You, Too, Can Have an Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen
credit: Gardenista

If you're firmly in the camp of "outdoor person," then perhaps an open-air food prep area should be your next backyard reno project. But before you get started, consider what elements you'll want in your outdoor kitchen — a pizza oven, a barbecue grill, a refrigerator, or a sink? Once you've answered those questions, you can decide whether you'd prefer to purchase a pre-made kitchen, hire a contractor to build one for you, or take on this DIY project. Whichever route you decide to take, here are a handful of inspired outdoor kitchen ideas. Before you know it, you'll be hosting al fresco dinner parties and indulging in healthy farm-to-table meals at sunset.

1. Opt for a streamlined approach.

Just because you're outside doesn't mean you have to throw minimalism out the door. Embrace the streamlined aesthetic, and pair it with a warm, wood-paneled wall set among the trees for a stunning kitchen that begs to be the center of attention.

2. Spring for a pizza oven.

outdoor pizza oven
credit: Shed

Umm, hot fresh pizza straight out of the oven, from the comfort of your own backyard? Yes, please! No outdoor kitchen is complete without a pizza oven. And while there are a ton of portable pizza ovens you can buy and place on your deck, nothing beats the real deal.

3. Less is so much more.

The great thing about this kitchen is that there's actually not much to it besides the sink and some basic carpentry. Its cool, stripped down appearance gives this culinary space a modern Scandinavian vibe that blends seamlessly with its natural surroundings. Pro tip: If you don't have plumbing readily available a quick and easy hack would be to connect your sink to a garden hose spigot, and you can drain the water into a nearby flower bed or herb garden.

4. Accentuate your deck.

Raising your deck and adding stairs can set the kitchen apart from the rest of the backyard, giving you plenty of room to work your magic. And matching the cabinetry to the deck material is a subtle and chic way to create a cohesive look.

5. Concrete is your friend.

The dark, wood-finish cabinets and hand-polished blue stone are this outdoor kitchen's bold response to stainless steel. Surrounded by verdant greenery, it's the perfect environment to whip up tasty meals for all of those summer soirees you're planning.

6. Create an indoor-outdoor space.

A hybrid indoor-outdoor kitchen is the best of both worlds. It allows you to protect major appliances from the elements, while still being able to utilize the outdoor area for prep and barbecue. This kitchen even takes the idea one step further, with a sliding window that connects the indoor kitchen to the cooking area outside.

7. Give your kitchen some privacy.

It may seem strange that this kitchen faces a walkway and a wall, but we like that the food prep station has its own dedicated area in the backyard, separate from the outdoor dining space.

8. Tuck your culinary station away until you need it.

garage door outdoor kitchen patio
credit: Mr. Mitchell

If you want to keep your outdoor kitchen under wraps, then this built-in layout with a large lift-up door is right up your alley. When the kitchen isn't in use, your backyard's good looks will remain flawless while your fancy barbecue stays safe and sound, protected from the elements.

9. Install a fireplace.

If you have enough space, adding a fireplace to your outdoor design is a must. Nothing compares to sitting outdoors next to a crackling fire. Not to mention, nestled between the sink and the prep station, this wood burning blaze is perfect for making s'mores on a warm summer night.

10. Try a free-standing kitchen.

detached outdoor kitchen
credit: Roshults

A free-standing kitchen is a great option if you don't have the ability to renovate and build a permanent addition in your yard. Consider a modular cooking space instead so you have the freedom to remove part, or all of it, should you change your mind.

11. Embrace your inner minimalist.

There is something simply stunning about this no-frills approach. While the concrete bar might only include counter space and a sink, that's all you really need to make a cool, refreshing pitcher of fresh lemonade or to rinse all of the delicious produce picked from your very own vegetable garden.

12. See the beauty in natural flaws.

Cedar cabinetry with stainless steel appliances and countertops make a handsome match in this industrial-meets-the-rustic-outdoors kitchen. The knotty wood grain of the cabinetry exudes a charming log cabin vibe that we just adore.

13. Don't limit yourself to the backyard.

If you don't have the space, this mini kitchen from Boffi might be your best bet. It includes a refrigerator, drawers, storage compartments, a small cutlery drawer, sockets for electrical appliances, a big chopping board, and a tray. Plus, the entire thing is on wheels so you can take it with you whenever the mood strikes.