Outdoor kitchen ideas: how to make a garden kitchen a reality
We share what you need to consider when planning an outdoor kitchen, and share a few of our favourites to get you inspired!
If you've been thinking about setting up an outdoor kitchen in your garden, you're not alone - searches for outdoor kitchens have soared since lockdown taught us all to treasure our outside space, with the approach of the warmer months only adding to the demand. The statement outdoor kitchen in the Love Island villa may have played a part in their popularity also...
An outdoor cooking station is the ultimate garden upgrade if you're a keen barbecuer or garden party host, allowing you easy access to everything you need to keep guests fed and watered without missing out on a minute of fun yourself.
'An outdoor kitchen makes a wonderful addition to a garden, whether it’s for casual al-fresco dining or entertaining guests. And the good news is that it’s a really easy concept to achieve, even in the smallest of outdoor spaces,' says Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Manager at IKEA UK & Ireland.
So what factors do you need to think about before you get started on your outdoor kitchen project? 'As well as looking good, it needs to be practical, so it’s important to consider what you’ll need to make it a success,' says Clotilde. 'Start with how you plan to cook – this could be with a BBQ, firepit or even a pizza oven – then plan around it.
'Plenty of surface space is a must to make cooking and serving up stress-free. A simple freestanding table or trolley, ideally at a similar height to your cooking equipment, would do the job nicely. A trolley is ideal, as it can be moved from an inside kitchen to an outside station very easily. Or why not knock up a dedicated serving area using upcycled pallets or go full out and make your very own outdoor kitchen from scratch?
And don’t forget storage for essentials, such as utensils, plates and cutlery that can be brought outside whenever you need them.'
Ready to get started? Read on for our outdoor kitchen ideas to get you inspired!
- Outdoor kitchen for small spaces
- Outdoor kitchen on a budget
- Covered outdoor kitchen
- Modern rustic outdoor kitchen
- Outdoor kitchen sink ideas
Outdoor kitchen for small spaces
If you have a smaller garden, finding room for a full freestanding kitchen area might be a tall order - never fear, there are some fabulous outdoor kitchen units for small spaces. An outdoor kitchen island is often the most efficient way of creating a cooking station in a small garden, as they are smaller than a permanently installed kitchen and can usually be easily moved around to make the most of limited space.
The Elfin Compact kitchen from Qubox, pictured above, can be customised to your needs to act as a one-stop outdoor cooking station with a conveniently dinky footprint of 157cm x 98cm x 62cm. The basic stainless steel unit includes a cupboard and cutlery drawer, fronted by panels available in a range of colours, with options to add in a sink and tap, fridge and gas or induction hob as required, installed in your preferred position. We love that the unit comes fully-assembled and on wheels (the front two are lockable) so it can be easily moved around - a huge plus in a small garden.
Passionate barbecuers working with a small garden might want to consider a kitchen island with a built-in BBQ to really make the most of your space. The OKD Timber Freestanding Outdoor Kitchen Island by Outdoor Kitchens and Designs (shown above) comes with your choice of 28 or 34-inch Whistler Burford gas-powered grill. We also love the stylish decorative finish, such as timber cladding (in your choice of Natural Stone or Urban Slate colourways) and a porcelain tiled worksurface.
More like this
Or you prefer a freshly baked pizza to a BBQ feast, The Sophia outdoor kitchen unit from Hertfordshire-based family firm The Woodcrafters (pictured below) might be right up your alley. The unit comes with a space for your countertop pizza oven (not included - browse our favourites here) and four electrical sockets so you can start cooking right away! Plus, it's bursting with thoughtful finishing touches to make food prep and serving easier, from a weatherproof spotlight to lidded steel containers to a 15-bottle wine cooler.
Outdoor kitchen on a budget
An outdoor kitchen is an investment - even a modest set-up or DIY project will require a bit of initial outlay, while bespoke made-to-order kitchens with bells and whistles can easily run into the thousands. However, if you're on a tight budget, good news! Aldi's outdoor BBQ kitchen is back on sale, offering a low-cost outdoor cooking unit that's hard to beat! For £599.99, your all-in-one unit includes a six-burner, two-grill BBQ with a warming rack, as well as a prep and serving area with a countertop, sink, and storage cupboards to boot! The unit comes on wheels for easy transportation and includes a weather-resistant cover.
Covered outdoor kitchen
Tom and James built this fully-equipped outdoor kitchen in the grounds of their gorgeous Victorian home in Northumberland (follow their renovation journey at @ritsonmanor_design on Instagram). Their advice? Opt for natural materials when it comes to your worktops like stone, slate or granite. 'You could get used granite worktops from eBay [or] Facebook market for a fraction of the cost, then design your kitchen around that shape,' Tom says.
They used Indian sandstone for the flooring and installed a multifunctional BBQ that also acts as a rotisserie oven and pizza oven. For finishing touches, they have rigged up three separate lighting circuits to suit cooking or relaxing, and added infrared heaters with remote controls so the good times can keep rolling even if the weather turns chilly.
Modern rustic outdoor kitchen
Johanna and her family have made the most of their summer home in Sysma on the shores of Finland's Lake Päijänne by adding an outdoor kitchen. The wine cooler is definitely a standout feature, and those black stainless steel countertops are stunning - as well as durable and easy to clean, an important consideration for an outdoor kitchen.
We love the Cottagecore vibe from the eclectic crockery and jugs, displayed on open shelving. The laid-back farmhouse style is completed with rustic touches, including wooden chopping boards, countertop herb pots and a traditional string market bag for holding shallots and onions. Follow her at @villasysma on Instagram!
Outdoor kitchen sink ideas
If space doesn't permit a full-fledged outdoor kitchen, an outdoor sink unit provides both running water and counter space, meaning you can prepare food and wash up afterwards on a limited footprint.
Off-the-shelf outdoor sink units are surprisingly hard to find, but we like IKEA's simple but chic GRILLSKÄR model, available with either cabinet doors or open shelving and topped with ultra-tough stainless steel. The tap is not included, so you'll need to source a tap that's suitable for outdoor use to complete the unit. Then simply hook up to a garden hose to enjoy running water.
Another option is to source your counter unit and sink separately, by opting for a countertop basin. There are loads of gorgeous options available on Etsy, from reclaimed antique sinks to elegant handmade ceramic basins to cheerful lightweight melamine.
More garden inspiration
- Victorian garden ideas: how to create the classic garden look at home
- How to create a bee-friendly garden
- Wildflower meadow ideas: how to create a wild garden at home
- Eco garden ideas: 5 tips for an environmentally friendly space
- Hedgerow plants: best evergreen hedges for privacy around your home and garden