Outdoor kitchens are a very popular remodeling/home addition idea today. Whether your family enjoys being outdoors or you do a lot of entertaining and like grilling outdoors, building an outdoor kitchen can be a great idea. The addition of an outdoor kitchen can also increase the value of your home (just as adding a room would do). Especially if you have a great view, a fabulous deck or terrace or a swimming pool, adding the outdoor kitchen can be a definite benefit.
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Current estimates of the percentage of the cost of improvements recovered in additional home value when you sell your home are that the average kitchen remodel will increase the value of your home by about 81% of the cost of the remodel. But depending on where you live, adding an outdoor kitchen increases the value of your home by between 130% and 200% of the cost. This is obviously a good investment if you plan to sell your home in the next couple of years.
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Outdoor kitchens are especially popular near a back yard swimming pool or spa/hot tub. But they are also very desirable in yards with a terrific view. Beach homes, mountain homes, desert homes and homes with other great views are also perfect settings for an outdoor kitchen. In fact, many homeowners are creating complete outdoor living areas with a dining area, a seating area, and a kitchen. No matter how large or elaborate your outdoor area, an outdoor kitchen addition will be convenient and enjoyable for your family.
 
You will want to situate your kitchen where it is convenient to the hub of activity in your yard. You will want to place it on concrete, stone, brick or on a deck. The available space and the amount you plan to use your outdoor kitchen will determine the size. Your budget will probably determine the amount of equipment. But one of the great things about an outdoor kitchen is that you can add pieces of equipment over a period of time, as the budget permits. 
 
The basic equipment for an outdoor kitchen is:
  • Grill
  • Cook top
  • Refrigerator
  • Work area for preparing food
  • Serving area
 
The grill is, of course, the center of your new kitchen. The size, type and material of your grill, and your cook top, will be determined by your needs, the available space, and your budget. You can buy a very affordable RemodelOrMove.com: 101 Ways to Save Money When by by Dan Fritschen grill and cook top or you can choose a larger and more elaborate grill and separate cook top. Whether the cook top is electric or gas is a matter of choice and convenience.
 
You will certainly want at least one refrigerator unit. You will want to be able to keep food refrigerated until it is needed, either to cook or to serve cold. You will probably also want to keep drinks cold. If you are working with a larger outdoor kitchen, you might want a separate refrigerator for food and for drinks. And, if it fits your lifestyle, you might add a separate refrigerated unit for wine storage. 
 
If you plan to prepare the food outdoors, you will need a work area, possibly with a sink. Whether you choose a full-size sink or a smaller, food prep or bar sink is a matter of need and choice. You might also want some storage in your new kitchen. You will probably want to keep cooking utensils and, possibly, dinnerware in your outdoor kitchen for convenience. 
 
If your kitchen will be larger and more complex, you will probably want to think about adding a gas line, electricity and plumbing. This will allow you to create several hubs or areas of your kitchen, such as a grilling area, a cooking area, a bar, a food preparation area, a serving area and formal or informal dining area. As your kitchen becomes more complex and functional, you might add an ice maker and a dishwasher. You might want a food prep sink, a bar sink, and a clean-up sink.
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Designing your outdoor kitchen will probably involve a conversation with your contractor about the most efficient and cost-effective placement of electrical outlets, gas lines, and water supply and waste removal pipes. This conversation should happen very early in the design process. You will certainly want to consider the best overall placement of the kitchen in your particular setting, as well as the practicalities of connecting with power and plumbing. 
 

From the decision about placement of utility lines and advantageously positioning your kitchen in the setting of your yard, you can do almost anything you want with your outdoor kitchen. Remember that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. When it is complete, you will have a wonderful place for family entertaining and enjoyable family meals.

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