How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen- DIY


20 Jul How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen- DIY

This summer we are launching our outdoor kitchen designer series. We’ll walk you through the process of figuring out where to place your kitchen, what items are essential, and how to splurge in all the right areas. If you’re a savvy DIY homeowner this project will definitely be your pride and joy, or if you’d rather go with the professionals this series will help you vet prospective contractors. Follow this series to find out how you should design the optimal outdoor kitchen.


Whether you are trying to build a gourmet outdoor prep kitchen or just looking to place a nice barbecue and smoker outside for entertaining, space is always something to consider. First, you’ll want to select a location that is easily accessed. A prime location is often on a patio next to a sliding door or beneath a window to pass food and dishes through. Second, consider how well your space can support the items on your kitchen wish list, along with comfortable seating. There is little use for an outdoor kitchen if your don’t have the space outside to enjoy the fruits (or kabobs) of your labor. Last, the location should either currently have outdoor lighting or have the space to install a few fixtures to ensure you can use the kitchen during any season.

Wish List

Once you’ve found the right location, you’ll need to define the type of outdoor kitchen you’re looking to build. There are different installation requirements that depend on the appliances you are looking to include in your new outdoor cooking space. Are you looking to install the works: sink, dishwasher, refrigerator, ice maker, grill, etc? Keep in mind more elaborate kitchen accessories will require drainage, plumbing, electrical, and building permits from the city. As you dream up your customized outdoor kitchen determine the type of cooking you’ll be doing most often in order to create your list of “must-have” appliances.

The Basics

Most importantly, your new outdoor kitchen needs to be able to function efficiently to make it an enjoyable addition. Obviously, the basic functions it needs to support with ease are cooking, cleaning, and conversation. When it comes to cooking, you can make a mean steak with a great grill – but are you going coal, gas, or electric? Do you want your grill to be built in, or portable? As you wrestle with these decisions, it may come down to weighing the ease of use against the cost of installation time and labor. For easy clean up, think about at least installing a sink with a garbage disposal. While the location may lend itself to relatively easy clean up by stacking up the dishes and walking them inside, there is something really nice about being able to rinse the dishes without needing to leave the party. If you’re looking to keep your kitchen eco-friendly, have your contractor hook up your drainage to a greywater system. With biodegradable soap, you can save water in your garden by using the run off from your kitchen sink. After everything, outdoor kitchens are just one room in this outdoor living space. Consider adding a countertop and cabinetry for storage space and a prep area. With these small features, you can dice, grill, and wash without ever leaving the conversation with the family and friends you invited over.

Lounge Area

Almost the most essential item of any outdoor kitchen is a relaxing seating area. Outdoor rooms increase a home’s perceived square footage, and it’s overall value. Find a unique dining table for outdoor meals and comfy lounge chairs for relaxing with a cup of coffee in the morning. Along with seating, you’ll want to regulate the weather with outdoor fans and heaters. For those hot summer months a nice fan and an ice cold beverage goes a long way, and well placed heaters with outdoor lighting will keep the party going long after the sun goes down.

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