How to Design the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Area

How to Design the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Area 

By: Alejandro Smith

For many people, having an outdoor kitchen is a dream. Not only does it extend your living space, it also lets you get outside more often and host great parties. Of course, parties will have to wait until the COVID-19 pandemic passes, but for now, you and your family can get some much-needed time in the fresh air by building an outdoor kitchen and dining area. Here’s how to start your project. 

Dream Up Designs 

An outdoor dining area can be simple or full of luxury appliances, depending on your tastes and budget. For example, you can keep things low-key by getting a nice grill and setting up a table with comfy seating on your patio. However, the sky's the limit when it comes to designing your kitchen. 

Built-in grills and sinks will make your workspace feel more permanent, and adding features like a bar or pizza oven will make your kitchen more versatile. Whatever your plans are, start by making a wish list to help you budget and draft a layout. 

A kitchen isn’t complete without some accessories. For example, you’ll want to think about outdoor lighting so you can enjoy the space at night. String lights are popular because they make for a relaxing atmosphere, but installing fixed lighting outside is an option as well. 

Adding outdoor plants is a good way to liven up the place, while also providing some privacy. In fact, certain plants are perfect for making a natural privacy screen between you and the neighbors. 

Make It a Reality

Budgeting for your kitchen is the next step. You’ll want to think about your layout and materials when determining your costs. Purchasing a freestanding grill is usually the cheapest option, while installing luxury built-in items will set you back a few thousand dollars. According to the Landscape Network, even a basic outdoor kitchen can cost upward of $10,000, and you’ll pay much more for a luxury design.

Cost alone shouldn’t prevent you from building your dream outdoor cooking space. Tapping into your home equity with a cash-out refinance loan from PMUSA is an option you might want to consider. If you have more than 20 percent equity in your home, you can opt for a FHA cash out, which means you’ll no longer have to pay mortgage insurance. You can also save some money by tackling as many components as you can yourself.  

Many aspects of installing an outdoor kitchen can be done yourself if you’re handy. However, if you’re working with complicated plumbing or gas lines, be sure to call in the pros. Either way, be careful to avoid pitfalls such as not installing the proper venting or insulation for any appliances you may choose. 

Get the Most Out of It

Now that you’ve built a beautiful outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to get as much use out of it as possible. Having family dinner nights, choosing good recipes, and planning outdoor parties for the future will ensure that you get the most out of your investment. 

If you’re using your kitchen when sheltering in place, there are many recipes you can make with food you already have on hand. Canned food might not work well on a grill, but vegetables like green beans and corn will make the perfect side dish for meals you prepare outside. 

Maintain Your Kitchen

Even if the weather is nice, outdoor kitchens can quickly get dusty and full of debris. To make your dining area more inviting, be sure to sweep and clean regularly so it’s always ready when you want to cook. Covering your grill and seats can keep them clean at all times, and wiping down surfaces regularly will keep dust and debris at bay. 

Whenever you prep food outside, you’ll also want to think about ways to keep pests out. Throwing away food scraps and garbage will keep critters from infiltrating your patio, and dumping any standing water will prevent insects like mosquitoes from breeding. 

Making an outdoor cooking and dining area is the perfect way to spend more time outside while getting creative with your meals. Whether you have a shoestring budget or money is no object, you can make a comfy and inviting space where you can soak in all the fresh air you want. 

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