Before and After Outdoor Kitchen Renovation Ideas

December 13, 2022

Outdoor Kitchen

For many Arizona homes, the backyard has long ceased to be merely that extra space where you can smoke sausages or store excess stuff. Nowadays, people commonly transform it into a dreamy getaway from the stresses of everyday life.

Table of Contents

What to Consider While Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen

Once you have set your overall design goals, it’s time to explore specific outdoor kitchen ideas.

Main Design Features

Earlier, we explained the different outdoor kitchen layouts. Whatever your choice is, it should:

  • Yield adequate cooking and non-cooking spaces
  • Allow for cooking efficiency and optimum storage space
  • Provide comfort
  • Enhance the overall exterior design
  • Make room for entertainment features
  • Ensure proper utility connections

Next, think about where you will place the dining area and if you want an outdoor bar. The latter will further enhance your outdoor space’s entertainment factor, but consider it only if you have enough square footage.

Also, think of building a ramada or pergola to protect your cooking and electronic equipment.

For lighting, simple bright lights ensure your safety. But you may add pizzazz by getting a lighting system that lets you switch between bright and colored lights.

If you don’t have an existing water feature, you may include it in your current design or make room for its future construction.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

If you take pleasure in feeding foodies, you might enjoy outdoor kitchen appliance shopping. Take advantage of Arizona outdoor living, which lets homeowners use a wide variety of cooking devices. So give each of the following a thought:

  • Energy-efficient refrigerator
  • Gas grill for faster cooking or charcoal grill for a smokier flavor
  • Side burners for cooking sides and heating sauces
  • Flat-top griddle for eggs, burgers, pancakes and hibachi-style cooking
  • Pizza oven, which can be an old-style wood-fired or modern gas-fired one
  • Smoker cabinets for low-and-slow barbecues
  • Power burner for boiling crustaceans and large food batches
  • Warming drawer for helping bread dough rise and keeping food, plates and cups warm
  • Ice maker, wine cooler and kegerator if you expect to have huge parties throughout the year

Outdoor cooking appliances are usually made of stainless steel, which is tough, lightweight, requires little maintenance and has great cooking performance.

Entertainment

Consider the following if you’re thinking of turning your outdoor kitchen into your home’s activity and entertainment center:

But don’t limit yourself to these choices. Think of what you like doing together with your family and friends.

Weatherproof Materials

With the Arizona climate, it's important to use the right types of materials. Not all can withstand temperature extremes, UV exposure, rain, wind and low humidity.

Stone or bricks serve as a great countertop base. Wood is another option, but it needs regular oiling and refinishing to protect it from excessive UV exposure

The countertop itself may be stainless steel or polished concrete. Both are easy to maintain in a dry climate. Stainless steel is also great for the sink and storage cabinets. Meanwhile, a granite countertop is durable, stain-resistant and heat-resistant. 

For the furniture, the most popular choices are wood, rattan, polyrattan and metal.

Plant-based wood and rattan are stylish and don’t heat up easily when left under the sun for long hours. Among woods, the most moisture-resistant are teak, acacia and eucalyptus.

Polyrattan is an artificial version of rattan. It is resistant to moisture and temperature extremes. High-quality polyrattan looks deceivingly like the natural one.

Metals are durable, but their high heat conductivity makes them less desirable in an arid landscape. Cushions and polyrattan wrappings address that problem. Aluminum, steel and wrought iron are examples.

Color

Color can set the mood in your outdoor kitchen. Some things you can use to bring color into this space are the following:

  • Arid climate-adapted plants and trees
  • Colored stones
  • UV-resistant paint
  • Colored glass
  • Dyed furniture and cushions 

Earthy hues will go well with a minimalist design. For others, the inclusion of brighter colors will depend on your environment and chosen theme.

The above tasks can be daunting if you have little outdoor kitchen construction experience. But a top-notch landscaping team can do them for you problem-free.

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for Inspiration

While words are great, nothing shows off an outdoor kitchen design better than seeing them for yourself. Check out our favorites among our creations below.

This is an example of a standard design. The ramada keeps the cooking and eating areas safe from the elements. The outdoor kitchen also integrates perfectly with the surroundings.

This U-shaped outdoor kitchen design works well under a fabulous pergola. It is between the putting green and the pool—perfect for hosting guests. The wine refrigerator and movable cart add convenience and flexibility.

Here's another U-shaped outdoor kitchen with a pergola. The wide space lets you entertain while creating amazing food on the grill. The added lights add a warm ambiance at sunset.

Outdoor cooking is fun, and art experts believe outdoor cooking shows have influenced many homeowners to pretty up their outdoor space.

Surveys show that outdoor kitchens are currently the most sought-after home improvement in the country, and for various reasons.

More Living and Entertainment Space

Expanding your living space outdoors gives you more fun things to do at home. Additionally, studies show that a bigger living space enhances one’s perception of well-being.

More Cooking Options

You can’t grill a steak in an indoor kitchen. Besides possibly setting off fire alarms, your family and guests won’t appreciate the lingering odor a grill leaves behind. An outdoor kitchen gives you more food prep options and makes cooking more enjoyable.

Convenient and Mess-Free Outdoor Dining

An outdoor kitchen allows you to cook food where the party is happening. This beats repeatedly taking out trays of edibles and beverages from an indoor kitchen, which can wear you down or cause messy spills.

A Different but Enjoyable Dining Experience

Al fresco dining allows people to connect with nature, so the mood is more relaxed and conducive to pleasant conversation. If you’re dining alone, a beautiful outdoor kitchen space can spark your creativity. These experiences are simply priceless!

Good Investment

On the practical side, you make a good investment when you build a permanent kitchen in your outdoor living space. Depending on the materials you use, it can increase your home value by 100-200% of your renovation expenses.

Overall, a beautifully done outdoor kitchen will enhance your lifestyle and help grow your property’s worth.

10 Things to Know Before and After Outdoor Kitchen Construction

Various factors go into a great outdoor kitchen design—things that matter most before and after you embark on the project.

Self-Sufficiency

If your outdoor kitchen is merely an extension of your indoor one, you may need only a few outdoor appliances and limited storage and countertop space. But if it’s a standalone, it will also need its own stove tops, spacious counters, refrigerator and ample storage space.

Deciding between having a perimeter or satellite kitchen is also important. A perimeter kitchen is close to the house, while a satellite is further away. The former can share utilities—gas, water and electricity—with the indoor kitchen, but the latter cannot.

Core Components

The typical kitchen has five core areas:

  • Cold zone: for refrigerating food and drinks
  • Wet zone: for washing raw ingredients and cooking tools
  • Dry zone: for storing dry goods and prepping food for cooking
  • Hot zone: for cooking
  • Serving area: for serving food

The workflow from one area to another must not be interrupted by any intervening space or structure. Otherwise, cooking will be inefficient and messy.

At the very least, your outdoor kitchen must have a refrigerator, sink, storage and countertop spaces, and a grill. Then build your outdoor kitchen around these core components.

Specialty and Other Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

Besides the above staples, you should also figure out if you want specialty outdoor cooking appliances like a pizza oven and other equipment. These will help you stay efficient and create a more enjoyable dining experience for your family and guests.

Activity Spaces

Arizona kitchens are not anymore devoted solely to cooking. Work, education, entertainment and social interaction can also take place in a modern kitchen. You must plan for space for all these activities when you remodel your home exterior.

Crowd Size

The size of your outdoor kitchen will also depend on your family’s size and how many guests you expect to entertain on a regular basis.

Your kitchen equipment must cook food quickly enough for your expected crowd size. Your seating area and walkways must likewise have ample space for everyone.

The Chef

Having an outdoor kitchen is as much an experience as it is a novelty. If the chef is part of the family, your design should allow them to join the fun while they cook. The orientation of the cooking equipment to the rest of the outdoor living space must reflect this.

Weatherproofing

Arizona may be in a desert, but the weather is nonetheless unpredictable. Your cooking equipment, cabinets, counter space, furniture and structural finishes must withstand various environmental elements, or they won’t make a good investment.

Safety Measures

Outdoor living is fun but not free of accidents. What should you do to ensure everyone’s safety in your outdoor kitchen?

First up is fire protection. Install your grill away from trees and other overhead combustible materials. Secure electrical connections and keep them far from children’s reach. Leave a space between cooking equipment and people uninvolved in food prep. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and the gas shutoff valve accessible.

The second is protection from sharps. Round countertop corners. Keep sharp cooking utensils in secure cabinets.

Third, your furniture, flooring and equipment must be slip-proof.

Fourth, ensure adequate lighting. Include the cooking area, dining area, seating areas and walkways.

Remember, outdoor kitchen safety guarantees memorable moments.

Outdoor Kitchen Design Elements

The visual and functional elements of your outdoor kitchen design will largely depend on the above factors and the environmental limitations.

In terms of layout, you may choose from the following:

  • Standard

A standard kitchen, aka “straight design,” usually includes one wall of equipment, cabinets and countertops. This is the best setup if you have limited space.

  • Angular

An angular kitchen incorporates sharp angles into the design.

  • L-shaped

An L-shaped kitchen spans two perpendicular walls. It has more cooking space than a standard design. This comes in handy if you entertain large groups of people often. 

  • U-shaped

A U-shaped kitchen is like its L-shaped counterpart but has three sides instead of two. It affords extra seating and countertop space. Both designs are excellent in larger spaces.

  • Modular

A modular kitchen has several components—or modules—that form together to create your space. They're easier to disassemble and reassemble if need be.

In terms of design complexity, you may choose between simple and elaborate.

Simple designs are good for smaller spaces and typically feature clean lines and practical elements. They are perfect for anyone who prefers the minimalist approach.

Elaborate designs have more equipment or more luxurious finishes.  

Between a deck and a patio, remember that the former has a more limited load capacity than the latter. It may also get damaged by water over time. Keep these in mind when installing heavy equipment.

Then, there’s the theme, of which you have infinite choices. Arizona living shouldn’t stop you from having fun and creating an outdoor environment reminiscent of your favorite historical period, overseas destination and more. But make sure you preserve your exterior’s overall aesthetics.

Also, since your outdoor space is where nature embraces your home, think of accentuating your design with greens and water features.

For greens, most Arizona landscapes have arid climate-adapted vegetation to optimize water consumption. Earthy accents like colored rocks help embellish the surroundings.

Water features include fountains, birdbaths, ponds, swimming pools and others that can be made water-efficient.

Your Custom Outdoor Kitchen Design and Construction Team

Many homeowners think of doing an outdoor kitchen remodel on their own to save money. However, when you think of this project as a long-term investment, you’ll realize it’s much better to have it done professionally.

Comfort. Built-to-last materials. Construction time efficiency. Wow factor. Value. All these are guaranteed when you hire a good landscape design and construction team.

Outdoor Kitchen Renovation FAQs

Is It Worth It to Build an Outdoor Kitchen?

Having an outdoor kitchen has many upsides, as previously mentioned. If they appeal to you, you may find that constructing one is worth your time and investment.

How Far Does an Outdoor Kitchen Need to Be from the House?

A grill is best placed at least 10 feet away from your home for safety reasons. However, you must also consider a few other things when choosing an outdoor kitchen location.

First, think of your home’s design limitations. For example, the outdoor kitchen sink plumbing must ensure sufficient water flow. You must also comply with local construction codes.

The second is square footage. You have limited location options with a small outdoor space.

The third is your budget. Remember that a satellite kitchen is potentially pricier than a perimeter one. 

How Do You Protect Your Arizona Outdoor Kitchen from the Weather?

Although Arizona is in an arid region, rain also falls occasionally. It even snows in some parts. So you must get your outdoor kitchen ready to outlast all the elements.

Against rainwater, we recommend building a ramada and using waterproof equipment, storage cabinets and furniture. Sealers must be applied on porous surfaces like wood.

Against intense UV radiation, shade from a ramada or pergola should help. Use UV-protective finishes for all outdoor equipment, countertops, cabinets and furniture.

Against the cold, you may add a fire pit or fireplace. Insulate water pipes for winterization.

Against extreme heat, insulation, UV protection and ventilation are important. Additionally, you may put a vent hood on your cooking equipment to direct heat and smoke away from people.

Against the wind, you may use wind barriers. Examples are patio walls, plants, trees and fences.

How Long Does It Take to Build an Outdoor Kitchen?

That depends on the kind of fixtures you use and the space you have. Prefabricated outdoor kitchens, which are assembled from pre-made parts, usually take only one to a few days to install. Custom outdoor kitchens take longer—usually weeks to months—because design and construction start from square one. 

Call us if you want to know more about how long it would take to get you the custom outdoor kitchen of your dreams.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Outdoor Kitchen Built?

That depends on the design complexity, material quality and expertise of your landscaping team. You can easily save on costs by doing everything yourself and using inexpensive materials. However, if you’re serious about getting more value for your money, hiring a professional landscaping team is the way to go.

The Straight Line Landscape Process

Getting started with your outdoor kitchen design with Straight Line is easy.

First, you'll fill out the online project inquiry form. 

Next, you’ll have an on-site meeting with our designer. Then we'll craft a design and discuss the project details. We’ll present them to you and your HOA before we begin construction.

The final step is walking over the finished landscape project and giving you the rundown on maintenance and warranty information. 

Contact us so we can help you bring your outdoor kitchen space to life.

You dream it. We design and construct it. You enjoy it.

Here at Straight Line Landscape we are experts in custom landscape design and construction. From the creative design and selection of materials to installation and construction, you’ll recognize quality and attention to detail from start to finish.

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We were looking for an all-in-one contractor, someone who could handle a pool and full landscape project, so I could call one person. Straight Line Landscape delivered. My neighbors climbed over the fence to see our backyard. Then they hired SLL to do their yard.

Kelly G Phoenix, Arizona
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