Building an Outdoor Kitchen: Coolers and Refrigerators Building an Outdoor Kitchen: Coolers and Refrigerators

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Paper and pencil
Decorative block (such as retaining wall blocks)
Coolers or refrigerator

An outdoor kitchen is currently one of the most popular home improvement projects. During the warmer months, many people want to expand their living space to include their back yards and patios, and the addition of an outdoor kitchen can be a great option in achieving this result. Kitchens are common gathering places, and with a little planning, an outdoor kitchen that includes components that will keep your food and beverages cold doesn't need to be expensive. Here you will find some basic steps on planning your new outdoor kitchen, particularly to include the proper cooling mechanisms such as coolers and refrigerators.

Step 1 - Plan Your Space

Use your tape measure to determine what kind of room you have to work with. Consider any expansion and what it will entail. Sketch the layout of your area on paper, and determine where you want to place cooking appliances, such as a grill, and where coolers or a refrigerator will be located.

Step 2 - Obtain Coolers or Refrigerators

If you want to include a refrigerator in your outdoor kitchen, there are 2 primary considerations to keep in mind. You will need to plan for the electrical supply for a refrigerator. If you have an existing outlet, you may want to plan the kitchen's layout with that in mind. If you do not have an existing outlet, you will want to have one installed. An electrician can do this for you with minimal investment. The other primary consideration to keep in mind is the intended use of the refrigerator. Is it meant to be used outdoors? If not, how will it be protected from the elements? There are several refrigerators on the market that are designed to be used outdoors, and building the cost of one of these into your budget is a wise investment. If a true refrigerator is not in the budget, there are a variety of coolers that can be a more reasonable option that are both beautiful and functional. There are coolers on the market that will keep items cold for a week, and coolers that double as a floating or rolling bar. Do some research to see what will fit best into your design and budget.

Step 3 - Build the Kitchen

Once your layout and features are determined, start by building up the "walls" of the kitchen using the block and mortar, building around the grill and coolers or refrigerator. Lay the counters on top of the block walls, cutting them to fit around or over the grill and refrigerator or coolers. Countertops can be made of just about any material: recycled doors, old countertops, tile. Many like the look of stainless steel. These are easily obtained by purchasing thin sheets of steel and wrapping them around wood or recycled doors, and tacking the steel down underneath the edge.

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