10 Outdoor Kitchen Ideas That Will Elevate Your Backyard Entertaining Space

Bring the heart of your home outside just in time for warm weather.

outdoor kitchen with storage space
Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Mann Architecture / David Wakely

Whether you're reheating last night's takeout order or making a meal from scratch, there's no place like your kitchen. Even though the kitchen might be the heart of your home, once the temperature rises and the weather becomes undeniably gorgeous, you may not want to spend your free time inside. If you have a backyard and want to shake up your culinary quarters, consider adding an outdoor kitchen to the mix.

Admittedly, an outdoor kitchen may seem a tad superfluous. After all, it's not as necessary as, say, an oven or dishwasher in your primary space. However, this is one feature avid entertainers, home chefs, and grill enthusiasts will enjoy in spring, summer, and beyond. (And, let's be honest, who doesn't crave a scenic and delicious meal al fresco?). With beautiful tiling, awesome accessories, and a strategic layout, an outdoor kitchen has the power to look just as good as the rest of your home's interiors.

01 of 10

Draw Inspiration From Your Inside Kitchen

modern outdoor kitchen granite counters
Courtesy of LH Designs / Lauren Pressey

If you want to create cohesion throughout your property, consider drawing inspiration from your interior décor when you design your outdoor kitchen. "I like to think of the outdoor kitchen just like you would when designing a regular kitchen indoors," ​​says Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. "Cabinetry and storage are important, so you don't have to keep schlepping things back and forth from inside. If you plan the outdoor kitchen like your indoor kitchen, you'll love spending as much time there—and it'll be the second heart of the home for you and your family."

02 of 10

Add a Tile Backsplash

outdoor kitchen with tile backsplash
Courtesy of Maire Flanigan / Julie Soefer

For an outdoor kitchen that bridges the gap between form and function, you can't go wrong with a tiled backsplash. Not only does this feature protect the rest of your outdoor kitchen and backsplash, but it can also take your space's style factor up a couple of notches. Let this space from Marie Flanigan, which features a pretty mosaic repeat, inspire your own.

03 of 10

Focus on the Flow of Traffic

large outdoor kitchen with entertaining space
Courtesy of Robert Bell

From grilling a fresh batch of burgers to plating the final product and mingling with guests, cooking outside requires a lot of multi-tasking. Simplify the process with one long countertop. "Plan the entire outdoor kitchen and entertaining space as part of a single functional plan and consider the flow of traffic as part of the design," says landscape architect Robert Bell. "Be sure not to isolate the outdoor cook from the rest of the party."

04 of 10

Create a Pop of Color

outdoor kitchen with green cabinets
Courtesy of L’Atelier Paris Haute Design

Anyone with a more-is-more aesthetic will find a lot to love about this outdoor kitchen from L'Atelier Paris Haute Design. Here, a bold range hood and green cabinetry act as a visual exclamation point.

05 of 10

Build Into the Ground

natured inspired outdoor kitchen
Courtesy of Studio Schicketnz / Bob Canfield

For an outdoor kitchen that speaks to your environment, build your culinary quarters into the grounds. "Discretely integrated into the hillside with spectacular views of the Pacific [Ocean] and the tranquility of the water feature, this outdoor kitchen has become entertainment central on summer evenings," says Mary Ann Schicketanz, the founder of Studio Schicketanz. The oceanfront orientation deftly blurs the lines between landscape and hardscape—putting that easy, breezy California aesthetic right at the forefront.

06 of 10

Use Natural Materials

outdoor kitchen stone masonry
Courtesy of Mindy Gayer / Kyle Monk

Another way to connect your outdoor kitchen to the rest of your landscaping is by utilizing natural materials. This stacked stone set-up from Mindy Gayer blends in with the rest of the property, all while masquerading a kitchen's oftentimes bulky equipment. A design idea that can pull double duty? Yes, please.

07 of 10

Add Seating

outdoor kitchen large peninsula seating
Courtesy of Mindy Gayer / Lane Dittoe

Whether you're hosting a few friends for a barbecue or hoping to make the most of your al fresco arrangement, it's important to have a comfortable place to sit. Turn your outdoor kitchen into a one-stop destination by adding a peninsula and some stools, like Gayer did here. Not only is this setup perfect for hosting, but it'll also give you some extra room for meal prepping.

08 of 10

Create Storage

outdoor kitchen with storage space
Courtesy of Andrew Mann Architecture / David Wakely

Since transporting melamine plates and glasses from your indoor kitchen to your outdoor space can be a tad tedious, create storage where it counts. In this outdoor oasis by Andrew Mann Architecture, a walk-in pantry and sliding door protect pots, lanterns, and other cooking essentials from the elements. The lush landscaping by Christa Moné perfectly offsets the space's contemporary construction.

09 of 10

Add a Cover

covered outdoor kitchen design
Courtesy of Christina Kim / Raquel Langworthy

Want to enjoy your outdoor kitchen, rain or shine? Consider a protective cover, just as New Jersey-based designer Christina Kim did here. "When setting up your outdoor entertaining space, take into account the space you have and the climate and environment," she says. "A portico or awning allows you to enjoy your outdoor entertaining space all year round. Just remember to keep your grill and flames outside."

10 of 10

Add Accessories

outdoor kitchen with umbrella
Courtesy of Just Destiny / Destiny Alfonso

If you have an outdoor kitchen that's in desperate need of a refresh, invest in some well-appointed accessories. Here, Destiny Alfonso of Just Destiny decked out her space with bistro and a striped umbrella, giving her space some European appeal.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles