Create Your Own Outdoor Kitchen

When the weather is nice, one of the best ways to spend time outdoors is cooking in your backyard — out on the patio or the deck.

According to The Early Show handyman Danny Lipford, who also hosts "Today's Homeowner," a growing number of families are creating outdoor kitchens. He has some tips on how to build your own.

Lipford said all it really takes to have an outdoor kitchen is a grill and storage area for cooking accessories. Many companies sell single units for as low as $299.

Location

  • If you have a deck or a patio, you are halfway there. If you are using a deck, make sure it can support the extra weight of an outdoor kitchen.

  • Make sure you keep combustible material like wood away from your grill. A grill can also melt vinyl siding if it is placed to close to the home.

  • If you have a gas grill, locate your outdoor kitchen near a gas line or a place where you can easily install a gas line.

  • Make sure you have ample cover in case of bad weather. You also need proper outdoor lighting.

    "Look at the type of counter or cabinet you want to build to accommodate your grill, a fridge, maybe a little sink," Lipford said. "Construct it using weather resistant wood. Frame it up pretty good with several different braces on it. Once you complete your cabinet, you can just paint it. You're ready to go … It may take you two or three different weekends in order to complete one."

    Build It Yourself

  • Make sure you consider the elements when building you outdoor kitchen. Lipford has used treated lumber in the past.

  • You can sheathe the area with cement fiber backer board and install a stone or tile surface over it.

  • The countertop also needs to be weatherproof. Use materials like granite, tile, concrete and stainless steel.

  • A big countertop can create a great dining area and social spot. Barstools make the look complete, but the elements also need to be kept in mind when choosing them.

  • A high quality stainless steel drop-in grill costs about $700 and is available at The Home Depot.

    Sinks and Refrigerators

  • There are refrigerators that are designed just for outdoor use. They are not full size and you want to make sure you get a stainless steel model.

  • Get a refrigerator with a lock so you can use it to store items all year long.

  • Sinks make life much easier so you can do things like rinse food and add water to sauces outside. Be sure to find a sink that adheres to local building codes.

    Grills

  • Grills can be a great investment and Lipford recommends a stainless steel model.

  • Lipford said that it is difficult to find a contractor to build an outdoor kitchen so if you are not very handy, you can buy a pre-made unit at Sam's Club for about $800. The unit comes in both a natural gas and LP model. It contains three main burners, an infrared burner, a side burner a motorized rotisserie, heavy-duty grill cover and removable icebox.

  • Lipford also showed off a more expensive model from Viking. The units are modular, which lets you chose the style of your outdoor kitchen to include not just a grill, but also something like a refreshment center.

    "Some of this is around $3,500," Lipford said. "Some of that is may be $2,000. You can kind of pick and choose to create just what you want outside."

    Increase Your Home's Value

  • The National Association of Home Builders found that adding an outdoor kitchen will add value to your home and return on what you spend can be as much as 130 percent.

    Read Danny Lipford's article on outdoor kitchens.
    • Caitlin Johnson

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