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By Jayme Muller

October 13, 2021

Have you been daydreaming about an outdoor kitchen project?

With all the benefits an outdoor kitchen has to offer… We don’t blame you. We obsess over it too!

Time outdoors… Memories with friends and family… Delicious, fresh-grilled food… It’s an experience most of us cherish every summer.

But we don’t need to remind you why outdoor kitchens are amazing! You’re already sold on the concept. You’re just struggling to come up with some outdoor kitchen ideas.

If you’re still in the early stages of planning… We have resources to help you understand the average cost of an outdoor kitchen and the top 5 mistakes people make when planning their project.

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas Blog Post Featured Image

Now if you’re looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place! We’re here to walk you through outdoor kitchen design ideas crafted by our experts. They’re not just blueprints, though. These designs were brought to real-life for our happy customers.

These designs ideas should help you get the creative juices flowing. If these don’t spark the creative spirit for you… Feel free to use our custom outdoor kitchen designs tool. It’s online, free, and takes just a few minutes to create the perfect custom design for you.

Let’s get inspired!

Real-Life Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for! We have a wide selection of outdoor kitchen design ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Let’s take a peek.

Outdoor Kitchen Idea for Small Spaces

Small Outdoor Kitchen Setup on Patio with Built in Grill and Sink (4)
Small Outdoor Kitchen Setup on Patio with Built in Grill and Sink (25)

Most of the time when we think of outdoor kitchens… We imagine them as a complete unit. This design is an excellent example of how that doesn’t always have to be true!

First, let’s look at what’s in the grill island. Obviously, we have a lovely built in grill. Below is a combination drawer/door combo. The all important storage! The drawers are perfect for storing any and all cooking utensils. The attached door allows you full access the grill. The final aspect of the grill island is the refrigerator. Refreshing beverages are always in reach.

Now onto the island. This island features a sink, pull out trash, and access door. The door here allows you to access the sink and plumbing.

This island is the perfect ‘clean up area’. You’ve got the sink to wash dishes, utensils, and hands. Then the pull out trash below to scrape plates and get rid of waste.

This setup is an excellent design idea for those with limited space. There is a lot of functionality here while maintaining an efficient use of space. You have a grill, sink, refrigerator, and trash receptacle all in a small footprint.

Outdoor Grill Island with Side Burner

outdoor kitchen grill island with side burner on patio (10)

This straight island is great for those where cooking excellent food is the primary focus. Like the previous design… This option is useful for those with limited outdoor space.

Let’s list the appliances from left to right. We have a double side burner, double drawer, built in grill, double access door, and pull out trash. I should also mention these appliances are complete 304 stainless steel from Coyote Outdoor Living. These appliances truly are built for the outdoors.

Okay, back to the design!

The double power burner is an excellent choice to boost cooking capacity. You can have two pots or pans going while you are grilling burgers. This is perfect for making sauces and side dishes to complement the main component of your meal.

Below we have our double drawers. Again, the perfect place to store all your utensils and accessories. Next to that is the double access doors to easily get to your grill. Above, an ever-beautiful Coyote built in grill. Finally, the pull out trash. As we’ve established earlier… This makes cleanup a breeze.

This design is perfect for those who want to optimize their space for grilling potential. If you’ve got a dining table to sit at, there’s nothing more you need!

Have your own Outdoor Kitchen Idea?

Use our 3D design tool for free and bring your outdoor kitchen idea to life.

Modern Shiplap L-Shape Outdoor Kitchen

l shape outdoor kitchen on deck near lake (12)

What catches your eye here is the aesthetic. The sleek, black, shiplap finish is a standout in any modern home.

For features, we have a refrigerator, built in grill, double access doors, and a pull out trash. I’ve already explained the benefits of these so I won’t rehash that!

Situated on a deck, this design is perfect for small gatherings. Just like an indoor kitchen… An outdoor kitchen is where everyone wants to hang out!

L-Shape Idea with Power Burner

l shape outdoor kitchen with power burner on patio (4)
l shape outdoor kitchen with power burner on patio (16)

While somewhat similar to the previous kitchen… There are some distinctive differences here.

Most notable is the complete 304 stainless steel power burner. This burner gives you a ton of extra flexibility when cooking outdoors.

Yes, you can make side dishes and have a lobster boil. You can do even more than that!

The power burner is set up well for cooking in a wok. There is also a griddle attachment you can purchase for breakfast with the family right outdoors. Pancakes, anyone?

This outdoor kitchen also features a bit more storage. You’ll notice the double drawers which is perfect for keeping utensils handy.

Straight Island with Combo Storage

straight outdoor kitchen island with combo storage on deck (23)
straight outdoor kitchen island with combo storage on deck (2)

This outdoor kitchen is excellent if you’re just looking for the basics. With a rustic stacked stone finish… This design can fit in with pretty much any home aesthetic.

Here we have a fridge, an massive grill, and combo storage. Combo storage is great for those who need access to the grill… While also wanting a place to store accessories.

Idea with Pellet Grill

Pellet grill outdoor kitchen on patio with lighting (2)
Pellet grill outdoor kitchen on patio with lighting (1)

Looking to add some fresh technology to your outdoor space?

You’ll definitely want to check out this pellet grill from Coyote Outdoor Living. This grill has digital controls that makes it easy to hold a consistent temperature. In fact, it works similar to the oven in your home!

Imagine the pellet grill like a combo of a smoker, oven, and grill wrapped into one. This means you can smoke, sear, grill, and even bake… All in one unit.

This straight island has plenty of counterspace on each side for prep space too!

Modern Concrete L-Shape with Bar

RTA l shape modern concrete outdoor kitchen with bar island (11)

Do you prefer a modern look over rustic?

This modern concrete finish is sleek and brings your outdoor space to the modern day.

For those looking for a seating area… You’ll love the bar seating featured in this design.

For features… We have a grill, combo storage, refrigerator, and pull out trash.

Stacked Stone L-Shape with Smoker

Stacked Stone Outdoor Kitchen on Patio Near Lake with Smoker (1)
Stacked Stone Outdoor Kitchen on Patio Near Lake with Smoker (4)

This design is made for the outdoor cooking enthusiast.

There are three cooking appliances featured in this kitchen… The asado smoker, double side burner, and Coyote grill.

You’ve got your Coyote outdoor grill for convenience and volume… The smoker for depth of flavor… And the double side burner for extra cooking capacity.

We also have a refrigerator for easy access to refreshing beverages. Other features include the double drawers, double access doors, and pull out trash.

L-Shape with Mini Pizza Oven

beautiful l shaped outdoor kitchen with mini pizza oven (1)
beautiful l shaped outdoor kitchen with mini pizza oven (43)

This design is the ultimate in outdoor cooking and entertaining.

If you want to be the envy of the neighborhood, this design is where it’s at.

For appliances, we have a grill, double side burner, mini pizza oven, and refreshment center.

We’ve already talked a bit about the grill and side burner… But this is the first time we’ve seen the refreshment center.

This is much more than a regular old sink, my friends! Attached is a drop in cooler and cutting board. So you can cut up some fresh lemons and limes… Then keep them cool with other beverages in the drop in cooler. There’s also a convenient towel hook on the side to keep hands clean and dry!

For other features of this kitchen, we have two sets of double access doors, a spice rack, and double drawers. The spice rack is perfect to keep all your favorite grilling blends within reach.

don't compromise on your dream kitchen

With RTA Outdoor Living's free 3D design tool, you can select the appliances you want. Buy an outdoor kitchen that is custom made for you.

Outdoor Kitchen Idea with Bar Seating

Outdoor Kitchen on Deck with Umbrella (2)
Outdoor Kitchen on Deck with Umbrella (5)

This stacked stone L-Shape is perfect for families that want a dining area outdoors… And don’t have much space to accomplish it!

In terms of appliances, there’s nothing over the top here. Just an excellent grill, refrigerator, and combo storage.

This design is perfect for families that just want to spend more time together outdoors. Because after all… Isn’t that what an outdoor kitchen is all about?

Straight Island with sink

Outdoor Kitchen Island on Patio with built in grill and drop in cooler (1)
Outdoor Kitchen Island on Patio with built in grill and drop in cooler (2)

This design adds some great entertainment value to your outdoor space.

For features, we have a grill, combo storage, access door, and a sink.

Situated on the patio, this is where all your guests are going to hang out!

Small L-Shape with Sink

Small Outdoor Kitchen idea with a sink (1)
Small Outdoor Kitchen idea with a sink (20)

Make the most of your space! Even if you don’t have a spacious backyard… That doesn’t mean you can’t have an L-shaped outdoor kitchen.

A shorter grill island paired with a longer bar island can be the perfect compromise in a limited space. Even with the sink… There’s plenty of space on the countertop to rest beverages and plates.

Rustic Reclaimed Brick Pellet Grill Island

reclaimed brick outdoor kitchen on patio with built in pellet grill (1)
reclaimed brick outdoor kitchen on patio with built in pellet grill (6)

Yes, we have already featured a similar outdoor kitchen! However, it can be nice to highlight how simple tweaks can be customized to your needs.

The other pellet grill island featured double drawers and a pull out trash. This one still has a pull out trash, but opted for a refrigerator instead of double drawers.

This homeowner valued having a fridge more than another appliance option. You can do the same for your patio kitchen design idea!

Outdoor Kitchen Idea with Pizza Oven

outdoor kitchen with alfa wood fired pizza oven (1)
outdoor kitchen with alfa wood fired pizza oven (9)

Who says your outdoor kitchen has to include a grill?

Some people aren’t grill masters. That’s okay! You don’t necessarily need a grill to enjoy the outdoor cooking experience.

Take this outdoor kitchen for example. Instead of a grill, the homeowner has opted for a pizza oven. And of course… A fridge for refreshments.

Just look at this wood fired pizza oven though. This one in particular is an authentic Italian-made pizza oven from Alfa. Imagine how wonderful it would be to have fresh, authentic pizza whenever you want!

Beer and pizza, anyone?

home projects are hard. we make it easy.

We know your time is valuable. That is why we pride ourselves in making your outdoor kitchen project as seamless as possible.

Large L-Shape with Fire Pit

l shape outdoor kitchen idea with fire pit (1)
l shape outdoor kitchen idea with fire pit (20)

This design makes your yard the summer hangout. Doesn’t get much better than an outdoor kitchen with a fire pit!

For features, this outdoor kitchen has a grill, power burner, refrigerator, pull out trash, and access doors.

There’s also an expansive countertop including bar corner unit with plenty of space for guests to gather.

And once dinner’s over… Grab a chair and mingle around the fire pit!

Stacked Stone L-Shape Outdoor Kitchen with Pizza Oven

outdoor kitchen with wood fired pizza oven and fridge (1)
outdoor kitchen with wood fired pizza oven and fridge (16)

The stainless steel grill and wood fired pizza oven provide a little something for everyone.

Not feeling like burgers and hot dogs? Fire up the pizza oven!

You’ll also notice there is both a fridge and a drop in cooler. This provides extra capacity to ensure you as a host never run out of cool beverages!

Simple Charcoal Grill L-Shape

outdoor kitchen kit with built in charcoal grill (3)
outdoor kitchen kit with built in charcoal grill (17)

This design is perfect for those who like to stick with the basics.

Here we have just a charcoal grill, storage drawer, and pull out trash/recycle.

The charcoal grill is best if you’re looking for that traditional smoky flavor. In terms of flavor… It doesn’t get better than charcoal!

And for cleanup… The pull out trash and recycle is exactly what you need to keep the backyard tidy.

14' Straight Island with Two Grills

straight outdoor kitchen with two grills on stamped patio (1)
straight outdoor kitchen with two grills on stamped patio (19)

Can’t decide between a natural gas grill and a charcoal grill?

Why not both?

It’s the best of both worlds. Sometimes you want the convenience of natural gas… Other times you’ll want the flavor charcoal brings to the table.

With this design, you don’t have to choose!

And speaking of choosing… You don’t have to compromise on the layout either! This extra long island is a non-traditional setup that may be perfect for your backyard.

When it comes to design, the sky is the limit.

Simple Outdoor Kitchen Idea

simple outdoor kitchen idea with built in grill (1)

An outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, all you want is a grill! No frills.

If that sounds like you, this design may be exactly what you’re looking for.

This homeowner opted to upgrade the countertop to granite for an oh-so-sleek finish.

Tamara Day's Outdoor Kitchen Oasis

tamara days outdoor kitchen idea brought to life (14)

If you’re a fan of Bargain Mansions on HGTV, you know and love Tamara Day!

Recently, Tamara worked with us to create this beautiful outdoor kitchen. It’s got everything she needs to feed and entertain her family of four outdoors!

You’ve got the upgraded grill and power burner for full cooking capacity… The refreshment center and pull out trash to keep everything tidy… Plus the refrigerator and storage to keep everything accessible!

It’s a dream come true!

Mina Starsiak's Ultimate Entertainment Space

Mina Starsiak Hawks outdoor kitchen with bar and pizza oven island (9)
Mina Starsiak Hawks outdoor kitchen with bar and pizza oven island (1)

Tamara Day is not the only HGTV star to entrust RTA with their outdoor kitchen! Mina Starsiak of HGTV’s Good Bones just installed her outdoor kitchen setup.

You’ll note there are actually 3 separate islands here in different locations. There’s a bar island with two refrigerators… A pizza oven with refrigerator… And a grill island with a power burner.

This layout proves you don’t necessarily need your outdoor kitchen to be fully connected! In this space, the separation actually creates a beautiful flow.

Closing Thoughts

So… What do you think?

We’ve taken a look at many outdoor kitchen ideas. Hopefully, your creative juices are flowing at this point!

Also know that this is just a small sample of the possibilities.

If you’re looking for more outdoor kitchen ideas… Try playing around with our free online design tool.

Even if you don’t decide to work with us, this tool is extremely helpful for your research.

As always, we are happy to help! If you’re looking for more guidance on your outdoor kitchen project, reach out to us! There’s nothing we love more than helping homeowners like you obtain the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.

what are you waiting for?

You can design your outdoor kitchen RIGHT NOW in just a few minutes. Take the first step to creating the outdoor space of your dreams.

Other questions you may be pondering...

Increased home value is a huge draw for prospective outdoor kitchen customers. Outdoor kitchens tend to require little maintenance… So the benefits can definitely outweigh the detractors here.

What exactly is the return on investment?

According to INMAN, the average outdoor kitchen has an ROI of 100-200%. That’s an excellent return!

Now… Why do people see so much value in an outdoor kitchen? Well, there’s a few reasons. For one, outdoor kitchens extend the usable living space and functionality of your backyard. You gain more cooking space as well. Not to mention, an outdoor kitchen boosts the aesthetic value of your backyard space.

There is a key distinction here to note. A durable, high-quality outdoor kitchen will certainly add value to your home. A low-quality, piecemeal outdoor kitchen can have the direct opposite effect. Poor quality outdoor kitchens are seen as an eyesore or money pit for maintenance. You can see how this wouldn’t add value to the prospective home buyer!

Building an outdoor kitchen requires many layers. So let’s peel back a bit of the onion here.

Patio/Space

Naturally, you need a place to put your outdoor kitchen! If you have an existing space, you’re good to go.

If not… You’ll have to start constructing a patio or deck area for the outdoor kitchen to sit on.

Utilities

Most outdoor kitchens are going to require utility lines. Depending on appliances, you’ll need electric, gas, and/or water lines.

It’s for this reason you’ll want to consider running these lines before installing your patio or deck. You can still do this if you already have your patio installed… It may just be a bit more costly or time consuming.

Design

Next step is the design phase. It may seem simple, but there’s a lot of deliberation that can happen here!

You have to plan layout, appliances, and the finish you desire. You also have to figure out what is achievable in your space.

Construction/Installation

Whether you hire a contractor to build or install a prefabricated outdoor kitchen kit… The construction will be similar. The materials and method used may vary, but the process itself is virtually the same.

All outdoor kitchens are constructed from the ground up. You or your contractor will construct the base first. Then come the countertops, appliances, and utility connections.

Voila, your outdoor kitchen is born!

Of course, everyone’s needs are different! However, there are still essentials to every outdoor kitchen project. It’s important to know what these are so you don’t leave out a key piece of your project.

Adequate Surface

Yes, we know it seems obvious! It’s important to point out because not all outdoor kitchens are made equally. You need to know what materials your surface will be made from. The chosen material should be strong enough to bear the necessary weight.

Some outdoor kitchen methods are extremely heavy. You may need structural footings or additional support to prevent the surface becoming compromised over time.

Key takeaway?

Make sure your surface and foundation are adequate for the type of outdoor kitchen you are building.

Grill

By grill we mean any type of cooking appliance. I mean, let’s be real… Is it really an outdoor kitchen without some sort of cooking appliance?

We will admit there are scenarios where a grill is not desired. Some people just want bar seating or a counter for serving. Yet even in these situations… There is a cooking appliance nearby cranking out food!

Grills are quite diverse and tailored to your preferred cooking style. Anything from gas, pellet, charcoal, to a side burner, power burner, or smoker.

The sky is the limit!

Solid & Durable Materials

Unlike an indoor kitchen… An outdoor kitchen must be built to withstand the outdoor elements.

So using durable materials are essential if you want your project to last! We know it seems obvious. However, we have seen problems related to material quality far too often. Outdoor kitchens constructed from poor quality materials have a lifespan of only a few years.

Keep in mind… Your outdoor kitchen should be built for the outdoors, with materials meant for the outdoors.

Storage

Storage is an often overlooked aspect of the outdoor kitchen. I mean, we get it. Doors and drawers aren’t the most glamorous part of your project.

But it is so useful! You’ll be kicking yourself later if you don’t incorporate storage into your design. All of the utensils, accessories, and paper plates need somewhere to go! There’s no place more convenient than keeping it all stored in your outdoor kitchen.

Ventilation/Safe Construction

Safety first! In order for your outdoor kitchen island to be built safely… You need proper ventilation in case of a gas leak.

Different appliance manufacturers will have varying standards on proper ventilation. So be sure to do your homework… You don’t want to end up with an expensive ticking time bomb.

Ventilation is not the only safety consideration. The construction itself is also important to understand. If your outdoor kitchen is made from combustible materials such as wood… You’ll need insulated jackets for the cooking appliances.

When constructed from non-combustible materials, this jacket is unnecessary.

Truth is… It’s up to you. Covering your outdoor kitchen is not a requirement, but there are benefits.

Let’s talk about a couple different types of covers you may purchase.

Island Covers

You may be wondering if you have to invest in a vinyl island cover, like what you have for your grill. It’s a good question! The answer mainly comes down to the materials your kitchen is made from. Durable, high-quality outdoor kitchens don’t necessarily need an island cover. However, it’s a small price to pay to ensure your several thousand dollar investment is protected.

Outdoor Kitchen Covers/Shade Structures

Maybe you want to cover your outdoor kitchen with a pavilion, pergola, or other overhead structure. This can be beneficial for a few reasons. You’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor kitchen more often. Even on rainy or scorching hot days you can fire up the grill. Again, it’s not a requirement! So while there are benefits… You don’t need it to enjoy your outdoor kitchen.

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