When most people begin planning their backyard kitchens, they think of only one main component – the outdoor barbecue. While this is almost always something that gets built into every patio kitchen, there are numerous other things that can be added to make your outdoor kitchen even more useful. Yes, that barbecue is a good thing to start with, but expanding to include other kitchen features is what really turns a mediocre space into a high-end cooking oasis.
Designing a patio space, complete with an outdoor barbecue, that has many uses can give you an ROI (Return on Investment) of between 70% and 80% on the low end, and up to 200% in a strong economy. This means that you’ll likely get back what you spent on your patio kitchen as an increase in your home’s value. It also means that you’ll have a lovely backyard space you’ll be able to cook just about anything in – which is great for entertaining guests or having a quiet meal for two. Another “plus,” for anyone who has spent an entire family party in the kitchen missing out on the fun – while the guests are in the family room – understands how important it is to have a space where everyone can gather and talk to the designated cook.
Imagine having your own outdoor oasis, complete with an outdoor barbecue framed by a granite countertop. Alongside that barbecue is a traditional or ceramic smoker, food warming drawer, fridge, and cabinet space built into the outdoor BBQ designed for storage. The only thing this set up needs next is a patio umbrella, table, set of chairs, as well as your closest friends to cook for.
Beyond the barbecue and patio setting, you might also consider heating, cooling, and lighting. During the cold fall or winter nights, an overhead built-in heater can provide warmth (for roughly $800), while a misting system (roughly $2,500) can keep everyone cools under the summertime sun! Regardless of the time of year, light up every outdoor BBQ cookout with downlighting or built-in LED under the countertop.
A sink can add quite a bit of usefulness to your patio kitchen. You’ll be able to pick vegetables from your garden, prep them, and cook them, all without having to go into the house. The cabinet space under the sink can be used to store cooking pots and pans (to be used on your outdoor power burner), as well as containers of hickory wood chips that can add some flavor to the meats grilled on your outdoor barbecue or smoker. Other things that you can keep outdoors include wine glasses (even better if your patio kitchen has a built-in wine chiller), cooking tools, and sets of plates and silverware.
When it comes time to choose the best outdoor sink for your backyard kitchen, you have plenty of models to pick from. Outdoor sinks are usually made of stainless steel, and they are rated for outdoor use, meaning that they will hold up to sunlight, rain, sleet, and just about anything else that Mother Nature can throw at them. As with indoor sinks, the price depends on the size and brand, but most range from around $299 all of the way up to over $1,100. The best models tend to have faucets built into them (think Twin Eagles, Fire Magic, Summerset, and Alfresco). There are also sinks that double as bar centers, complete with small spaces to hold cocktail accoutrements and crushed ice. These models cost a bit more than standard outdoor sinks (most are in the $1,500 range), but the versatility that they offer makes the price worth it.
A built-in, outdoor barbecue is only one of the many ways to cook food outdoors. Pizza ovens are another. Even better, you can combine both into one very attractive patio kitchen. Of course, these can be used to make more than just pizza – and they come in different shapes and sizes, from 30-inch ovens that are set into a countertop to ones that stand on the ground and have their own ventilation systems. A good pizza oven can cost anywhere from $1,000 (for smaller, countertop models) to upwards of $7,000 for authentic Italian style wood-fired oven. Both types are equally useful and attractive.
There’s yet another option that we haven’t mentioned yet – an outdoor BBQ island. Yes, you can have two different sets of built-in sections in your backyard kitchen. One consists of features like the sink, any burners, the refrigerator, and even some storage built into the cabinets, while the other has the outdoor barbecue, the pizza oven, a smoker, and the warming drawers. Imagine how much fun you’ll have hosting family and neighborhood parties that don’t involve going into the house.
As you can see, an outdoor barbecue is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to backyard kitchens. You can have yours designed to meet your exact preferences, from the size of the sink to the number of storage cabinets, and to include other appliances from an ice machines to a pizza oven to a kegerator.
If you have questions about design, selecting the right appliances for your outdoor barbecue, or how to install a DIY outdoor kitchen, one of our design experts would be happy to speak with you. We also provide a free 3D rendering and CAD drawing, with a complete list of building materials and step-by-step instructions, as well as ongoing support for our customers.