The pictures are drool-worthy: outdoor patios complete with a high-tech grill, running water, a refrigerator and plenty of space for cooking, dining and relaxing with friends and family. As you flip through design magazines or scroll through postings on Pinterest, you might dream of one day having an outdoor kitchen.
Your dream may be interrupted by the reality of limited space, limited funds or the fact that you live in a cold climate and think an outdoor kitchen is a waste of space and money. Don’t, I repeat, do not give up on this dream. Just because your area receives significant snowfall each year or you have a small backyard doesn’t mean that an outdoor kitchen is out of the question. With the right materials and a little bit of creativity, you can easily create an outdoor living space that’s the envy of your friends and neighbors.
In fact, one could argue that if you spend any time outdoors, an outdoor kitchen is a necessity. Need proof? Here are five good reasons you need to follow your heart and invest in an outdoor kitchen.
1. Kick Your Cookouts Up a Notch
You might be thinking “Why do I need an outdoor kitchen? I have a grill.” But what if you could take your outdoor cooking to the next level, beyond basic burgers and hot-dogs? Adding wood burning ovens, gas burners, wine coolers and other features to your outdoor kitchen allows you to cook almost anything outdoors without heating up the kitchen inside or having to transport dishes to the outdoor table.
Imagine whipping up a wood-grilled pizza while you enjoy a glass of wine on your patio, or cooking the pasta for your famous pasta salad on the outdoor range right next to the steaks that are grilling to perfection.
If installing a full kitchen isn’t an option, just adding some counter space for food prep, storage for your grilling gear and an outdoor sink can take your outdoor cooking area to the next level.
2. Outdoor Kitchens Encourage an Outdoor Lifestyle
If you live in a warm climate, you probably already spend a good deal of time outdoors. And if you live in the colder northern part of the world, you probably want to soak up as many of the warm days as possible. So why would you want to spend your time inside in the kitchen? With an outdoor kitchen, you can enjoy al fresco cooking and dining and as much time outdoors as possible.
3. Cook Outdoors — All Year Round
If you live in an area where the snow flies for several months per year, you probably cover the grill or put it away in early fall and don’t have the chance to use it again until the spring. But with an outdoor kitchen, you can cook outdoors throughout the year, especially if the kitchen is partially covered.
Even if grilling in the dead of winter isn’t an option, by adding gas heaters or a fire pit, you can lengthen the amount of time you can use the kitchen, even as the days get shorter.
4. Outdoor Kitchens Are Perfect for Entertaining
If you think of any dinner party that you’ve ever had, where do the guests gather? Chances are, in the kitchen, or around the grill. Installing an outdoor kitchen lets you manage the cooking while still staying engaged with your guests outdoors.
A small counter area with stools adds extra seating and a place to serve appetizers, while a sink can do double-duty as an ice chest to store cold drinks. Again, instead of making trip after trip inside to check on side dishes being prepared indoors or to grab that one ingredient that you forget, everything is easily accessible, allowing you to focus on your guests and enjoy a more relaxed get together.
5. Outdoor Kitchens Add Value to Your Home
Convenience and style are great, but the bottom line is that an outdoor kitchen, when done tastefully, adds value to your home. According to the National Outdoor Kitchen and Fireplace Association, most homeowners recoup almost 100 percent of their investment in an outdoor kitchen when it comes time to sell their homes. That doesn’t mean that you should add a $100,000 kitchen to a $200,000 house; your outdoor kitchen investment should be in line with the character of your home and your neighborhood. But even a modest kitchen will pay dividends in the value of your home.
Adding an outdoor kitchen is a hot trend in home improvement but a project that many people hesitate to undertake thinking that it’s an unnecessary extravagance. With all of the benefits an outdoor kitchen can add to your home and lifestyle, it’s well worth taking the plunge.