Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

Backyard kitchens come fully equipped with a grill, sink, refrigerator, storage compartment and stereo system.

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John Wakefield was unhappy with the grilling setup at his recently purchased Elk Grove, Calif., house that he, his wife and one child share with his wife's parents. He went to buy a pre-assembled kitchen.

An L-shaped unit was installed. It has a steel frame that's covered with stucco and includes a 32-inch grill, two burners, a sink, a utensil drawer and a bar. Wakefield spent $3,600, which included pressure washing and color staining an existing concrete patio. Later, a patio cover was added.

Perhaps Craig and Jody Murray had the best idea of all for an outdoor kitchen. They bought a house that already had one.

According to Craig, the backyard kitchen is what really made him want to buy their house five years ago.

"It's not new," he says. "It was put in before the previous owner had the place, probably 30 or 40 years ago. But it's beautiful and was the major selling point of the house for me. I've always loved to grill. When I saw this setup, I knew I had to have it."

Approximately 20 feet long, the brick kitchen has a tile countertop, a grill, a smoker, a sink, a refrigerator and a fireplace. It’s covered by a redwood roof.

"The fireplace and roof make it usable year-round," Craig says. "It's really a wonderful spot. We use it almost every day. And it's great for parties. We can accommodate 40 or 50 people. I can't wait to start grilling every night."

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