How to Build an Outdoor Kitchen on a Budget Featured image

Have you been thinking about adding an outdoor kitchen or BBQ area in your backyard but were afraid about the budget limitations? There are cost-effective methods to build your backyard dream kitchen that you might not have considered before.

Here are some great tips and pointers to get you started right away.

How to get started?

Even if you aren’t exactly the best DIY person in the world, the ease of doing something creative isn’t as hard as you’ve been led to believe. There are so many easy-to-assemble kits that are being sold these days for outdoor kitchen and barbecue areas that you can find at your local home improvement center. To get started the right way, you do need some vital tools that make this process easier.

Whether or not you have a tool kit or not, some tools are essential for making a relatively simple job feel more difficult. Don’t rely on basic hand tools like screwdrivers that will wear out your wrist in no time. A simple cordless drill with a wide variety of interchangeable bits is the most important tool you’ll need. A spare battery and a charger will ensure that you can steadily work with a fresh battery while the spare is charging in just a couple of hours.

Use an accurate measuring tape that’s retractable. Many of the better models used for home construction include a built-in level so you can always check on something that needs to have a horizontal surface. Always remember- the magic bubble within the level tells you right away if your cabinets or framework are where they should be. It’s also more portable to have on you while you’re working since most of these measuring tapes have a belt clip!

Other power tools?

You don’t need big power tools such as a Sawzall, but a decent electric Jigsaw works for making expert cuts that are easier to make than a circular saw. Using a Jigsaw might be slower, but then again, you’re not building the Sistine Chapel either. Since everything is easier using galvanized screws, these replace nails and are easy to install with a simple pilot hole. You can still benefit by having a simple claw hammer around for general needs.

As long as you have basic tools to work with, you’re ready to take on any backyard project. Don’t forget that safety glasses and working gloves are worth their weight in gold to make sure you don’t smash your fingers or get debris in your eyes. In all, the amount you might expect to pay for new tools is between $150-200 if you shop around at discount stores.

Appliances you’ll want to purchase to install

Appliances For outdoor kitchen

It’s easy to suggest that anything on sale is a good step to saving a few bucks here and there. Look for appliances that are on sale, but more importantly the ones that are clearance items or floor models. You can increase your savings but you also risk missing some pieces that may have gone with these items. Make sure that anything that is being sold at a cheaper or discounted price has all the parts included. For more on backyard kitchen appliances and grills see our article on equipping your outdoor kitchen.

As long as it still has a valid warranty, you are covered for anything that happens to that appliance within the expiration date. Don’t stick with name-brand appliances that can increase your overall cost, but instead stick with what is doing a good job. Check around for product reviews of the same item sold on Amazon. These reviews tell you right away what real customers feel are the true strengths and weaknesses of that product.

Among the most important items that you’ll want include:

Backyard Kitchen Frame Kit

Outdoor Kitchen Frame Kit

If you have a backyard area selected, it does need to be covered from the elements, so the overhang within a patio area is a good place to consider right away. If you don’t have a shaded or protected overhang, some kits allow you to build pre-made outdoor kitchen gazebo kits anywhere between $500-1000. These kits are the first step to assemble and will make the most effort, so having a friend that knows anything about carpentry will be good to contact for help.

After this, it will be easier to install kitchen frame kits that will allow you to add appliances, electricity, water, and anything else within your kitchen or BBQ area. Use the size of your available area to gauge how many of these kitchen frames you’ll need. A simple diagram planning out where everything will go can speed up what items will go where they best fit.

Cabinets and Storage

Outdoor kitchen Cabinets and Storage

Premade frames are used so it will be easier to place appliances into these spaces and bolted or secured into the frame itself. Just like kitchen cabinet frames, they are intended to be used outdoors and made from aluminum so they won’t rust so easily. Some people may opt for making wooden frames, which does take more skill, however, premade aluminum frames can be grouped together right away and are meant to be fast and easy to work with.

Many cabinets that fit into premade outdoor frames may also be part of the same manufacturer but look for a cabinet system that you don’t have to mix and match. Many home improvement centers will offer outdoor kitchen kits in their catalog which include a complete setup that can be more ideal to your budget and size restrictions. The cost you can expect for cabinets or premade outdoor kitchen kits will start around $2500 on the low end.

If you search around for the best deals and assemble this from used kitchen cabinets, it might be cheaper.

Mini Fridge

Mini Fridge for outdoor kitchen

Finding a mini-fridge is always easier if you look on Craigslist or one that is sold at a second-hand retail center for less than $50. A new fridge is nice if you have the money, so a used fridge will work just fine if you look around at garage sales, flea markets, or local online advertisements. You can also ask around with friends and connect with others who might have a mini-fridge they want to get rid of for free, that’s the best deal you can’t turn down.

Gas Grill

Gas Grill For outdoor kitchen

Buying a gas grill is very cheap these days. Most people don’t want to deal with gas grills because they’re convinced that you can’t achieve the smoky flavor that comes from charcoal and wood-fired grill. There are many add-ons for gas grills where you can add a portable smoker inside the grill to get that authentic smoky BBQ flavor. The advantage to using a gas grill is being able to control your temperature more accurately.

The general price for a good gas grill on a budget starts at $250 to $500 depending on the model. Just look for the kind that works best for your outdoor kitchen setup and be sure to have fundamental grilling accessories.

Pizza Oven

Ooni Frya 12 pizza oven

If you’re into outdoor pizza cooking, you might have big intentions to make a brick pizza oven. That’s a nice idea unless you want to spend forever cementing bricks together to make a permanent pizza oven. If you’re running short on time and have a decent budget, there is a great solution that never fails. Buying the Ooni Frya 12 pizza oven is a portable concept that uses wood pellets to get that authentic pizza oven flavor.

Because it’s portable, your outdoor kitchen countertop is the perfect surface to put it on while you’re working on a more permanent pizza oven construction. A permanent pizza oven can cost you as little as $300 to build using simple materials from the home improvement center.

Built-in Sink

Outdoor kitchen Built-in Sink

Running water is another luxury in your backyard that any BBQ kitchen is going to need. You’ll need to make some plumbing attachments for drainage and attach hot and cold access to water from your home. Make sure that it’s running off the water meter, so get some help from a plumbing friend if you’re unsure how to make this hookup. A built-in sink is great for washing smaller items but will be ideal for making sauces, cooking, and cleanup duties.

It’s also good if you’re cleaning seafood, meat, or anything else that needs immediate access to running water. The total cost for a good sink and all the plumbing will be around $150-to 350 depending on how cheap you want to stick with.

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