Budgeting Your Outdoor Kitchen

One of the most important decisions is your budget. Find a balance between what you want and what you can afford.


You can spend anything you want on an outdoor kitchen, from $500 for a freestanding grill and a rolling side cart to $25,000 for a fully outfitted cooking and entertaining zone with built-in appliances, stone countertops and plenty of room for guests.

Most people will find the perfect fit someplace between these two extremes. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you decide how much you should spend on the project.

Where do you live?

In a cold climate, you may only use the outdoor kitchen for two or three months of the year. If you live in Southern California, the outdoor kitchen may be a year-round extension of your home. How much you should invest in the project should be proportionate to how much you'll use the space.

Can you tell the difference between your wants and your needs?

Sure, a super-sized grill with infrared searing zones, dual fuel, a rotisserie and a side burner looks awesome in the showroom, but if all you ever grill are burgers and hot dogs for your family of four, you'll be spending a bundle on features you don't need.

What are the neighbors doing?

If you want to get a reasonably good return on your investment at resale, don't improve far beyond the level of the neighborhood. In other words, your backyard shouldn't be the only or the most expensive outdoor kitchen on the block.

Did you factor in the tax increase?

If you have to file building permits, your property will be reassessed for the value of the project, and your property taxes may increase accordingly.

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