Tempted to level up your backyard entertaining with an outdoor kitchen? You’re not alone in your thinking — outdoor kitchens are trending big time. In HomeLight’s recent Top Agent Insights Report, 46% of agents ranked outdoor kitchens as homebuyers’ most-wanted outdoor feature.
Depending on your choice of appliances and materials, your outdoor kitchen can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000 to build. That’s quite the range!
Fortunately, like indoor kitchen remodels, outdoor kitchens add value to your home. According to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors , outdoor kitchens typically garner a 71% return on investment.
We’ll break down outdoor kitchen costs so you can see just how far your budget will go. For next-level insight, we spoke with experts in real estate, design, and construction to weigh in on three outdoor kitchen project scopes, ranging from a modest kitchenette to an elaborate luxury design.
Project cost by scale: From budget to high-end designs
Do you want a casual space for dining al fresco? Or, would you prefer an elaborate design for hosting parties? Questions like these help you determine details like the appliances and counter space.
“Every homeowner is different when it comes to what they want and [what] their needs are for the space,” says Sean Moore, project manager for Marquis Fine Cabinetry in Florida. “The budget is really determined by each client.”
Here are some options to consider for a budget-friendly, mid-range, and high-end outdoor kitchen design.
Budget-friendly outdoor kitchen: $4,500 to $10,000
More than half of agents surveyed in HomeLight’s recent Top Agent Insights Report agree that a built-in grill is one of the top amenities buyers want in their backyard retreat. For a budget-friendly kitchen, this is the most important purchase you’ll make.
“[If] I was just going to buy one thing, I would buy the greatest barbeque I could find,” says Chris Barrett, interior designer and owner of Chris Barrett Design in Southern California. Since the grill is the focal point of your outdoor kitchen, spend what you can. For instance, this top-rated 4-Burner Natural Gas Grill by Saber Grills for $1,999 is well worth the splurge.
You can offset the cost of the grill by selecting more affordable countertops and cabinets. Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes at Belgard, a leading manufacturer of hardscape materials for outdoor kitchens, suggests tile countertops since these can cost as little as $1 per square foot. “Not only will it last forever, it’s easy to clean and typically less expensive than granite or natural stone,” he says.
If you opt for a fully customized outdoor kitchen design, expect to dedicate roughly 70% of your project budget to labor alone. Fortunately, pre-made outdoor kitchen islands are another excellent option for budget-friendly builds. For instance, this 7-foot BBQ Island in Stainless Steel from Home Depot comes with four burners, a stylish stone veneer, and a porcelain tile countertop space for prepping your burgers and brisket, all for $3,601.
Overview of a budget-friendly outdoor kitchen:
At just $4,500, you can build a 100 square foot kitchen atop an existing patio with stock cabinets against the wall, tile countertops, and a freestanding grill.
Cost breakdown (materials):
Mid-range outdoor kitchen: $10,000 to $30,000
“The most basic of outdoor kitchen designs have three parts: the mini-fridge on the left, the grill in the middle, then a base on the right side for countertop space or a sink,” says Moore. “As far as a mid-range priced kitchen goes, those three components are typically the go-to purchases to include.”
Select a premium, built-in natural gas or propane grill for your mid-range kitchen for as little as $1,000. If you want a charcoal option, Kamado grills are versatile and trendy. The BBQ Guys rated the Primo Large Round Ceramic Kamado Grill the “Best Built In Kamado Grill” this year, available for just $750.
Leslie Carver, a top Nevada real estate agent with 25 years of experience, recommends that homeowners extend the counter space to incorporate a bar. Not only will this make your outdoor kitchen more conducive to entertaining, but it’ll reel in buyers when you’re ready to sell. “Buyers are emotional,” says Carver. “They look at how they’ll use the space … how they’re going to entertain.”
Plan for at least 36 inches of counter on either side of the grill for preparing and serving food. If you want to add a sink, allow for 18 inches to 24 inches on either side and remember to factor in the cost of plumbing (roughly $300 to $1,500).
To top it all off, add an exquisite pergola overhead.
Overview of a mid-range outdoor kitchen:
The average cost for an outdoor kitchen is around $13,000, according to both Fixr and HomeAdvisor estimates. For this price, you can build a 300 square foot kitchen outfitted with a fieldstone framework, a stone counter, a built-in grill, a refrigerator, and a pergola.
Cost breakdown (materials):
- Brick: $8-$12 per square foot
High-end outdoor kitchen: $30,000 to $65,000
A luxury outdoor kitchen includes a wide range of appliances set amongst custom cabinetry and high-end finishes.
For your appliances, create a cook station fit for a distinguished chef, with plenty of space to prepare everything from lobster to lamb. Include specialty appliances, like wine coolers and warming drawers. Add a dishwasher for convenience and a pizza oven for a functional focal point.
Barrett also suggests upgrading your fire pit to a built-in fire pit table for dining and lounging in style. Need more convincing? HomeLight’s research indicates that homeowners recoup 84% of fire pit costs at resale.
Alternatively, Carver recommends an outdoor fireplace, which can cost as little as $1,500 or as much as $20,000. “You can add all the bells and whistles onto the barbecue area, but … creating that additional space with the fireplace and the built-in TV — that really is ‘wow,’” she comments. Pair a top-of-the-line sound system with your flatscreen TV to complete the space.
Overview of a high-end outdoor kitchen:
For a budget of roughly $45,000, you can create a 500 square foot outdoor kitchen with a freestanding roof cover, a top-of-the-line grill, a refrigerator, two sinks, stone countertops, and both a bar area as well as a separate seating area.
Cost breakdown (materials):
Why your outdoor kitchen can cost $5,000 or $50,000
As is the case with indoor kitchen renovations, outdoor kitchens can cost as little as a few thousand dollars to well into the six-figure range. Materials, features, size, and site all influence your project cost. Let’s take a look at a few of these cost factors:
Materials and features
“Similar to an indoor kitchen, the size, quality, number of appliances, and countertop surface are the main drivers of the price,” says Raboine. “However, there are endless material options that give homeowners flexibility … for both design and performance aspects, while staying [within] budget.”
- Flooring: $40 to $100 per square foot
- Appliances: $1,500 to $7,000
- Framing and Cabinets: $200 to $600 per square foot
- Countertops: $10 to $100 per square foot
- Cover: $25 to $100 per square foot
Remember to research details like product warranties and durability to choose the best options for your outdoor kitchen. For instance, concrete is an affordable choice for flooring, but it’s also susceptible to cracks in cold-weather regions.
Size of your space
Outdoor kitchen projects can cost roughly $40 to $130 per square foot to build from scratch. Naturally, the size of your project increases its price — the larger the outdoor kitchen, the more materials you’ll need.
Here are some popular dimensions for outdoor kitchen designs, paired with amenities you can fit into each:
- Kitchenette: 10 linear feet (includes at least 36 inches of countertop workspace, as well as a grill, cooktop, sink, and storage)
- Small: 13 linear feet (includes at least 48 inches of countertop workspace, as well as a grill, cooktop, sink, storage, and refrigerator)
- Medium: 16 linear feet (includes at least 72 inches of countertop workspace, as well as a grill, cooktop, sink, storage, refrigerator, and perhaps additional storage and refrigeration options)
- Large: 20 linear feet or more (includes at least 156 inches of countertop workspace, as well as a grill, cooktop, sink, ample storage, a refrigerator, drink cooler, and other amenities)
Location: perimeter versus satellite
If you build your outdoor kitchen against your home’s exterior wall, you can save on utilities and appliance costs.
A perimeter kitchen’s proximity to the kitchen indoors makes additions like a sink and full-size refrigerator less essential, saving you $300 to $1,500 in installation costs alone. However, even if you opt to incorporate these features, you can connect them to the home’s existing plumbing to save on installation costs.
For a satellite kitchen, which sits further away from the home, you’ll need to bury electrical cables and gas lines to reach your outdoor kitchen area, perhaps in two separate trenches depending on local codes. You may pay as much as $35 per linear foot to run new gas lines.
If you plan to sell soon — keep it simple
As much as you and your guests would enjoy an extravagant outdoor kitchen, it’s best to scale back the project if you’re selling in the near future.
“If you’re truly looking to [remodel] to sell your home, you’re gonna want to keep it simple,” Carver advises. And she’s not alone in this thinking. In the National Association of Realtors’ recent Remodeling Impact Report, only 1% of Realtors® suggest sellers install an outdoor kitchen before listing their home.
Header Image Source: (Martina Birnbaum / Shutterstock)