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How to Build an Outdoor Kitchen

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

The weather is warming up, and that means the season of backyard barbecues is quickly approaching. If you like to grill or host parties, an outdoor kitchen could be the perfect addition to your home. There are amazing solutions for both basic and luxury setups, and they give you the opportunity to bring the whole kitchen outside so nobody has to be stuck prepping or cleaning away from the action. Here’s what you should know before getting started!

Eldorado Stone Metropolitan Signature Kitchen

The Metropolitan Signature Kitchen is a 12’ linear design meant to fit in tight places. It provides ample workspace in a compact package and can accommodate a grill, sink, and fridge. The unit pictured here is finished with Stacked Stone from Eldorado Stone in Black River® color.

Consider Utilities

Outdoor kitchens are all about convenience, and that means they should be equipped with running water, a heat source for the grill and any side burners, and electricity to power appliances. Maybe all you want is a basic undercounter refrigerator, but there are also plenty of extras like warming drawers, ice makers, and even vent hoods for covered areas. This means calling the professionals to ensure your kitchen is safe and up to code, and doing so early.

The cost of a plumbing hookup depends on how far your outdoor kitchen is from an accessible pipe and the kind of insulation and draining systems you need if you intend to include hot water and/or you live in a climate with freezing conditions. A pipe burst could destroy your investment after only one season, so ask a local plumber for recommendations. Many people who opt for a full kitchen rather than a simple grilling station prefer to tap into a gas line rather than rely on tanks that need to be refilled, so that’s another expense to think about. Finally, an electrician should prepare all the wiring necessary for your appliance arrangement with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, like the ones near bathroom sinks, and their own circuit board. All of this preparation starts at a few thousand dollars but can be much more—it’s a good idea to get some prices before you commit to a kitchen.

Eldorado Stone Outdoor Kitchen Building Blocks

For elaborate kitchens with more features, use Cabinet Building Blocks to piece together the design that you want. This beautiful kitchen uses Silver Lining Stacked Stone and has two beverage fridges, plenty of counter space, and even bar seating.

Build from the Base

Everything starts with the foundation, and that means a solid and level patio. Simple concrete is always an option, but you can get a little fancier with bricks, pavers, or flagstone. Take the time to plan your space from aesthetic and functional perspectives so it complements the rest of your house and you get the most out of it. Outdoor living is supposed to be liminal in nature, a place where comforts of home and the beauty of nature come together, so don’t be afraid to incorporate other elements like plants as well.

When it comes to the kitchen itself, it’s a good idea to start with a basic frame and fill it out rather than build it from the ground up. Think of it like modular construction—it’s much easier to get what you want and have everything fit together reliably. Consider the features and appliances you’d like, paying careful attention to the amount of space they take up, and balance it with the area and budget you have to work with. Outdoor kitchens are most often linear or L-shaped, but they can also have islands or wrap around a clearly defined work zone. Start with cabinet building blocks and then plan the placement of the sink, grill, etc. Each piece is typically sold separately, so be aware that you’ll have to keep track of dimensions and communicate them through the process. While this might seem like a lot of work, it means that you can build the exact kitchen that you want.

Eldorado Stone Wilmington Gas-Burning Fireplace

The Wilmington™ Gas-Burning Fireplace is a traditional and classy addition to an outdoor living area. It’s an especially practical choice near a kitchen, where you probably already have gas available for the grill.

Warm It Up

The value of a fireplace inside is undeniable, and its worth is just as great outdoors. A fireplace or fire pit can act as the centerpiece that pulls the space together and makes it more than just another place to cook and do the dishes; it will be a natural focus. People gravitate to the light and warmth, but the ambiance alone is a major selling point. Whether you choose to go with a rough and rustic hearth or a super sleek fire bowl, flames are a fantastic complement to just about any outdoor living area. You might even find yourself enjoying a fire in the fresh air all year long!

If you’ve been inspired to build a beautiful outdoor kitchen, check out the outdoor living products from Kindred Outdoors & Surrounds. They have pre-designed kitchens for quick installation, building blocks like walls and cabinets to easily put together custom designs, and fiery focal points perfect for gathering around at night. Of course, everything can be finished with a variety of stone veneers to create the perfect look!