Covered vs. Open-Air: Demystifying Outdoor Kitchen Installation Costs in the GTA (2024)

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) boasts beautiful summers, making outdoor living spaces a coveted addition to any home. Outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular, allowing homeowners to extend their culinary creativity and entertain guests in a fresh-air environment. But a crucial decision arises: covered or open-air kitchen? While both options offer unique advantages, the associated costs can differ significantly. This comprehensive guide explores the cost factors for covered and open-air outdoor kitchens in the GTA (2024), helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and lifestyle.

The Allure of Open-Air Kitchens

Open-air kitchens offer a simple and potentially budget-friendly solution. These kitchens typically involve essential elements like a grill, countertop space, and storage, all situated on a sturdy patio foundation.

Cost Considerations for Open-Air Kitchens:

  • Basic Appliances and Features: Open-air kitchens often feature a grill, countertop space (often prefabricated concrete or stone), and basic storage cabinets. These elements tend to be more affordable than their built-in counterparts in covered kitchens.
  • Limited Protection: Open-air kitchens lack a roof or permanent walls, exposing appliances and furniture to the elements. This might necessitate purchasing weather-resistant appliances and furniture, or factoring in the cost of covers and protective gear.
  • Seasonal Use: Open-air kitchens are best suited for the warmer months in the GTA. During colder or rainy periods, their usability might be limited.

The Advantages of Covered Kitchens

Covered kitchens elevate your outdoor space, creating a protected environment for year-round enjoyment. These kitchens boast a wider range of features and amenities, transforming your backyard into a true extension of your living area.

Cost Considerations for Covered Kitchens:

  • Structure and Permits: Covered kitchens necessitate a roof structure, potentially with supporting posts or beams. This adds complexity to the project and requires obtaining permits from your local municipality, impacting the overall cost.
  • Built-In Features: Covered kitchens often feature built-in appliances, cabinetry, and countertops, offering a more luxurious and customized feel. These elements typically come at a premium compared to the modular options in open-air kitchens.
  • Additional Features: Covered kitchens might incorporate features like lighting, ceiling fans, and even retractable walls or screens, further enhancing functionality and comfort. These additions contribute to the overall project cost.

Beyond the Basics: Additional Cost Factors

Here are some additional elements that can influence the cost of both covered and open-air kitchens:

  • Size and Complexity: Larger kitchens with intricate layouts will naturally cost more than smaller, simpler designs.
  • Material Selection: High-end materials like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and custom cabinetry will significantly increase the cost compared to more basic options.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Work: The extent of plumbing and electrical work required for features like sinks, refrigerators, and lighting will impact the budget.
  • Labor Costs: Rates vary depending on the contractor’s experience and the project’s complexity. Obtaining quotes from several reputable contractors is essential.

Making the Choice: Covered vs. Open-Air

The ideal choice between a covered and open-air kitchen in the GTA depends on your budget, lifestyle, and desired level of functionality. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide:


  • Budget-friendly
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Ideal for seasonal use
  • Limited protection from the elements


  • Year-round enjoyment
  • Wider range of features and amenities
  • Increased protection for appliances and furniture
  • Higher overall cost
  • Requires permits and a more complex construction process

Finding the Perfect Balance

Ultimately, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor kitchen that fits your budget. Consider exploring options like a simple covered structure with basic amenities for a cost-effective approach. Alternatively, you might prioritize a luxurious covered kitchen and phase in additional features over time.

Consulting with a Professional

Consulting with experienced outdoor kitchen contractors in the GTA is crucial. Artech Landscaping can assess your space, discuss your vision, and provide a detailed breakdown of costs based on your specific needs. This personalized approach ensures you make an informed decision and get the most value for your investment.

Embrace the Great Outdoors

Whether you choose a covered or open-air design, an outdoor kitchen allows you to expand your living space and enjoy the beauty of the GTA year-round. By understanding the cost factors and exploring your options, you can create a backyard oasis that reflects your style and budget, transforming your home into the ultimate entertainment destination.