Read This Before You Put In an Outdoor Kitchen
Whether you covet a grill and food-prep station on wheels or a built-in BBQ island with fridge and bar seating, don't hit the home center before reading TOH's expert guide to creating a first-rate backyard cook spot
Zero in On the Type That's Right
Movable A smart choice for small spaces that multitask—as cookout central one day and a garden hub the next. Start with a portable charcoal or gas grill fitted with heavy cast-iron or stainless-steel grates and an easy-to-clean grease trap. For storage and counter space, add a rolling cart with shelves. To avoid serving burgers tartare, buy a clip-on grill light.
Cost: $300 to $3,000
Prefab An all-in-one option for folks with more square footage and cash to spend. The basic setup (shown) typically includes a stucco-clad 5-foot island with tile counter, drop-in gas grill, and access doors for a propane tank. Extras, including granite counters, a refrigerator, and LED lighting, are ordered a la carte. DIYers can get cooking with a prefab island on delivery day.
Cost: $2,000 to $30,000
Custom A built-in-place kitchen, whether crafted by a pro or a handy homeowner, offers integrated appliances, storage, and counter space, as well as the most flexibility in terms of matching the kitchen's materials and style to its surroundings. A larger layout, extensive lighting, in-ground utilities, and a pergola-style roof add convenience but also raise the price.
Cost: $3,000 to $50,000 and up