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Set up an outdoor kitchen for friendly summer barbecues

Ideas for outdoor kitchens

Setting up an outdoor kitchen opens up a whole new space where friends and family can gather outdoors. Welcome everyone to your garden around a delicious meal where each guest can pitch in and help out!

Discover our ideas and tips to make sure your outdoor summer kitchen suits your needs.

Where to place an outdoor kitchen?

If you plan for a sink, you’ll need to make sure the plumbing follows suit. You’ll probably also need a few electrical outlets for appliances or lighting at night. Best, thus, is to plan the outdoor kitchen near the house. Moreover, this will shorten the uncountable trips back and forth between the indoor kitchen and the outdoor one. If you’ve forgotten salt or pepper, just hop over the doorstep instead of trudging all the way across the garden.

The ideal set-up is thus right up next to the house, on a terrace or deck.

It might also be the time to envision a second terrace at the other end of the garden. This one would better serve as a spot for relaxation, with lounge chairs perhaps, since it’s more secluded and won’t have the bustle of kitchen and house activity.

What are the main components of an outdoor kitchen?

Main components of an outdoor kitchenThere aren’t as many elements as what you probably have in your main house kitchen. What matters most here is to make sure it’s inviting, friendly and very functional and easy to use.

First of all, choose your main cooking style: will it be a gas-powered barbecue, a plancha, a brasero, a cooking stove or even a full-blown pizza oven? Remember to include storage space for your tools! You might even want to build in a few shelves or cabinets, like an indoor kitchen.

For even more atmosphere, a kitchen island in the center of your arrangement will lend your outdoor kitchen a decisively modern touch. If you add wheels under your kitchen island, you can move it around and you won’t have to feel left out when guests are there.

Last of all, a refrigerator, even just a small one, is a true boon when it comes to keeping drinks cool.

Best materials for a kitchen in the garden

The building materials you use must be rain and freeze-proof.

  • Natural slabs of stone will provide a traditional, charming kitchen appearance, whereas a polished concrete kitchen will thrust your garden design into the next century.
  • Brick pairs well with both modern style and the “industrial” trend, and the red hues are a plus for the patch of color they add to the landscaping.
  • Wood, as always, is always a winner in the garden, and many love it for its warm and timeless presence.
  • Why not take a look at backboard panels that, though made from more resistant material, are illustrated to look like wood? They look just like real wood, even bring on that cozy touch, but have none of the hassle since they’re easy to clean.
  • An easy surface to work and cook on is a simple slab of polished granite. Nothing beats this material in terms of durability, and it comes in elegant sober hues and various shades of gray.

What shape for an outdoor kitchen?

U-shape? L-shape? Straight? Well, it depends on the rest of your outdoor spaces. If you plan to set your kitchen up directly against a wall from your house, best is to select a straight design, it will seamlessly integrate with the house and landscaping. If ever you’ve got another wall to build on, like a shed or other, make the most of it and also include a counter that juts out to increase working space.

For those who care for tiny gardens, a great choice is a small angle kitchen with a barbecue, a few storage spaces underneath, and a small counter to set the dishes as they’re grilling.

A place to eat

Outdoor kitchen with pergolaThe only step left is to choose the table for your summer grill guests. Why not house this eating space under a pergola or a shade veil? This will protect you from scorching sun in summer. Feel free to recover old pallets and stack them up, pull them apart, saw them to planks and screw it all back together to make a cheap but perfectly usable garden set.

This will become the ultimate go-to spot outdoors, even in cooler fall or spring evenings if you’ve got a brasero or fireplace and a few comfortable plaids.

Edible plants

Fresh food straight from the garden in the outdoor cooking areaNot only will the garden host you and bear witness to your expert chef culinary powers, it’ll also give you the raw ingredients with which to cook! A vegetable patch will of course offer you those finest of all vegetables, the home-grown ones… Direct from the patch to the plate, that’s what an outdoor kitchen does for you!

Many vegetables are delicious when simply seared over the barbecue. Try this out with eggplant, zucchini, and even bellpeppers.

A handful of cherry tomatoes, tiny cucumbers and mushrooms for appetizers and starters, perfect to tickle the taste buds of your guests as they wait for the tantalizing smells of the barbecue to turn into delectable bites of grilled food…

And keep a few bunches of herbs at bay in a nearby herb garden, snip a few twigs off to garnish your pizzas, veggies and slabs of meat. Thyme, rosemary and basil are must-haves in summer!

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