Outdoor Kitchen Ideas On A Budget

By Alex Williams | Outdoor Living

Aug 24

The concept of extending your living space with an outdoor kitchen may seem like an unattainable goal, but there are ways of creating this type of space on a budget.  Any outdoor kitchen will need a food prep area, a way of cooking, and a dining area. An existing deck, patio, or garden area will usually provide the best placement. Also, using these existing spaces cuts down on the cost of creating a patio area.  There are ways of creating these three types of spaces on a budget if you have a detailed plan and are willing to be creative and shop around for the best deals.

The first consideration when planning an outdoor kitchen is the placement.  If at all possible position the outdoor cooking area close to your indoor kitchen.  This will make food prep and transfer easier during the meal. Access to the indoor kitchen also makes water more available if an outdoor sink is not an option. This will also aid in the cleanup process when the party or family gathering is over.   You also need to make sure there is enough room for each area of the kitchen and for your guests to move freely and comfortably around the space. If there is a children’s area then make sure it is far enough away from the cooking space for them to play safely without fear of getting hurt.

The food prep area can also include some type of storage space a well.  If your space includes a blank wall then you may be able to install some inexpensive weather-resistant cabinets.  Sometimes these can be found at salvage yards and warehouse sales for much cheaper than new ones. -Those who are experienced in do-it-yourself projects can refinish old cabinets or even build them.   If cabinets are not possible then consider a bar height ledge or countertop to serve guests from. A space with no empty walls to attach storage to is not a problem. You can always use a bar cart as long as it is made to withstand the elements.  These carts can be used to serve guests from as well as storage for necessities like silverware or grilling and cooking utensils. The cart could also be used as a food prep space while you are cooking outside. Outdoor garden sinks that attach to a garden hose can be a cheaper alternative to hooking an outdoor sink to the plumbing.  You still have a water supply when you need it without the need to hire a professional plumber. Large decorative coolers can be used instead of the more expensive outdoor refrigerators. There are wooden, plastic, and wicker cooler stands that will hold a large cooler off the ground for easier access as well.

An outdoor kitchen usually includes a grill.  Propane or charcoal grills can easily become the central element of your outdoor living space.  Most grills of either type will come with fold-out side shelves which create more food prep space in your outdoor kitchen.  Some models may even provide storage for grilling utensils. Charcoal and wood burning grills are extremely low maintenance and any type of grill is built to withstand the elements.  Adding a grill cover to protect your cooking space should add to the lifetime of the equipment and help reduce the overall cost of your outdoor kitchen from year to year. Propane grills may be a bit more expensive, but depending on your budget these can be a good investment for an outdoor kitchen. Depending on your space, you may also want to consider adding an outdoor pizza oven to the space for an easy way to make pizza for the family.

No kitchen indoor or outdoor is complete without a dining table and chairs.  If your gatherings with friends and family include small children then a child size picnic table or two is always a good option.  These do not have to be expensive and offer a nice way for kids to have their own space to eat and play. Even on a budget try to find outdoor furniture that is sturdy enough to withstand the climate you live in.  It needs to be durable and easily maintained all year long.

An outdoor kitchen may seem like an impossible and costly endeavor but it does not have to be.  You can extend the living space of your home with some fairly inexpensive purchases. Creating a food prep area and a storage space for basic necessities can be accomplished by using an outdoor rolling cart or even more than one if space allows.  Propane, charcoal, or wood-burning grills can be purchased offseason for a lower price. Seating areas can be furnished with pieces that double as storage as well. Make use of your indoor kitchen amenities by placing the outdoor kitchen as close as possible to access inside.  You can create a warm and inviting outdoor kitchen and living space for family and friends even with a limited budget.