Southern Californians can dine outdoors at home pretty much all year long. But now more of us are skipping the back-and-forth trip between the indoor kitchen and the patio by adding another kitchen outside.
The concept isn’t new, but outdoor chefs now cook, grill and bake with the latest in all-weather products, from pizza ovens to chilled wine racks to steam-spraying cleaning brushes. Stainless-steel cabinets, standard-size refrigerators and freezers, gas ovens, marble countertops, trash compactors and, of course, the kitchen sink, have all made their way outside for good.
Regulations covering electrical, gas and water lines vary from city to city, so it’s smart to check with the permitting department or a licensed contractor before considering your own outdoor kitchen. Large home-improvement centers offer most of the components, which have become sturdier and often less expensive in recent years. They can be installed by do-it-yourselfers or professionals. Add a dining area, a second patio slab, and a roof to shield everything from the elements, and you’re really cookin’.
Here are some of the items showing up in today’s well-equipped outdoor kitchen:
One specialist says a typical 10-foot-long outdoor kitchens costs about twice that of an indoor kitchen, or about $15,000 to $20,000. But you can start adding slowly and create your outdoor kitchen when weather permits. And in sunny Southern California, there’s plenty of time for that.