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Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

January 18, 2022

When it comes to overhauling your backyard landscape, there’s one feature many homeowners covet — an outdoor kitchen. They’re enormously popular for several reasons, not the least of which is how they improve home value. Outdoor kitchens are also excellent for their entertainment value and convenience. 

Let’s take a deeper look at this feature that’s sure to bring you joy even decades after installation.

What Makes for the Best Outdoor Kitchen in Phoenix?

Everyone’s tastes differ, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are some factors that every outdoor kitchen should have. 


Everyone’s idea of functionality is different depending on one’s preferences. For example, maybe you make an amazing pizza sauce and love to create new pies for friends and family to experience. It only makes sense that you’d want to have a pizza oven as part of your outdoor kitchen space. 

Other must-have functional elements you’ll want to consider: 

  • Refrigerator — Whether it’s just you or you have a large extended family, an outdoor refrigerator makes sense in the hot Arizona climate for so many reasons. You can use it to store drinks and prepped food for snacking or grilling. This eliminates trips to and from the main kitchen and lets you spend more time with your guests. 
  • Stovetop — A stovetop is essential for side dishes and things you just can’t toss on a grill, like beans, vegetables and sauces.
  • Grill and/or Smoker — You’ll definitely want a grill because it’s the true outdoor cooking machine. If you like smoked meats, consider one with a built-in smoker as well, or buy a standalone unit. 
  • Cabinets and Countertop Space — These are critical elements for storage, setting out food when it’s ready and giving yourself plenty of space to work and prep food.


A space-saving outdoor kitchen design is important because no matter how much yard you have to work with, you want the cooking area set up so that it’s ergonomic. Keep your refrigerator close to your stovetop or grill, for example, so that you’re not risking food burning should you need to grab an ingredient or a drink. 


This is important, too, because you want the kitchen to fit your tastes. There are a multitude of materials available for your outdoor space, such as granite, quartz, stainless steel and ceramic stone. 

Make sure you consider the dry Arizona climate and the nature of the kitchen. For example, while marble is gorgeous, not all kinds are suitable for outdoor use due to the exposure to the elements. 

Benefits of Outdoor Kitchens

There are a number of benefits to having an outdoor kitchen, the ones that appeal to you most depend on what you’re looking to use the space for. Entertainment, romance, improving your Phoenix home’s value are just a few perks you’ll enjoy when you remodel your outdoor space. 


Say goodbye to the times when you spent the day inside cooking and prepping while family and friends were outdoors enjoying the bright Arizona sun and other landscaping features. The outdoor kitchen is an extension of your living space, but it’s also great for keeping you in the thick of the conversation and the events going on. Plus, it makes things easy when you don’t have to go inside and out constantly. 


Think of a romantic night in (out, technically) enjoying the stars while you’re cooking up a feast for your loved one. Whether you’ve been married for 20 years and are enjoying the empty nest, or you just started dating and want to really impress your partner, you can’t go wrong with the ambiance of an outdoor kitchen in Phoenix. 

To enhance the space, consider adding another feature, such as a bistro table for two or a fireplace or fire pit to sit around while enjoying a nice cocktail or glass of wine over intimate conversation. 


There’s nothing like installing a renovation/landscaping feature that adds value to the home and benefits nearly everyone. An outdoor kitchen will not only set your house apart from others in the Phoenix, Arizona area, but it can increase the value of your home by thousands. Some experts say you’ll see about a 71% return on investment (ROI). In fact, it’s more profitable to add an outdoor kitchen than almost any other backyard feature, including a pool. If you ever needed a good reason, this is it — put your money to work now, and it’ll pay you back should you decide to sell or refinance.


When you entertain, it’s common to use foods that you wouldn’t every day. Think seafood, garlic, and other items that just might drive you insane if you have to wait for the smell to fade. With an outdoor kitchen, those funky scents won’t take up residence in the home. Store them in the refrigerator or cabinets outside, too, so they’re there when you’re ready, and there’s no worry about spilling or dropping them inside your home. 


Maybe you’re not thinking about selling your home now, but what about in 5 years?  10? An outdoor kitchen improves saleability because it’s a luxury feature that sets your home apart from other similar ones in your Phoenix neighborhood. It has nothing to do with money and everything to do with having that taste of luxury that perhaps your neighbor doesn’t.

Material Groups to Consider

The Arizona climate doesn’t really limit your options because there are plenty of durable materials that you might already be using in other landscaping features. Think stones, bricks and ceramic tile. All of these would complement an outdoor kitchen space, no matter what type of countertops or appliances you use. 


There’s nothing more versatile than stainless steel and you’ll want to go food-grade, here. It stands up to the Phoenix weather wonderfully, and it’s easy to maintain, probably the easiest of all the materials available. Stainless steel countertops add a professional look, but they’re also attractive. Nothing will show how serious you take your entertaining more than this material.


Stone is such a versatile material that you can use in several places in your outdoor kitchen design. Think floors, countertops, even your dining table. The best part is they come in different colors and shapes, so you don’t have to have a cookie-cutter option if you don’t want to. 


Brick sometimes gets a reputation for being boring, but the truth is, it’s anything but. It’s not only versatile, but it also stands up to Arizona’s arid climate. Use it as the structure to hold up your countertop, for example. Plus, if you don’t like the red or natural colors it comes in, you can easily paint it to create your very own color scheme. 


When it comes to outdoor spaces, solid granite is your best bet over other types of stone, such as marble or quartz. It’s more durable, for one thing, and it’s very easy to maintain. Plus, solid granite comes in all sizes and colors, so finding a match that fits your vision won’t take long!

Styles of Outdoor Kitchens

There are a variety of types of outdoor kitchens you can create, from rustic to sleek and modern, or you could toss mainstream ideas to the wind and adopt your own look. The beauty of creating this backyard feature is that there’s no limit to what you can do.

Here are just a few options to get your wheels turning. 


A brick porch will give your Phoenix home a rustic look that’s easy to maintain and still adds a cozy feeling to your outdoor space. It’s durable, and you won’t have to worry about too much maintenance. Even the temperatures won’t affect the brick, other than making it hot when the sun’s out, so be sure to wear your shoes!


A room without walls — what does that look like, you ask? It’s merely a 360-degree kitchen where you can easily entertain, see and interact with people without appliances or other features in your way. Imagine hearing someone call your name and you don’t have to dodge the refrigerator door to turn around and engage in conversation. 


If your tastes are more upscale, go for a look that includes sleek stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Both of these give off a modern vibe that says you take your kitchen space very seriously. After all, your indoor kitchen is marvelous; why should your outdoor space be any different?


Arizona may not have beaches, but that’s no reason you can’t have a tiki bar set up in your backyard. Bring the oasis to you rather than travel. It’s cheaper, less stressful, and if you add a pool, you have a built-in water feature to enjoy on hot days.

Summary of Your Best Options

The reality of the situation is your best options are the ones that benefit you the most. Don’t go adding a feature that you’ll never use simply because you think the space needs it or because Jane down the block insists you’ll use it all the time. 

Sit down, think about what you envision when you’re cooking outdoors. Do you like the sleekness of stainless steel, or do you think black appliances suit you better? Do you want an elegant countertop made with granite or is wood more to your tastes?

Browse magazines, ask your designer for tips, pour over our gallery, and above all, take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your outdoor kitchen shouldn’t be either. 

When you’ve finally nailed down all of the details of what you’re looking for, the only thing left to do is get started. Give Straight Line Landscape a call or contact us today and it won’t be long before your loved ones are clamoring over how gorgeous your outdoor space is!


Author: Holly Banghart

Holly, our senior designer and sales manager since 2010, brings expertise in design, industry certifications, and Master Gardener qualification. She crafts functional outdoor spaces tailored to clients' needs with manageable maintenance. Holly excels in conquering design challenges, turning yards into captivating landscapes. If you seek to enhance your outdoor space, Holly stands ready to transform your vision into reality.

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