Tips for Building a Stunning Outdoor Kitchen in Los Angeles
The backyard barbecue in Los Angeles is getting much more luxurious than slapping hotdogs on the grill. Stunning outdoor kitchens are changing the game. Homeowners and their creative contractors are marrying the hottest trends in appliance technology and home construction for breathtaking, sophisticated full kitchens located entirely in the backyard.
From a professional wood-fired pizza oven to a customized bar, your Los Angeles outdoor kitchen can include almost anything you imagine. The success of your home renovation project, however, will depend on your relationship with your builder. There are certain design requirements you will need to keep in mind to accommodate cooking in an outdoor environment. The right contractor can pioneer your project with confidence.
Create a space for the whole family to relax and enjoy – right by your pool or overlooking your backyard. Use this guide to get started on your exciting outdoor kitchen project. This guide will walk you through the most popular features for outdoor kitchens in Los Angeles right now, as well as things to keep in mind during the design phase. Build your dream outdoor kitchen in no time, and start spending sunny days lounging in your own unique space.
Why Build an Outdoor Kitchen?
Having an outdoor kitchen is about much more than saving you the walk from the kitchen to the backyard. It helps you expand your living space and get more use out of your property. If the kitchen is the heart of your home, why not create another where there is more room and opportunities for family activities? Most homeowners love their indoor kitchens, but have more space in their yards for building. Make use of the square footage you already have by installing a gorgeous outdoor kitchen. Other reasons to build include:
- Seamless floor plan flow. Outdoor kitchens in LA make sense for families that love the open floor plan concept, and want to extend it beyond the walls of their homes. An outdoor kitchen keeps a seamless flow from the backyard to the pool area to the kitchen and dining room.
- Exciting dining. Outdoor kitchens have a cozy, glamping feel that’s more special than your typical meal indoors. The kids can play in the yard after you eat, while parents sip wine straight from under-counter wine reserves. You’ll love to entertain guests in your incredible outdoor dining space. There’s something for everyone in a stunning outdoor kitchen.
- Increased property value. An outdoor kitchen is also a great way to increase the resale value of your home. Buyers in Southern California will love the fact that they can use the outdoor kitchen year-round, with hardly any rainy days to put a damper on outside activities. According to QuickenLoans, adding an outdoor kitchen could have a return on investment (ROI) of 55-200%.
- Ideal climate. An outdoor kitchen might not make sense in Northern America or even someplace as muggy as Florida, but in the Los Angeles area, the climate is ideal for outdoor cooking and dining. Warm sunny days, cool nights, and a stable climate year-round can help you get the most use out of your outdoor living space.
An outdoor kitchen can be an investment that yields returns for your family year after year. Installing a customized kitchen in your yard can expand your living space, add to home value, and make cooking more fun. The whole family will love to spend time in a functional, efficient, and exciting outdoor dining area.
Most Popular Features in LA Outdoor Kitchens
An outdoor kitchen is a coveted item in Los Angeles. If you’re thinking of investing in one this year, make sure you know what appliances are in style. New technologies and materials are bringing more to outdoor kitchens than ever before. You can custom design your outdoor space to include anything you want, from stainless steel cabinetry to a rotisserie oven. The following are some of the most popular features in outdoor kitchens:
- Professional grill. The grill is the centerpiece of any kitchen, and should be suited to the scale and glamour of your outdoor space. Pick a premium grill head that can easily drop into your outdoor island or base. You can choose a conventional U-burner oven or an infrared burner. The latter uses infrared technology to cook food in half the time of a standard grill.
- Evo grill. An Evo grill or cooktop is a popular choice for outdoor kitchens because of durability, look, and style. Evo grills can effortlessly drop into an outdoor kitchen oasis, with a unique round design that offers a large cooking surface. Choose a grill with a rotisserie option if you want to slow cook a whole bird outside. Popular grill accessories outdoors include side burners and hoods.
- Pizza oven. Pizza ovens are excellent for outdoor kitchens because you have the space to install these large appliances. Available styles range from stainless steel propane ovens to traditional tile pizza ovens. You can go all out with an authentic wood-fired pizza oven in a corner of your outdoor kitchen, and host pizza nights for your neighbors.
- Drink station (with ice maker). No outdoor kitchen is complete without a place for drinks. Customize a bar or beverage area with refrigerated drawers, an icemaker, and beer on tap. Install wine chillers or an entire under-the-counter refrigeration suite for a range of beverage options. Your signature outdoor beverage center is sure to get the party started.
- Refrigeration. Say goodbye to traditional refrigerators – the outdoor kitchen has the flexibility of much more innovative options. One of the most popular choices is refrigerated drawers underneath the countertops. Refrigerated drawers can help you keep food and drinks cold and on hand for easy cooking and hosting.
- Television. Make your outdoor kitchen the hot spot for outside entertainment by installing HD flat-screen TVs for your guests’ enjoyment. You can purchase special outdoor TVs that offer superior brightness. Watch the big game or your favorite show while cooking or dining in your unique outdoor space.
- Built-in heaters. The weather won’t be a problem in LA on most days, but what about when the sun goes down? Chilly temperatures won’t get in the way of enjoying your outdoor kitchen if you opt for built-in heaters. Rig your patio with overhead heaters and/or heated floors for comfortable, even heat distribution at the press of a button.
- Cabinetry and shelving. Your outdoor kitchen won’t have the same design as your indoor one. You have the freedom to create special cabinets and shelving to accommodate unique needs, such as storing firewood for your pizza oven. Make sure to include enough space to store your flatware and cooking utensils.
- Waterproof countertops. Outside kitchens can have 100% waterproof materials, such as “plywood” that’s really recycled plastic. Ecosheet provides engineered panels for countertops and other construction projects made from 100% recycled plastics. These countertops are great for an environmentally friendly kitchen, as well as one that can withstand the occasional LA thunderstorm.
- Dining area. It wouldn’t make sense to only cook outside – part of the fun is dining outdoors, too. Your outdoor kitchen can include an intimate table for two or bench-style seating for large parties, right at the heart of your outdoor space. A dining area connects the elements of your yard, bringing together the kitchen and the pool or patio area.
Choosing the appliances for your outdoor kitchen is one of the most exciting parts of construction. Select a contractor that can work with local vendors for materials and that has the means to connect you to the appliances and features of your dreams. Check out a showroom for ideas of fixtures, hardware, appliances, countertops, and more. Then, run your ideas by the contractor to see how he or she can put them into action.
Things to Keep in Mind When Building Your Outdoor Kitchen
An outdoor kitchen is not a repeat of your indoor kitchen, but outdoors. It is an entirely new space that may not resemble your indoor kitchen at all. Planning your perfect outdoor cooking and dining space takes a bit of knowledge about the climate, elements, and your goals for the space. You might not know what goes into building an outdoor kitchen, but your contractor can walk you through the process to ensure the perfect end product. Keep these things in mind before and during your build:
- Your vision. Do you imagine something edgy and full of stainless steel? Cozy and intimate? Classy and elegant? All brick everything? Identifying your goals may take glancing through a few lookbooks, websites, or portfolios for ideas. Once you find something you like, save it for reference during your project. Nothing is too big, small, strange, or mundane for your outdoor kitchen. It’s your space – design it the way you want.
- Your type. Unlike indoor kitchens, which generally have the same key functions and elements, you have a great deal of flexibility in designing an outdoor kitchen. Start with the type you want. You could have a basic kitchen with a grill and outdoor bar…or you could go extravagant with virtually any features you can think up. Discuss types of outdoor kitchens with your contractor for a foundation.
- Your space. One of the only limitations on your outdoor kitchen will be the space you have available – although with space-saving innovations (such as under-the-counter refrigeration) you can still pack in almost every feature you desire. Your contractor can visit your home and map out the space you have for your outdoor kitchen. Then, you can brainstorm efficient design ideas together based on your wish list.
- Your budget. Of course, another constricting factor is your budget. Consider how much you’re willing to spend on your outdoor kitchen, keeping in mind the typical ROI of this home improvement project when it’s time to sell. Start shopping styles and appliances you like for an idea of what your total project could cost. Then, request a quote from a few local contractors to see what your kitchen will run you. Contractors should never charge for quotes.
- Your priorities. Keep your budget in check by prioritizing the features you want in your outdoor kitchen. Make a list of everything your dream space would have, from a brick fireplace to a brand-new patio. Then, arrange your list in order from most important to least important. That way if the budget starts to get tight, you will know exactly which items to save for later.
- Your timeline. Do you have a specific event or other deadline in mind for your build? Are you adding an exterior kitchen just to sell your home? If you have a deadline, tell this to your contractor upfront. Find out if the builder can complete your project by your desired date. Keep in mind the size and extent of your project could change the timeline.
An outdoor kitchen can be an amazing addition to your property. Building the space of your dream, however, takes a bit of planning. The more prepared you are for the process, the smoother construction will go. A lot also depends on the contractor you choose as your partner. Your kitchen contractor in Los Angeles can help you generate new ideas for your build, bring your visions to life, and stick to your budget and schedule.
Prebuilt Kitchen Kit vs. Customized Outdoor Kitchen
If you’ve researched outdoor kitchens, you might have encountered outdoor kitchen kits. These prefabricated setups offer the most basic essentials for an outdoor kitchen: typically a single island with a grill, a small countertop, and minimal storage. While the cost might be tempting, consider the pros and cons of both options before you spend the money:
- Prefabricated kitchen kits. Pros: They are cost effective, easy to install, and cheaper than custom kitchens or modular kitchens. Upgrades with other features are often available. Homeowners who want the bare essentials of what an outdoor kitchen provides may like the low costs of prefabricated kitchen kits, which come as a set for installation into an existing outdoor space. Prefab kitchen kits do not require design or lengthy build processes.Cons: They offer low customization options and quality. With a prefab kitchen kit, you get what you pay for. The quality of the materials tends to be subpar and won’t last as long as a custom build. Your outdoor kitchen won’t be built-in, but instead will stand alone as an island. You will be limited in the features and design elements of your outdoor space, and may not enjoy the full effect or ROI you wanted. You will also need to hire an installer to hook up gas and water lines, if you cannot do it yourself.
- Custom-built outdoor kitchens. Pros: Custom builds offer total customization and high-quality workmanship. A custom-built setup will come complete with personalized design elements, materials of your choosing, built-in countertops, landscaping details, and incredible craftsmanship. You will have total control over the look, feel, features, and appliances. Your contractor will work with you to design your dream kitchen from the ground up, based on your needs and budget.Cons: They are more expensive than prefabricated kitchen kits. The cost of a custom-built outdoor kitchen will be more than a prefab kit, but again – you get what you pay for. Spending more money could give you the gorgeous outdoor kitchen you imagined, with high-quality and durable waterproof materials that will last. A custom build will also take more time to design, construct, and install. If you have the time and budget, however, the returns for a customized outdoor kitchen can be immense.
The big picture: your outdoor kitchen will be a showstopper when you choose a custom build. Don’t let prefab outdoor kitchen kits sway you into making a decision you’ll ultimately regret. If you’ve been dreaming of the perfect outdoor kitchen for your Los Angeles home, don’t compromise on your vision because of the potential money you save. A custom build is sure to increase property value, but you can’t say the same for a lower quality kit. Get a kitchen you can truly feel at home in with a custom build.
Choosing Your Contractor
Once you’ve decided your home is worth the investment of a custom-built outdoor kitchen, selecting your contractor is the most important next step. The contractor you trust with your project can make or break your building experience. You can enjoy a seamless, simple process with open communication and satisfaction guarantees…or else find yourself in the dark about the build and end up with a kitchen that doesn’t meet your needs. Hiring a kitchen contractor in Los Angeles you feel good about takes checking for certain traits:
- Licensure. First, check to make sure the contractor has a California license. This information should be available on the company’s website. If not, the contractor should make its California license number available to you upon request. Lack of proper licensing is a red flag that the builders may not operate according to safety and quality codes.
- Experience. Your company should have trained experts in kitchen design and construction, with many years of experience with similar projects. Look for galleries of past projects for an idea of the type of work the contractor can do. Your builders should have hands-on experience with other kitchen builds and projects in the area.
- Local expertise. It is especially important to hire someone local to LA when building an outdoor kitchen. The weather, climate, and outdoor elements will matter when it comes to kitchen design and material choices. Your contractor should understand the atmosphere in Southern California enough to recommend aspects that will keep your kitchen functional and comfortable 365 days a year.
- Knowledge of the craft. Any construction company can claim to have in-depth knowledge of kitchen construction. Search for proof of credibility and subject matter authority from something like an online blog, news stories about the company, or your conversation with a representative during a free consultation. Make sure you are in good hands before signing on for a major project.
- Open communication. Communication is the key, when it comes to enjoying the process of building an outdoor kitchen. Your contractor should make it fun by asking the right questions. What is your style? Favorite colors? What type of cooking equipment do you want? Your contractor should always keep you in the loop, and never make decisions about your outdoor kitchen without your input, approval, and consent.
- Friendly representatives. Everyone you work with on your outdoor kitchen project should be friendly, clean, and professional. The staff should be well trained and qualified to be doing the type of work your project demands. You should feel able to ask as many questions as you like during the build process.
- Virtual blueprints. Find a contractor that can use modern technology to create a better experience for you. Virtual kitchen mockups, for example, can help you see what your finished outdoor living space will look like. You can do a virtual walkthrough and make changes before your contractor ever breaks ground. This can help guarantee your satisfaction with the finished product.
- Preliminary estimate. Don’t sign onto a project until you have received a full preliminary estimate of the final cost. Doing so could set you up for a nasty surprise when your kitchen is complete. You should know a ballpark figure of what to expect, along with areas where your project may go over budget. Your contractor should always be upfront and transparent about pricing, with no hidden fees.
- Testimonials. An outdoor kitchen is a substantial investment. Only partner with a construction company that has verified testimonials from real customers. Testimonials should be positive, with happy experiences that left the buyers feeling confident in the build process and ecstatic with the end results. Search for contractor reviews and client stories prior to signing on the dotted line.
An outdoor kitchen could be just the addition your Los Angeles home needs. Get more out of your living space and create new memories with your family – all from your spectacular outdoor kitchen. Start the design and build processes today with an LA contractor you can trust.
Contact Bradco Kitchen & Baths for a free appointment to discuss your construction needs. We have decades of experience, professional design experts, and connections to top manufacturers around the world. Let us bring your outdoor kitchen vision to life.