on using your cooking area year-round? Is so, what is your climate like?
  7. What appliances, counter space and storage space do you want?

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These questions will help you frame what you want in way of capability in your outdoor kitchen. 

The second thing to consider is style.  You will want your outdoor kitchen to match the style of home and deck or patio area.  Look at the materials used in the construction of your home, landscaping, deck, patio, garage, storage shed and fencing to get an idea of the materials you might want to consider. You will also want to use materials that will hold up in your climate and that are low maintenance.  Below is a list of popular materials and their benefits:

Recommended Countertops – consider stain resistance, germs, breakage and Mother Nature

  • Granite – is the best stone choice for countertops because of its’ natural resistance to stains and heat, its’ smooth and easy to clean surface and its’ durability.  Although Granite is a great choice and will go with almost any style of deck or patio, it is also the priciest of countertop materials and may be more than you want to invest in an outdoor kitchen.
  • Slate – is another stone choice for countertops that is more reasonably priced and still adds a very classy look to your deck or patio. Its’ long lasting durability is a major plus.  The surface of slate is not as even as granite and must be treated to resist staining before use, but it is a good alternative.
  • Glazed Tile – is very reasonably priced and offers the most design options, making it a popular choice by many.  Tile is heat resistant, easy to clean, durable against the elements and comes in almost any color or design you can imagine.
  • Unglazed Tile – when treated can be a good countertop material as well.  If you are going for a rustic look, this may be a countertop to look into.

Cabinets – a popular outdoor cabinet choice is stainless steel due to its’ durability and versatility to fit with many styles of outdoor kitchens.  You may also use wood or enameled porcelain cabinets that are designed for outdoor use with special finishes used to protect from the elements.

Structural Materials – are the materials used to build the unit on top of your deck or patio.

  • Brick – is a popular material due to low cost and ease of use when building.  If you have brick on your home, this may be your best choice.  Brick is both durable and heat resistant so it is conducive to being the framework for your grilling area. 
  • Concrete block – is also inexpensive and easy to use when building.  Reinforced with stele, concrete block can be a very strong and durable structure.
  • Stone – is more difficult to work with due to the varying shapes and sizes of the stones, but can achieve a beautiful look if put together well.  If your deck, patio or house already has stone, it may be worth the extra time and effort.   If you do choose stone, don’t forget to seal the stone to prevent staining.
  • Stucco – is a great way to take your concrete block structure and give it that finished look.  Stucco is time intensive and should have three applications with adequate drying periods in between applications to ensure long-last durability.
  • Wood – although an easy material to use, is not the best choice around your grill.  Wood is flammable and will not last as long as other materials.  If you have a wooden deck, think about accenting your outdoor kitchen with wood, rather than using it as your primary building material.

Appliances – selection should be based on durability and the extent of cooking and food prep you plan on doing in your outdoor kitchen. You may elect to build in your grill or build around a free standing grill.

  • Charcoal grills – can lend a superior flavor to your food and have evolved to much more than your traditional charcoal barbeque grill.  Now a charcoal grill may come with a rotisserie mounting, adjustable firebox, multi-level cooking grates and more.  If your gas line or electrical outlets are not readily available on your deck or patio, you may want to consider a charcoal grill.  Or if you just love that extra flavor!  A good quality charcoal grill is constructed of powder coated steel or porcelain-enameled steel. The drawback to charcoal grills is the mess.  You will have to clean out the charcoal ash bin and is something to consider when designing your cooking area.
  • Gas grills – are most popular because of their ease of clean-up and quick preparation time.  You have a couple options with gas grills and it really depends on the extent of money you are willing to spend on your outdoor kitchen.  You can build your grill into your structure and hook-up directly to your homes gas line or you can buy a free standing gas grill and use propane tanks to fuel your grill.  If you choose to hook your grill directly into your homes gas lines, consider when the gas lines are in relation to your deck or patio and consider if there is going to be substantial cost in changes to your current structures. If you choose to have your grill run off of a portable propane tank, ensure your design accommodates easily re-filling your tank.  A good quality gas grill should be made of coated steel and porcelain coated cast iron or stainless steel burners.
  • Electric grills – are also an option although not one of the most popular.  They, like gas grills are easy to clean-up.  They also have a convenient power source.  If you have an outdoor outlet on your deck or patio, then it will be easy to hook up your new electric grill.  The drawbacks are the lack of added barbeque flavor that the other types of grills give you. A good quality electric grill has a porcelain steel body and porcelain grate.  The lid should be lined with aluminum composite to create enough heat to sear your food.

Outdoor Kitchen Estimates

Other items to consider are:

  • Smokers
  • Wood, charcoal or gas burning ovens
  • Fire pits or fireplace (great for entertaining regardless of time of year)
  • Rotisseries
  • Ventilation hoods
  • Side burners
  • Refrigerator

As you can see you have many options when creating an outdoor kitchen in your backyard deck or patio.  If you enjoy cooking outside, an outdoor kitchen might be the perfect addition to your home.  Be sure to consider incorporating an outdoor kitchen when you begin to design and build your new deck!

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