You Ask, We Answer: How Can I Create an Outdoor Kitchen on a Budget?
Make it functional
First thing’s first: No matter what size your outdoor kitchen is going to be, you’ll want to make sure it’s highly functional—or else it won’t be the enjoyable space you want it to be.
When designing the layout, be sure to consider working counter space! It can be easy to talk yourself out of it for the sake of saving money, but not having a space to prep food, rest it while transferring from the grill, or even a place to make a cocktail will end up becoming a source of frustration. Can’t find counter space in your layout, no matter how creative you get? Consider a moveable kitchen island or butcher block cart. They’ll provide precious surface area while allowing you to keep your small kitchen footprint.
In addition to functional counter space, be sure to factor in some storage options, especially if your outdoor kitchen is more than a few steps away from your indoor one. Having a few dedicated cabinets or drawers for glasses, utensils, grilling tools and towels or paper towels will help keep your outdoor entertaining running smoothly—and less time shuttling between outdoors and in means more time to enjoy your friends and loved ones.
Prefab is preferable
If a brick oven is on your outdoor kitchen must-have list (hello, pizza!), consider investing in a prefabricated oven kit. You’ll still need to put some work into building a proper foundation and surrounding walls, but the oven kit will save you many hours of labor and money—and because they tend to be a bit smaller (yet still highly functional), they’ll also save you money on wood in the long run!
Re-think the sink
If you have the budget and the space for a fully plumbed outdoor kitchen, that’s great. But for many homeowners, an under-counter water heater is a perfect, low-cost option that delivers the water you want without the price tag of plumbing water away from the house. A win-win!
Consider propane tanks
Just as plumbing a water line to your outdoor kitchen can be expensive, so can running a gas line. Fueling your grill using propane tanks can help you avoid adding a gas line (and in turn, save you a lot of money) while still delivering the propane you want to cook to your heart’s content. Who’s ready to fire up that grill?
Go for a good grill
The price tag on a high quality grill may seem cost prohibitive at first glance, but do your research before you invest in a cheaper option. Unfortunately, the old “you get what you pay for” adage may hold very true when it comes to grills! Many homeowners opt for inexpensive options, only to have to buy a new grill a year or two down the line.
Instead, consider investing in a stainless steel model. Home renovation experts at diynetwork.com suggest a “model made from at least 304-grade stainless steel, interior and exterior, because if the inside rusts out there’s nothing you can do to save the rest.” And don’t be afraid to read reviews and ask questions. You want a grill that can stand up not just to your demands as a chef, but to Connecticut’s ever-changing weather, too.
Last but not least…don’t forget to have fun creating your outdoor kitchen!