How To Build An Outdoor Kitchen On A Budget

outdoor kitchen in backyard

From pergolas all the way to gunite pools, there are numerous ways you can integrate life into your backyard. Eventually though, you’ll want to integrate a dining area into the space. Enter an outdoor kitchen, your solution to completing your backyard design. An outdoor kitchen might sound great, but too expensive. Therefore, you need to know how to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget.

What Is An Outdoor Kitchen?

Outdoor kitchens at the minimum will contain a built in grill with counter space around it. They also might feature a side burner. Oftentimes they will be expanded to include an under counter refrigerator and a sink. More developed outdoor kitchens can have smokers, pizza ovens, deep fryers, broilers, beverage centers, ice makers, wine chillers, and more. When considering an outdoor kitchen all these choices can seem overwhelming both emotionally and financially. You can spend as much as you would on an indoor kitchen and more on an outdoor kitchen.

How To Build An Outdoor Kitchen On A Budget

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of designing an outdoor kitchen. In addition, we’ll call out which pieces are most expensive and how to get around them.

Understand And Plan Your Plumbing

The first step is to look into whether your house is pre-plumbed and wired for an outdoor kitchen. It’s not uncommon for modern home builders to build in pre-plumbing and pre-wiring. Many people are electing for outdoor kitchens on the back patio of their home. If you don’t have utilities in place, that’s alright.

However, keep in mind that if you want a sink and you don’t have the plumbing already in place, it can be a huge budget buster depending on how easy it is to get the plumbing to the sink. There are some great maceration systems which can be installed under the sink that pump the waste to a sewer connection. Review these options with your plumber if you know that you want a sink as a part of your outdoor kitchen.

Consider Prefabricated Kitchen Systems

outdoor kitchen with grill, sink and refrigerator

As long as you don’t need much customization, you may want to consider some of the prefabricated units out there. Weber makes a prefabricated grill and counter system which retails for around $4,500. This is one of the least expensive routes for getting a functional grill with counter space. The Weber brand is a trusted and reliable source for grills.

Another great option is to consider the Mont Alpi family of products. They have a number of prefabricated outdoor kitchen kits which range of $2,800 for a simple grill with counter space all the way to $8,250 for a grill, dual beverage center, sink, and counter space. The Mont Alpi systems are modern and sleek. Therefore, they may not be for everybody. Although they do provide a complete outdoor kitchen for far less than the majority of other options.

Custom Modular Cabinetry

outdoor kitchen with custom modular cabinetry

There are still further options to consider before you decide you need to build a custom outdoor kitchen. Check out the Urban Bonfire modular system of outdoor kitchen cabinetry. This is one of the best options for a custom feel with high quality cabinetry. The advantage of the Urban Bonfire system over custom built masonry outdoor kitchens is the tightness of the cabinetry. It’s not uncommon with masonry outdoor kitchens for the cabinetry to become dank and moldy homes for spiders and other creatures.

By having tightly closing powder coated stainless steel cabinetry, the Urban Bonfire system becomes more than a budget outdoor kitchen option. Urban Bonfire is the luxurious alternative to more expensive modular systems like Kalamazoo Outdoor. Urban Bonfire has transparent pricing available on their website. You will have to purchase your grill head and refrigerator from another vendor, but they do provide sinks and countertops as a part of their system.

How To Make Custom Built Outdoor Kitchens Affordable

high end outdoor kitchen with pool behind it in backyard

Custom built outdoor kitchens can be a good option for two reasons. First, if you must have a stone outdoor kitchen cabinet base. Second, if you want to match the stone on your house. They can be built to integrate seamlessly with your existing home. While the cost is higher, they are sometimes the best option.

Doing a custom kitchen on a budget is somewhat of an oxymoron. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive route for getting an outdoor kitchen, but you can save some money here and there if you know where to look. First, make sure you purchase high quality appliances, but you don’t have to buy the absolute best. You could buy the best 42” grill head out there from Kalamazoo Outdoor for $12,500. However, you can also buy an excellent grill head from a luxury outdoor appliance company like Hestan for $5,500.

For a custom kitchen, not only do you need to buy your grill, and refrigerator, sink and faucet, but you’ll also need to buy your access doors. One of the benefits of doing a custom kitchen is you get to choose these items. What you’ll want to do before your builder starts the kitchen however, is to have all the components delivered to your home.

If you install these components based on the cut sheets from the manufacturer, you may find yourself with some access doors that don’t quite fit. Not to knock the manufacturers out there, but they do not always update their literature which can be unnecessarily frustrating.


Whichever option you choose for your outdoor kitchen setup, building an outdoor kitchen is one of the best ways to improve your outdoor entertaining experience. After you have invested in something like a pool or patio, you will get a ton of enjoyment out of being able to cook outdoors. You will finally no longer have to worry about the ease of flow from your indoor kitchen to an outdoor dining space.