When you love the opportunity to be in your backyard, who says you have to go inside just because it’s meal time?
Whether it’s hot dogs on the firepit or steaks on the grill, there’s nothing like cooking and eating outside.
But a meal doesn’t just have to be Dad putting the steaks on the grill, and our outdoor kitchen ideas are proof of that. There’s so much more you can do beyond having a BBQ on the deck. Make the most of your backyard while cooking, eating and entertaining.
Here are 25 outdoor kitchen ideas that will make your yard the taste of the town.
These ones as we have decided are the best of the lot for a quick glance:
- Stone Kitchen
- Kitchen by the Pool
- Covered Kitchen
- Shaded Kitchen
- Kitchen with a Canopy
- Party Pavilion Kitchen
- Fully Stocked Kitchen
- Kitchen in a Small Space
- Pizza Oven Kitchen
- And Many More!
One of the most stunning outdoor patio kitchen ideas is one made of stone. You can build in the grill, sink, and space for a fridge, and prep space with stone countertops. Designs can include a bar overlooking the cooking space, a curved kitchen, a stone patio along with the stone kitchen, or a combination of stone and wood. Brick is similar to stone and comes in different colors and styles.
If you’re wondering: What should I build my outdoor kitchen out of? Concrete is likely not your first answer. Concrete doesn’t have to mean “bland.” A kitchen space that’s made of concrete is almost completely maintenance free. Build your grill in and have shelving below and smaller shelves above. Concrete is one of the most durable outdoor kitchen countertop ideas. You can set hot dishes right on it, it’s easy to clean, and your kitchen will withstand the elements and provide years of enjoyment cooking outside.
Kitchen by the Pool
If you have a pool, then you definitely want to maximize the time spent enjoying it. Install a bar with seating that looks out over the pool. You can relax while watching the kids swim, or entertain in the evening with the pool lights creating an ambiance worthy of the best resorts. If you have a stone pool deck, build a kitchen in matching stone. Include a barbecue and a fridge and you can eat poolside, and serve cold drinks when you’re laying by the pool.
If you live in a climate where inclement weather spoils many a cookout, then build a covered kitchen so you can be outside whenever you want. Protect your investment from rain, tree sap, bird droppings and more with a full roof over your outdoor kitchen. Covered outdoor kitchen ideas can be fun, too, like a corrugated tin roof for a farmhouse feel. If you’re planning on a stainless steel theme for the kitchen, then a wooden roof is a nice complement. A gazebo is a good idea for a smaller outdoor kitchen.
If your yard gets plenty of sun, but you still like to take advantage of some light, then consider a shaded kitchen. Install a pergola, either over the cooking area or the seating area - or both. You can also add privacy screens or fences to protect your kitchen from prevailing winds, or the prying eyes of nosey neighbors.
Kitchen with a Canopy
Another option to maximize your time in the kitchen, whatever the weather, is a kitchen with a roof that opens and closes. A canopy or awning that slides closed will allow you to be in the kitchen in rain, or when the sun is particularly hot. Then when you want, open it and take full advantage of good weather. Get one that covers the entire area, or portions of it.
Adaptable To The Environment
Walls that are adaptable can also help with the elements. For instance, if you live in a windy environment or on a waterfront property, there may be times you want to close in the kitchen. Install windows with a pulley or slider system that allows you to open the space, and then close when the weather changes. Even installing them in a small space, or only one side of the kitchen, can help you be in the kitchen on windy or cool days.
Party Pavilion Kitchen
A pavilion cover provides an open-air kitchen with shade and rain protection, and a county fair feel. Build a pavilion over the cooking area and keep the dining area outside. Add a bar to the cooking area so you can sit inside if you want. Or go all out and put the entire kitchen under a stylish stand-alone pavilion.
Full Patio Kitchen
If you have a large yard and plan to install a kitchen away from the house, you likely don’t want to be running back and forth every time you want to cook. Consider installing a full kitchen, complete with a dishwasher, and include storage for outdoor plates, cutlery, glasses and cooking utensils. You’ll use the kitchen much more when you can simply head outside and get cooking, without the hassle of multiple trips to the house.
Fully Stocked Kitchen
If you will use your kitchen regularly, and you like to cook a variety of styles, then you’ll want the kitchen to include the key cooking appliances that you need: a barbecue, charcoal grill, smoker, warming drawer, pizza oven, side burners, and maybe even a rotisserie or roasting spit. You’ll be taking orders that will make the entire family happy.
Not everyone cooks on every type of appliance available. When you’re looking for simple outdoor kitchen ideas, consider what you will actually use. If all you’ll do is grill, then a barbecue with comfortable patio seating may be enough. Particularly if you’re wondering: Are outdoor kitchens worth the money? Make sure you don’t spend extra money and take up space on your deck with items you won’t actually use, or those that can’t withstand your climate.
Kitchen in a Small Space
If you have a small deck or patio, you can still create a functional and attractive kitchen. A small prep space and a barbecue will allow you to cook most items, and with some smaller seating options, you can entertain in the space as well. A portable table and stools or benches can be added and removed depending how much space you need. A portable bar cart will allow you to store plates, glasses and cutlery, and you can roll it in and out of the house, allowing you to free up space on a small deck.
Pizza Oven Kitchen
If your family loves pizza, then a wood fired outdoor pizza oven is beautiful and functional. Besides pizza, you can cook a multitude of other delicious dishes. Make calzones or galettes, bake delicious bread, use a cast iron skillet to cook cornbread or fish, or grill steak, ribs or other meat in it. How about focaccia? Grilled vegetables or potatoes? Once you get comfortable with the oven, there’s no end to what you can cook.
Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen
Maybe you like the idea of that wood-fired oven but you mostly want it for ambiance. Then one of the best backyard outdoor kitchen ideas for you is a fireplace. Create a cozy seating area around it, where you can still enjoy meals if you want. Or maybe the only thing you’ll cook outside is a hot dog and a smore. That’s OK too.
Firepit in the Kitchen
This is another great option if you have a pool, allowing you to have a late-night dip and warm up by the fire. A fire pit connected to the kitchen is for more than warmth, however. You can use it to cook more than hot dogs and smores too, with the addition of a fire-proof grill top. Roast potatoes, cook a steak or burger, heat up beans to go with the hot dogs, and experiment with other dishes to discover how great food tastes when cooked over an open fire.
Kitchen and Living Room Combo
Make your outdoor space even more functional by combining the kitchen with a “living room” area. Next to your cooking space, put in comfortable couches and chairs and a fireplace. Guests can relax there while you cook and everyone can retire there after enjoying your meal. You’ll like it so much, you might never go in the house!
If you have a yard full of nature, use it as part of the decor. Build a stone oven into a hillside, take advantage of a treed area to create the space, and keep up the rustic theme with furniture that blends into the space. Maybe you’re asking: How much does it cost to build an outdoor kitchen? You can save money by incorporating natural elements into the design, like trees for shade instead of paying for a pergola or gazebo.
Maybe you don’t want a large, open space and instead prefer something more intimate. When looking at small outdoor kitchen ideas, maximize the area by building in cozy functionality. Add bench seating to the railing of your deck for built-in places to sit and snuggle. Add a wall-mounted leaf table to the railing, allowing you to fold it away when you aren’t eating. Create a bar on the railing so guests can gather. Add a grill and some lighting and you can entertain or simply relax on your own.
Kitchen With Cold Storage
We all think about the grill and the table and chairs as necessities. But what about cold drinks? A small bar fridge is one option, but an even better idea is to install refrigerated drawers. It’s much easier to fill with bottles or cans, instead of trying to stack them into a fridge. And then you simply roll them out of the way. You don’t need a big outdoor space to create a lot of storage capacity for cold drinks.
Kitchen for the Bartender
The roll-out drawers are a great idea for small areas, or to maximize the storage of cold drinks like bottles and cans. But if you have space, and you fancy yourself a bartender, you can expand on that idea. Combine the cold drawers with a beer fridge, a wine chiller, a sink that will give you a wet bar, and storage for different types of glasses. A locked liquor cabinet would complete the space and make you the neighborhood’s favorite bartender.
Kitchen with an Island
When designing an outdoor kitchen, we consider the grill, seating area, and perhaps a bar for entertaining guests. But don’t forget how useful an island can be in a kitchen, whether indoors or outdoors. You can use it as prep space, to dish up steaks right off the grill, or for mixing up martinis. Put the same thought into the island as you would indoors: do you want a sink in the island, burners for additional cooking options, or electrical outlets to run a margarita machine? If you’re hiring a plumber and an electrician to install other components, they can add to the island’s functionality as well.
Multi Room Kitchen
Not everyone likes their guests (or their family) watching them cook. Some islands, for instance, are built without seating, allowing the chef to create in privacy. Your outdoor kitchen can be built with discrete spaces. The cooking area can be separated from the dining area, either structurally, by adding natural items like plants, or even placing the table and chairs on a rug away from the barbecue. One space can be raised on a deck above the other space. There are options and the outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be one big, open space.
When you’re looking for DIY outdoor kitchen ideas, then one made with reclaimed wood or even wood from pallets is inexpensive and functional. Get a woodsy feel with a bar that has reclaimed wood on the counter top and base, and work around the barbecue you already have to save even more. Some simple wood bar stools or a picnic table will complete the kitchen with a casual look.
Simple Prep Kitchen
An outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to include every kitchen item imaginable to be functional. Maybe you just want a spot to do some simple prep work and set a few plates for serving. A prep counter with a sink can be built with pallets, keeping with the DIY theme. And if you’re wondering: Can you use a regular grill in the outdoor kitchen? Of course you can! If you like cooking on the barbecue you already own, there’s nothing wrong with incorporating it into a simple prep space with some seating.
Kitchen with a TV
If you hate to miss the big game but you love to be outside, then outdoor kitchen ideas now include the addition of a television. More and more backyard spaces are including a TV hanging in a protected area. Watch the game while you cook, invite friends over to sit at the bar, or have a meal while you stream your favorite show.
Sum and Substance
There’s nothing like extending your time outside by entertaining friends around a bar, cooking a meal for your family, and dining with the sun shining or the moon glowing.
Outdoor kitchen ideas are as plentiful as the types of meals you can make outside. Stick to your favorite barbecue, or add a smoker, a firepit, or a wet bar. Include living room style seating for relaxing after eating, or a television to enjoy the big game while you cook.
With our 25 outdoor kitchen ideas, you’ll be able to create a backyard cooking and dining area that’s perfect for you.
About The Author
Ardith Stephanson has a journalism degree and spent years having fun as a sports writer for a national newspaper. She has also worked in communications and marketing, ran a successful communications business, and is a national award-winner. These days, she prefers to focus solely on writing, and to spend a lot of time in her backyard, where her garden, the firepit, local birds and her bee barn keep her busy and entertained. She writes about her adventures at theardizan.com