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Free Outdoor Kitchen Design Software – How to Design Your Outdoor Kitchen in Just 5 Minutes

By Jayme Muller

September 13, 2023

So you’ve decided to design and build a custom outdoor kitchen.

You’re probably quite thrilled! With visions of entertaining in your luxurious outdoor space playing in your mind like a slideshow for an HGTV ad… There is much to be excited about.

Unfortunately, that excitement may be short lived once you realize how much effort it is.

And if you’ve already started the outdoor kitchen design process, it’s likely you’re feeling…

Frustrated.

outdoor kitchen design software

Confused.

Overwhelmed.

Let’s be honest… Outdoor kitchen design can be downright stressful!

And you likely have a wave of questions without any answers.

What do I have space for?

How do I plan for appliances and storage space?

Do I have control over the design?

Is there a free outdoor kitchen design software?

How will this actually look?

These are all important questions to address… So let’s discuss.

Quick Links:

Challenges Of A DIY Outdoor Kitchen Design

rustic stacked stone grilling station

Designing a BBQ island for your outdoor space is a huge time investment.

After sinking hours of research into layout, built-in grills, storage, and other outdoor appliances… You may not have even made a dent!

It’s understandable why the design process can feel frustrating. You’re tired of taking one step forward and two steps back.

When this happens… Many homeowners call it a truce and bring on a contractor to handle the job.

Yet, the challenge doesn’t end there.

Want to bring your idea to life?

Use our free 3D design tool to bring the outdoor kitchen of your dreams to reality in just a few minutes.

Do You Just Use A Contractor For Your Outdoor Kitchen Space Design?

two contractors finishing an outdoor kitchen with natural stone veneer

Now the difficulty lies in finding a contractor that is experienced in building outdoor kitchens.

Just to let you know… There aren’t many out there.

And if you do find one?

They may be a great builder… But not necessarily an expert in creating outdoor kitchen design plans. (Just something to keep in mind!)

Depending on the decisions you make… The process from start to finish can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. You know what that means?

By the time your outdoor living space is ready to use… Prime barbecue season has already gone and passed.

So what should you do about this? You want your outdoor kitchen now, not four months from now.

We’ll get to your best outdoor kitchen design solution shortly… But first, here are a few design tips to help orient your project. After all, this will likely be the focal point of your space.

Outdoor Kitchen Design Ideas & Tips

There’s a lot to keep in mind when designing your custom outdoor kitchen!

Thankfully, it doesn’t all have to be complicated.

There are a few outdoor kitchen design principles that all homeowners would do well to keep in mind.

Let’s discuss.

Remember Your Why

galley style rta outdoor kitchen with venetian gold granite countertop lifestyle

While this seems like a no-brainer… Sometimes our why gets lost in the planning process.

What do we mean by this, exactly?

Always remember why you are embarking on an outdoor kitchen project.

Are you looking at entertaining large gatherings often?

Do you want a cooking station complete with all the bells and whistles?

Or are you just looking for a reason to be in your outdoor space?

No matter your reason… Your why will dictate the elements you should include in your outdoor kitchen.

Keeping this in mind will ensure you achieve the perfect final design for your needs.

There’s something else you should always keep in mind…

Give Yourself Plenty Of Space

Here’s a mistake we see homeowners make all the time with DIY outdoor kitchen design.

It’s easy to get distracted with all the glamor of kitchen appliances.

No shame there!

But by the time you add a built in gas grill or charcoal grill, sink, side burner, pizza oven, and possibly more… You’ll quickly realize you don’t have enough counterspace.

Considering that the food prep area is a huge part of convenient outdoor kitchen layouts… You don’t want to miss out on this element!

Same goes for storage.

While not nearly as exciting as other outdoor appliances… It’s a must have for your new outdoor kitchen.

Don’t you want drawers and cabinets for all of your utensils and other accessories?

Of course you do!

So, don’t forget to add storage. You don’t have to go crazy, either. A simple drawer or kitchen cabinets will do the trick for most.

Before we show you how to design your outdoor kitchen… Here’s one more tip to keep in mind.

Don’t Cut Corners

When you’re in the middle of creating your outdoor kitchen design… It’s tempting to do a couple things:

  1. Design far larger than you need or have room for
  2. Add more appliances than you need

Now, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this!

The trouble comes in when your eyes are bigger than your stomach. More specifically, when your desires are bigger than your budget.

If your budget can handle all the bells and whistles… That’s fantastic! Go for it.

But if your budget is wincing at the cost of your grandiose design… Resist the temptation to cut corners.

Oftentimes, homeowners are tempted to use cheaper materials to keep costs down.

Don’t fall victim to this idea!

Your outdoor kitchen should be designed to last a lifetime. That simply won’t happen if you cut corners on material quality.

In a few years… You’ll be in for a series of repairs. Sometimes, even a full replacement is necessary!

Not only is that frustrating… It’s going to end up costing you more money in the long run.

So, what can you do?

Deeply consider if you need to design your outdoor kitchen to be as large as originally planned. Unless your kitchen plans involve hosting large gatherings frequently… You can probably get away with downsizing an island or removing one completely.

Secondly, take a hard look at appliances. Consider your “must haves” and “nice to haves.”

Whittling down a sink or refrigerator may be all you need to do to get your design in check.

Now that you understand a few basic design principles…

You’re wondering how to do it yourself!

Get A 3D Rendering For Your Outdoor Space In Minutes

We at RTA can empathize with the struggles of designing and building an outdoor kitchen.

Researching is exhausting… Conflicting information is frustrating… And it is challenging to find a local contractor or designer to help.

We understand there are many roadblocks on the path to designing your outdoor kitchen. Sometimes, it’s enough to make you throw in the towel. (Don’t quit yet!)

Our mission is to remove those roadblocks… And simplify the process as much as possible.

Ultimately, you shouldn’t have to compromise.

Our solution to this problem?

We created a free outdoor kitchen design tool.

This free outdoor kitchen design software allows you to design, configure, reconfigure, and visualize your layout… All in a matter of minutes.

Talk about getting your design at warp speed!

Curious to discover the cost? You can start the process of obtaining a unique proposal from our Design Team.

Plus, our new augmented reality feature even allows you to view your custom design in your own backyard space. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

This outdoor kitchen design tool is truly a passion project.

Several hundred hours have been invested into developing this tool… Because we didn’t want this to be just another gimmicky sales grab. There’s already too much of that online.

We all have enough stress in our lives. Designing a backyard kitchen shouldn’t be another stressor.

In fact… It should be enjoyable!

How do you accomplish this, you ask?

Good question.

You’re In The Driver’s Seat

The RTA Outdoor Living design software puts you in control of the destiny of your outdoor kitchen space.

You can experiment with outdoor kitchen ideas… Receive instant results… And all from the comfort of your own home.

It’s immediate gratification at its finest. Your free plans from the outdoor kitchen design tool leave nothing to be desired. No more crossing your fingers and hoping that expectations meet reality!

Even better… You can make tweaks with a simple click of the mouse.

Don’t want the storage door? Try swapping it out for a refrigerator. Don’t want a natural gas grill? Swap in a charcoal grill or pellet grill. Don’t want a stone finish? See what modern concrete looks like.

You can configure the layout and location of appliances as well. No longer are you limited to the basic “stock photo” standard version of outdoor kitchens.

Our outdoor kitchen design tool allows you to create unique outdoor kitchens to match your unique desires.

Can you see how easy it is to create an outdoor kitchen design online?

Let’s go ahead and test it.

How To Design An Outdoor Kitchen For Your Space

l shaped outdoor kitchen with asado attachment refrigerator and umbrella stand

Now that you’ve heard all about our outdoor kitchen design software… It’s time to get down to brass tacks.

How does it work?

This tool is incredibly simple to use. No technical skills are needed. Your imagination is the only prerequisite.

However… We’ll walk you through the process to make sure you’re fully confident.

Below, you’ll see a picture of a custom L-shaped RTA patio kitchen. This is the design we’ll create together using the design tool.

There are only five steps from start to finish… So you’ll catch on quickly.

We’ll have your custom outdoor kitchen designed in just a few clicks! Let’s begin.

Step One: Choose Your Outdoor Kitchen Layout

It’s time to kick off this patio kitchen layout design.

The first thing you will see on your screen is a variety of layouts.

Right underneath “Select Your Kitchen Layout,” you can choose linear, L-shaped, U-shaped, and galley.

When you click on each of these categories, more options will appear.

For the purposes of this design… We’ll be selecting L-shaped.

Now we’ll have to reference our image. Is the taller bar island on the left side or the right side? There’s no corner island in this example, so we don’t have to worry about that.

As you can see… The bar island is on the right side in this example. So that’s the option we will select in the design tool.

You’re probably wondering how the ceramic Asado smoker fits into all this. We promise, we’ll get back to that later!

Once you have the correct option selected, click the bright orange “next” in the bottom center of your screen.

Alright, let’s move on.

Step Two: Select Your Grill Island Size

Next, we have to determine what size you want your grill island to be.

You’ll notice in the upper center of your screen, one of the islands is highlighted. This is to remind you that you’re deciding on the size of your grill island, not the bar island.

Simple enough, right?

In this example… We’re working with a 7’ grill island.

You’ll notice the blue slider in the center of your screen measures from 4’ to 14.’ Use your cursor to drag the black circle with arrows to the right until it reads “7ft.”

From there, click “next.”

select grill island size

Now, you’ll notice the island on the right side is highlighted. That’s because we still have to select the secondary bar island size.

The bar island in the example is 7.’

For this second island, the blue slider lists options between 5’ and 14’… Again, drag the black circle to the right until your island reads “7ft.”

Once you’re done, click “next.”

From there, it’s time to place appliances.

choose second island size

Step Three: Select Your Grill Island Appliance Layout

This is where you may feel overwhelmed. There’s no need to be!

It’s true… There’s a lot going on with this page.

But don’t despair.

This page is simply showing you all of the appliance layout options available for your grill island. If you don’t like the option you selected… You can always go back and adjust.

Let’s look to our example.

We have a central built in grill with storage access underneath… And appliances/storage to each side of the grill.

Reviewing our example, the first option is the choice we will select. Once finished, click “next.”

select your island appliance layout

Now, we have to select appliances for the bar island side.

You’ll notice there’s less variety with the bar. Looking at the example… We have one stainless steel fridge on the bar island.

We’ll select the first option for extra large accessories here.

After that… It’s time to select your appliances.

bar island appliance layout

Step Four: Choosing Your Appliances

Here’s where it gets really fun!

Flipping through the available appliances is where your vision begins to take form.

As usual, we will begin working on the grill island.

Starting from the left… We need to find the option that has both a single side burner and double drawers.

To do that, you’ll simply click the rightmost arrow on the “empty” slot until you find the selection you want. Repeat this for the stainless steel grill, access doors below the grill, and pull-out trash to the right.

After a few clicks… We’ve arrived at the same setup as the example.

You’ll notice the center access doors have a green check mark on them. This indicates that those doors will fit underneath the grill.

Some appliance combinations in the design tool will not work in reality. It’s not common… But if it does happen, you’ll see a red icon with an exclamation mark.

Just choose another configuration, and you’re good to go!

To the right of your screen, you’ll also notice brief descriptions of each appliance… So you’ll have a better idea of what exactly is featured on your island. 

Now, click “next” to start configuring the bar island.

With this example… The choice is easy! We’re looking for the 24” outdoor refrigerator with the handle on the left side.

Beautiful.

choose your appliances

When you click “next”… Now you’ll see where the Asado smoker comes in. You can choose to add on either a pizza oven or Asado stand.

Since the example we’re working with has an Asado… That’s what we’re choosing. Just check the box!

The design tool automatically places the stand next to the grill island. If you wanted it on the other side, all you need to do is select “swap positions.”

But since we want the Asado stand on the left… We’ll just leave it as is.

choose grill add ons

And voila!

We’re nearly done. There’s just one more step to review.

Step Five: Enjoy Your Outdoor Kitchen Layout

enjoy your outdoor kitchen layout

After clicking through the steps… It’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Now you’ll see your 3D outdoor kitchen design digitally rendered in front of you.

Pretty neat, right?

By default, your design will appear in a Weathered Wood Ash finish with Chiseled Smoky concrete countertops.

You can easily switch up the finishes and countertops on the right hand side. Select either “Pick Countertop” or “Finish Style” to see which combination you prefer. You’ll find we offer granite countertops in addition to concrete.

Feel free to play around with it. This is supposed to be fun, after all!

Since our example’s finish appears in Stacked Stone Graphite… We’ll select that option.

And there’s no need to top it off with different counters. Our example already features Chiseled Smoky concrete!

You can also view your design from any angle. Click and drag on the screen to discover the full experience.

No need to admire from afar, either. You can scroll your mouse to get a closer look at everything.

But, hold on. Looking at your design on-screen is great and all…  

But what if you want a visual of your outdoor kitchen, as it will appear in your own space? 

View Your Custom Outdoor Kitchen With Augmented Reality 

Before setting your outdoor kitchen design in stone… Aren’t you curious to see how it fits in your outdoor space? 

Well, our new augmented reality feature allows you to appease that curiosity. 

On the right hand side of the screen, you’ll see a blue button that reads “View In AR.” 

Clicking this will prompt you to request a free quote, which can be done via the bright orange button at the bottom center of your screen. 

Upon submitting your contact information, we’ll text a link to your phone… Allowing  you to preview your exact design in your very own backyard. 

Simply hold your phone camera up to the space where your outdoor kitchen will go… And voila! On your screen, your custom outdoor kitchen will be brought to life in your own space. 

If you had any doubts about how your custom outdoor kitchen would fit in your backyard… This technology will set your mind at ease.(Not to mention, it’ll get you even more hyped about your new outdoor kitchen!)

With the RTA 3D Design tool, everything is within your grasp. Talk about convenience.

Now, let’s see how it works for real customers!

Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Designs From Happy Customers

Everyone loves a good success story.

That’s why we’ve decided to compile some photos here from happy customers.

These customers used our design tool, worked with our Design Experts… And ended up with beautiful outdoor kitchens.

Here are some great outdoor kitchen ideas:

l shape rta outdoor kitchen with dark plank finish built on a deck
linear outdoor kitchen with built in grill and side burner

Still Not Convinced?

Allow us to put you at ease. Here’s a quick clip of Charlie Moore, “The Mad Fisherman,” designing his RTA outdoor kitchen with our design tool.

As we’ve been saying, it really is as easy as a few clicks!

It took just a few minutes for Charlie to design his kitchen, and order slightly thereafter. As you can see in the video, the exact kitchen he designed arrived in his yard and came together in one afternoon.

Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Trust us, you can do this.

So, what’s next?

Get A Free Quote For Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen

get a free quote for your dream outdoor kitchen

At the bottom center of the page displaying your design, there’s a button that says “Free Quote.” Click on it.

You will be led to a simple form to fill out. Basic contact info, project related questions, and any other additional comments.

Your design will be sent to one of our Design Experts to assess and create a unique proposal. They will get back to you and answer any questions you have.

And as mentioned earlier… At this stage, you’ll also be texted a link to view your custom outdoor kitchen design with AR. 

And there you have it. It’s that easy. We can guide you from not knowing where to begin to a full outdoor kitchen design (and proposal on the way) in minutes.

Our goal was to make this process as easy as possible for you and allow you to make informed decisions.

We know how busy you are. The process of designing an outdoor kitchen can seem daunting… Like a chore. We wanted to remove this stress and make the process enjoyable.

And with all the stress and frustration removed… That leaves you with more time to host the moments that matter in the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.

You can thank us later!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

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