Imagine a dreamy summer night with signature dishes roasting on the grill and friends hanging out at your outdoor bar. A fully outfitted outdoor kitchen can make this lifestyle a reality.
Stainless steel appliances and concrete countertops lend a sleek aesthetic to an outdoor kitchen. Add a plant-based accent to the space, such as potted plants or built-in planting nooks.
1. Stainless Steel with Concrete Countertops
Countertops made of concrete, like those crafted by GlassEco for this backyard kitchen, are becoming increasingly popular as outdoor cooking spaces continue to rise in popularity. “Concrete is a very durable material that stands up well to all kinds of weathering,” says nationally acclaimed garden artisan Scott Cohen, who designed the backyard kitchen in this photo.
If you plan to do much prepping or serving food in your backyard kitchen, an ice maker is a great addition. It will eliminate the need to run back and forth from inside the house, plus it provides crystal clear ice that’s ideal for cocktails and martinis.
If you want your outdoor kitchen to feel integrated into your landscaping design, consider using natural materials for its components and countertops. This stacked stone set-up from Mindy Gayer blends into the landscape and disguises the appliances that make it work. For a less permanent solution, use porcelain tile or cementitious cultured stone for your countertops instead of real stone to minimize maintenance.
2. Outdoor Kitchen in a Deck
Whether you love to host friends or enjoy relaxing with a book on the deck, an outdoor kitchen brings the party outdoors. It removes the need to run in and out of the house for ingredients and supplies and allows you to cook meals that are fresh, flavorful, and healthier than restaurant food.
To make an open-air kitchen work, choose durable materials like concrete and natural stone. For a less-expensive, low-maintenance option, use cultured stone that’s easier to handle than real stone and looks just as beautiful.
Don’t forget to outfit your space with weatherproof decor, appliances and materials that can stand up to the elements, such as waterproof cushions, rain-resistant lamps and colorful finishes that won’t fade or chip. Also consider adding multiple seating options to your dining area — a bar with stools next to the cooking zone, a lounging area by the fire pit and a long table for family dinners. Having more than one seating option will allow guests to mingle and talk while you prepare the meal or serve cocktails.
3. Outdoor Kitchen in a Patio
The more minute details in a kitchen or dining area are quick and easy ways to add a personal touch. Napkin holders, cooking utensil storage jars and even the color of chairs or seats in or around the kitchen are all small changes that can instantly make it look different.
Adding a sink to the pavilion kitchen is a great way to save time when it comes to food prep and cleanup. This also gives you a place to wash dishes or pots without having to run back inside the house.
A fridge or minifridge is a great addition that can keep beverages cold for outdoor parties. Including an ice maker is even better when you want to serve craft cocktails or Cokes.
If you don’t feel like painting cabinets or countertops, opt for a bright shade of yellow or cobalt blue on a cart, bar stool or storage shelf instead. A splash of color will make a kitchen pop, especially if the rest of your outdoor space is decorated in neutral shades.
4. Outdoor Kitchen in a Pool
Outdoor kitchens are a great addition to any pool area. They allow you to entertain guests without having to leave the party for the kitchen. You can grill, serve drinks and visit with your friends.
The details of an outdoor kitchen make a big difference. Adding small touches like napkin holders and cooking utensil storage jars gives the kitchen personality. Choose paint colors that are bold and bright to add more visual interest to countertops, cabinets and shelves.
An essential element for an outdoor kitchen is a sink. It makes it much easier to clean up spills, wash dirty dishes and rinse meat. Other accessories can include a flat top griddle for pancakes, eggs and seafood and a power burner to simmer large stock pots of soups and sauces.