Imagine your dinner guests, gathered outside to check out your nifty new outdoor kitchen.
You have the menu planned, the music selected. Ice cubes clink festively in the drink glasses.
But as dusk settles over your party scene, things get a little dicey.
One guest trips and falls on the steps leading from one level of your patio to the next because she can’t see.
Another shows you the pork tenderloin you just served him. Nice garnish, pal, but seems it isn’t cooked enough. You were squinting over at the grill.
You get the idea.
Don’t forget about safety.
An outdoor kitchen is a fantastic feature for outdoor entertaining, but you lose half its usefulness if you don’t light it for use at night.
How much does it cost to shed some functional, beautiful light on the scene? We’ll take a tour through a typical outdoor kitchen and price the lighting for each element.
First, Outdoor Task Lighting
You really need to see what you’re cooking. The best outdoor kitchen lighting will make your chopping, grilling and serving easier.
You’ll want outdoor task lighting placed above your grill or flexible lighting next to it. It should have a switch to turn it on and off independently of other lighting so you can use it just when you need it.
If you have a pergola over your kitchen area, you can mount lights in the beams above, so they shine down on the grill. Flexible stainless steel grill lights are another option.
Plan to spend between $300 and $600 for this type of outdoor kitchen lighting.
Counter and Bar Top Lighting
Much like outdoor task lighting for grilling and countertop work, LED strip lights can look great running under the edges of counter and bar tops.
LED strip lights are one of the most popular LED lighting products on the market this year, with huge potential in your outdoor kitchen.
Just like the name describes, these are flexible strips with tiny LED lights embedded in them. They come on a roll and usually have an adhesive backing.
They’re available in a wide range of colors — and they can change colors. They tuck discreetly beneath counter edges, railings or stair treads, so they fit right in with our mantra of “see the effect, not the source.”
These are great for lining counters or bar tops in outdoor kitchens, for subtle lighting on your deck or patio, or outlining stair treads for an elegant look that also offers safety.
There’s quite a range here, depending on the space you want to light, but plan on between $500 and $1,500.
Tread Lights For Safety
Tread lighting in your outdoor kitchen lighting will help keep you safe. It’s natural to think about illuminating things overhead in your outdoor kitchen lighting, but don’t forget down below.
Reduce trip hazards with tread lighting. Tread lights fit right into the stairs and focus light downward onto the step immediately below.
Again, there’s a wide price range here. Keep in mind the first light is the most expensive to install, and the cost goes down with each successive light because one hooks into the other. Most of the hard work happens with the first light.
Plan on between $500 and $3,000, with the typical job costing about $1,200.
You might need just three tread lights in your outdoor kitchen. You might need as many as 20. A recent client only had a few steps in the outdoor kitchen, but each step was 15 feet long and needed three lights. Every outdoor kitchen layout is different.
If your kitchen area includes a sitting wall, you can install lights under the caps that will shine down on stairs and patio edges for safety.
They look nice, too, casting warm, inviting pools of light on the ground where there used to be dark expanses.
Plan to spend between $225 and $1,000 for this element, depending on the number of lights you need.
What’s more beautiful and festive than moonlight? It’s a great mood setter. But the moon doesn’t always cooperate.
Luckily, you can provide your own, with downlighting mounted high in the trees near your outdoor kitchen or in the eaves of your home. This “moonlighting” offers a gentle wash of light over a large area, perfect for illuminating your outdoor kitchen area with dappled light and intriguing shadows.
Plan to spend a minimum of $500, and the cost will go up depending on the size of the space you want to light.
Pergolas are a popular design element to provide shelter for your outdoor kitchens. They offer some shade over your space on sunny afternoons and provide the perfect spot for dramatic lighting at night.
Each structure is different in size and shape, and each pergola owner might want different lighting features.
Lighting a standard 10’ x10’ pergola starts at about $1,400. This will get you nice basic area lighting — including several copper and brass fixtures, mounted overhead in the pergola beams and shining down from above to light your sitting area — so you’re not sipping your favorite beverage in the dark.
Obviously, the bigger the structure, the higher the cost for this standard pergola lighting.
Add Extra Pergola Features
There are plenty of other lighting features for your pergola that go beyond basic. You might want accent lighting to add character and highlight the appealing architecture of your pergola.
Uplights can be attached to the bottom of pergola posts or installed in the flooring. These will add a few hundred dollars to the cost.
Some decorative fixtures might be nice, maybe pierced with tiny holes to create a pretty starlight effect. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars these types of pergola lighting.
The Cost of Skill And Artistry
Keep in mind you’re also paying for skill and artistry in the lighting for your outdoor kitchen. Our skilled lighting technicians are artisans — they’re not going to simply bolt and staple fixtures and wiring to your pergola beams or slap a string of lights under your countertop edge.
They’ll skillfully hide the wiring so you don’t even know it’s there.
They’ll light your outdoor kitchen with balance and composition, with attention to detail so you don’t see glare — or even the source of the light.
We think about the important details that might escape you, like selecting the right color temperature for your outdoor kitchen lighting.
You spent a lot of time planning your dinner party. You want your guests to look great and your food to look delicious, right?
Effectively illuminating people and their food is tricky. And technical. It involves a delicate manipulation of the color temperature of the lamp. Warm light produces light high in the red, orange and yellow range of the light spectrum. This makes people and food look natural and vibrant.
Lamps that produce more blues — cool light — can make food look washed out or change its color. Expertise matters.
Leave it to us, and you can just relax and know your guests are safe and happy and your outdoor entertaining can go on long into the evening.
Give Us A Call
We’re happy to visit your home to provide a free written estimate, so you’ll know exactly how much it will cost to provide the perfect lighting for your one-of-a-kind outdoor kitchen.
For most of Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah’s customers, adding outdoor kitchen lighting is a small part of a comprehensive plan for complete landscape lighting that adds a luxurious, resort-style feel to their outdoor living space.
Give us a call at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our simple contact form.
Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves customers throughout Utah’s residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper and Holladay. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects from Salt Lake County and Utah County, to Davis County and Summit County — and beyond.