Are you looking for outdoor kitchen ideas to create your own entertaining spot in the backyard? Look no more. In this article, you’ll find 39 ideas and 87 pictures that are going to guide you through the process.
The purpose of outdoor kitchen ideas is to show options and inspire to create an entertaining space in the backyard, that is going to be individual and admirable. They’re divided into 5 categories:
All the ideas are divided into 6 collections so it is easier to find the most interesting parts. To make it easier on yourself save all the pictures you like on your Pinterest board (you can also follow me on Pinterest).
Outdoor kitchen design ideas
The goal of this section is to present enough inspiration so the layout, amount of the appliances, size, and location are going to be easy to figure out.
Outdoor kitchen ideas: layouts
Designing an outdoor kitchen usually starts with measuring the area and figuring the best possible layout.
1. Best shapes for small outdoor kitchens
The best shapes for small outdoor kitchens are an island, L-shape, against the wall and, on rare occasions, U-shape.
Small outdoor kitchens are usually up to 10′ long, and can accomodate a grill, sink, cooktop, and storage.
The great benefit of creating a small outdoor kitchen area are significantly smaller budget and using a small part of the lot. It is important especially where backyard is not to big.
I created an entire article about small outdoor kitchen ideas, so if your space is limited be sure to read this blog post. You’ll find there a lot of tips about location, lighting, shape, and more.
Different shapes work with medium and large outdoor kitchens.
2. Best shapes for medium and large outdoor kitchens
Best shapes for medium and large outdoor kitchens are a gallery, L-shape, L-shape with an island, U-shape, and G-shape.
Medium outdoor kitchens are up to 16′ long. Large outdoor kitchens are about 20′. Each of the sizes can accommodate a grill, sink, cooktop, storage, and fridge. A large outdoor kitchen is most often used by multiple cooks.
These outdoor kitchens can reflect a lot an indoor kitchen set-up. It is actually worth testing inside how much of the space can be given up, to still be able to properly put in all the zones.
Outdoor kitchen island ideas
3. An island is a universal outdoor kitchen layout
An island is a very universal shape for an outdoor kitchen. It works for both small and large set-ups.
An island can be actually the smallest possible outdoor kitchen. It can consist only from a countertop space and a grill. It can be also a supplement to a medium & large size outdoor kitchens, and reflect more the indoor kitchen set-up.
What is amazing about this shape is that it can fit most of the spaces. If you’re looking for something simple and your budget is limited this is the way to go. An outdoor kitchen on the first picture doesn’t require any additional construction work, no lines need to be connected.
The second set-up is grater. With electrical and plumbing the budget significantly grows, but utilities add a lot to convenience.
Outdoor kitchen layout ideas: Against the wall
If the layout of your house allows putting an outdoor kitchen against the wall this is usually the best way to go. Why?
4. Against the wall layout saves the space
Against the wall set-up upgrades the patio, takes a little space, and usually allows to save a tone of money on electrical, plumbing, roofing and flooring.
This is an excellent layout for entertaining. An outdoor-indoor experience comes as a bonus. Guests do not have difficulties with reaching a rest room, hosts can easily reach indoor kitchen.
Locating an outdoor kitchen close to the house can be a way to cut costs not only on construction but also on appliances. If an outdoor kitchen is located next to the indoor one a fridge, burners, and sink can be omitted in design. These cuts are going to make using and outdoor kitchen less convenient, but are possible and often performed.
5. Vent hood needs to be considered under the roof
If an outdoor kitchen is placed under the roof a vent hood should be considered. It is really a safety issue, but vent hoods work also as focal points and can add a lot to the style.
Outdoor kitchen ideas: L-shaped outdoor kitchen
This is a very common layout for an outdoor kitchen. And there is a reason for it.
6. An L-shape creates an outdoor kitchen area
L-shape is a layout that cuts the space and creates an outdoor kitchen area by itself. It’s very functional and can make cooking & prepping more convenient.
An L-shaped kitchen can be placed next to a house, but can be satellite as well. It works great on patios, decks and under gazebos.
While designing an outdoor kitchen it’s worth thinking about entertaining. If there is a way to situate an outdoor kitchen so the chef faces guests and family members that is a way to go. This is a move that is going to build a drama of backyard parties.
U-shaped outdoor kitchen
The U-shape outdoor kitchen works best for large and medium sizes, but smaller ones can be created as well. It works well in spaces that have to be separated according to safety, like the top of the hill, or cliff.
7. U-shape works great with serving zone
If you wish to have a serving zone attached to the outdoor kitchen, the U-shape layout is the one to consider. During the backyard party, it allows the chef to comfortably talk with family and guests.
Outdoor kitchen ideas: zones
Zones are pretty important at outdoor kitchen, as placing them in a specific order makes the space well-designed, and convenient. Let’s start from basics.
8. Outdoor kitchen zones basics
There are 5 outdoor kitchen zones that can be incorporated in an outdoor kitchen: hot, dry, wet, cold, and serve.
Why so many? Basically behind the fancy name is a function. The hot zone is where cooking appliances are located. A dry zone is a place for preparation and storage. The wet zone is where the sink is. In the cold zone, a fridge is located. The serving zone is basically a dining space.
There are multiple rules to follow with zones.
9. Dry & hot zones create an outdoor kitchen
The smallest outdoor kitchen consists of hot and dry zones (cooking and prepping).
As hot and dry zones create the simplest outdoor kitchen in every outdoor kitchen design these two have to be placed next to each other.
10. The grill placement
A grill should always be located close to the preparation area.
If an outdoor kitchen is big enough to accommodate a sink it’s placement is also regulated by zone rules.
11. A sink placement
A sink should be located next to the preparation area.
The last rule to remember about is relation between hot, wet and cold zone.
12. Relation between cold, wet and hot zones
A grill should be placed afar from both sink and the fridge.
If you’re interested in outdoor kitchen zones feel welcome to read my blog post about them (it’s available here).
Outdoor kitchen ideas appliances
We talked a bit about sizes, zones, and rules. Now it’s time to get to know a bit more about appliances.
There are so many of them it’s worth starting from essentials.
13. Outdoor kitchen essentials
Professionals advise there are 5 things each outdoor kitchen should have: sink, storage, grill, fridge, and countertop space.
These are things buyers are looking for in outdoor kitchens. Adding extras like pizza oven is not going to improve the selling price. It’s worth knowing though, that outdoor kitchen addition can speed up selling process and increase the price of the property.
The number of appliances that can be added to an outdoor kitchen is impressive. Some of them are side burners, power burners, griddles, smokers, and pizza ovens. You can get to know more about it from this post.
Outdoor kitchen bar ideas
An outdoor kitchen bar is an excellent idea for entertainers. With additions like a kegerator and sink station, you’ll be able to create a space like no other.
14. A kegerator can work as a fridge
If you put a smaller keg to your kegerator it can work also as a fridge. This is a point worth making during budget discussions.
The outdoor bar is the structure guests are naturally drawn to. With proper lighting, it can become a focal point of the whole area.
Outdoor kitchen style ideas
An outdoor kitchen can, and should, reflect your taste. Size can be influenced by both size of the lot and a budget, but style can be created with any budget. And an outdoor kitchen style most defnitelly should reflect yours.
Main styles people are looking for are modern, country and rustic. Let’s dive into style for a moment.
Modern outdoor kitchen ideas
Modern outdoor kitchens look best close to modern houses, and it is the easiest to create them in such spaces. The reason is they reflect both lines and materials of the exterior and interior of the house.
The designing process usually starts with observation. Is there anything geometrical about the space you want to put an outdoor kitchen in??
15. A modern outdoor kitchen needs lines
To build a drama in modern outdoor kitchen work with lines.
Look at the picture above. Can you see how outdoor kitchen design reflects lines in the background? There are two types of vertical lines – rounded and straight. The countertop, shelf above it, cabinet doors, and roof create horizontal lines. The arch below the ceiling, window, grill, and smoker, on the contrary, are rounded. This combination creates a modern vibe.
Materials are traditional, but light fixtures are modern. Well done mixes are usually looking amazing.
16. Modern outdoor kitchen shapes
The best shapes for a modern outdoor kitchen are: along the wall, an island, a gallery.
It might seem odd but some shapes work better for outdoor kitchens, and some are less fortunate for this specific style. Along the wall, an island and a gallery shapes help in showing lines, which most often helps with the style.
What also helps with creating a modern style outdoors is lighting. Great idea is to keep fixtures simple, monochromatic, and installing them in line.
17. Finishes for a modern outdoor kitchen
Use up-to-date finishes to create a modern space. What works great is stainless steel, processed wood, and concrete.
Type of materials is as important as colors used. Modern works great with bold monochromatic palet. What is important this sort of materials and colors are going to age well.
If you’re looking for more modern outdoor kitchen ideas feel welcome to get to know 11 more from the post I wrote. It is available here.
Country outdoor kitchen ideas
Outdoor kitchens are an amazing addition to country houses, as they on average have bigger lots. No stress with the space means can incorporate basically any appliances owners dream about – from argentinian grill to pizza oven. Everything is an option.
18. A gazebo for country outdoor kitchen
A log gazebo can set a country tone to an outdoor kitchen area.
Log gazebos are long-lasting solutions, that not only work well with the style, but also protect appliances and guests from elements. Installing a gazebo enables hanging chandeliers, that also work well with the style.
19. Lighting for a country outdoor kitchen
Traditional lighting is key to creating a country style at outdoor kitchen.
What type of lighting works well with country? Traditional, and same goes with materials. Country outdoor kitchens look best when created out of natural materials, like wood, stone, or brick. Black metal accessories are going to complement the style.
Rustic outdoor kitchen ideas
Rustic outdoor kitchens are all about natural materials. Country outdoor kitchens are actually most often in this category, but it is way wider. It actually fits everything from Tuscan style to modern designs created solely from natural materials.
20. Materials that create a rustic outdoor kitchen
Nothing says rustic more than traditional materials (bricks, wood, stone). Adding metal elements is going to enhance the rustic look.
Flooring is important in creating a rustic feeling in the area. Concrete is not going to be as good solution as pavers or bricks.
Nothing can say more rusting than sitting area of an outdoor kitchen. Just look at these photos.
The concept of outdoor kitchens was actually born worldwide in areas with high temperatures. It was the way of keeping the heat outside of the house. Just look at this lovely outdoor kitchen from Greece, that is made entirely from natural materials.
If you’re into this look ovens might be your cooking appliance of choice. They look lovely and add so much function.
That’s right, it doesn’t have to be solely pizza oven, you can have built in grill and smoker too. It’s not cookie-cutter solution, and that is a point of rustic too.
Outdoor kitchen ideas lighting
Outdoor kitchen lighting can drastically change the area. As outdoor kitchens are very often used at night and during cloudy days, it is important to add light sources to illuminate the space.
Fan is the ultimate outdoor kitchen fixture
In my opinion, fan is simply the best fixture for an outdoor kitchen area. Seriously, no competition here.
21. The fan is an ultimate outdoor kitchen solution
A fan with light fixture illuminates the outdoor kitchen area, keeps flying insects away, and adds a breeze when it’s most needed.
There is a reason all these super-fancy outdoor kitchens are equipped with fans – they’re amazing! And what might be a surprise, outdoor kitchen fans are available for every pocket. They come even in a detachable option!
If you’re super lucky you can have one that in addition produces mist, but even without this extra feature an outdoor kitchen fan is simply the best!
It is important to pick a proper size fan to serve your outdoor kitchen area. The table with sizing is available here.
A scone is a miraculous fixture to use at outdoor kitchen
These are truly amazing fixtures. Scones have the ability to totally transform the space and full the eye big time. What can they do?
First of all they can show texture of the walls, which looks especially good on brick or reclaimed wood walls. Second of all used wisely can create a mood you’re looking for.
22. Create coziness at outdoor kitchen with light fixtures
Adding a down light scone is going to create coziness, as well as show the texture pf the wall.
The last, but not least, scones can also provide task lighting, which is crucial for cooking and preparation. So many functions in one little fixture!
23. Scones can multitask at outdoor kitchen area
A down & up light scones can both: show the texture and provide task light.
If you wonder which style is going to work best for you there are some ideas to use as well. First of all look around. What outdoor lights do you use currently?
24. Use light fixtures to make outdoor kitchen area coherent
If you already have outdoor scones on the exterior walls of your house same fixtures should be your first choice.
This way you’ll be able to create coherent outdoor design, the goal everybody is going for.
If, on the other hand, you’re designing outdoor kitchen lighting from the scratch, and there are no fixtures you have to relate to, a style of your outdoor kitchen can play a major role.
25. Light fixtures can add to outdoor kitchen style
If you’re going for a specific style, like rustic, modern or country, going with appropriate fixtures is a key.
What is important here is picking fixtures wisely. Not all of them have to be in a specific style. The composition can consist of one grand fixture in style, like a chandelier, and multiple neutral fixtures. You can also enhance the overall look of the space with fixtures in different styles – rustic can be stressed with slightly modern lighting. More info on style and lighting is available here.
Outdoor kitchen recessed lights
Recessed lights are simply amazing. They can be used with most of the styles, but are going to work especially well with modern and traditional.
Recessed lights are usually a part of ambient lighting, which means their role is to illuminate the whole area. But this is not the only role they can play. They’re amazing at stressing specific elements of the design.
26. Recessed lights can show texture on walls
If you have a textured wall in your outdoor kitchen area installing a recessed fixture right above it is going to accentuate it.
Recessed lights are very often used also in large spaces. They’re separated into groups that can be illuminated when needed.
27. It’s worth dividing recessed fixtures into groups
Recessed lights are very often used in standard lighting strategy for supplemental lighting, so not all of them have to be on all the time.
This solution comes usefull, as plenty of times solely an outdoor kitchen or dining area are used. It is an easy way to save on a bill and be more eco.
Outdoor kitchen countertop lights
These work amazing in any type of an outdoor kitchen really but are a must for no roof solutions. There are three types to go for: above the countertop lights, below the countertop lights, in cabinet lights.
28. Task lights at no-roof outdoor kitchen
Above the countertop fixtures are a great solution for no-roof outdoor kitchens. They work as task lights, so you’re able to say if the food is done, and not cut your fingers while prepping.
At the same time above the countertop fixtures guide you in the space, so you can always reach the outdoor kitchen safely. But if only the top part of the outdoor kitchen is illuminated walking can be not that convenient.
29. Guide people with light
Below the countertop lights have 2 goals: to guide you in the space and show you where the cabinets are.
This type of light can be created by mounting led strip under the countertop edge. It’s an easy, low-budget task that massively adds to outdoor kitchen convenience.
30. Cheap trick to increase outdoor kitchen convenience
Installing LEDs in the cabinets takes outdoor kitchen comfort to another level.
Imagine looking for spices or pots at night in dark cabinets. Seems kind of painful, doesn’t it? Installing led fixtures can fix this issue and make outdoor kitchen cabinets more useful.
Outdoor kitchen area landscape lights
An outdoor kitchen is located in the backyard. It is an important factor to remember about while designing the space, both with materials, that should reflect the area and lighting.
31. Guide your guests with light at the doors
If your outdoor kitchen is located afar from the house guide your guests with path, stair and door lights.
To design landscape lighting well it is important to add lights to all paths guests are going to use during parties. Stair lights are crucial here. The really simple thing that makes a massive difference is adding a lamp at the back door, so the entrance is visible from the lot.
32. Creating the drama with plants and lights
To add an extra interest point lighting up a few plants can be a really good idea.
Covered outdoor kitchen ideas
Usually there are three types of roofing over an outdoor kitchen:
Outdoor kitchen ideas: Under the Roof
If your outdoor kitchen is going to be located next to the house the roof to cover it is probably going to be already in place.
33. The safest location for appliances
An outdoor kitchen appliances are pricey so placing them below the roof is the smart move.
This location seems to be the most convenient one for most of the projects. It is definitely worth considering.
Outdoor kitchen ideas: Pergola Covering
For locations, that do not experience a lot of rain, and snowy winters, a pergola is going to work well enough.
34. Pergola works better with canopy
If your roof of choice is pergola equip it with canopy to receive more coverage. If your area experience a lot of rain consider acrylic glass.
Pergola can add a lot of style to an outdoor area, especially when it’s covered with plants and string lights.
Outdoor kitchen ideas: The Gazebo
Gazebo is a luxurious solution that works best with satellite outdoor kitchens.
35. A gazebo is an ultimate protector
Gazebo is a usefull solution for every climate. It is important though to check if the roof is high enough. If not a vented hood needs to be installed above the grill.
Most of gazebos are made out of wood. As the cost of the construction is substantial it is important to pick an excellent quality wood.
Outdoor kitchen ideas: Location
There are multiple locations for an outdoor kitchen. I’s like to show you:
- attached to the house,
- by the pool,
- on a deck,
- on a patio.
Indoor-outdoor kitchen ideas
Indoor-outdoor experience is much wanted nowadays. It’s also very functional
36. Year-round solution
Thanks to this design region doesn’t matter any more. Outdoor kitchen becomes the year-round entertaining space.
This sort of design makes the indoor-outdoor experience to the max level. A pure luxury it is.
Outdoor kitchen ideas by pool
A pool is a common location for an outdoor kitchen. There are plenty of reasons. First of all that is where entertainment takes place. Second of all this is a perfect spot for a bar.
Above are spaces that are not mixed with each other, just placed next to. Let me take you visually to another level.
37. Outdoor kitchen + Pool = Ultimate Entertaining Area
To create an epic entertaining area make an outdoor kitchen a part of the pool.
Outdoor kitchen ideas on a deck
Placing an outdoor kitchen on a deck may come with a little bit of a challenge. First of all connecting lines may not be that easy, and second of all the deck itself must be strong enough to carry the weight of the outdoor kitchen.
38. Make a math before placing an outdoor kitchen on a deck
Not every deck is strong enough to place on it an outdoor kitchen, it’s appliances and finishes. Look for lighter structures and check numbers with your contractor.
I wrote more about decks and outdoor kitchens in this article.
Outdoor kitchen ideas on a patio
The patio is the most common and convenient area for an outdoor kitchen location.
39. A small patio outdoor kitchen needs light colors
Even a small outdoor kitchen on a patio can look amazing if the right colors are used. Create the depth with shades to get more effect.
Patio can accomodate also medium and large outdoor kitchens. They take more space, so are not recommended on smaller lots.
And this is the end. After 39 ideas, and 87 pictures you’re ready to research areas that touched you most. I hope I helped you a bit in starting your outdoor kitchen journey. Please share in the comment section what outdoor kitchen ideas is most appealing to you.