Outdoor Kitchen Guide: Cost and Design Ideas
At Yardzen, many of our landscape design clients request an outdoor kitchen in some form. In this guide we’ll cover the types of outdoor kitchens, common amenities, appliances, and cost estimates from the hundreds of outdoor kitchens we’ve designed across the country.
What is an outdoor kitchen?
Outdoor kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. For most people, an outdoor kitchen is an accessory space meant for entertaining, which means that an outdoor grill, sink, and counter space are more than enough. Some homeowners are more interested in an alfresco chef-style kitchen including high-end appliances like an outdoor refrigerator, pizza oven, beer tap, or bbq smoker, and ample outdoor kitchen cabinets, countertops and other material finishes. Our design team has seen (and created) it all.
Just like with indoor kitchen renovation projects, outdoor kitchens come with a comparatively heavy price tag due to the cost of materials and specialized labor they often require. But, the good news is that there are several ways to achieve a functional outdoor cooking or grill space for almost any budget.
How do I build an outdoor kitchen?
Full Outdoor Kitchen
Full outdoor kitchens usually include (depending on need) some combination of cooking spaces like a burner cooktop or griddle, grill, smoker, and pizza oven, as well as a refrigerator, sink, kitchen storage, and plenty of countertop space. These are the most expensive to build.
Partial Outdoor Kitchen
Partial outdoor kitchens are great for a mid-range budget, or if you’re a grill master or host looking for a few kitchen elements. The example below is a design for our client in Santa Rosa Beach, FL and has a kitchen tucked behind an outdoor fireplace that includes only the essential elements including a grill, cabinetry for storage, sink, and plenty of counter space, but excludes a refrigerator or accessory cooking appliances.
Basic Outdoor Kitchen
Basic outdoor kitchens are usually primarily utilized for grilling. The example below shows a nice built-in that is cohesive with the rest of the design. There’s just enough counter space to set down your drink or food and to store your tools.
Modular Outdoor Kitchen
Unlike previous options, the simple modular outdoor kitchen and entertaining space pictured below doesn’t have any built-in elements, which brings the price down significantly. The Weber gas grill paired with a rolling countertop (great options from Pottery Barn) create an affordable, easy, and attractive space for prep, cooking, and gathering.
Another type of modular outdoor kitchen is what’s called a “prefab” outdoor kitchen which are turnkey outdoor kitchen products like a grill island or bbq island that are partially built before shipping or shipped as kits and can generally be assembled and installed by a handy homeowner. However, in the case of prefab kitchens, modular doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper than custom or built-in outdoor kitchens.
Prefab outdoor kitchens like this one from our retail partner RTA Outdoor Living are now available in high-quality stainless steel, concrete, and stone finishes—and can run close to $10,000.
Some of these prefab outdoor kitchens are decked out with amenities and comparable in look and feel (and price) to a custom built-in outdoor kitchen. The benefits of going modular in this case would be the potential cost savings if you find contractor estimates for labor and individually ordering components is high, especially if you don’t mind being limited by the configurations available in a prefab setup.
What Does an Outdoor Kitchen Cost?
A basic outdoor kitchen, which includes a built-in gas grill station, with a gas line installed, and 3 feet of counter space, has typically cost our clients about $15,000.
Other add ons include:
Small refrigerator: $5,000
Gas cooktop: $5,000
Pizza oven: $10,000
Additional 8′ of counter space (perhaps for a bar or island): $7,000
Keep in mind that adding a sink requires a water supply and connection to a sewer, adding a refrigerator requires an electrical power supply, and of course gas grills and cooktops need… gas. So if you’re adding these amenities you need to also budget for the utility installation cost if this isn’t already in place.
Typical utility install costs:
Gas line: $2,500
Sewer line: $3,500
Utility install costs vary widely and can be much more expensive depending on the run and point of connection.
To increase the functionality of your outdoor kitchens, you can opt to add additional countertops or a bar for people to sit at.
This is an ideal solution for smaller yards that don’t have room for a regular dining area, but is also an enjoyable feature addition if you’re looking for a high-end design.
The example below shows a U-shaped kitchen with a wrap-around bar. This design is an entertainer’s dream and keeps the chef included while hosting. Adding this wrap-around bar would cost about $7,000.
There are a few low-budget alternatives that offer the functionality and feel of a professionally built outdoor kitchen, but at a fraction of the price.
Grill-only Built-in: If you really only need a grill and want it to be built in, Yardzen designers can create just that. A small built-in for just a gas grill, with no counter space, typically costs around $8,000.
Freestanding Grill: If you have a gas or bbq grill already, designers can create the feeling of a built-in by designing a kitchen with an empty space for the grill. This is usually the lowest budget option that still requires construction: $6,000.
Create More Counter Space with Furniture: There are many furniture pieces that can function as extra counter space. If you are simply trying to create more surface area for setting out food and drinks, you may want to add a bar table, a bar cart (like this popular cart from Crate & Barrel), or other dining furniture. An outdoor console table, for example, can function as a drink or food station.
Outdoor Kitchen Ideas: Designs and Budgets
To help get a better sense of the cost of outdoor kitchens, we’ve included the rough price for each kitchen in the example landscape designs below. All examples include the average price for their respective utility hookups, but do not include the price for footing surfaces (such as poured concrete).
OUTDOOR KITCHEN BUDGET: $16,000
OUTDOOR KITCHEN BUDGET: $21,000
OUTDOOR KITCHEN BUDGET: $22,000
OUTDOOR KITCHEN BUDGET: $29,000
OUTDOOR KITCHEN BUDGET: $29,000
OUTDOOR KITCHEN BUDGET: $31,000
OUTDOOR KITCHEN BUDGET: $34,000
DESIGNING AN OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE TAILORED TO YOUR NEEDS AND BUDGET
Yardzen’s award-winning online exterior and landscape design service is tailored to homeowners across the U.S.. Our design process begins with understanding your outdoor space and style—and a discussion of your budget and vision to minimize surprises when it comes time to build.
Our top-notch designers then develop a personalized vision for your yard, shared through 3D renderings, 2D plan drawings, and plant and material lists. Your design will capture the look, feel, and function you are hoping for, and will be outfitted with materials and elements for the custom outdoor kitchen of your dreams.
Once your design is complete, we’ll help you connect with a local contractor from our Pro Network of vetted professional contractors to install your new design (if you don’t plan to diy).