Are Outdoor Kitchens on the Outs?

Posted on Mar 17 2016 - 4:45pm by John Egan
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outdoor kitchenHomeowners continue to cook up outdoor kitchens that in some cases rival their indoor counterparts. Yet some experts insist the popularity of outdoor kitchens has boiled over.

Belgard, a maker of outdoor living products, says souped-up outdoor kitchens include professional-grade appliances (particularly refrigerators and dishwashers), numerous cooking surfaces, bar-style seating and brick ovens, while Trex Co., another maker of outdoor living products, adds cooking islands and built-in sinks to the mix.

“The whole concept of outdoor cooking has grown far beyond a backyard barbecue,” design expert Paul Lafrance, one of the stars of HGTV’s ‘Decked Out,” says in a Trex news release. “Homeowners are hungry for fully appointed kitchens with features like integrated trash bins, ice chests and cabinetry that add convenience and luxury.”

In a 2015 survey by the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association, 35 percent of people who have outdoor kitchens said they planned to undertake upgrades within the next three years. Outdoor furniture purchases, deck/patio improvements and garden/landscaping improvements topped the list of planned upgrades.

“Outdoor kitchens make life easier for those who enjoy grilling their meals and entertaining outdoors, making your deck or patio an extension of your family’s living space. It also can enhance your home’s resale value,” the National Association of Home Builders says.

As you’d expect, the National Outdoor Kitchen & Fireplace Association is bullish about outdoor kitchens.

“The outdoor kitchen has become one of the most popular home improvements for consumers across America,” the association says, “and just about every consumer we speak to is either planning on having an outdoor kitchen built or it’s at the top of their wish list for a future backyard project.”

A 2013 survey for Casual Living and HGTV showed that 4 percent of U.S. consumers had outdoor kitchens, but it’s likely that number has grown in the meantime. The 2013 research found that outdoor kitchens most often are owned by wealthier, older Americans.

Ian Phi, publisher of the Patio Resource website, says the popularity of outdoor kitchens peaked a few years ago and now is waning. As a matter of fact, a December 2015 survey by the National Home Builders Association indicates that builders expect outdoor kitchens to be one of the least likely features incorporated into new single-family homes in 2016.

Phi says some homeowners have discovered that they don’t use their outdoor kitchens all that much, and that these kitchens are yet another area they must clean and maintain. If outdoor kitchens aren’t maintained well, he says, birds, insects and other pests might come calling.

“Most homeowners want to have some planned outdoor space,” Phi says. “It could be something simple, perhaps just a small area to put an outdoor table and a grill. Other people want to go all out and have a fire pit area, lots of custom-built seating, extensive landscaping and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.”

John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter, an Austin, Texas-based company that helps people find, schedule, pay for and manage lawn care services.

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6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Ians Pool August 29, 2016 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Great post. outdoors kitchen is as much a part of our homes as the inside. Take advantage of this additional space by adding a beautiful, functional outdoor kitchen to your home.

  2. Suzi Steve September 20, 2016 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Backyard barbecue kitchen design is gorgeous. I like this style for home as it looks very decent.

  3. Jeremy Schopper December 23, 2016 at 12:10 am - Reply

    The title caught my attention. Good thoughts. Based on our schedule, I would say that outdoor kitchens are as popular now as ever. We’re looking forward to a terrific spring once the income tax refund checks start coming in 🙂

  4. John Belk December 13, 2017 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Fascinating info! My clients love their outdoor kitchens!

  5. oviedopressure March 15, 2018 at 8:17 am - Reply

    it’s better to have a kitchen outdoor, its more convenient cooking outside!

  6. forthsmithtowing March 15, 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

    I am planning to have a outdoor kitchen

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