Outdoor Kitchen: Tips for Building Your Own On A Budget

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If you and your family love hosting cookouts, barbeques, or just love spending time outdoors, an outdoor kitchen is a great addition to your garden space. They not only look fantastic, but they also offer so much functionality and added space.

If you’re thinking about building an outdoor kitchen but have no idea where to start, this guide will give you our top tips for getting it just right.

Why Having An Outdoor Kitchen Can Change Your Life

There are so many positives of having an outdoor kitchen, here are our top four:

1. Add an extra room to your home

An outdoor kitchen is like adding an entirely new room to your home. You get all the functionality of an extension without the massive cost.

2. Increase the value of your home

Nothing draws in potential buyers more than an outdoor kitchen. It’s a unique feature that seems like a huge job to undertake, making buyers see the value in it already being installed.

3. Great for entertaining

If you love hosting, an outdoor kitchen is a must. It offers much-needed additional space and a beautiful place for guests to enjoy on warm summer nights.

4. No more overpowering smells in the house

If you love barbeque food but hate the house smelling of food, an outdoor kitchen is a great solution. You can enjoy all those smoky, grilled foods without worrying about the smells ruining your lovely clean home.

How to Plan Your Outdoor Kitchen Budget

Although it is extremely easy to overspend on an outdoor kitchen, it’s also easy to install one on a budget. Here are some tips for planning your budget:

1. Choose Your Grill

When it comes to choosing the right grill, you’ll need to consider how often you plan on using it and what you like to cook.

If you don’t use it often, but love the charcoal flavor of a traditional barbecue, then a charcoal grill is probably the best bet. These cost anywhere from $50 to $2,000. However, these are expensive to run, so keep fuel costs in mind.

Although gas or range models are more expensive, they are easier to use. They also range in price from around $250 to $4000, so you can find budget options on the market.

2. Choose Your Countertops

Overall, you can expect to pay a minimum of $500 for your countertops, but these can cost upwards of $1500 depending on the material. You’ll have a choice between concrete, stone, or stainless steel.

3. Plan your sink

Although you don’t need an outdoor sink, it does make the cleanup much easier after parties. The last thing you want to do is take all the dirty dishes into the house.

A built-in sink will cost anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the quality of finish. It’s best to get a stainless steel model since ceramic is much more prone to chipping in an outdoor kitchen.

4. Consider a refrigerator

Do you need an outdoor fridge? This can easily add $400 to $1000+ to the cost of your outdoor kitchen. A cheaper option might be a portable fridge or cooler to bring out for gatherings.

5. Choose outdoor furniture

Don’t forget to budget for furniture for your new outdoor kitchen. Guests are going to need somewhere to sit!

A simple dining set can cost as little as $150, whereas a more substantial rattan set will cost more in the range of $500.

If you want to go down the built-in route, this can cost up to around $2000. But this does give a fantastic finish so might be worth the expense.

Options for an Affordable Outdoor Kitchen

If you’re on a tight budget of $5,000 or less, here are some ideas for building an outdoor kitchen on a tight budget.

  • Charcoal grill: if you are on a budget, stick to a charcoal grill. These are the cheapest overall and won’t require running gas lines.
  • Concrete countertops: the cheapest, more durable option is concrete. To keep costs down further, avoid corners or awkward shapes in your countertop layout – straight runs are the easiest to create and install.
  • Thrift seating: buy second-hand garden furniture sets or head to the thrift stores to find the most affordable seating options to finish off your outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for the Mid-Size Budget

If you have a slightly larger budget of around $5,000 to $10,000, here are some ideas.

  • Gas grill: these are more expensive but are much easier to use and maintain.
  • Stone countertops: these are more expensive than concrete, but they look fantastic and give a more custom finish.
  • Built-in seating: this looks high-end and finishes off the entire kitchen beautifully. Built-in bench seating is a great option if you like to host gatherings.
  • Outdoor fridge: this is a bonus expense, but if you’ve got the budget, there’s nothing like chilled drinks being on hand without having to run into the kitchen.
  • Outdoor fireplace: Building an entire fireplace isn’t cheap, but it will keep all your guests toasty on cool evenings and looks extremely high-end.

Tips For Saving Money On Your Outdoor Kitchen

No matter what your budget is, there are some simple ways to save money on your outdoor kitchen project.

Design in straight lines

Although you might love the idea of a round central island, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll save by opting for a rectangle version. If you design your outdoor kitchen in straight lines and 90-degree angles, you’ll save money on the build.

Pergola over Palapa

If you love the idea of Palapa or similar purpose-built structure to create shade, you’ll be putting a good chunk of your budget towards it. These structures can easily cost around $3500 since they need more labor and often a crane to bring in parts of the structure.

A more affordable option is a pergola. These cost as little as $200 and do the same job of providing shade for your guests.

Don’t Overbuild

It’s easy to go overboard when designing an outdoor kitchen and designing something that is far too big for the space. This can often swamp a garden and look overwhelming in the space.

Remember, even a relatively small outdoor kitchen will look impressive. And the less you need to build, the less you need to spend.

Fire Pit over Fireplace

Although a purpose-built fireplace looks incredible, it’s an expensive feature. To save money, opt for a firepit instead. Even a fairly large one can cost as little as $200 and they still look great when lit.

Love the Idea of Having an Outdoor Kitchen?

If you’re already picturing yourself relaxing in your very own outdoor kitchen, then make that a reality. Find an outdoor kitchen specialist to handle the entire project from designing something bespoke for your space, all the way through to the final touches.


About The Author: Kelli is a healthy lifestyle blogger for GroomandStyle.com. She has been a regular contributor to sites talking about the newest trends in home improvement, smart style, fashion and fitness. When she’s not writing, she enjoys photography, hiking and pretty much anything outdoors.


Photo by Florian GIORGIO on Unsplash

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