Building an Outdoor Kitchen: Appliances, Materials, and More







By Patti Plummer


Viking Range LLC outdoor kitchen grill courtyard string lightsMany homeowners believe in utilizing every inch of their backyard space to create the perfect backyard retreat. They include swimming pools and spas, hot tubs, outdoor living rooms, and more often than ever, outdoor kitchens.

From simple grilling stations to fully-equipped setups that include everything from grills, rotisseries, and pizza ovens to refrigerators, beverage chillers, and ice machines, today’s outdoor kitchens can have it all.

Ready to build your own outdoor café? Before contacting a landscape architect or outdoor kitchen expert, make your wish list. Here are a few ideas to get you started.




Photo courtesy of Viking Outdoor Products


Material Options

Outdoor kitchen appliances, cabinets, and countertops continue to grow in sophistication and specialization. The majority of homeowners opt for a simple outdoor kitchen consisting of a grill and a sideburner, but others want all of the bells and whistles including a sink, dishwasher, smokers and flattop grills, granite countertops, all-tile backsplashes, and travertine flooring.

Most outdoor kitchen appliances are stainless steel while countertops and backsplashes are made of natural stone, tile, or concrete. A few of the more popular cabinet materials are heavy-gauge stainless steel, solid marine-grade polymer, teak, cedar, and powder-coated metal made to appear like real wood. By working with a professional outdoor kitchen designer, however, you can transform your wish list into a reality that is in sync with your property.


EP Henry outdoor kitchen grill food fridgeStainless Steal Appliances

The most requested types of appliances are those made of stainless steel because they are durable enough to handle changes in the weather and can hold up to high usage. If your home’s style is more on the rustic side, consider featuring a natural stone or composite façade to add a cozy charm to your setup.


Photo courtesy of EP Henry; Photo by Jay Greene Photography



Carefree Pools thatched roof umbrella outdoor kitchen grillThatched Roof

Many outdoor kitchens are open to the elements, so the addition of a shade product is not only an aesthetic choice but also a practical one. Enjoying a refreshing beverage after hours of fun in the pool can be enhanced by relaxing under the cool shade provided by an umbrella—besides, the chef will welcome a reprieve from the hot sun too! For a tropical theme, consider a thatched roof.


Photo courtesy of Carefree Pools and Spas, San Luis Obispo, Calif



Baker Pools outdoor kitchen breakfast bar grillDining Bar

Besides working as a dining area, outdoor bars can also double as more counter space and be a stylish divider between the kitchen and other parts of the patio. Consider outdoor bar stools for seating. The most common materials include hardwoods like teak, jarrah, and shorea, as well as plastics/acrylics and wrought iron. If the seats are cushioned or covered with fabric, select a cloth that is made for outdoors, like Sunbrella®.

Baker Pools outdoor kitchen bar grill pool
Above and right:
This stunning outdoor kitchen features a barbecue grill, side burners, sink, and refrigerator. The cozy bar is perfect for causal dining and sipping a drink after a dip in the pool. Hanging planters and beautiful landscaping complete this outdoor retreat.


Photo courtesy of Baker Pools, LLC, Jenks, Okla.



Cipriano outdoor kitchen grill ventilation system Ventilation Systems

Nothing beats the wonderful aromas of steaks on the barbecue, but when the wind blows from the wrong direction bringing with it clouds of smoke, your well-planned ambiance can be destroyed in an instant.

By including a ventilation system to keep the surrounding outdoor space fume-free during heavy-duty grilling sessions—especially in outdoor kitchens covered by a roof—you can almost guarantee everyone will enjoy their dining experience a little more.


Photo courtesy of Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools & Landscaping, Mahwah, N.J.




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