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As outdoor living spaces continue to evolve, homeowners are increasingly likely to seek help from design and installation professionals. Nearly two-thirds of homeowners consulted design professionals on outdoor kitchen projects and more than eight in ten homeowners used professional installers, according to the 2019 Outdoor Kitchen Consumer Profile released by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).

Outdoor living space no longer just means a grill on a patio and a picnic table. Outdoor kitchen spaces typically include hardscaping to define areas for dining, cooking, and relaxing, built-in refrigerators, grills, sinks, cabinetry, plumbing, bar areas, shelter and overhead structures, and lighting.

As outdoor living spaces continue to include more elements, the budgets for such projects continue to expand. The NKBA report found the average spend among surveyed homeowners on outdoor kitchens is $13,000, with nearly one quarter of respondents building high-end outdoor kitchens—projects costing more than $30,000. An additional 14% of respondents spend between $20,000 and $30,000 on outdoor kitchen projects.

"Homeowners increasingly regard their outdoor spaces as extensions of their homes, and therefore are building them more elaborately, taking design elements and creature comforts into greater consideration,” said Bill Darcy, CEO of NKBA. “Although more than one-third of outdoor kitchens are in warm-weather states like Florida, Texas and California, homeowners in states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts are also making more use of their outdoor spaces for two or even three seasons, with amenities like fireplaces, fire pits, and patio heaters where needed."

The most common regret for homeowners is wishing they built better structures for shade and protection from inclement weather, according to the NKBA. Other common regrets include not designing a bigger space, not allocating more counter space, not installing atmosphere, lighting, or temperature control, and not including cabinets for storage.

The Outdoor Kitchen Consumer Profile report polled 303 homeowners who either completed an outdoor kitchen project in the past three years or were planning to complete one in the year ahead.