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How Do You Build an Outdoor Kitchen?

By Ed Ball | Published on October 07, 2023 | 5 min read

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Laying the Foundation for Your Outdoor Kitchen

How do you build an outdoor kitchen?

Outdoor living has become one of the biggest trends in luxury home renovation. If you have a property with plenty of backyard space, you can transform your simple garden into the hosting space of your dreams. Who doesn’t want to cook delicious meals in the summer breeze, spending outdoor time with family and friends on a gorgeous deck or patio? Outdoor kitchens, dining, conversation seating, and shady places to nap nearby, are all part of the outdoor living trend that has taken the renovation market by storm.

Here at Ed Ball Landscape Architecture, we know all about transforming outdoor spaces into personalized, luxurious oases. If you’re dreaming of an outdoor kitchen, the best place to start is at square one. Today, we’ll walk you through what it takes to build the foundation for your outdoor kitchen, creating a glorious gourmet space you can customize to your heart’s content.


Envision Your Outdoor Kitchen Design

Every outdoor living paradise starts with a vision. Outdoor kitchens, especially, require a blueprint before they can begin. To create your space, you need to define the footprint of your kitchen countertops, appliances, and ideal prep areas. Imagine the natural flow in the “golden triangle” between the fridge, sink, and cooking surface. Choose between a grill or a stovetop. Decide whether you want an outdoor fridge or a kitchen passthrough window.

Draw the way your outdoor kitchen should look, map it in design apps, and clarify the vision in your mind. From there, you can start with the foundation.


Start with a Raised Deck or Patio

Outdoor kitchens should be built on a raised deck or patio. It is vital that your kitchen be at a higher level than the ground to protect it from the rain. A raised deck will allow water to flow right through the deckboards to the soil below, while a raised patio will need to be designed with drainage channels to prevent puddles from putting your kitchen at risk.

Fortunately, most people adore the idea of a beautiful deck or a paved masterpiece as the foundation for their outdoor living design. Every outdoor kitchen looks more majestic when raised on a pedestal. This creates both a visually stunning and practical design.


Protect with a Roof Overhang or Awning

Only the most low-tech outdoor kitchens can withstand being rained on. This is why most homeowners choose to build a roof overhang or a sturdy awning to protect their outdoor kitchen space. Here is where your outdoor living design can become more dynamic. While your kitchen should be roofed, you can expand the support beams into pergolas and other more breezy structures through the rest of your outdoor living space. You can create optional roofing with awning structures or wind plants and fairy lights above your outdoor dining area instead.


Supply with Utility Lines

Most outdoor kitchen designs require utilities. Your sink will need hot and cold running water and a drain. Your appliances will need electricity. You might even run a natural gas line out to power a gas stove, grill, oven, or fireplace. You will likely also want to power outlets along with other powered luxuries like a smart home speaker, phone charging pad, and even a place for your cooking tablet.

To achieve this, you’ll need to run utility lines out to the new kitchen space. Use your blueprint to determine where your pipes and wires need to go. Of course, this phase will likely require licensed contractors to safely handle your utilities, including the installation of a new circuit and breaker for the kitchen itself.


Foundation Appliances and Cabinetry

With your utility lines in place, you can install the heart of your kitchen: The lower cabinets and built-in appliances. There are so many ways to design an outdoor kitchen using different materials and appliance types. You can brick a grill into place, you can nestle a range and oven into stainless steel cabinets, you can give yourself a gas stove and stained hardwood cabinets; the choice is entirely yours. In fact, this is the one phase in which every homeowner’s vision of their dream outdoor kitchen can be unique.

However, the way you build your cabinets and appliances will become the foundational elements of your outdoor kitchen.


Crown with a Gorgeous Stone or Metal Countertop

Give your outdoor kitchen the glowing luxurious look it deserves with a gorgeous countertop surface. There are several materials that work fantastically well for outdoor food prep. Stainless steel scours clean every time and might match your cabinets if you choose a metallic theme. For a more classic look, sealed granite will undoubtedly stand the test of time. Resealed every two to five years, it can also resist moisture and remain pristinely perfect for food prep for decades, maybe even generations.


Mount Lighting From Above

Of course, no kitchen is complete without clear lighting to see your food preparations. Overhead lighting can be achieved if you provide yourself with a roof overhang. Simply run electricity into the overhang and choose your favorite outdoor light fixtures. Moisture-sealed ceiling fans are a great choice for summer cooking to keep you cool and breezy while also providing great weather-safe illumination.

Feel creative? You can light your outdoor kitchen in many different ways, provided every fixture is weather-sealed. Pendant lights, fairly strings, and even outdoor chandeliers are yours to explore. You can also choose small spotlights so that your guests can enjoy darkening evenings while you prepare food in style.


Complete the Outdoor Dining Space

No outdoor kitchen is complete without a place for your family or guests to dine. Outdoor dining is a glamorous opportunity to create a unique seating space. You can set up a formal dining table of glass, metal, and teak, or you can create a more casual atmosphere with outdoor couches and an oversized coffee table for plates and cups.

Don’t forget bar seating. You can give yourself an outdoor kitchen island to entertain a few guests at a time, or establish a wide, flat rail top over your deck railing so that guests can eat while they look out over the garden or festivities on the lawn.


Embellish to Your Heart’s Content

Finally, remember that your outdoor kitchen never has to be truly complete. You can continue to add details and embellish the design to your heart’s content. Add upper cabinets, expand to include more appliances, or build a larger deck for more relaxed outdoor living space around your kitchen. Hang hammocks, string lights, or arrange planters of cooking herbs. The possibilities are endless, and Ed Ball Landscape Architecture is here to help you realize them.

Contact us today to discuss your vision of an outdoor kitchen and glamorous outdoor living spaces.