The 2019/2020 coronavirus pandemic has changed many things about life. One area where this is glaringly evident is how we spend time in our own homes. If you find yourself at home more often than not and trying to figure out how, exactly, to best utilize the space you have, then keep reading. Here, we will offer insight on how to create an outdoor kitchen, dining, and entertainment area that the entire family will love.
Location, Location, Location
As in real estate, choosing a spot for your outdoor entertainment zone is all about location. Ideally, you’ll find an area that gets plenty of direct sunlight but also enjoys shade during the evening hours. If you’re planning to run plumbing for an outdoor sink, you’ll also want to pay close attention to proximity to existing lines. It’s a smart idea to visit your local planning and zoning commission for detailed information about underground utilities, septic tanks, and other hidden potential hindrances before you get started.
Once you have a general idea of location, it’s time to set a budget. According to Landscaping Network, this varies wildly, with a basic outdoor kitchen at $2,000 on the low end and up to $100,000 for a custom, luxury dining space. Your final cost depends on your specific needs, what elements you plan to add to your kitchen, and how much work you’re willing to put in on your own. You will need to factor in things such as the cost of paving stones, appliances, electrical and plumbing, and labor.
If you also want to have a place to spread out and relax with friends and family, you’ll need to budget for that as well. One idea here is to plan for the cost of building an outdoor fire pit or fireplace. This should add around $3,000 to your total, and you can choose wood-burning or propane to suit your tastes. If you plan to buy outdoor furniture, look for pieces that are sturdy and can withstand the elements for many years to come. Keep in mind that while many of these projects can be costly, they can give your home’s appraisal value a boost (be sure to take before-and-after photos and keep receipts).
What Do You Need?
What you choose to put in your outdoor kitchen is completely up to you. However, at the very least, you need somewhere to safely prepare and cook food and a safe and comfortable place to eat. It might be best to start with a sketch of your ideal space. You can draw it out on a piece of paper or grab a can of spray paint and block off your “floor” space. Think about what you want from the ground up. This could be a deck, brick pavers, or a concrete patio.
Next, decide on your counter space. BBQ Guys explained you have a few different options here. These are to add an unfinished island frame, a brick-and-mortar, or a wood island. You also need a barbecue or outdoor oven and, ideally, cold storage, such as a mini-refrigerator.
Once you have the big stuff — grill, patio furniture, electricity, and water — taken care of, it’s time to focus on the small touches that will make your outdoor space truly feel like part of the home. This will include decor, accessory furnishings, and convenience features, such as an anti-fatigue mat from CocomatsNMore which can provide comfort for those working in the kitchen. You’ll also want to ensure that you position everything so that you can properly winterize your outdoor kitchen so that it will be functional and ready for the next season.
Your outdoor dining space doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be functional. Make sure to focus on what you need, and then cross-reference that to your budget. It doesn’t take much to plan the ultimate outdoor space, and if you plan to DIY the majority of the job, you can create an exceptional space to shelter in place and to enjoy for many years to come.
Alejandro Smith a.k.a Sir Fix-A-Lot