An outdoor kitchen can be a great addition to your home.

These summer kitchens offer an opportunity to try out new and fun design ideas.

The best outdoor kitchens are fully functional but also very original. They have a practical and functional layout, while also being showcases for innovative outdoor kitchen designs.

Image source: Bender & Associates Architects

Every kitchen, whether is an indoor kitchen design or an outdoor kitchen design, should be based around the “kitchen triangle” of the fridge, range to cooktop, and sink. These major parts of your kitchen should all be close together, in a triangle where no side is more than 10 feet. There should be no obstruction in the middle of the triangle’s sides like kitchen cabinets or kitchen islands.

Outdoor kitchen plans need to be centered around this kitchen triangle as much as indoor ones so, even if you don’t have a full complement of outdoor kitchen appliances. With that in mind, the question is how to build outdoor kitchen?

Image source: Bawtree Design Architecture + Interiors

Just looking at summer kitchen pictures is rarely enough. Well, here are some important things to consider as you finalize your outdoor kitchen ideas.

Why Should You Have an Outdoor Kitchen?

1. Space for Entertaining
The best outdoor kitchens are entertaining spaces. It is one of the main reasons people build them. An outdoor kitchen makes a for a great space to grill food out on the patio. As you grill, your guests can gather around the outside kitchen grill and socialize while they wait for food.

Add in patio heaters for chillier weather. You can also make the space more comfortable by adding in cozy outdoor furnishings, light strings, and music.

Image source: Maverick Landscaping

2. Increases Your Home’s Value
If you want to increase the value of your home, a good summer kitchen design can give it a nice little boost. Stainless tell BBQs and other outdoor kitchen appliances handle changing temperatures very well as the seasons turn.

They are also very easy to clean. Summer kitchen designs are a good investment as they last well for years and years to come, and work well for future homeowners.

3. Helps You Save on Your Utility Bill
Cooking and grilling outside will help you keep your utility costs low, especially during summer. Your air conditioner will not have to use as much power to keep your house cool, since the heat added by cooking inside will not be an issue.

Image source: Stone Acorn Builders

Frying, baking, roasting, and broiling food inside can raise the house temperature by several noticeable degrees, which of course your air conditioning will kick on to cool off your house.

4. Keeps Cooking Smells Outside
While cooking food can smell very good, sometimes it definitely is not a smell you want throughout your house. Fried food can be particularly bad. By cooking in an outdoor kitchen, you can keep these smells outside, where they will disperse more easily and also not sink into fabric or carpet. Your house can stay smelling fresh and livable.

5. Expands Your Home’s Living Space
By building an outdoor kitchen, you have more space in your house. You basically add on a whole new room without the time, effort, and money it takes to build walls and a roof. All you are doing is making additions to your patio.

Image source: Lindross Remodeling

If you already have a covered patio, so much the better, since all you need to do it add in appliances and possibly furniture. You can use your new outdoor kitchen to entertain guests, celebrate events, or even as dining room during pleasant weather.

6. Makes Healthy Food Taste Better
Cooking outdoors can have a surprising healthy effect. Fat will drip off meat when it is grilled, so that it is healthier and has less calories from fat. If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, cooking outside can be really helpful towards that goal.

7. Saves You Money on Eating Out at Restaurants
With an outdoor kitchen, you now have your own patio to eat at. You have even less reason o go out to eat, now that you have such a nice atmospheric area in your own home. Restaurants are expensive and you will feel the impact of frequently eating out financially.

Image source: Clever Homes

Whenever you decide to eat at home, you save money. Creating your own quality eating area can be a big help for your wallet.

Now that you know the reasons why you should have an outdoor kitchen, let’s look at some outdoor kitchen plans and design elements. Looking at outdoor kitchen pictures isn’t going to be enough! You should look at the elements of a good outdoor kitchen.


Your outdoor kitchen will have a very similar configuration to an indoor kitchen. What exactly that will look out is dependent on the space you plan on using. Look at how much space you have, your cooking style, and what your budget is as you make your plans. There are a couple of basic design ideas that can help you out.

Image source: AquaTerra Outdoors

Straight Line Kitchens

These sorts of kitchens are reminiscent of a kitchenette. They are more budget friendly and work very well for a smaller space. If you are placing your kitchen up against the wall of your house, make sure you use non-combustible materials so you can protect the house’s siding. Double check with a professional if you’re doing this, as it’s something you really don’t want to get wrong.

U-Shaped Kitchens

This is a kitchen layout you should use for a larger space. It has all the typical things you find in a kitchen, including a grill, a fridge, a dishwasher, a sink, and a bar.

This is a design that’s very similar to what you find in most indoor kitchens. If you choose to build this sort of outdoor kitchen, you will find that it becomes the new focal point for your backyard.

Image source: Chris DiSabatino

Kitchen Island Designs

This design is one of the most common found in outdoor kitchens. The grill and other appliances are clustered in a central unit. This is a very cost-effective design. It works very well for entertaining, as well. Think about raising one side of outdoor countertops so you can separate the social areas from the cooking areas.

As you plan and design your outdoor kitchen, here are some measurements you should remember:

•Landing area on left and right of grill or pizza oven: 12″ on one side and 24″ on the other
•Landing area on left and right side of cooktop/burner: 12″ on each side
•Landing area on left and right sides of sink: 18″
•Landing area above undercounter refrigerator: 15″ of clear space and can be shared with the sink or cooking area
•Minimum work space: 36″ w x 24″ d
•Storage: minimum of 21″ linear storage (for 10’ kitchen)
•Often forgotten: landing space on each side of major appliance or element, like sink

Image source: Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors

Outdoor Kitchen Planning Guide

Step 1: Figure Out the Location

Keeping the Kitchen Close to the House
Use your home’s walls to protect your new outdoor kitchen from the wind. To protect against to other elements, like snow and rain, think about building an overhang roof over the outdoor kitchen. If you keep the outdoor kitchen close to the house, you will find it easier to hook up the utility lines.

It will also make it easier to go back into the house to wash your dishes or to get ingredients you need. Make sure you bear in mind how close the doors and windows. If there is poor ventilation and the doors and windows are close, you will need to install a vent system so your house does not get filled with smoke.

The direction an outdoor kitchen faces is also important. South-facing and west-facing kitchen kitchens are just about perfect, as they face the sun.

Image source: Jamie Jackson Design

Putting the Kitchen Far from the House

By putting the kitchen far from your home, you create a separate entertaining area. It is harder to run back inside and grab what you need or want while cooking.

These kinds of kitchens are often outfitted with more large kitchen appliances, like a fridge, oven, and sink. They also tend to have much more storage. It can be very hard to run utility lines to outdoor kitchens built farther from the house.

Considering all the expensive appliances you’re likely to have in a kitchen placed like this, you may want to build an overhang or freestanding structure so there is some protection from the elements.

Some External Considerations

Make sure you check with the local building department about your area’s regulations, sire safety, permits and setbacks. Also make sure to think about your neighbors. Integrate privacy, smoke, and noise issues into planning the location of your outdoor kitchen.

Image source: Tomas O’Malley Architect

Make sure you light the kitchen and surrounding areas, as well, including paths and steps.

Step 2: Think About Utilities

Utilities are necessary if you want a functioning kitchen. You are probably going to need to consult or hire a professional for the installation and setup of utilities for your outdoor kitchen.


Think about running a natural gas line to the grill in your outdoor kitchen if its available in the area. If you are going to use propane tanks instead, keep an extra full tank nearby. If you opt to use charcoal instead of gas, this is not a necessary utility to think about as you plan your outdoor kitchen.


This is an essential utility, however. You will need to have your outdoor kitchen set up with task lighting and at least one outlet.


A sink is a very nice addition to an outdoor kitchen. In order to have one in your outdoor kitchen, you need to run a plumbing line to it. Consider this addition carefully, as it is likely to run up a pretty hefty bill. If you live in an area where it gets cold, you will also need to winterize and insult your plumbing line, which will increase the price by quite a bit.

Image source: Tomas O’Malley Architect

Step 3: Select Your Materials

You will need to use durable materials for an outdoor kitchen, as the space will be sitting out in the elements largely unprotected and you also want it built to last through a lot of years of use.

Outdoor Cabinets Materials

You want to make sure your cabinets are water-resistant. This is especially true of outdoor kitchens built in coastal or other humid areas. It might be a good idea to pick materials for your cabinets that are also fade resistant, as the sun can and will bleach anything that sits out in it too long if it isn’t designed specially not
to fade.

Outdoor Kitchen Countertops and Floors

You want to use durable materials for outdoor countertops and floors. They will both have to deal with a lot of spills, all while being exposed to the weather and elements at all times. Think about using the following materials.

•Stone- perfect for countertops in particular. Granite is very tough and does not absorb stains like a lot of other stones. Lighter colors are good for countertops. Darker stone will absorb heat from the sun, which can even cause burns. Stone flooring, while you think it might be expensive, can be made budget-friendly by using slate, sandstone, and limestone. Marble is more expensive, but it works very well, as it looks nice and is very durable.

Image source: Derviss Design

•Concrete-a very trendy material for both floors and countertops. It is prone to cracking, so get it sealed when it is installed. You will need to reseal it on a regular basis to maintain a good look. You can get concrete is assorted colors, as well as spending a bit extra for finishing to imprinting. It is a very good idea to have a professional install concrete.

•Tile– a very diverse material, available in a number of styles and colors. Tile work well for floors, countertops, and your budget. You can even install it by yourself. If you live in a cold climate, get freeze-proof tiles; otherwise, your tile is likely to crack. Remember that grout can be stained, even if it has been sealed.

Step 4: Pick Out Your Appliances

For your outdoor kitchen, you will definitely need a grill, but you can pick out a variety of other appliances.

•Outdoor Grill
There are a lot of types of grills out there, ranging from gas to charcoal to more, with a number of different specifications and dimensions available. Make sure you get the right dimensions before you pay, because a good grill is very expensive.

Image source: Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens

•Outdoor Sink
This can be a really useful feature for your outdoor kitchen. You can use it to wash off dishes and utensils, as well as using it to wash your hands while cooking for good hygiene. It can be worth your money and time to run a water line out to the kitchen for this sink. Stainless steel is a good material for an outdoor sink, since it won’t rust and is easy to clean.

For a fully functional outdoor kitchen, a fridge is a must. You can keep drinks and condiments, as well as side dishes. A small fridge is a wonderful addition to your outdoor kitchen. It works really well for a bar set up.

If you want an oven, make sure you run gas or electric to the outdoor kitchen. An oven can make your outdoor kitchen into a secondary kitchen. Wood-fired ovens are an option, too, and very popular.

•Side Burner
Having a side burner outside will allow you to boil water or heat sauces outside. Choose materials carefully, as you want something that can stand up to the elements.

Image source: Urban Oasis

•Vent Hood
A vent hood is good for removing smoke and smells from closed spaces. Sometimes you can get one with lighting already built in.

With a dishwasher installed in your outdoor kitchen, you won’t have to haul your dirty dishes back inside. This can be a real time saver and well worth the installation of a water line.

Step 5: Decide on Your Budget and Your Construction Specifics

Before you start buying appliances or breaking ground, you need to take a look at all your needs and figure out your budget.

If you are only going to use your outdoor kitchen sparingly, because you only use it for a few months in your cold climate, or you only plan on grilling burgers or hotdogs with close family, keep the kitchen design simple.

Decide on how much you’ll use your outdoor kitchen and what you will be using it for, i.e. small dinners or large get-togethers. From there, sort out what appliances and features you will need. You may not want some appliances because of how close your outdoor kitchen is to your indoor ones, like a fridge or an oven.

Image source: 1 Man of the Cloth

On the other hand, you might need a shade structure because of your climate. Figuring out these things will help you to determine a realistic budget for the perfect outdoor kitchen.

Also, knowing all of these things will help you decide whether or not you will need to hire a professional at any point in the project, or even if you want to hire a contractor to oversee the entire thing.

Appliances Determine Kitchen Size

After you know your budget, you need to figure out how big your appliances are and how many you need or want. This is the first thing a professional asks when designing an outdoor kitchen, and you should follow that lead. You might want to have several cooking appliances and refrigerators, or you might have some specific entertaining needs you want.

Think about how all the appliances you will be using fir into the overall design of the outdoor kitchen. Look at how much room they each need and how they work with one another. Make sure to leave space on either side of the grill for platters and tools. Try not to place appliances too close together so it becomes awkward and difficult to use them.

Image source: ROCHE+ROCHE Landscape Architecture

You should base your outdoor kitchen design on the same working triangle you use in an indoor kitchen. This makes it much easier for everyone who is cooking, whether it’s friends, families, or even caterers. It can be helpful to have varying counter heights for different functions. You can use traditional 36 inch high counters for standing pre-work and cooking.

A 30 inch high surface us good for sitting to eat, and bar tables work well at 42 inches. Using all of these heights makes for a flexible and functional outdoor kitchen.

Remember, a working triangle does its best to place, storage, and cooktop in a triangle with legs no less than 4 feet long and no longer than 9 feet long. A good rule to use is to keep the distances around appliances at 36 inches for every person in the kitchen.

Shop for Reliable Appliances

A lot of outdoor kitchen have a grill, sink, and a small fridge. A few kitchens are a bit more elaborate, with special appliances like a beer tap, hibachi grills, smokers, and warming drills. Make sure you buy appliances that can take the elements, including rain, sun, and snow.

Image source: Brookes + Hill Custom Builders

Ceramic or stainless steel are very durable and can handle all weather conditions. They also don’t need a lot maintenance. Depending on the sink you select, you can either have space for a quick rinse or wash a large amount of food.

You can either hook a sink to your house’s water supply, or just connect it to a yard hose. Get professional help as you need it. Call a plumber to connect the water supply to your outdoor sink. Do the same for other appliances.

Get a licensed electrician to install the electrical connection and wiring so your outdoor kitchen is up to code and safe. If you’re going to get a gas-powered grill and want a line hooked up to it, you will need to hire a licensed professional and file a permit with your city.

1. Refrigerator
You will likely be glad to have a fully operational fridge. It can keep salads and desserts cold while you grill. You can store beverages and keep them cold on a warm summer night. Give serious thought to adding a fridge to your outdoor kitchen even if you weren’t planning on it in your initial design.

Image source: Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design

2. Ice Maker
An ice maker is ideal for any space where you will do a lot of entertaining. You can, of course always purchase ice or bring it from inside, but an ice maker is a much easier choice. You can get a variety of ice makers, such as under counter units, free-standing options, and countertop ice makers, ranging from under $200 to over $1000. This makes it much easier to fit a good ice maker into your outdoor kitchen compared to some larger appliances.

3. Wine or Canned Beverage Fridge
These kinds of specialized refrigerators are great additions for entertainment focused spaces. While a regular fridge is great for storing condiments and small dishes, these fridges can hold all the beverages, wine bottles, or soda cans you will need for your party.

This way you can keep them all at the ideal temperature without having to buy ice or haul around clunky coolers. Take a look at the options available to see if one would work best for your needs.

4. Cold Beverage Bin
Some people just prefer a tub full of ice and drinks. This can be a very cool addition to your guests and brings a certain kind of hometown feel to any gathering. It is very convenient for any guests looking to serve themselves.

If you want to give your outdoor kitchen a more casual atmosphere, having one of these cold beverage bins in the design can be an excellent decision.

Image source: Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

5. Beer Dispenser
Often called a kegerator, a lot of people find that having one of these is a must for an outdoor kitchen. These dispensers can be used to pour draft beer. If you want to make the areas feel like an outdoor mancave, adding one of these is almost a requirement.

It’s worth noting that serving beer in kegs is much more economical. It’s both cheaper and means you have fewer bottles and cans to clean up later.

6. Bar
If you’re going to be serving draft beer, you might as well have a full bar. If you enjoy having mixed drinks outside, this is an excellent addition. It is very convenient to have all liquor bottles available in a well rather than cluttering your counters. You can even install a bottle opener with a bottle cap catcher to keep bottle caps from going everywhere.

7. Two-Sided Grill
Putting in a two-sided grill can allow you to have both a gas and a charcoal grill so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. You could even opt to use one side for grilling meat at the desired temperature, while the other can be used for grilling vegetables, bread, or other items. If you have family or guests that are vegetarians, this can be perfect for allowing everyone to eats what they want.

Image source: Backyard Builders

8. Warming Drawer
Warming doors are rare even in indoor kitchens, but they are becoming more popular. This appliance allows you to keep your food warm when you are cooking for a lot of people. This way the food doesn’t go cold while you’re cooking up more of it.

You can warm up bread rolls, or even keep food warm for anyone who might show up late. It can also be used for slow cooking meat and other food. A warming drawer is a very versatile appliance you should consider if you have the space to install it.

9. Side Burners
Side burners are increasingly common on even portable grills. If you install one or two on the full range on your outdoor kitchen, you can really expand your cooking surface and options.

10. Pizza Oven
A pizza oven can be very fun, if you have the room to install it. It can be a great family activity, as everyone not only gets to eat their favorite pizza, they get to make it, too!

Besides full-sized pizza oven, there are also portable ones that come on carts, as well as countertop versions. If you have the budget, however, a wood0fired oven is a fun and impressive appliance to have in your outdoor kitchen.

Image source: Platinum Site Development

11. Smoker
A smoker can completely change your cooking. Not only can they make meat taste delicious, they can also smoke a lot of other different kinds of food, including scallops, cheese, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. If you’re looking to bring new flavor to your cooking repertoire, consider adding a smoker to your outdoor kitchen.

12. Blender
If you entertain often, or just enjoy a margarita on occasion, you will want a good blender. I is also great for fresh salsa and smoothies. Make sure you have a plug to power it on. You can even get one built-in to your counter.

13. Storage Drawers
If you plan on cooking and hosting meals outside, you definitely want a place to put your pots, pans, dishes, and utensils. This can save you a lot of hassle, as you won’t be running inside for things you need. Put in some cabinets to hold all those necessities.

14. Dishwasher
For even more convenience, include a dishwasher. While not a fancy set piece that will easily impress your guests, it will make it much easier to clean up after a meal.

15. Garbage Disposal
A garbage disposal can finish turning an outdoor kitchen into a fully functional kitchen. If you want to peel vegetables or wash dishes, you will probably want one installed in your outdoor kitchen.


An outdoor kitchen can be special space for yourself, your family, and your guests. Look at your budget and your needs carefully. Be creative with your design. There are so many options for every kind of outdoor kitchen. Enjoy creating the ideal space!

Outdoor kitchen design inspiration

Are you curious how to build an outdoor kitchen having the same benefits as usual? Well this collection is created specially for my readers and brings an impressive mixture of outdoor kitchen designs photos.

Building an outdoor kitchen is easier than a normal one because here you don’t need a hood which involves other holes and ventilation and taking into account that the environment is not sustaining ceramic tiles costs are significantly reduced.

Outdoor kitchen appliances are less than in a normal kitchen because here you are preparing most often barbeque or other quick dishes to spend some time with your friends. It’s very important not to forget about a small fridge to maintain your drinks cold.

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