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Buying an Outdoor Kitchen? Avoid these 6 Mistakes

By Jayme Muller

April 8, 2022

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a reality of being human… We’re fallible beings.

Yet sometimes… Mistakes are avoidable.

This is especially true of your outdoor kitchen island project.

Whether you’re in the beginning or final stages of your project… You know that an outdoor kitchen is a large investment.

Therefore… Any mistakes made come at a considerable cost.

And of course, we all want to conserve cash! The trouble is…

How do you know you’re making a mistake when you buy an outdoor kitchen? It’s pretty much impossible if no one tells you.

That’s what we’re here for.

It’s time to uncover the secrets of grill island buying mistakes.

Shall we begin?

Quick Links:

1. Budgeting for Your Project as an Afterthought

Price is the deal maker… Or deal breaker.

For most homeowners… Compiling a budget is the first step in the purchasing process.

Unfortunately, this task can prove to be difficult.

There is little information online about detailed pricing… So it can be a challenge to determine a reasonable budget for your outdoor cooking space.

It’s not your fault!

You simply can’t create a budget without enough information.

That’s where we come in.

We believe you should be deeply educated about all aspects of outdoor kitchens. Of course, this includes pricing!

If you’re just beginning your research… Calculating your budget is an essential first step. A clear budget will ensure you get started off on the right foot.

You can also review all about outdoor kitchen costs to understand the potential price tag of your project.

What if I already have my Budget?

If your project is well underway… You may be feeling a bit out of place.

There’s no need to fear!

Even if you have your budget solidified already… The above information will be incredibly helpful for you.

For one, you’ll gain context for some of the pricing you’ve seen. For another… You may want to adjust your budget based on these new findings.

Have your Budget figured out?

Use our 3D design tool for free and design an outdoor kitchen to fit any budget.

2. For Buying an Outdoor Kitchen Island - Timing is Everything

You know the cliché… The story about the bird and the worm.

Yes, the early bird gets the worm is an overused phrase.

…But you can’t deny the underlying truth.

Especially when it comes to outdoor kitchens.

Many homeowners wait far too long to begin planning their outdoor cooking space.

Say you wait until your patio is installed to begin speaking with an outdoor kitchen designer. You may think this seems harmless…

What’s wrong with it?

Well, you can encounter some complications if things don’t go as planned.

Take the patio, for example.

If you don’t have your ideal kitchen island design at the ready… How will you know it fits on your patio?

Perhaps you want a large outdoor kitchen… But it can’t fit on the patio you built. You’ll either have to compromise on your design or extend your patio.

That’s annoying.

Compare this scenario to the opposite. Let’s say you planned your BBQ island design before the patio.

First of all… You’ll be confident that your custom outdoor kitchen will fit! You could even run utility lines ahead of time. This will reduce labor later on in the process.

This sounds so much better, doesn’t it?

Planning earlier will also allow you to properly research outdoor kitchens. In doing so… You can have an idea of what products and companies you want to use.

So when it comes time to order your outdoor kitchen… You’re ready to go.

When is the Timing to Buy Right?

We’ve already mentioned planning as early as possible.

But the time of year also plays a role in the planning process.

Most homeowners start thinking about a BBQ island project in the spring. The weather’s getting warmer… You want to be outside more…

It makes sense.

Unfortunately… Waiting until spring to start your project can prove to be problematic.

Between busy contractors… Patio installation… Utility line installation… Choosing the right outdoor kitchen company… You have a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time.

If you want your outdoor space ready for summer… There are a ton of decisions you need to make quickly. And rushing the process is the last thing you want to do.

An outdoor kitchen is a big investment! You don’t want to make a decision you will come to regret later.

When you’re running up on a deadline like this… It’s easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed.

Thankfully, you don’t have to pull your hair out!

You just need to start planning your outdoor kitchen at a different time of year.

When, exactly?

The fall and winter months are the best time to plan your project.

During these quiet months… You’ll have plenty of time to get the logistics of your outdoor space down.

In fact… Getting your project started at the right time is the perfect way to avoid the next mistake.

3. Patience is a Virtue

We know… You are eager to start your project!

While we completely understand the excitement… You’ll also want to practice patience.

It’s true that timeline is an important element of your outdoor kitchen project. Many homeowners have their heart set on being able to host for Memorial Day Weekend.

As long as you plan early enough… That’s entirely possible!

But what if you’re behind the 8 ball?

Don’t make decisions based on timeline.

This can be a huge mistake.

Yes… It’s enticing to hire a company that can finish your outdoor space quickly. However, impatience can cloud your judgement.

While this company may be able to meet your timeline… The quality may not be anything to write home about. And that can cause you significant headache in the future.

We’re talking repairs and replacements. (Yikes!)

The reality is…

Great outdoor kitchen companies are in high demand. No matter what… You’ll have to delay gratification a bit if you want a high quality outdoor kitchen.

I'm Behind. What can I do?

First… Take a deep breath!

While it certainly can be… An outdoor kitchen project doesn’t have to be stressful.

You are left with a couple options here.

For one… You can simply accept that your outdoor kitchen won’t be ready for Memorial Day weekend. In the grand scheme of things… You’re usually only missing out on a few weekends.

Losing a few weeks now is far better than having to make repairs or replacements in the future.

Another option is to wait until next year. If everything about your project has to be just so… You may prefer to wait until next summer for another go-around.

You’ll have ample time to plan and make sure next year is a success.

Running out of patience? start now!

Use our 3D design tool for free and bring your outdoor kitchen idea to life.

4. Pinching your Pennies

As we touched upon earlier… A purchase is only made if the price is right.

However… We can sometimes be a bit too rigid when it comes to price.

Most homeowners come into their project with a strict budget. Yes, this is important! As you’ve seen… We’re big advocates of creating an accurate budget.

The trouble comes in when you are only considering your budget and price.

Of course… You want the best deal that provides the most value.

This doesn’t always mean the cheapest option is the right choice.

Let’s back up for a moment…

Most people make a purchasing decision based on three factors.

They want the best quality product, the highest level of service, and the lowest price possible.

Quality, service, price.

Price is not the only thing you’re considering. What you really want is the best value for your money.

If you do have tunnel vision on price… You have to ask yourself some difficult questions. The main one being…

What are you willing to give up for long term happiness?

Low-priced companies won’t be able to offer all three purchasing factors to you. In order to offer the highest quality product with the best service… It’s simply going to cost more.

The RTA Difference for Buying an Outdoor Kitchen

Take RTA, for example.

We don’t boast having the lowest prices. We’re not the cheapest option out there.

However… That increased cost allows us to deliver the best quality service and product possible. We’re honored to provide world-class service and a high quality outdoor kitchen you’ll enjoy for the long haul.

We’ll admit it… The price tag can sting at first.

Yet, most homeowners never regret shelling out a bit extra for a product they love.

The emotion behind owning a product is what you will remember. Not the price.

When you’re enjoying your outdoor kitchen 10 years from now… You won’t be concerned about the extra $1,000 or so you spent!

Conversely… Homeowners will regret saving money on a product they’re not 100% thrilled with.

Living with a product that doesn’t meet expectations will only serve as a reminder of what could have been.

Don’t let that be you!

Regardless of the solution you choose… Be willing to spend a bit more for what you truly want.

5. Give Yourself Some Counter Space

Don’t make the mistake of installing your beautiful outdoor kitchen… Only to have no functional counter space.

It may seem like a little thing… But trust me, you will regret it!

You need ample space to prepare and serve food.

Yes, it’s appealing to fill your design with built-in grills, side burners, and other appliances. But if you’re left with no work space… You’re going to be frustrated!

All of the aforementioned outdoor appliances are wonderful. Yet… It doesn’t mean much if you have no counterspace.

A huge reason why people purchase an outdoor kitchen is convenience. You don’t want to run in and out of the house to cook a nice meal outdoors.

So when you don’t plan for enough counterspace… You can just about throw that convenience out the window!

You can have all the bells and whistles you want… But if you don’t have anywhere to put your supplies and accessories… That’s the opposite of convenient.

Point is…

Plan for adequate counterspace!

6. Outdoor Kitchen Storage is Key

In our opinion… Storage is one of the most underrated outdoor kitchen features.

They’re not glamorous… But they are highly functional.

Remember, an outdoor kitchen is about convenience. Just as with counterspace… You don’t want to run in and out of the house for utensils and supplies.

That defeats the purpose of an outdoor kitchen.

You’re installing a grill island to avoid the runaround!

You don’t want to be that person. Make sure you have storage incorporated into your outdoor kitchen design!

…And there you have it. The top 6 outdoor kitchen buying mistakes.

Now that you know how to make your project a success… What’s next?

Next Steps

rta outdoor living design tool on laptop

If you’re preparing to buy an outdoor kitchen… You may be wondering how to proceed.

It’s a great point.

Really… It depends on where you are in your research.

Do you know what outdoor kitchen solution you want?

Do you know what appliances you want?

Do you know where you’re going to put it?

This is only a few of the many questions that must be answered.

If you’re in the beginning stages of your project… Do some more research! We have a boatload of information on our blog about all things outdoor kitchens. It’s a great starting point.

What if you’re a bit further along?

Well… You may benefit from some more guidance. We have a full team of design experts at the ready to help! Why not schedule a call?

Our design experts are not only passionate about outdoor kitchens… They are eager to provide you with the world-class service you deserve.

So… What are you waiting for?

Let’s help guide you on your outdoor kitchen journey!

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Ready to take steps towards bringing your outdoor kitchen to life? Talk to one of our designers wherever you are in the process.

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