Creating an outdoor living space is one of the most popular home improvement projects right now, and adding an outdoor kitchen elevates the experience. If you’ve decided this is the direction you want to go, here are four things to consider before you dig in.
1. Make sure you know who’s responsible for permits and follow any building restrictions.
If your outdoor kitchen will require anything dealing with sewer, water, electric or gas, a city permit and inspection is required. Check with local government websites for permit requirements before you start your build. Better yet, working with an outdoor kitchen builder who’s well established in your area can handle this red tape for you.
If your Kansas City area neighborhood has a homeowners association (HOA), there could be restrictions on outdoor kitchens. Ask your HOA leader(s) if any Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC & Rs) exist in your HOA agreement that would affect your outdoor kitchen design.
2. Have a budget in mind, as well as a slush amount to cover any extras you might decide you want to add.
It’s rare that homeowners make a large investment without a general idea of how much they’re willing to spend. Outdoor kitchens, like houses, cars, pools and vacations, can run from basic to extravagant. Having a budget from the start helps ensure your outdoor kitchen designer and builder know what the parameters are, and it saves you from having to make difficult decisions and have difficult conversations later.
Budgeting for an outdoor kitchen is very similar to an indoor kitchen. Your appliances and countertop surfaces will take a chunk of the budget, and you can scale those choices to stay within your price range. Size matters since more square footage requires more cabinets, countertop materials, etc. Ultimately, like most home projects, you shouldn’t take from Peter to afford Paul.
3. Know what your non-negotiables are.
Speaking of taking from Peter to afford Paul… There are lots of options available for an outdoor kitchen, so decide early on what you absolutely must have in your kitchen when it’s all said and done. For example, your outdoor kitchen needs some sort of cooking appliance. When you think about cooking, do you see a grill fulfilling all your needs? Or, do you envision everyone gathering around for pies right out of your wood-fired pizza oven? Are both a grill and pizza oven non-negotiable? Or would you be happy with a grill that can bake pizza? The point is to know what you’ve envisioned and stay true to those choices to avoid feeling like you sacrificed later.
4. Try to have a style and layout in mind that matches what you think your home and lifestyle will be in the future.
Most homeowners want their outdoor kitchen to blend with the style of their home, whether it’s contemporary/modern, rustic or traditional. But, will you renovate in the coming years? If so, then choose the style you plan to have in the future so you won’t have to renovate your outdoor kitchen, too.
Also, think about the layout (how the appliances, amenities and work surfaces are arranged) that you see working best for you. Use your indoor kitchen (or any kitchens you’ve had before) to guide your outdoor kitchen layout. This is a chance to improve upon what you didn’t like about previous kitchen layouts.
Here are the most common outdoor kitchen layouts:
- U-shaped kitchen layouts have three sides, shaped as a U. Many outdoor kitchen designers feel this layout offers homeowners the most options and room for seating, storage and appliances.
- L-shaped kitchen layouts have two sides, shaped as an L. One area is usually dedicated to cooking and appliances with the other used as a bar, for seating or both.
- One island kitchen layouts consist of… you guessed it: an island where everything in your outdoor kitchen lives. They are great for smaller outdoor living spaces, and can be a perfect solution if you want or need your space to focus on seating, a pool, a firepit, etc.
Learn more about how Complete Home Concepts goes about designing and installing outdoor kitchens and submit a form to get a free consultation.