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Elevating Outdoor Living: Custom Outdoor Kitchens for Custom Homes

Custom outdoor kitchens always seem to be the hot, practical addition to outdoor living areas.  Increasingly, I’m sure you’ll recognize the value of extending your living space beyond the traditional confines of the interior space.  Transforming a mundane patio or backyard into a culinary haven, outdoor kitchens bring a new dimension to the joy of cooking and entertaining.  In this article, we will share various options and ideas that make custom outdoor kitchens a sought-after addition to every custom home.


custom outdoor kitchens

Designing Your Culinary Oasis

A custom outdoor kitchen is more than just a grill and a few patio chairs.  It is an immersive experience tailored to suit your lifestyle.  As you embark on the journey of creating your culinary oasis, consider the following key elements:

  • Layout and Configuration: The first decision to make is the layout and configuration of your custom outdoor kitchen.  The L-shaped, U-shaped or island layout are popular choices, each offering a unique advantage. The L-shaped design is space-efficient and promotes easy flow, while the U-shaped layout provides more counter space for entertaining.  An island configuration, on the other hand, becomes a central hub for cooking and socializing, perfect for those who love hosting gatherings.

  • Appliances and Features: The heart of any custom outdoor kitchen lies in its appliances.  High-quality grills, smokers and pizza ovens are fundamental components.  However, custom outdoor kitchens often go beyond the basics.  Consider adding a built-in refrigerator, wine cooler, or even a kegerator to elevate your outdoor entertaining game. Additionally, storage solutions and ample counter space are crucial for a seamless cooking experience.

  • Materials and Finishes: When it comes to materials, durability and style are equally important.  Stainless steel remains a popular choice for its resilience against the elements, easy maintenance and contemporary look.  For a more rustic feel, natural stone like granite or travertine can add a touch of elegance.  When choosing finishes, opt for weather-resistant materials than can withstand exposure to sunlight, rain and fluctuating temperatures.

  • Lighting and Ambiance: Extend the functionality of your custom outdoor kitchen into the evening with strategic lighting.  Pendant lights above the cooking area, under-counter LED lights, and even pathway lighting can enhance both safety and ambiance.  Fire features, such as built-in fireplace or fire pit, add warmth and create a cozy atmosphere for late-night gatherings.


Innovative Features to Consider

Custom outdoor kitchens allow for a level of personalization that goes beyond the ordinary.  Explore these innovative features to make your outdoor kitchen truly unique.

  • Automated Grilling Systems: Embrace the latest technology with automated grilling systems that offer precision and convenience.  These systems allow you to control temperature, cooking time, and even receive notifications on your smartphone.  Perfectly grilled steaks and burgers are just a tap away, ensuring you can entertain guests without being tied to the grill.

  • Outdoor Pizza Ovens: Bring the pizzeria experience to your backyard with a custom outdoor pizza oven.  These compact and efficient ovens can reach high temperatures, producing crispy, restaurant-quality pizzas in minutes.  Imagine hosting pizza nights with friends and family, each person crafting their own personalized masterpiece.

  • Versatile Cooking Stations: Incorporate versatile cooking stations into your outdoor kitchen for a diverse culinary experience.  A teppanyaki griddle, for example, allows you to cook anything from stir-fires to breakfast pancakes.  This diversity enhances the overall functionality of your outdoor kitchen, accommodating different cooking styles and preferences.

  • Smart Technology: We already mentioned automated grilling, but there is so much more.  Transform your custom outdoor kitchen into a smart space with smart fridges, lighting, audio and video.  You can control all of it through your smartphone or voice-activated assistants.  This not only adds a futuristic touch but also enhances the efficiency and ease of managing your outdoor culinary and entertaining haven.

  • Heating and Cooling: Want to extend the use of your custom outdoor kitchen?  With today’s heating and cooling systems, you can use your outdoor kitchen on the coldest or hottest of days.  Heating elements warm up the area with ease, while mist cooling fans can cool off the most scorching hot days.

  • Wash & Prep: Make preparing and cleanup a snap with sinks and dishwashers.  In addition to optimal storage for all your outdoor cooking and preparation, many of the finest custom outdoor kitchens have large sinks with disposals to help with preparation and clean up.  Similarly, there are now dishwashers that can handle the outdoor environment.

  • Venting: Depending on the location of your outdoor kitchen, good venting above the grill and other cooking areas is crucial for your enjoyment and safety.  Properly sized hoods and blowers will efficient pull away heat, smoke and other unpleasant elements away from your outdoor kitchen so you can socialize and entertain without hassles.

outdoor kitchen grill

Environmental Considerations

Creating a custom outdoor kitchen is not just about aesthetics and functionality; it also involves responsible decision-making.  Consider these environmentally conscious choices as you plan your outdoor space.

  • Energy-Efficient Appliances: Just as you would in your interior kitchen, opt for energy-efficient appliances that reduce your electrical and gas usage.  Look for grills and outdoor kitchen appliances with high Energy Star ratings, indicating their commitment to energy efficiency.  This not only benefits the environment, but also translates into long-term cost savings.

  • Water-Saving Design: Incorporate water-saving features into your outdoor kitchen design.  Consider installing a sink with a low-flow faucet and ensure proper drainage to minimize water waste.  Additionally, choose permeable materials for your outdoor flooring to allow water to seep into the ground rather than create runoff.

  • Sustainable Materials: Choose sustainable and eco-friendly materials for your custom outdoor kitchen construction.  Bamboo, recycled composite materials, and reclaimed wood are excellent choices for cabinets that not only add a touch of natural beauty but also contribute to a healthier planet.



As the allure of custom outdoor kitchens continues to grow, you will discover that joy of combining culinary prowess with beauty of the great outdoors.  Whether you’re a grill master, an aspiring chef, or simply someone who loves to entertain, a custom outdoor kitchen can transform your backyard into a haven of culinary delight.  With thoughtful design, innovative features, and environmental considerations, your custom outdoor kitchen can become the focal point of your home, inviting friends and family to gather and create lasting memories.  Embrace the possibilities, and let your imagination guide you as you embark on the journey of designing the perfect custom outdoor kitchen for your home.

Additional Resources

  • Cost Components - This article provides many of the cost variables for an outdoor kitchen

  • Appliance Reviews - This article reviews the top appliance brands

  • Cleaning & Maintenance - This article outlines the tips to keep your outdoor kitchen tip top

  • Top Trends - Here are the top trends in outdoor kitchens

  • Vent Hood - Do you need a ventilation hood over the grill? This will help you decide.


“I have known Jon for many years. He and his team at Owners’ Ace are an invaluable resource to anyone looking to design and build a custom home. Having their assistance makes a complex process so much easier and successful. I recommend Owners’ Ace to my clients and to anyone looking to build their dream home.”

BG Holmberg, Top Custom Home Realtor in Tampa Bay Area

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