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The Complete Guide to Building an Outdoor Kitchen

A fully-equipped outdoor kitchen isn’t just great for backyard barbecues. It’s also convenient for anyone who likes to spend time outside! If you’re interested in making your own grilling station or simply having a place to set out food for guests, check out these 36 incredible ideas for building an outdoor kitchen!

Transform a Patio into a Kitchen

Already have a paved area in your backyard? A patio is a great place to build an outdoor kitchen and dining area! Add a pergola, barbecue, stove, and fun seating options for the ultimate outdoor dining experience.

Move Your Kitchen to an Open Deck

If you have a deck, take advantage of the provided space! Not only will you have plenty of room for your outdoor cooking area and dining setup, but the convenient location makes it easy to go back and forth from the house to the deck.

Turn a Covered Deck into an Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen with grill built under covered deck photo by Instagram user @sunstonegrills

Photo via @sunstonegrills

If you live in an area with amazing weather year-round, a covered deck is a perfect spot for your outdoor kitchen! But keep in mind, you’ll want to close in your patio more if you’re in a place with weather that changes seasonally.

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Add an Outdoor Kitchen to Your Pool

outdoor kitchen built into the pool for easy serving photo by Instagram user @360_blue

Photo via @360_blue

Have a pool in your backyard? Why not add a swim-up bar and kitchen! An outdoor kitchen attached to a pool will become your new favorite outdoor hangout at home, and it’ll be sure to wow your cookout guests!

Make the Ultimate Backyard Entertaining Space

If you lack an existing patio and deck, you can still create the ultimate outdoor kitchen! With a little bit of landscaping, you can make places for your kitchen appliances, tables, and chairs.

Set Up a Cooking Station Under a Pergola

A pergola provides the right amount of coverage to shade your guests during a sunny, outdoor gathering. With a covered grilling station, you can keep cool as you cook, prepare, and eat delicious meals outside!

Combine the Kitchen & Dining Area

Outdoor space limited? Make the most out of your backyard by combining the kitchen and dining area. This makes it easier to move food between the grilling station and the table, too!

Ditch the Dining Area for Bar Seating

outdoor kitchen area set up with bar top seating photo by Instagram user @bbqguys

Photo via @bbqguys

Don’t want a large outdoor dining table crowding your space? Save room by opting for bar seating! Not only will you save room, but you can also create a more intimate layout that’s perfect for socializing as you cook.

Check Out Outdoor Kitchen Kits

Outdoor kitchen kits are the simplest and most cost-effective way to set up an outdoor kitchen. Though easy to install, you still have to connect your prefab kitchen to water and gas lines. These kits come with a variety of items, such as granite countertops, a grill, a refrigerator, and more.

Look at Modular Kitchen Setups

modular outdoor kitchen area built with grill, stove burners, pizza over, and fridge photo by Instagram user @luxapatio

Photo via @luxapatio

Modular outdoor kitchens are essentially a mix-and-match version of the outdoor kitchen kit. With this setup, you choose your base, countertop materials, and layout (e.g., It could be U-shaped instead of the standard island layout). A grill, a refrigerator, and storage space are typically included, and you can add on any other features you need, such as a sink, dishwasher, or warming drawers.

Try a Built-In Outdoor Kitchen

As the most advanced option for an outdoor kitchen, built-in setups require a contract for installation. These custom outdoor kitchen setups include high-quality stonework and other landscaping details. They can also be connected to a fireplace, a wet bar, an indoor-outdoor space, a pool, and other backyard features. Even though they’re the most expensive outdoor kitchens, they’re guaranteed to be complete showstoppers.

Choose the Right Grill

natural gas and propane grill set up in outdoor kitchen space photo by Instagram user @aspirebyhestan

Photo via @aspirebyhestan

Think carefully about the grill that’s right for your needs! While gas and propane grills may be more expensive, they’re the most cost-effective in the long run because the utility costs are cheaper than buying a charcoal grill. But if space is tight in your small outdoor kitchen, a portable charcoal grill or electric grill could be the better option. Can’t decide which grill to go with? Why not mix and match your grill setup!

Select Your Countertops

Large Outdoor Kitchen Space with Grill & Sink. Photo by Instagram user @mccollum_custom_homes

Photo via @mccollum_custom_homes

Outdoor countertops must be durable, water-resistant, and strong enough to withstand the elements year-round. Whether you opt for concrete, stainless steel, granite, soapstone, wood, or tile, you’ll want to make sure that your countertops fit your outdoor cooking style and will hold up over time.

Build an Outdoor Kitchen Island

Need lots of space for food prep in your outdoor kitchen? Be sure to add an island! An outdoor kitchen island frees up countertops near your grill while also offering extra seating and dining space for large gatherings.

Install Overhead Cabinets

If you need more storage space in your outdoor kitchen, take advantage of vertical space! Set up polymer overhead cabinets to store all of your outdoor dishes, glassware, cooking utensils, placemats, and more!

Opt for Rolling Cabinets

Whether you need to grab utensils quickly or simply need a makeshift island, cabinets are a necessity for your outdoor kitchen space. Rolling cabinets in particular can provide the versatile storage and additional cooking space you need in your outdoor kitchen!

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Put a Hood Above the Grill

outdoor kitchen with sink and grill that has a hood installed overhead photo by Instagram user @edswflrealtor

Photo via @edswflrealtor

You’ll look like a true chef with an outdoor kitchen that has a sleek hood above the grill or stove. Not only does a hood add style to your outdoor kitchen, but it also helps keep exhaust, chemicals, and smoke out of your cooking area.

Keep Your Space Warm with a Fireplace

For the ultimate outdoor kitchen experience, be sure to add a fireplace! This setup will gorgeous in your outdoor living space, and it ensures you stay warm whenever you’re cooking on cooler evenings.

Hang a Flatscreen TV

If you’re planning to use your outdoor kitchen as an entertainment spot, consider adding a TV. Setting up a flat-screen TV outside in your kitchen and dining area means you’ll never have to worry about missing a moment of the game!

Install a Pizza Oven

Become the most popular hangout in the neighborhood by adding a pizza oven to your backyard kitchen! With a wood-fire pizza oven in your outdoor cooking station, you can host the ultimate outdoor cookout.

Add a Meat Smoker

six whole chickens being smoked inside of a traeger grill photo by Instagram user @traegergrills

Photo via @traegergrills

In addition to a grill and pizza oven, a meat smoker is an excellent feature for barbecue masters and grill enthusiasts to have in their outdoor kitchens! Whether you’re planning cooking meals for your family or hosting a summer barbecue, a meat smoker is a must for your outdoor cooking area.

Don’t Forget Warming Drawers

outdoor kitchen area with stove top and grill with built in warming drawers photo by Instagram user @lynxgrills

Photo via @lynxgrills

Keep meals hot and ready for guests with handy warming drawers built into your grilling station. Some warming drawers even come with moisture controls so the food inside doesn’t dry out while sitting!

Build a Wet Bar

If you love to entertain, you need an outdoor bar! Stock your favorite beers, liquors, and wines around your cooking station, and be sure to have plenty of seating so you can kick off happy hour right.

Install Beer Taps for Perfect Pours

outdoor kitchen bar area with cool and fridge and beer tap photo by Instagram user @prattguys

Photo via @prattguys

Don’t stop at the wet bar. Go a step further and install beer taps! Keep the good time flowing by setting up kegs under your counters and hooking them up to beer taps for easy access to your favorite brews.

Include a Dishwasher in Your Kitchen Setup

Cut your cleanup time in half by adding convenient kitchen amenities like a dishwasher to your outdoor kitchen! This makes cleaning up quick and simple so you don’t have to run back and forth between your indoor and outdoor spaces.

Go for a Farmhouse Sink

White farmhouse sink built into outdoor kitchen area with granite counters photo by Instagram user @naturekast

Photo via @naturekast

If you’re looking to dress up your outdoor sink, go with a farmhouse sink! A beautiful addition to an outdoor kitchen setup, this sink is deep, so food prep and cleanup are easier.

Make It a Complete Outdoor Living Space

outdoor living space combined with indoor kitchen to make a complete room photo by Instagram user @jbanksdesign

Photo via @jbanksdesign

If you really want to go all-in on your kitchen, make it a whole outdoor living room complete with a fireplace, dining area, sitting area, and a bar. It will be your dream backyard oasis!

Use Good Lighting

Outdoor Living Space with Lots of Lighting Built In. Photo by Instagram user @lovinglinden

Photo via @lovinglinden

Especially if you plan to use your kitchen at night, you’ll want good lighting. Brighter, stronger lights are better in areas where you’ll be cooking, but more decorative lights like torches, pendant lights, or string lights are okay around where you’ll be eating.

Add a Colorful Backsplash

A backsplash is a great way to add color and contain messes in your backyard kitchen. Use a patterned tile, a bright-colored stone, or painted pallet wood to create the perfect outdoor backsplash.

Lay Down an Outdoor Rug

Add pattern and texture to your outdoor kitchen space and protect your deck or patio at the same time with an outdoor rug! Just make sure that whatever rug you use is both stain and weather-resistant!

Install Floating Shelves

floating shelves with alcohol bottles on top in outdoor kitchen photo by Instagram user @w3tbak_

Photo via @w3tbak_

With floating shelves, you can display vases, photos, succulents, or even a spirits collection. Not to mention, having shelves provides more vertical storage space in your outdoor kitchen.

Get More Privacy with a Screen

Want more privacy in your outdoor kitchen? Add decorative screens that are both functional and visually appealing around your outdoor living area.

Set Up a Planter Wall

planter wall in outdoor kitchen area photo by Instagram user @instar.gardens

Photo via @instar.gardens

A planter wall not only adds a unique touch to an outdoor kitchen, but it can also keep your outdoor living space feeling fresh and colorful. You might even consider planting herbs and spices that can be used for cooking in your planter wall!

Add a Bar Cart

If you don’t have the budget to build a wet bar in your kitchen, but you still want to have a spot for your refreshments, go with a simple bar cart! If you’re handy, you can even build your own bar cart!

Don’t Forget Wine Racks

Save valuable cabinet space by removing your wine and storing it on a standing wall rack. Or mount your bottles above your outdoor kitchen on a hanging wall rack for easy access while cooking!

Dress Up Your Space

A simple way to make your outdoor dining area look better is to set the table! With placemats, chair covers, patio cushions, and place settings for your guests, it shows you know how to throw a dinner party outside.


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Build an Outdoor Kitchen