The kitchen has always been the place for casual entertaining, spontaneous conversation, and late night lingering. An outdoor kitchen brings the magic outside, offering a durable entertaining area and a reason to linger outside on more intimate nights. 

In a 2013 survey of top outdoor living trends conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, outdoor experts confirmed America’s love affair with outdoor kitchens, with 94.5% them as a popular client request. That’s up from 91.5% in 2012.“Whether screened or open porches or pavilions, [outdoor kitchens] become the most loved and used spaces of the home,” says Karla Greer, AIA, a partner at Lake Flato Architects in San Antonio. 

The centerpiece of an outdoor kitchen is the grill, which, not surprisingly, was rated as a popular feature by 96.3% of those surveyed. Beyond this outdoor cooking essential, appliance makers have responded with suites of outdoor appliances designed to limit trips back indoors. Other top features include the ever popular outdoor fireplace, dining areas, lighting, installed seating, weatherized furniture, counter space, and utility storage. “Under-counter refrigerators are particularly popular,” notes Greer.

The ASLA study also showed demand for both sustainable and low-maintenance design, which many of the homes that follow incorporate through salvaged or recycled materials, permeable paving, and hardy building materials. Greer advises that generally, it’s wise to put the outdoor kitchen under a roof. As for materials, she says that many work well, “particularly stone, metal or concrete for the countertops and wood species that like the out of doors, such as cedar.”

Are outdoor kitchens a popular request for your buyers?

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