Summer officially starts on Tuesday, June 20 this year.  What better way to celebrate this most relaxed, easy going season than to add or refresh an outdoor kitchen. Sounds expensive, but it doesn’t have to be!

Agents, help your clients and friends put together a great outdoor kitchen by sharing some of these common sense and money saving design ideas. Remind them too that any home improvement project requires research and planning, wandering around the internet and consignment stores to see what’s out there, and a lot of imagination, if you don’t want to break your piggy bank all in one place this summer!

1. Locate the outdoor kitchen as close to the indoor kitchen as possible.  This proximity makes transferring food, dishwater, utensils, whatever else easy and efficient.  Also try to locate the outdoor kitchen near an exterior wall so there’s easy access to plumbing and electricity.  Having to build new electrical and/or water lines gets expensive.

2.  An efficient outdoor kitchen really only requires a grill with a nearby surface/countertop for food prep and serving, plates, etc.  Everything else (refrigerators, storage cabinets/space, beverage/wine storage, wood burning ovens, etc.) is an extra.  So, make a list of everything you want, prioritize it all and then pare it down to what you can afford. Then, make a wish list of all the things you’d like your outdoor kitchen to have when you can afford to have them.


3.  Sketch out a placement plan for where everything you’ll need (the grill, the countertops for prepping and serving, the trash and recycling bags, the drinks) will go before your guests are standing outside, starving, wondering when and how you’re going to feed them.


4.  Buy the very best grill you can afford – you don’t want to skimp on that!

5.  Shop around at consignment stores, reuse-it centers, salvage yards to find less expensive and often more interesting countertops, cabinets, building supplies, outdoor tables and chairs and lounges.  Check out discount home/garden stores for weather resistant accessories, patio bars, outdoor kitchen furniture. Check out camping retailers for compact utilitarian pieces to use for washing up, serving and cooling stations. Also, remember to check out ways to use color to highlight and/or spruce things up a bit.

6.  Look around for reclaimed flagstones and bricks, railroad ties, pieces of concrete, old doors, remade solid surfaces and stone.  Most everything can be used and used again in new ways.

7.  Remember to buy direct and indirect outdoor lighting so you can see what you’re grilling on the grill and what you’re serving to your guests.

8.  Enjoy more of the summer outside “in” your new outdoor kitchen.

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