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Outdoor Kitchen Patio: 5 Best Materials & Advice from an Expert

By Daniel Cdebaca

July 22, 2022

If you’re reading this blog… You’re probably about to start a cool backyard kitchen project!

But hold your horses! Before you get an outdoor kitchen… You’ll need to start with step one: Somewhere to put it!

Patios are a great touch to any yard!

And best of all, they’re a perfect place to set up a seating area and dining table outdoors… To lounge by the pool… Roast marshmallows by the fire pit… or even to cook pizzas in a wood-fired pizza oven. It’s outdoor living at its finest.

Basically, they’re the foundation (quite literally) for all kinds of fun with friends and family, all year round. It’s the base of your own outdoor living room!

reclaimed-brick-outdoor-kitchen-on-patio-with-built-in-pellet-grill-48.jpg

But getting a patio is a big job. What should you make it out of? How much will it cost? What other considerations are there?

We’ll go over these outdoor kitchen patio ideas and more… Starting with an overview of some of the most common materials used to build a patio.

Materials for an Outdoor Kitchen Patio

Of course, it’s essential to pick a good material!

If you’re familiar with our content… You’ll know that we talk a lot about outdoor kitchen materials. But this extends past just the grill island and cooking appliances… It’s also important for your patio!

Fortunately, there are a lot of great options!

We’ll start off with one you’ll probably be very familiar with.

Poured Concrete

Concrete is made out of a composite of fine and course aggregate that is bonded with cement.

It can be made with a portable concrete mixer, then poured over a base.

Poured concrete is one of the most common patio surfaces… And for good reason.

Pros

Poured concrete is inexpensive, lasts a long time, and is easy to take care of.

And there are many different ways to spruce it up!

For example, you can stamp shapes into it. This can make it look like stone. You can choose a stamp with a lot of variation and a more natural look… Or one that looks more uniform.

If you stick to a flat texture… It can be brushed or scored so that it doesn’t become slippery when it gets wet.

You can also add colors to it while it’s being mixed.

Another benefit is that concrete will last for a very long time… Usually between 30 and 50 years! You can have it resurfaced to make it last even longer.

Cons

If your concrete patio isn’t draining properly… Water could freeze on it during the winter. This could cause a slippery danger zone, especially for kids.

We’ll discuss drainage later on, so you can prevent this.

Concrete can also fade over a long period of time. To avoid this, seal it well every two to five years.

Cost

concrete being poured from truck

Basic poured concrete is one of the least expensive options for getting an outdoor kitchen on a patio out there.

At $2.50 to $2.60 per square foot for a simple, uncolored slab… It’s very reasonable.

Labor costs are typically between $2 and $28 per square foot, depending on what you get done.

It starts to get more expensive when you want more complicated things.

With simple coloring or stamping… The total cost increases to $8 to $20 per square foot.

Finally, if you’re looking for a custom design or multiple colors… This is usually $15 to $30 per square foot.

Have your own Outdoor Kitchen Idea?

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

Cut Stone

Cut stones are usually a great idea for patios that will have outdoor kitchens!

Some examples of this are blue stone, granite, sandstone, and limestone.

These natural stones are cut to be flat. They come in squares and rectangles, as well as more natural shapes.

If you want to maintain the same style throughout your outdoor area… They go great with a stone outdoor kitchen!

Because these are real rocks, they are anything but boring! Because it’s a natural product… You’ll find a variation of shade, shape, and patterns even among the same kind of rock.

Pros

Cut stones are very versatile!

They look great when they’re placed close together. However, you can also spread them out.

When spread out, people often let grass or moss grow in the spaces between them… Or even use small rocks like gravel. Just be sure to give your outdoor kitchen a solid base if you go that route… But we’ll address bases later.

Cut stones also come in many different types and colors!

For example… If you want cool tones, blue stone may be right for you. If you prefer something warmer… You can consider sandstone!

These stones are also extremely durable and not likely to break. They should last decades. And if a few do break over time… They aren’t hard to replace!

Cons

Some cut stones (such as flagstone, cobbles, and slate tile) can create an irregular surface… Which can create complications when you’re building an outdoor kitchen. We’ll explain how later!

You’ll just have to be careful to find cut stones that are consistently smooth and thick.

Another downside is that weeds can grow between them… So they may need a bit of upkeep!

Cost

The prices for cut stones can vary… So expect to pay somewhere between $6 and $35 per square foot for the material. It depends on the stone you choose.

For example… Blue stone is one of our top suggestions because it looks good, is durable, and is flat. It usually comes to around $20 to $40 per square foot to buy and install.

The cost of labor for cut stones ranges from $8 to $15.

Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers are manufactured stones made out of concrete. They are a strong building material that can spruce up nearly any outdoor space.

They can come in large squares, small rectangles, and everything in between.

You’ll typically find these in lighter shades, but they can be almost any color you want!

They’ll add a nice, consistent look to your outdoor kitchen patio.

Pros

Concrete pavers come in an assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes.

They can add a nice, uniform look to your house.

These pavers come in textures that either replicate natural stone, or that are very smooth… Depending on what you prefer.

They are also consistently flat, so it’s easy to keep your patio space level.

Just like with cut stones, you can do many different things with them…

Some people will push them together. Others will keep them separate. They may let grass, moss, or even gravel fill the spaces between them.

Because there are so many options.. You can get a variety of classic and modern looks with them.

And, they last a long time… about 50 years! Since these are pavers, they are replaceable if some happen to break prematurely.

Cons

Concrete pavers may need a bit of upkeep… Weeds can grow between your pavers, even if you push them together.

They also do best when you seal them once every three years or so… Although this isn’t a requirement. This will help prevent stains.

Cost

stack of paver bricks ready to be used for outdoor kitchen patio surface

Concrete pavers’ installation costs are relatively low since they’re light and simple to install. This evens out the final cost since they can be a bit pricey to buy.

Concrete pavers usually cost $8 to $15 per square foot.

On average, labor costs $10 to $17 per square foot.

Brick

Brick is a wonderful, classic material made out of clay.

They’re usually red or brown… But they also come in grey, black, and cream!

While they look good nearly anywhere… This material goes especially well with a farm house or rustic aesthetic.

Pros

There are all kinds of different colors! Brick can look good with most houses… And red tones are striking against green foliage in the yard.

The patterns you lay your bricks in give all kinds of great opportunities for variety. Herringbone, running bond, and jack-on-jack are some of the most popular.

They are consistent in size and shape… So laying them won’t be a puzzle like natural stones such as flagstone can be.

A brick patio will last for 25 to 45 years… And individual bricks can be replaced if need be!

cons

Weeds can sometimes grow between your bricks.

Also, these patios can take a long time to build because bricks are small and the patterns can be complicated.

That means that your labor costs could be on the higher side.

Cost

Bricks typically cost anywhere from $4 to $8 per square foot. This makes it one of the cheapest materials.

Most of the time, labor costs range from $8 to $25 per square foot.

Outdoor Porcelain Pavers

porcelain patio tiles being installed for an outdoor kitchen

If you’re someone who enjoys a consistent and cohesive aesthetic for your house… These pavers can match your indoor kitchen tiles, or even your tile outdoor kitchen if that’s what you go with.

They’re made from high-grade porcelain… And in the last ten years, they have become very popular!

Pros

Porcelain pavers are strong and don’t stain easily… They also don’t lose their color like concrete does.

They can be big… But they are usually not as heavy as other pavers because they are not cut as thick.

Another benefit is the endless possibilities with them! You aren’t limited to just a few styles… They come in all kinds of colors and sizes.

There are light shades to brighten up your space… And dark colors that look more dramatic.

If you can imagine it… You can probably find it.

Both the light and darker pavers have a chic look… And mesh very well with modern outdoor kitchens.

They also last for decades… Although we don’t have an exact estimate of how many, since they are a more recent trend. They’re extremely durable, and individual pavers can be replaced as needed.

Cons

These pavers are extremely strong… But that can also work against you! If they need to be cut… It’s a lot harder to do so than it is with stones.

Another downside is that weeds can grow between them.

Cost

The price of porcelain pavers can be high… But labor costs have gone down over the last decade. This makes the total cost pretty reasonable.

Because they are lighter than most other materials… You may even be able to get them for a similar price as other options. This is due to the increased shipping and handling costs associated with extra weight.

They can cost anywhere from $3 to $25 per square foot to buy.

Labor can cost between $4 and $25 per square foot.

Have your own Outdoor Kitchen Idea?

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

Other Considerations for Your Outdoor Kitchen & Patio Space

reclaimed brick outdoor kitchen on patio with built in pellet grill and outdoor lighting

Building a patio takes more than just slapping down stone or concrete… There’s actually a lot that goes into the process.

We’ll talk about a few things you should think about as you build your patio…

But first, we want to introduce you to our friend, Steve Knight. He’s been working with patios for 21 years!

Knight is the VP of Commercial Sales at Coyote Grills. Before joining Coyote, he worked at Belgard and OldCastle Infastructure.

Knight really knows what he’s talking about here… So he’ll be helping us throughout the rest of the article.

Now, without further ado…

Planning Your Patio, Outdoor Kitchen, & Other Projects Ahead of Time

Before you do anything… It’s best to come up with a game plan!

This is a crucial step as you look at outdoor kitchen and patio ideas.

Knight gave us two main things to decide on before you start. The first is the size of your patio.

How big will your patio be?

drone shot of patio with multiple surfaces and u shaped rta outdoor kitchen

First of all… Make sure your patio is big enough from the start so you don’t have to add on to it later.

How many people are you going to invite over? How large will your built in grill outdoor kitchen be? Will there be an outdoor fireplace or a place to eat? Bar seating or a seating area?

“You have to take the entire space into consideration when you’re creating your design,” Knight says.

What utilities will you need?

Secondly, look into what appliances you want in your kitchen. That way you can get your outdoor kitchen utilities set up before it’s set in stone… Rather than after the patio is established.

Maybe you need a gas line for your grill… Water for an outdoor sink if you add one… Or electric for a new outdoor refrigerator.

“You don’t want to tear up your patio five years down the line when you’re doing phase two,” Knight said. “Make sure you install all your utilities upfront.”

You can build your patio around your water, gas, and electric lines… But it takes extra work to put them in after the patio is finished.

So just think ahead!

Planning ahead on both things will save you money and a lot of trouble as you build your outdoor cooking space and dining area.

Now that you have a plan… What’s the first step of patio construction?

The Base

sand base for a paver patio in the backyard being completed

You can’t just put your concrete or stone down on the grass… They need something stable underneath them!

According to Knight, the patio base is as important as the material you use on top!

“You’ve got to make sure your base is put in right. Otherwise, any surface will fail,” Knight said.

You don’t want the patio to shift or break because it didn’t have a good base!

The first step is to remove about 6 inches of soil in the shape of your anticipated patio.

Make sure the remaining subsoil is firm and compacted. You don’t want it to be loose, or it won’t hold your patio well!

It’s common for patio bases to be made of 4 inches of compacted gravel with 1 inch of sand on top.

“The surface is just the veneer,” Knight says. “The base that’s underneath the patio has to support your kitchen and anything else that’s on top of it.”

You also want to make sure that it is up to your local code… This should include any frost line considerations as well. Of course, these will depend on where you live.

A good contractor will be able to build you a base that’s right for your location and your materials.

A solid, flat base is essential… Not just to keep your patio level, but also to make it easier when you build your outdoor kitchen!

Keeping Your Outdoor Patio Level

Having a level patio is essential… Especially when you’re putting an outdoor kitchen on it!

Your patio could be uneven in two ways… If the material isn’t uniform enough or if your patio is sloped.

Starting with the first reason… Let’s talk about how uneven stones can affect your outdoor patio kitchen.

Irregular Stones

If your patio materials are too irregular… Your kitchen won’t sit flush against your patio.

This could put stress on your countertop. And if the countertop isn’t well-supported… It could crack!

If you’re buying a prefab grill island, all in one piece… It could look odd if your patio isn’t level.

This is because the island can’t be adjusted for inconsistencies in your patio. You don’t want it to look like it’s leaning!

Unfortunately, there are three materials you should stay away from because of this issue.

These are flagstone, cobblestone, and slate tile.

While beautiful, they can be terrible for an outdoor kitchen patio. This is because of how irregular they are. Your patio will never be perfectly level.

Now, what if your materials are smooth… But your patio isn’t level?

PITCHED Patio

a man checking the pitch of a patio surface before installing an rta outdoor kitchen

Another challenge could be the pitch of your patio.

Having a slight pitch or slope to a patio is normal and standard practice. The pitch will direct water away from the home and help with preventing puddling on the patio.

The problem is when the patio has too great of a pitch. This makes it difficult to build your kitchen over the surface or to set up a dining table and chairs. It goes without saying… You don’t want the slope of your patio to be too steep.

A standard patio should slope ⅛ inch every foot. The maximum slope before you start running into challenges is ¼ inch per linear foot.

Another important consideration when you install a patio is drainage.

Drainage

water gathering on a paver patio due to poor drainage

Drainage is extremely important to consider! When it rains… You want the water to run right off your patio and into your yard.

It can be a mess if rainwater pools up and stagnates. That’s a sure-fire way to get your own personal mosquito breeding ground!

The correct pitch will be unnoticeable to anyone using your patio. This pitch will move water away from your house and prevent standing puddles on your patio.

One way to make sure this is done properly? Find a good contractor!

Get A Good Contractor

It’s important to make sure you find a quality contractor.

Check to see if they are qualified, have experience, references, and insurance.

“Your patio is your foundation. It’s really important you get your patio right the first time,” Knight says.

You don’t want to have to tear up your patio! You would have to rip up your outdoor kitchen in the process. It’s always better to just get a qualified contractor in the first place..

Alright, so you’re prepared to shell out some cash for this project… How much should that cost?

The Cost of Your Patio

When you decide to start a big project… One of the first things you probably think about is how much it will cost.

Since this is only step one of your outdoor kitchen process… It’s good to have an idea of what things will cost before you get into the thick of it.

There are actually two considerations when we think about the cost. We already talked about rough costs of materials and labor earlier on… But here are some additional considerations that may affect the final price tag.

Material cost

First is how much the materials cost. You’ve already seen the price ranges for some of the most common ones.

Depending on where you live… These costs could vary. How so?

Well, if they’re heavy, they could cost more to transport. And if they have to be brought in from a long way away… Fuel costs will cause the price to increase.

labor costs

two contractors putting together a paver patio in a backyard

The second thing is how much labor costs.

The labor cost varies based on which materials you use.

Some are harder to work with and require more skill to put in place than others!

For instance, most natural stones aren’t flat or the same size…. So they usually need to be honed and shaped. This makes it more expensive to build a patio out of them!

Another factor is whether your contractor needs extra tools to build your patio!

If they need to cut the stones… They’ll probably need to use specialized tools to do so.

This could make the price go up because they are putting wear and tear on their equipment and taking more time to complete the project.

The cost can also depend on your yard. If your space is uniquely shaped, or the ground isn’t level… This could cost extra.

At the end of the day… How your contractors price their work will be up to them.

You’ll have to hunt around and see what the prices are where you live. Our advice is to be sure to inquire about the material and installation costs!

Building a patio is a big task… So we compiled a little more advice from Steve Knight to help you out!

Prices of Outdoor Patio Materials (INFOGRAPHIC)

infographic breaking down the material costs for patio surfaces for an outdoor kitchen
infographic breaking down the material costs for patio surfaces for an outdoor kitchen

Final Advice from an Expert

outdoor kitchen on back patio with pool

Before we conclude the article… We wanted to share some parting wisdom from Knight

“The patio is an extension of the house. Don’t settle,” Knight says.

So go for it, and build the outdoor space of your dreams!

“You have many options for textures, shapes, and colors for your outdoor patio,” he noted.

The mood of your whole outdoor space and dining area will depend on the colors and textures you select.

You can choose a look that will complement your house! You can make it look modern and chic… Rustic and cozy… Anything that makes you happy!

You could even combine different types of materials to create a unique area that works for your needs. Knight did just this with his old house, and he would highly recommend it!

On that note, don’t stop there! You want this to be your dream backyard. So what’s the next step to making your outdoor oasis?

The Next Step — Your Outdoor Kitchen

So you’re going to have a brand new, leveled patio that drains well and looks great. Congratulations! But where’s your outdoor kitchen?

This is where we come in!

You’re already going through enough trouble to get a new patio… So why not make your DIY outdoor kitchen easy?

Our guarantee is “Right for you, right to you, ready to assemble.”

You can design a customized kitchen that is perfect for your needs… It will be delivered to you 95% complete… And it can be totally assembled in just a few hours.

And of course, your outdoor bar island can match your brand new patio!

Need help? Our Design Experts will be available to help you from start to finish.

You can visit our Learning Hub to find out more!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Have your own Outdoor Kitchen Idea?

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