Building outdoor kitchens can be a DIY project — if you have some help, basic know-how and a well-stocked tool box. Barbeques and outdoor kitchens go hand in hand, but there is a lot more to them than a grill flanked by two countertops.
Drafting Plans for Outdoor Kitchens: Let Money be Your Guide
Determine a workable budget for the project and work backward from there. Bare bones kitchens are little more than a grill, countertop and perhaps a sink. Advanced models feature stovetop burners, refrigerators, built-in storage for cutlery and cookware, a roasting spit, wine cooler and perhaps also baking oven – in addition to any barbeques. Not surprisingly – as outlined by DIY Network – costs can range from $3,000 to $30,000 or more.
Choosing the Frame and Finish
Frame and finish go hand in hand. Outdoor kitchens featuring a stone-veneered base require the use of heavy duty plywood — This Old House showcases the need for ¾ inch plywood sheets attached to 2×4 posts – while those with only stainless steel coverings may be built over flimsier skeletons.
It is interesting to note that modular frame kits are now on the market, which also support the veneer but will not hold up actual masonry work. On the upside, modular outdoor kitchens have the advantages of the mix and match approach that makes it possible to switch around components without material waste and re-cutting.
Barbeques and Outdoor Kitchen
The barbeque grill is the center piece of many outdoor kitchens. Do not forget that building plans should allow enough counter space for making the use of the grill easy and user-friendly. Placing too many components into too little room is sure to transform building plans for outdoor kitchens into plans for an RV kitchenette!
Choose wisely those items that are ‘wants’ and those that are ‘needs.’ For example, for me the optional stovetop burners are a definite ‘want’ but a sink is a need. For you, this design might be the exact opposite. Work within the spatial confines of your patio and avoid cramping too much into the space.
Building outdoor kitchens opens the door for a number of likely problems. First and foremost, structural deck or patio problems will not become apparent until you attempt to anchor the frame. At that time you may find that it requires a bit of repair work to ready the surface.
Next is the problem associated with water, electricity and natural gas hookups. This job should be undertaken by a professional. Be aware – especially if you own an older home – that code updates only grandfather in your home’s wiring and piping until the walls are opened to reveal them. At that time you cannot simply close up and leave outdated wiring in place. Thus, be prepared to incur the additional expense of rewiring more than is necessary to just hook up electricity to an outdoor kitchen.
Last but not least, one of the greatest problems associated with building plans for outdoor kitchens is the DIY worker who starts out with a full weekend dedicated to the task but soon loses interest and motivation. It is not unheard of for such a project to linger for months, while materials gradually disintegrate and become useless. Unless you are a diehard, it may be wiser to hire professionals to get the job done right the first time – in a weekend.