The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen Design Guide

An outdoor kitchen adds value to your home and extends the use of the backyard. In addition, a well-planned space can entertain family and friends with ease.

Steel frame kits can be finished with decorative concrete panels, stucco, stone or tile. These face materials can protect the structure from moisture and weather extremes.


An outdoor kitchen takes backyard entertaining to the next level. It provides the tools and space for a cook to prepare meals, entertain guests, and enjoy the outdoors all year round. This kitchen concept can be as simple or as complex as your backyard and budget allow.

When planning your new outdoor kitchen, the first step is to think about how you will use it. If you plan on cooking for a crowd, consider adding an island configuration to centralize culinary activity and minimize movement. This will also keep the chef involved with your party and eliminates the need to go back and forth between the indoor and outdoor spaces.

You should also decide what materials you want to use. Many homeowners choose to use a wood frame structure to save on cost. This allows them to add custom details and features like a slatted wall or gazebo-style roof, while protecting the countertops and appliances from the elements. For a more permanent structure, concrete block is an affordable option that can be faced with decorative concrete panels, stucco, stone, or tile.

Countertop selection is an important decision that should take weather resistance and maintenance into consideration. Traditional countertop materials like granite, quartz, and concrete require periodic sealing to maintain their appearance. If you are looking for a more low-maintenance solution, manufactured surfaces like those made by Cosentino or Lapitec offer gorgeous high-performance surfaces that are resistant to moisture, stains, and scratches.

It is also essential to determine the location and size of your outdoor kitchen. You will need to make sure that you have access to the necessary utilities, including sewer, water, and electric. In some cases, it may be necessary to dig trenches to install the necessary underground plumbing and electric lines. This will require a professional to complete this portion of the project.

Once you have a clear idea of your kitchen’s layout and design, the fun begins! Depending on your budget, you can create additional seating areas throughout the backyard to compliment your kitchen. Low tables are popular for drinks and snacks, while bar stools can be added to seating areas near the kitchen for an easy place for guests to set down their beverages without interrupting the chef.


In addition to having a plan and budget for your outdoor kitchen, you should also have in mind the types of materials you wish to use in its construction. A full outdoor kitchen requires weather-resistant building, countertop, sink, appliances and fixtures to withstand the elements. These can range from concrete to stone and everything in between. All of these must be durable enough to withstand the rigors of outdoor cooking and be capable of handling hot, wet, humid conditions.

A solid surface counter is often a popular option for outdoor kitchens and can be made from a number of materials including granite, quartz and natural stone. Stainless steel is also an attractive choice as it can stand up to the heat emitted by your grill without becoming too hot to touch. Laminate, however, is not a good choice as it can be damaged by moisture and may crack in high temperatures.

Cabinet surfaces can also vary, depending on your design and lifestyle preferences. Wood is an economical option for cabinetry but needs to be treated with a sealant to keep moisture from damaging the wood. Other material options include concrete, travertine and marble. Stainless steel cabinets are another popular choice, as they are tough and resistant to weather and staining. Bare stainless steel is an attractive option but doesn’t always match other colors of your kitchen, so you may want to choose a painted or enameled finish to coordinate with your decor.

A gazebo-style roof or other shelter can increase your usable outdoor space by protecting the countertops and cabinets from rain, snow and direct sunlight. This adds to the cost of your project but is an investment that will pay off over time. Adding a pergola or other sheltered structure also allows you to select less expensive wood for the frame of your kitchen, as it will be protected from rain and sun and is less likely to rot.

When determining where to build your outdoor kitchen, be sure to consider your location and the logistics of running utility lines for water, power and gas. Check your home’s title to see if there are any buried lines or easements that could affect where and how you build. Ideally, the kitchen should be located close to where you will need the gas line and electric connections.


A good Outdoor Kitchen Design and Construction takes into consideration the layout and appliances needed to function. Many homeowners add a refrigerator and a sink to make cooking easier and more convenient but not every outdoor kitchen needs those features. Adding a specialty countertop or adding a fireplace can make your kitchen feel like an extension of your home and help create a cozy place to entertain friends and family.

Stainless steel appliances are common in outdoor kitchens because they can withstand the elements and provide durability for years to come. They also tend to be more stylish and sleek than their indoor counterparts. Granite and other natural stones are popular countertop options in an outdoor kitchen as well but you may want to consider manufactured countertops, which are made from durable, low-maintenance materials that resist moisture and UV rays.

Side burners can be a great addition to an outdoor kitchen because they allow you to prepare multiple dishes at once. You can grill steaks and bake vegetables at the same time or cook a meal on the grill then finish off with baked beans on the side burners.

Another important feature of an outdoor kitchen is the amount of storage space it has. There is nothing worse than having to run inside for utensils or supplies when you are cooking outside. This is where cabinets and storage drawers come in handy. These pieces can keep all of your grilling utensils, pots, and pans within easy reach so you don’t have to run inside and ruin your appetite or your day!

An outdoor kitchen should always have a sink and refrigerator, as well as adequate counter space for food prep and cooking. If you choose to install a sink in your outdoor kitchen, make sure to use a plumbing contractor that is licensed and experienced with the plumbing code requirements of your municipality. Gray drainage water from the sink must be routed back to your house and you’ll need a gas line for your grill or stove that can either be connected to your home’s existing pipes or be set up as a propane system with refillable tanks.


A key component to a functional outdoor kitchen is seating. Whether it is for prep, cooking or entertaining guests, the seating area will dictate how well the rest of the kitchen functions. Ideally, seating should be a short distance away from the grill for safety reasons but close enough to enjoy the food and conversation. It is also important to have a place for a trash receptacle and sink as well as a beverage center nearby.

Seating arrangements are a great opportunity to incorporate a design element that reflects your personal style. For example, a designer can add a custom tile backsplash to the seating area or have a local artist create an unique stone slab for the counter top. A simple yet elegant touch is to line the seating area with foot rails, which give people a place to rest their feet while they are standing at the counter.

In addition to a good layout and sturdy furnishings, you should plan the electrical and plumbing for your outdoor kitchen early on. The kitchen will need to be connected to your home’s breaker box for power and water. Also, you need to determine where the utilities will be run underground and if there are any intervening yard elements such as fences, pools, flower beds, or septic tanks that could pose obstacles. If you will be using a gas grill, you will need to install a propane line as well.

Another key consideration is the material you choose for your counters, walls, and flooring. Experts recommend concrete, brick, and natural stone as the safest materials to use in an outdoor kitchen. These durable materials offer longevity and can be incorporated into a wide variety of styles.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider how you will utilize lighting in your outdoor kitchen space. The right lighting will set the mood and provide functional task lighting as well as a soft glow for relaxing after a long day.

An outdoor kitchen should always put function first, but that doesn’t mean design should be left behind. This U-shaped outdoor kitchen combines utilitarian details, such as a Coyote grill, refrigerator and sink, with design-forward accents like a plaster hood and bespoke tiles.