An outdoor kitchen is not a very common feature these days and that’s a bit strange considering that people used to spend most of their time outdoors until quite recently.
Most of the daily activities used to take place outdoors and that included cooking.
Then came a time when we became obsessed with creating large and massive constructions which could house everything one needed. Kitchens were pushed inside the house along with other functions.
Today outdoor kitchens may not be common but they’re definitely appreciated for the fact that they bring us closer to nature.
What is the average size of an outdoor kitchen?
The size of an outdoor kitchen depends on how much square footage you have in your yard. Size should also be determined based on how you’re planning to use the kitchen.
If you plan to spend a lot of time out here cooking or entertaining, make it big. If you want the kitchen to be an accent feature, a small one should do.
A small outdoor kitchen measures at least 10 linear feet. This gives just enough space for basic features and appliances.
A slightly larger one measures between 12-14 linear feet. It can accommodate necessary appliances and a couple of extra features.
Medium-sized outdoor kitchens are 16 feet long which adds more storage and countertop space.
Large outdoor kitchens are 20 linear feet long or more. This is enough space to have more than appliances of each type as well as lots of storage.
What’s included in an outdoor kitchen?
Outdoor kitchens usually include things like a grill, a cooktop, a fridge, a sink, some storage and counter space. If the space allows it, you can add extra features.
Pick and choose a few outdoor kitchen must-haves such as:
- a pull-out trash cabinet for an easy cleanup
- an outdoor grill hood in case the kitchen is not open
- floating shelves for additional storage or as decorative elements
- a smoker which can complement the grill
- a pizza oven for delicious home-made pizza
- a griddle for delicious al fresco breakfasts
- ice storage for beverages
- a wine cooler for guests and for yourself
- a pergola or roof for shade
Modern Outdoor Kitchen Design Ideas
Outdoor kitchen and pool combo
The Spring Valley House is a residence designed by StudioMET in Houston, Texas. It’s a two-story structure with spacious indoor areas and a very comfortable modern outdoor zone which includes the swimming pool and a summer kitchen. The kitchen island also serves as an outdoor bar. It’s partially protected by the roof of the house.
Small modern backyard with a kitchen and seating area
You don’t need a big yard to have an outdoor beautiful kitchen or any outdoor space for that matter. in fact, a small yard can feel very cozy and inviting. Just look at this one. It’s an outdoor kitchen and lounge area designed for the Belgravia House, a private residence created by Staffan Tollgard Design Group in London, England.
Modern Outdoor kitchen with a minimalist island
The North Bondi House designed by MCK Architects doesn’t have a big yard either. Still, the designers found a way to integrate an outdoor kitchen area. It’s actually a simple, minimalist island that perfectly aligns with the indoor kitchen cabinetry. It looks and feels like a natural extension of the indoor area.
Waterfront lounge area with a cool view
When you’re living in a gorgeous waterfront house like the one designed by architect Ralph Choeff, you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible and to be able to enjoy the views and freshness without obstructions. An outdoor kitchen seems like a natural thing to add to such a design. You can see it here together with casual lounge areas as well as a sunken seating area.
Indoor and outdoor modern kitchen symmetry
The outdoor kitchen designed by Kim Duffin of Sublime Architectural Interiors seems to beautifully match and even mirror the indoor one in a lot of ways. There’s a linearity between them and it’s really nice how the island lines up with the table and how the indoor cabinetry lines up with the outdoor cabinets.
Small kitchen and outdoor dining area
The Story Pool House is a beautiful residence designed by Lake Flato. It’s located in Center Point, Texas and it’s surrounded by nature and greenery, featuring views of the nearby hills. It has a pretty vast outdoor area, like an open plan social area with only a roof above it. Out here there’s a small kitchen and a dining area.
Outdoor entertainment area with a fire pit
An outdoor kitchen goes hand in hand with an alfresco dining area and usually, they make a great pair. This contemporary residence designed by McClellan Architects is no exception. It has plenty of great features besides there as well, including a green roof and wonderful waterfront views.
Rooftop terrace with an outdoor kitchen
You don’t even need a yard to have an outdoor kitchen. Actually, there’s a really cool alternative: a rooftop terrace with a kitchen, an outdoor bar and everything else you want. dSPACE Studio designed one that overlooks the city of Chicago. It has views of the treetops and the buildings in the distance.
Open kitchen with a great view
Both the interior and the exterior living spaces of the Zeidler Residence were designed to maximize the views and to make the most of all the natural light and the refreshing ocean breeze. The residence was designed by Ehrlich Architects and it overlooks the Pacific Ocean. This is its outdoor kitchen.
White outdoor kitchen with a minimalist design
A lot of times, outdoor kitchens are designed using raw materials that don’t necessarily suggest the best attention to detail. That makes the residence designed by Daniel Lomma pretty special. The house is located in Derby, Western Australia and its design is futuristic with a touch of classic charm.
Wooden kitchen in a small garden
Sometimes a major change needs a trigger and sometimes that involves unpleasant events. This a residence that’s been greatly damaged by a hurricane but that didn’t stop its owners from pursuing happiness. They redesigned and rebuilt the house and took this opportunity to also create a beautiful garden with an outdoor kitchen, dining space, and custom furniture. It was a design by New Eco.
A small outdoor bbq area
It’s hard to come up with a perfect home design from the first try. It usually takes a renovation to actually get what you wanted. The Brighton residence is a nice example.
Its new design is a symphony of warm and natural materials including recycled hardwoods, natural stone and fabrics which are beautifully layered. The renovation also added this small outdoor kitchen/ grill area. The project was done by Mr. Mitchell.
Large kitchen with wood-burning oven
Outdoor kitchens make life more enjoyable. They transpose an important section of every person’s home in a new and unfamiliar environment and that instantly makes everything seem new and exciting. Obviously, the design has to be adapted to the environment and the same thing applies to the materials, textures, finishes and colors used.
A modern concept for sustainable living
A two-year long collaboration of over 50 students from Budapest resulted in a project designed to encourage people to spend as much time outdoors as possible. They came up with a sustainable house design centered around a courtyard. The space out here can be used for lots of different activities, including cooking, dining and lounging.
Covered porch with kitchen and dining area
Isn’t this porch just lovely? It was designed by architect Peter Block who is known for his unique interpretation of traditional architecture and design concepts and his way of updating and reinterpreting them in modern ways. This outdoor kitchen and dining area has the charm and warmth of a traditional home and the clean and sophisticated beauty of a modern home.
An indoor kitchen then extends outside
The house designed by Benn & Penna offers an interesting solution for the lack of space in a small home and the desire to connect with the outdoors. As you can see here, the kitchen extends outdoors into an uninterrupted counter with cabinetry underneath. This makes the line between indoor and outdoor become insignificant.
Outdoor kitchen with pizza oven and grill
Think of the outdoor kitchen as an opportunity to add some elements to your home that wouldn’t fit inside the house, such as a pizza oven, a grill and maybe even a fireplace.
Compact kitchen with a casual design
The grill can be the major component in an outdoor kitchen. Maybe you could add an oven too if you really want one. Don’t make it look too formal. An outdoor kitchen should be casual.
An outdoor kitchen built from natural materials
Pure and natural materials such as stone and wood or concrete suit outdoor kitchens very well. Also, natural, earthy colors are a good fit as well.
Outdoor kitchen with a roof and walls
An outdoor kitchen doesn’t necessarily have to be completely exposed. This one, for instance, has a roof over its head and walls that wrap around it on three sides.
Inviting outdoor space with archways
Certain elements and accent pieces can make an outdoor kitchen or any outdoor space for that matter feel more like home. A chandelier, for example, can greatly change the decor and the ambiance.
Ample counter space and comfortable seating
It wouldn’t really be practical or enjoyable to have an outdoor kitchen without also adding some comfortable seating, a dining table and maybe even some lounge chairs or a sofa.
Small multi-functional porch
It’s important to look at the big picture when you design a space. Look around to see which colors are predominant in the area and whether you should complement them with contrasting tones or with similar nuances.
Simple, practical, and uncluttered
Don’t overdo it when you’re putting together an outdoor kitchen. It has to be convenient and practical and too many details can clutter it unnecessarily.
How to build an outdoor kitchen
This is a project of moderate difficulty and can be done in 4 days assuming you already have the materials and tools needed.
You should also take into account the planning phase and the time required for it. The estimates given here are for a design featured on thisoldhouse. This outdoor kitchen has a stainless steel grill and a base made of stone and plywood.
The countertop can be any material, preferably stone. The island’s frame consists of three small boxes made of plywood. These are built separately and screwed together.
The outside of the island is covered in cultured stone. It’s lightweight and easy to install.
The whole project can be done in 12 steps:
- Build the frame using a drill, a circular saw, and deck screws. The dimensions are adjustable.
- Sheathe the frame by first screwing the 3 boxes together. Add the metal feet and attach the plywood panels around the outside. Leave openings for the cabinets.
- Cover the frame with the builder’s felt and attach a sheet of wire lath on top using nails.
- Trim the lath so it’s flush with the top of the frame.
- Add a layer of mortar over the lath using a finishing trowel. Make sure you cover all the mesh and let the mortar cure for an hour.
- Score the mortar horizontally with a notched trowel. Then let the mortar cure for another 24 hours.
- Butter the back of one of the L-shaped stones using a pointing trowel and mortar.
- Set the stone in place by pressing it firmly onto the corner of the frame.
- Shape the stones using a grinder with a diamond blade to they fit together tightly.
- Trim larger stones using a miter box with a diamond blade to give them straight edges.
- Add the rest of the stones around the four sides of the frame. Let them set for 24 hours.
- Install the cabinet doors, the countertops and the fixtures.
The Best Outdoor Kitchen Countertops
The most important thing to look out for when choosing an outdoor countertop is the material. Some are suited for exposed areas and some are not. These are your best options:
Granite countertops are very durable and can withstand weather conditions with ease. Seal them to prevent stains and to increase durability. They come in many colors and patterns and they require little maintenance.
Not to be confused with quartz which is an engineered stone. Quartzite countertops are made of natural stone and are great for outdoor kitchens. They’re very similar to granite countertops in terms of durability and maintenance.
Concrete is not as durable as granite or quartzite but is still a great choice for outdoor kitchens. Darker concrete colors can fade and turn yellow in the sun. You can prevent this by adding a roof to your outdoor kitchen.
It can scratch easily but other than that soapstone is great for outdoor kitchen countertops. It’s stain and heat-resistant and it can be sealed for added durability.
This is a perfect material for outdoor countertops. It’s very durable, low-maintenance and it doesn’t need sealing. Also, porcelain doesn’t fade in the sun.
Marble countertops are not great for either indoor or outdoor kitchens. A honed finish adds durability but marble still gets damaged by acidic foods and drinks. A marble countertop requires regular maintenance.
Should I have an outdoor kitchen?
An outdoor kitchen gives you lots of benefits. It’s great for entertaining, it increases the value of the house and it expands your living space outside.
You should get an outdoor kitchen if you like spending time outside and entertaining. If these things don’t appeal to you it’s probably not worth the investment.
Should I put a sink in my outdoor kitchen?
Yes, you should. A sink is very practical in an outdoor kitchen. It’s convenient and it saves you time and effort. You can also use the kitchen when you’re working in the garden or doing work outside in general.
Does an outdoor kitchen add value to a home?
An outdoor kitchen increases the value of a home significantly. Surveys show it’s worth the investment even if you include expensive materials and appliances.
Do outdoor kitchens last?
An outdoor kitchen can last you 10 or more years. This depends on the materials used and how well you maintain the space.
It also matters if the kitchen is covered or exposed to the elements.
Do outdoor kitchens need to be covered?
Not necessarily. Covering the kitchen however, helps it last longer. Even if the materials used are waterproof they still degrade over time if exposed to the elements.
Can you put a BBQ under a pergola?
You can put a BBQ under a pergola as long as you don’t place it against any of the beams. The heat damages the surfaces close to it. Place the BBQ midway between posts at an outer edge.
How do I protect my outdoor kitchen from the weather?
The best option is to cover an outdoor kitchen with a canopy or a roof. You should also invest in stainless steel appliances. Use a flooring material that can hold up to the weather and use furniture made for outdoor use.