Outdoor Kitchen Ideas on a Budget

An outdoor kitchen on a budget is easy to achieve with a little imagination.
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By: Margaret Grigsby

Creating an outdoor cooking and entertaining space doesn't require a lot of space or money. That's good news if you're looking for outdoor kitchen ideas on a budget. Your backyard or patio can be easily transformed with just a little creativity.

Outdoor Kitchen Designs for Ideas and Inspiration

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Photo By: Eric Perry

This family grills on their outside patio on a grill with a bar attached so the whole family can enjoy a meal outside. The patio is adorned with simple landscaping.

 

Detail of the outdoor kitchen at the home of Felicia and Kenny Fredieu which underwent a makeover that turned the plain yard that they inherited into a paradise fit to entertain their large family. Felician and Kenny both come from the New Orleans area and love to cook. They inherited the house from Kenny's mom who had a garden and also loved to cook. The design is inspired by the family closeness and the legacy of Kenny's mother and includes an outdoor kitchen, with two smokers, a fan deck to create a destination spot under the existing pepper tree that Kenny's mom planted decades ago, and an outdoor dining area to bring together the large family in style. The stone pavers are inspired by the stone on the front of the house, tying the house to the yard. The deck wall is also to create shade from the hot afternoon sun.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

This outdoor kitchen offers an ideal place to entertain on a warm day. The stylish island countertop provides ample space for food preparation and display, making this kitchen area a grilling chef's dream.

From: Katrina Fairchild

Outdoor kitchen with firepit area.

Outdoor entertaining area with grill and stone fireplace, bar area with chairs, pond with plants, rocks, and flowers, nighttime view of outdoor room.

From: Chad Robert

A beautifully designed hardscape includes a full-sized outdoor kitchen with additional built-in seating flanking a cascading fountain adjacent to a dramatic raised pool area. The accompaniment of the expansive green lawn makes this a perfect yard for entertaining families, which includes an in-ground trampoline.

A fully equipped kitchen is nestled between the landscaping to allow for dining while enjoying nature. The bar height with seating allows the cook to carry on conversations with guests while preparing food. Design by Paul Wrona

A blown-glass vessel sink, marble countertops and ornate accessories lend luxury to this outdoor kitchen designed by Donna Moss of Donna Decorates Dallas.

The wood-paneled roof keeps the cooking area shaded and prevents the space from being affected by the harsh weather conditions of the snowbelt region.

From: Laura Suglia-Isgro

Large outdoor kitchen at night with tiled floor, columns, lighting, dark cabinets, table and chairs, and sitting areas.

Enjoy all the creature comforts you'd find inside with this outdoor living room and kitchen. Stylish wicker furniture makes up the living room component, while an outdoor cooking station, complete with an integrated grill, serves as the kitchen. A ceiling fan cools the area on warm days, while the fireplace warms chilly nights.

A full-size kitchen, a cascading fountain and a raised pool flank the large lawn area, which features an in-ground trampoline, making this a perfect spot for entertaining families. Design by Christopher J. Grubb

Photo By: E.PERRYY

From: Claudia Schmutzler

Tropical bar design in this outdoor landscape with glass chip countertop, grill, tall tropical trees and landscape.

Outdoor kitchen area with stone fireplace, blue outdoor seating with table, bar area with grill, concrete floor, and tree wall for privacy.

Moroccan-inspired moldings and bright patterned tile lends an Old World feel to this outdoor kitchen. The crew of HGTV's Bang for Your Buck added a stainless steel grill, gas cooktop, sink and dishwater for thoroughly modern cooking power.

An outdoor kitchen adjacent to the family dining area offers well-lighted space for food preparation with bar-height seating, a stainless steel grill, refrigerator and a bluestone footrest.

Every lakeside retreat needs a spacious outdoor kitchen and grilling spot to host year-round parties. This living space is complete with an extra-large patio, retaining wall, dining area, fireplace, custom-built dining table and fireside sofa.

 

Photo By: Eric Perry © 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Alex and Gloria get an outdoor room designed by Jamie Durie, a space where they can cook and invite people over and an egyptian design creating a tropical oasis. A water feature runs through the middle of their new backyard, replicating the water channels that run through the city of Cairo. Earthy toned fabric adorns a trellis, to replicate the neutral color palate of the desert. Egyptian papyrus and palm trees surround the yard give the yard with shade, while the back wall of concrete blocks creates the sense of repetition seen in Egypt. A dining area and barbeque complete the look of their newly designed Outdoor Room.

An outdoor kitchen and dining area are connected to a pool to make this backyard the perfect place to entertain on warm days, while an outdoor fireplace provides a toasty seating area for chillier nights.

Scenic of the outdoor bar area at the home of Matt and Zena Welker which underwent a makeover that turned their dust farm full of dead fruit trees and weeds which has been overrun by their dogs, into a fun filled tropical retreat for the couple and their dogs to entertain friends and their dogs with a relaxing place to cook and drink as well as play games. The unsightly eyesore of a garage, which had no doors on it, was painted and had doors put in place. The perimeter wall and the back of the house were painted subtle colors to bring it all together and get rid of the blah or awkward colors that were there. The back of the yard was sectioned off for the dogs to have their own play area, complete with a custom made doggie duplex and a smaller, more functional trampoline, rather than the oversized wedding gift trampoline that was falling apart in the yard. The dust bowl was replaced by a yard full of sod, which doubles as the play yard for horseshoes, and bean bag tosses. There is now a hot tub for the couple to enjoy their private time together and a deck and pergola to provide shade on the back of the house along with an outdoor bar. The yard now has an eclectic style, with an element of tropics as well as fun and games.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Outdoor living room of the HGTV Dream Home 2012 located in Midway, Utah

Photo By: Eric Perry

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Outdoor kitchen with wood grain, stainless steel grill, new countertop, hood, mini fridge, and sink area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo By: Will Hare Photography

 

From: Mark Scott Associates

Photo By: Mark Scott; Photo by Will Hare Photography ©Will Hare Photography

 

Photo By: Will Hare Photography

 

 

From: Mark Scott Associates

Photo By: Mark Scott; Photo by Will Hare Photography ©Will Hare Photography

 

Photo By: Eric Perry

 

 

 

 

 

Photo By: Jamie Rector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor kitchens typically include a prep and cooking area, some storage, and either a bar or dining table seating. These elements are a good start for the budget-conscious because they don't require utilities like gas, electric or plumbing.

Depending on the space you have to work with, start with an island or all-weather kitchen cart with some storage and counter space. These can be as little as $100 and come in a variety of sizes and materials. Make sure whatever you buy is appropriate for outdoor use and will stand up to the elements.

If you have an empty wall to work with, you may want to install some simple cabinets or a bar-height ledge for storage and serving. These are projects that require just a little DIY know-how and should only take about a day to complete.

Unless you live in a building or area that doesn't allow open flame, grilling is always a favorite for entertaining outside. Grills don't have to be expensive, and most charcoal or wood-burning grills need very little maintenance. Many online vendors offer a great selection of everything from tabletop charcoal to stand-alone gas grills starting as low as $30.

For a budget with a little more wiggle room, upgrade to an island with a built-in grill. Islands are available in a variety of prefabricated, modular design options that start around $1,500. Many islands can be installed on a patio or put on wheels and casters, which will allow you to rearrange your space any time.

Sometimes outdoor drink service and seating are all you really need to enjoy your backyard. A metal tub on a stand with ice for chilling drinks is an inexpensive detail that will make a lot of difference.

Outdoor kitchens can get expensive, and there are a few elements that may push your budget over the edge. Adding anything that requires a contractor or professional, like electrical or plumbing, will add up quickly. Avoid this by positioning your outdoor kitchen near an entrance or in close proximity to a water hose for easy access to kitchenware and cleanup. Opt for a propane tank or charcoal rather than installing gas lines to your grill or cooktop. And look for items that are portable so you can take them with you if you decide to move.

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