An outdoor kitchen is a sizable investment of both time and money for most people. However, it’s worth it! Setting up an outdoor entertaining area gives you endless possibilities for parties, business gatherings, or even family nights in the backyard.
But before you can start enjoying your new outdoor cooking space, you need to decide how you want it to look, what you’ll be using it for, and what you’re willing to spend. Still in the brainstorming stage? Here are a few key considerations to help you figure out exactly what you want out of the newest addition to your backyard.
Like any type of home design, outdoor kitchen trends change with time. But certain stylistic choices, like stainless steel appliances, never quite seem to go out of style. And a refrigerator works just fine no matter what it looks like!
Two of the best recent trends for outdoor kitchens are built-in ice makers and kamado-style grills like Big Green Egg, grills that close completely over the cooking food to produce a deep, smoky flavor. And of course, the convenience of having freshly made ice right next to your outdoor fridge can’t be overstated. These trendy choices do more than just make your kitchen look great! They can also make your whole experience more convenient and simpler.
Of course, appearances aren’t everything. Since you’ll be cooking and hosting in your outdoor hangout space, you have to consider how well your design choices will work with what you’ll be doing. For instance, consider your outdoor kitchen’s countertops. Materials such as marble may look gorgeous, but without expert sealing and ongoing maintenance, they could be ruined by Houston rain or humidity. Most designers also don’t recommend them for kitchen use because marble is extremely porous, making stain prevention difficult. (Marble tiles, on the other hand, are specially formulated for kitchen use and are fine for an outdoor kitchen. Talk to your designer for details.)
The bottom line is simply that your kitchen must be equally functional as elegant. While you can certainly go for both–a completely utilitarian kitchen is boring, after all–you must take the time to consider how well your choices will work in an outdoor setting.
Pro Tip: As you design your outdoor kitchen, consider any potential future renovations you want to make and how to make them easier. You won’t want to have to pull up your new tile floor to install new pipes for a pool, for instance.
Finally, it’s time to look at your budget. This will vary depending on the materials you choose, the appliances you need, the square footage your outdoor kitchen will cover, and more. Consequently, you can’t simply estimate the base cost of an outdoor kitchen without a semi-detailed plan of what you want. The best approach to budget planning is browsing our gallery for inspiration and bringing your ideas to an expert to discuss cost options.
Enjoy Your New Outdoor Kitchen!
A lot of planning goes into designing the perfect outdoor kitchen and party space. But all that time will be worth it in the end. You can look forward to enjoying a brand new custom outdoor kitchen and making your friends jealous!
Join the conversation to find inspiration and more outdoor kitchen ideas.
You probably already have a long list of things to consider as you design an outdoor kitchen. From appliances to running water, a lot of essential features go into your new hangout spot. But don’t forget the part of your kitchen that allows you to do any food preparation in the first place: countertops.
Elegant Countertops for Your Backyard Kitchen
The warm Houston climate means that certain countertop materials either won’t last long or will be unpleasant to work with, especially if exposed to direct sunlight for too long. Fortunately, there are plenty of far more durable options for homeowners to consider. Here are some of the best countertop materials for Houston-area outdoor kitchens:
- Metal (Stainless Steel)
- Butcher block
Durable and maintenance-free, soapstone is a great countertop choice for homeowners who need style and ease of use. It’s a natural stone that can be easily cut, shaped, and installed. Compared to granite or marble, counters longer than seven feet may require several pieces since they’re usually found ins smaller slabs.
2) Metal (Stainless Steel)
Relatively costlier than other countertop options, stainless steel countertops are a great option for homeowners with a sleek, modern kitchen. Because of its metal nature, the countertop is nonporous, making it resistant to any stains or rust buildup.
Granite stone countertops have been a customer favorite for years, and it’s no surprise thanks to its range of pattern and color options. Unlike many other countertops, granite won’t etch, discolor or lose its shine. Touting long term durability and easy care, your outdoor kitchen will find the perfect balance of style and function with granite counters.
Unlike the marble countertops found indoors, your outdoor countertop can be furnished with marble stone tiles to fit your space. For added durability, outdoor marble counters usually have a slightly textured surface to withstand weather elements. Proper cleaning methods are required to keep your counters looking clean year-round.
Pro Tip: Keep your countertops cool and easy to touch year-round by choosing a light-colored countertop to withstand the heat of the sun.
Sometimes confused with quartz, quartzite is a separate, natural stone that is quarried in a process similar to granite. Quartzite countertops in your outdoor kitchen are a crowd favorite, especially if you like the look of marble, want year-round durability, and low maintenance.
6) Butcher Block
While certain wood species may not be able to withstand the weather elements, butcher block countertops are a great way to add functionality to your outdoor space. Suitable woods such as elm, white oak, maple, or chestnut can sealed and installed directly on your cabinetry. With periodic maintenance and premium finish, a nearby butcher block will make food prep a breeze.
A unique design choice for an outdoor kitchen, glass countertops offer a number of customized options, such as special textures, patterns, or embedded stones. While most glass counters can etch from acidic foods or drinks, many homeowners have found success with its durable subtype, white glass countertops.
Compared to the different types of stone countertops, porcelain is a great option for those looking for a durable countertop that doesn’t need sealing. With the ability to span a larger counter space, fit any design style, and require low maintenance, porcelain countertops are quickly becoming a top choice for outdoor kitchens.
Usually poured during installation, concrete counters are a durable choice for many homeowners. With concrete, you can choose from a variety of stains to coordinate with your cabinetry and appliances. While they do require sealing, concrete counters are easy to clean and can withstand high temperatures.
Choose the Right Outdoor Kitchen Countertop
Beautiful, durable countertops are an essential addition to your backyard kitchen. While some materials or patterns may look appealing, remember that exposing them to the outside elements may result in damage. As you start making plans for your home improvement project, take the time to find the right material that matches both your aesthetic preferences and practical needs.
Connect with us on social media to see what completed outdoor kitchens with different types of countertops look like.