Austin Outdoor Kitchen Designs
Inside, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Outside, the same is true—outdoor kitchens have become a central focus of backyard living areas. And, the good news is: an outdoor kitchen is no longer just an extravagance for the elite few.
You can build an outdoor kitchen on any budget, with multiple features. Here, the local pros break it down:
$2,500 can afford an outdoor grilling station complete with granite countertops, a PVC cabinet, a decorative trellis, and a privacy wall—all built around your outdoor grill, says Jane Gough, owner of Creative Outdoor Builders in Austin.
A $5,000 outdoor kitchen, Gough continues, can include a brick or stone exterior base with PVC outdoor custom cabinets inside the base, a granite countertop, and a built-in grill.
Somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 can afford a kitchen with matching block grilling columns, a grill, plus a fire pit patio complete with ledge lighting and a country-manor seating wall, according to Jacob Landry, president and CEO of Outdoor Patio Pros in Round Rock.
A $10,000 outdoor kitchen, Gough says, can incorporate everything she described for the $5,000 kitchen, with the additions of a sink, a refrigerator, plumbing, electrical outlets, and a granite overhang for bar-stool seating.
Increase your budget to $20,000, and she says you can also include a fireplace or wood-burning pizza oven, a PVC trellis, or a privacy wall.
If your budget is in the $20,000-$30,000 range, Landry says you can build a custom outdoor kitchen and bar, complete with stone-veneer sides, a natural-stone countertop, a customized pellet cooker, and separate grill, electrical outlets, an outdoor refrigerator and a full patio to serve as a base for dining furniture.
With more than $30,000 to spend, you can afford a full outdoor kitchen with cabinetry, countertops, electrical outlets, plumbing, multiple appliances, a sink, shade structures, plus a lighting and sound system.
“The alfresco movement has reached epic proportions. These days, consumers demand flexibility and quality construction, and options and add-on features abound.”
PLAY BY THE RULES
Before beginning an outdoor kitchen project, you should learn about your limitations: zoning laws, building setbacks, homeowners’ association regulations, etc. How close can you build to your property lines? What are the building codes for an outdoor kitchen?
Your mind may be intoxicated with the spring sunshine right now, but don’t forget to think about how you will use your outdoor kitchen area throughout the rest of the year, as well. “Year-round usage will require protection from both cooler and warmer weather,” Gough advises. You may want to consider adding a shade structure such as a pergola, umbrellas, or a permanent roof to cover from rain or harsh summer sunlight.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Where should your outdoor kitchen go? Think not only of its proximity to your home (if a fire pit is in your plans, ensure it is a safe distance from your home), but also of the kitchen’s positioning in the space, capitalizing on the views you want to have. “I like to consider what the guests are viewing while they sit at the bar of an outdoor kitchen, laughing and conversing with the chef,” Landry notes. “[They should be] enjoying a pool view, a patio view, or even a beautiful garden scene.”
“Storage is a must consideration for any size or type of outdoor kitchen,” Gough says. “Consider the items that will be used on a regular basis, and design a place to store them in the kitchen.” Items such as small appliances, pots, pans, dishes, utensils, towels, spices, condiments, cleaning supplies, and, of course, the garbage can should be considered. Gough also recommends a lockable space for liquor.
As with any indoor space, the plumbing, electrical and gas lines need to be planned for and installed prior to the construction of a patio—otherwise, it will be difficult and costly to retrofit. Also, if you’re planning to install a roof overhead, pre-wiring it for ceiling fans and recessed lights are less expensive than wiring it after or during installation.
Manufacturers, such as Gensun Casual Living, have come out with modular outdoor-kitchen options—such as cabinetry, grills, bars, and more—that allow you the flexibility of configuring and customizing your outdoor kitchen to suit your size and needs. Made from powder-coated aluminum, this option is also budget-friendly and eliminates costly site modification or additional construction. Gensun products are available locally at Patio Pros in Austin.
Define Your Needs
Fill out this quick questionnaire to inform the design of your outdoor kitchen.
1. What are the dimensions of the space you have to build an outdoor kitchen?
2. How many people, on average, would you like to entertain with your outdoor kitchen?
3. What kind of cook are you?
- Serious chef: I take my time to prepare multi-course meals
- Semi-serious chef: I don’t have a lot of time, but when I do, I like to prepare larger meals
- Casual cook: I prefer to spend more time eating the food than making it
4. Describe the views offered by your outdoor space.
5. What features would you like your outdoor kitchen to have?
- Stand-alone grill
- Built-in grill with countertops
- Charcoal grill
- Gas grill
- Big Green Egg (or similar appliance)
- Wood-fired pizza oven
- Beverage refrigerator
- Drop-in cooler (to hold ice and drinks)
- Built-in storage/cabinetry
- Dining area
- Shade/overhead structure
- Lighting system
- Sound system
- Other: ________________