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Outdoor Kitchen Ideas: 11 Inspiring Spaces for Cooking Alfresco

This outdoor kitchen idea has been made of brick in a garden
(Image credit: Life Outdoors)

These outdoor kitchen ideas just go to show that entertaining in your garden has entered a new realm. For some homeowners, trundling out a rusty BBQ every summer just doesn’t cut it, so they’re investing in luxurious kitchen areas incorporated into their landscaping for cooking alfresco. 

What these outdoor kitchens are made up of varies — for some, it’s a simple combination of cooking and prep space, while others include sinks, cabinetry and even fridges. 

We’ve rounded up some of the best ideas and inspiration to help you plan your own outdoor kitchen, just in time for a summer of open-air entertaining. 

1. Zone Your Outdoor Kitchen with this Clever Idea 

an outdoor kitchen idea using a pergola and raised platform

(Image credit: Kitchen Architecture)

Creating zones in your garden will help your layout, and this outdoor kitchen idea does it with style. 

Not only is the cooking area, created by Kitchen Architecture, designated by a modern pergola and raised platform, this zone is wrapped in a dark colour to unite it. Not only does this help to separate the different function of this area of the garden, it helps to reduce the visual noise of this outdoor kitchen's various appliances and fixtures. 

2. Pick the Right Location for Your Outdoor Kitchen 

a modern extension with a matching outdoor kitchen

(Image credit: Jake Griffiths)

Where should you put your outdoor kitchen? There are several things to think about when making that decision. 

How far do you want to be from the house? Too far, and it can make transporting food and running back for drink top-ups a pain. However, if you have a large garden, you may want to make the most of your favourite spot with the best views — in which case consider investing extra appliances and storage for a more convenient entertaining space. 

Even if you have a home with a good connection with the garden, an outdoor kitchen located near to the rear of your house still provides you with a great space to BBQ and relax during the summer. 

Also consider if your space needs services, such as mains electricity or gas, as this can be disruptive to run out in an existing garden and may affect your choice of location. 

(MORE: Garden Lighting Ideas)

3. Create a Canopy for Your Outdoor Kitchen

an outdoor kitchen with a freestanding canopy

(Image credit: Life Outdoors)

Whether it's a pergola, overhang or gazebo overhead, the right canopy over your outdoor kitchen will provide privacy, shade and shelter for whoever is using it, meaning you can still fire up the BBQ even if the weather isn't playing ball. 

Life Outdoors used a Renson louvred canopy across this exterior kitchen, dining and lounging area, which can also be specified with automatic solar shading, LED lighting, audio and even heating elements. 

4. An Outdoor Kitchen Idea for a Compact Garden

a small modular outdoor kitchen idea

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

An outdoor kitchen doesn't need to be huge to be useful. This small modular system, created by WWOO and available from Garden House Design, incorporates a Green Egg outdoor cooker, a small amount of worktop for prep and a sink, and takes up only a small amount of space. 

Outdoor kitchen surfaces can double up as potting benches when not in use for entertaining too. 

5. Opt for Outdoor Kitchen Cabinetry in Your Design 

an outdoor kitchen with iroko wood cabinetry

(Image credit: Humphrey Munson)

This luxurious outdoor entertaining space created by Humphrey Munson has all the amenities you'd expect from an indoor kitchen, including Wolf cooking appliances, a fridge and plenty of storage. 

The cabinetry is situated under a permanent timber gazebo to protect it from the elements, but hardwearing Iroko wood was chosen for the cabinetry to help withstand the weather. 

 6. Durable Surfaces are Perfect for an Outdoor Kitchen 

an outdoor kitchen design using natural stone work surfaces

(Image credit: Lundhs)

Outdoor kitchen surfaces need to be hardy to deal with the variety of British weather. Natural and composite stone brands are now marketing their surfaces for outdoor kitchens and other surfaces. Look for a material that is resistant to water, heat, UV rays, stains and scratches such as Lundhs Royal natural stone. Caesarstone has just launched its first outdoor quartz surface too. 

7. Try This Idea to Blend Indoors With Your Outdoor Kitchen 

a garden room with an outdoor kitchen

(Image credit: Paul Archer Design)

Where an outdoor kitchen is connected directly to your home, or even to a garden room as in this example by Paul Archer Design, this clever idea helps to blur the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor spaces. 

By running matching cabinetry on both sides of your rear glazing, it creates the effect of extending your living space when the doors are open in the summer.

8. Add Character to Your Outdoor Kitchen with Tiles 

an outdoor kitchen with bold chevron tiles

(Image credit: Artisans of Devizes)

This outdoor kitchen has become the focal point of the garden scheme thanks to bold chevron tiles from Artisans of Devizes

The kitchen incorporates a built-in BeefEater outdoor BBQ, as well as a tabletop pizza oven. 

9. Look to a Log Burner for Outdoor Cooking 

an outdoor kitchen with a log burning cooker

(Image credit: Morso)

Outdoor log burners can be used for warming up brisker evenings, but also for cooking as part of your outdoor kitchen set up — particularly useful if you don't want the hassle of connecting to gas mains or wrestling with gas cannisters. 

Morso retails this hut set-up from £5,999, including the Forno woodfired oven, table and flu pipe, as well as the hut, chairs and accessories. 

10. Add Flexibility With a Freestanding Outdoor Kitchen 

a freestanding outdoor kitchen design

(Image credit: Kitchen Architecture)

Choosing freestanding pieces for your outdoor kitchen is a brilliant way to make the most use of your outdoor space seasonally, without the upkeep and risk of damage during winter as it can be stored away. 

Kitchen Architecture are the UK stockist of Röshults outdoor kitchen furniture, which is made up of freestanding, modular designs, as seen in this Oxfordshire garden. 

11. Consider Social Seating for Your Outdoor Kitchen 

outdoor kitchen with bar seats

(Image credit: Life Outdoors)

The outdoor kitchen is a social space, so make sure your design takes this into account. 

Locate an outdoor kitchen near your garden furniture, or think about incorporating bar seating or a kitchen island so that friends and family can congregate while cooking on the BBQ or pizza oven.