How to build your own outdoor kitchen for al fresco cooking

Add an outdoor kitchen cooking area to your plot for dreamy garden dining this summer.

Outdoor kitchen ideas uk

by Eleanor Weaver and Jules Barton-Breck |

Always dreamed of having an outdoor kitchen? Now is the time to turn that dream into reality! Our gardens have been lifesavers over the last couple of years, and when staying in became the new going out, lots of us started cooking more in our gardens and it sparked a move towards seriously stylish outdoor kitchens. Where once a squeezed-in BBQ sufficed, al fresco cooking spaces are now show-off garden features that set the tone for relaxed outdoor living.

So if you’re tempted to add one to your plot this year, take advantage of these innovative outdoor kitchen ideas. Create your own outdoor kitchen area using a BBQ and table station or fork out on a purpose-built outdoor kitchen. Not only will a stylish al fresco kitchen give you practical outdoor living space, but it’s also a great investment that’ll add value should you decide to sell your home. Our edit of ideas showcases the big garden trends right now that will work whatever your budget, size and style.

What to consider in your outdoor kitchen

Before you set a budget or decide what you want in your outdoor kitchen, throw your mind open to the many possibilities your garden presents.

Your outdoor kitchen should be a designated area with enough room close by for a dining table and chairs, where you can prep, wash and cook a variety of foods on different appliances, and include storage units and work surfaces. But it doesn’t have to be huge. Have a walk around your plot and consider what options might work where.

Think too about how you’ll use your new kitchen. Will you be a fair-weather chef? Then moveable units on wheels that can easily be stored in a shed or garage over the winter might suit. Or do you want to use your outdoor kitchen all year round? Then a permanent covering such as a pergola or canopy to protect it from bad weather is a must-have.

People dining outside from outdoor kitchen
©Getty Images

How many people will you be catering for? If you like entertaining regularly in your garden then buying small appliances could be a false money-saver as you’ll have to constantly cook in small batches, using more power, rather than being able to sit down and enjoy the party.

Consider whether you’ll need a power source for lighting and appliances, as the cost of installation will need to be included in your budget if you don’t already have an existing outdoor electric supply.

Dreaming done? Now’s the time to be realistic about what you want and what your budget will allow, along with the space you have available. Decide how much money you want to spend, and start making a detailed plan of what you want, and where. It’s well worth drawing up plans for two or three kitchen options in different configurations and/or parts of your garden, as you may find one delivers far more with your budget than the other.

Outdoor kitchen ideas UK

Use an all-in-one barbecue unit

BBQ with side shelves
©Getty Images

One of the cheapest ways to create a smart outdoor kitchen yourself is to buy an all-in-one unit that features a BBQ plus storage space and surfaces to prep food. Position it against a wall and fix shelves and hooks in matching materials to create that full kitchen vibe.

You can even cheat the idea with a storage/serving unit lined up next to your barbecue for extra preparation space or by building a surrounding service area.

Many of these BBQ kitchen units are on wheels too which means you can easily move them. Want to grill breakfast in the sunshine? Shelter from a chilly east wind? Let garden guests barbecue their own skewers to break the ice at a party? Just wheel your kitchen to wherever you want it and you’re good to go!

Texas Outdoor 4 Burner Gas BBQ Kitchen

Texas Outdoor 4 Burner Gas BBQ Kitchen

View offer

The Texas Outdoor 4 Burner BBQ Kitchen includes a cast-iron cooking grid, side burner, sink, and tap, chopping
board, utensils set, cover, gas bottle regulator, and hose plus storage shelves. It's a BBQ, and then some.

Aldi Premium Outdoor BBQ Kitchen

Premium Outdoor BBQ Kitchen

View offer

This Premium Outdoor BBQ Kitchen from Aldi offers a large cooking area and warming rack with With six burners, a side burner, two cooking grills and a cooking plate, and even features a sink. Not to mention the large and plentiful storage space.

Vonhaus Gas BBQ & Modular Kitchen

Vonhaus Gas BBQ & Modular Kitchen
Amazon

View offer

This all-in-one BBQ kitchen allows you to prepare, cook and host easily outdoors. The cast iron grill comes with interlocking sections on either side with shelves and worktops that you can swap around. On one side you've got all the components of a drinks trolley and on the other, a food prep station.

John Lewis & Partners Grillstream 6 Burner Hybrid Gas & Charcoal BBQ

John Lewis & Partners Grillstream 6 Burner Hybrid Gas & Charcoal BBQ

View offer

The Petersburg Outdoor Kitchen is a stunning outdoor catering unit that includes a six-burner hybrid BBQ to cook for up to 12 people at once, warming rack, plentiful storage, and a sleek stainless steel finish - all on wheels!

KETTLER Aluminium Garden Sideboard

KETTLER Aluminium Garden Sideboard

View offer

Need that extra preparation space? Line this sideboard up near your BBQ to create a mini kitchen with plenty of extra space for storage too. Store extra plates and table items in the enclosed cupboard space or lay your snacks out ready to grab on the top.

Create an outdoor kitchen from scratch

If your barbecue doesn't have wheels, pick a tabletop oven or grill to put on a wheeled shelving unit instead.

What’s great about this option is that you can also easily store it in your shed or garage throughout the winter and wheel it out on a dry, sunny day. Plus, it gives you more versatility - use your wheeled shelving as a mobile kitchen or take off the tabletop grill and use it as a drink or entertainment trolley instead.

Alternatively, you could create your own integrated kitchen diner by using an extra-large table and placing a tabletop barbecue or pizza oven at one end.

Rather than trying to fit in an outdoor kitchen and a separate dining area, combining the two with a built-in island creates a multifunctional entertaining zone.

Morso Forno Outdoor Oven Deluxe Package

Morso Forno Outdoor Oven Deluxe Package

View offer

This stylish, deluxe outdoor cooking package includes the Morso Garden Table, which gives you plenty of prep space, storage, and wheels to move it around, and the Morso Forno Oven has a grill and pizza oven in one!

Ooni Large Modular Table

Ooni Large Modular Table

View offer

The Ooni modular table creates the perfect space for popping your tabletop grill or pizza oven on with two height-adjustable shelves, built-in hooks and two lockable wheels. This table measures 80 x 80 x 90cm but there is a smaller alternative available and plenty of useful kitchen accessories to buy as an add on.

Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven

Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven
Amazon

View offer

A pizza oven in your outdoor kitchen will offer up a crispy cheese and tomato in a minute or two and also allows you to slow-roast meat or bake bread. This Ooni pizza oven will sit perfectly atop the Ooni Modular Table.

EXTENSO 6/12-Person Charcoal Grey Aluminium Extendable Garden Table

EXTENSO 6/12-Person Charcoal Grey Aluminium Extendable Garden Table

View offer

This extendable garden table is not only perfect for your family meals and get-togethers in the garden, but you can position a tabletop oven or BBQ at one end to create a 'kitchen-diner' or just ample space for all the yummy food.

George Foreman GFSBBQ1 Portable Grill Gas BBQ

George Foreman GFSBBQ1 Portable Grill Gas BBQ

View offer

Perfectly designed to be moved around your outdoor space, this compact BBQ can sit atop your outdoor table. It has a grill area big enough to cook up to three portions at once, and its elevated design means you don't need to worry about it scorching your tabletop.

Have freedom with freestanding modular units

Purpose built outdoor kitchen
©Getty Images

Freestanding kitchen and shelving units with backs can be placed anywhere in your garden on a hard surface and are great for creating the all-in-one kitchen station of your dreams. Installation is super-speedy and it can be moved should you decide to switch around your garden. Look for outdoor kitchen ideas and designs made with low-maintenance materials so you won’t need to waste precious hours keeping it looking good.

As well as having good space for meal prep and a tabletop grill, you can make sure there's room for gas storage and even a fridge if you'd like to store food and chill drinks for guests - it's a great way to customise your kitchen. Just make sure your electricity provisions are met.

Cirencester 6 Burner Gas Grill & BBQ

Cirencester 6 Burner Gas Grill & BBQ

View offer

This stainless steel BBQ is the perfect option for an outdoor entertainment area and is designed to fit perfectly with the rest of the Cirencester Modular Outdoor Kitchen Range. It has six premium stainless steel gas burners providing an extra-large cooking area, a large warming rack, an infrared side burner, and two drop-down work surfaces.

Cirencester Double Door Outdoor Fridge

Cirencester Double Door Outdoor Fridge

View offer

This accompanying double door outdoor fridge has a capacity of 228L with low noise operation and has a 304 grade stainless steel finish. It'll keep those drinks cool in the summertime and even has adjustable levelling castors that allow you to install your kitchen onto uneven ground.

Cirencester Double Door Storage Cabinet

https://www.limelace.co.uk/collections/outdoor-kitchen-pizza-oven-bbq-grills/products/cirencester-double-door-storage-cabinet-whistler-grills

View offer

Don't forget about storage! There are a number of storage cabinets in the Cirencester Modular Outdoor Kitchen Range and this one provides plenty of space with adjustable shelves inside. These give you full flexibility in your design and each unit can be fixed together with butterfly screws.

Draco Grills Avalon Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen with 4 Burner BBQ and Fridge

Draco Grills Avalon Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen with 4 Burner BBQ and Fridge

View offer

It may not look like it, but this outdoor kitchen has a modular design that allows you to configure your kitchen just the way you want it! It includes the Draco four-burner stainless steel barbecue and built-in side burner, outdoor refrigerator, outdoor sink, and tap with granite top cabinets.

Splash the cash on a bespoke outdoor kitchen

If you're looking for the best of the best and have the budget, why not buy a complete, bespoke outdoor kitchen for your garden? With space for cooking, prepping, and storage, they are made from low-maintenance materials meaning they’ll look good all year round and won’t need covering up. If you need any further incentive, then statistics show that you could recoup the costs of building an outdoor kitchen by up to 200% when the time comes to sell your house.

Think your garden is too small for an outdoor kitchen? Think again, because you can still enjoy the outdoor cooking experience by going for a compact shelf design that will fit along just one side of your patio, turning the entire area into an outdoor kitchen/diner.

Ariel Outdoor BBQ Kitchen with Twin Gas Hob and Sink

Ariel Outdoor BBQ Kitchen with Twin Gas Hob and Sink

View offer

If you're after an outdoor kitchen that's got more of a rustic appeal, the Ariel Outdoor BBQ Kitchen is made from quality refractory concrete with an attractive, durable Marmotech work surface - a combination of marble and concrete. The kitchen includes a wood or charcoal-fired barbecue, a twin gas hob, and a sink with storage.

Draco Grills 6 Burner Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen with Sear Station, Sink and Fridge Unit

Draco Grills 6 Burner Stainless Steel Outdoor Kitchen with Sear Station, Sink and Fridge Unit

View offer

The Draco Grills outdoor kitchen is an ideal choice for smaller spaces and will look fantastic in your garden. The granite kitchen includes a stainless steel gas barbecue that's great to look at and even better to cook on, a side burner, a full functioning sink with tap, and a fridge unit.

Beefeater Signature 3000E Cabinex Outdoor Kitchen

Beefeater Signature 3000E Cabinex Outdoor Kitchen

View offer

We love this stylish and functional outdoor kitchen with its matte black finish that'll look beautiful in a modern garden. Made from a rigid and robust Cabinex aluminium frame, this kitchen features scratch-resistant black porcelain benchtops, a mixer tap and stainless steel sink, a bar fridge, and of course, the four-burner gas barbecue itself.

Monster Grill Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

Monster Grill Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

View offer

Show off your grilling prowess from the get-go with this beast of a BBQ by Monster Grill, delivered 90% built. Always ready for a party, the outdoor kitchen includes a six-burner grill with a powerful infrared back burner, a side burner, drinks cooler, built-in sink, and plenty of space for essential sides, sauces, and more in the cupboards.

Outdoor kitchen accessories

Add some fun outdoor kitchen accessories, such as an outdoor clock, outdoor radio, pendant lights, or a wall-mounted planter grid behind the cooking area so you’ve got fresh herbs to hand.

It'll be just like a proper kitchen.

Terracotta Wall Hung Planter

Terracotta Wall Hung Planter

View offer

Add a little green to your garden wall with this wall-mounted planter that'll add structural decoration to your kitchen. Fill the aged terracotta pots with trailing hanging plants, cacti, succulents, or herbs that you can use for your recipes.

Habitat Garden Wall Clock

Habitat Garden Wall Clock

View offer

We love the minimalist, modern design of this outdoor clock - a must if you want to keep track of your cooking and give your guests a time for when all the grub will be ready!

Eva Solo SunLight Solar LED Outdoor Pendant Light

Eva Solo SunLight Solar LED Outdoor Pendant Light

View offer

Designed with frosted glass to create an ambient glow, the Eva Solo SunLight Pendant lamp provides 20 hours of illumination after eight hours of full charge in the sunshine and is a great choice for bringing the kitchen aesthetic outdoors.

Cena Blue Terracotta Utensil Pot

Cena Blue Terracotta Utensil Pot

View offer

Keep your outdoor kitchen counter organised with the Cena Blue Terracotta utensil pot, finished in a pale blue ombre glaze. Handmade by artisans in Portugal, each piece is unique - just pop into your kitchen cupboards when you're not cooking.

Iswik Star Tile Indoor/Outdoor Flat Rug

Iswik Star Tile Indoor/Outdoor Flat Rug

View offer

Using a rug is a great way to customise your outdoor space, and this easy-to-care-for rug patterned with stars to imitate cement tiles will really help to define your cooking and/or dining space.

Create the illusion of an outdoor kitchen room

Perhaps you want to squirrel yourself away in your garden to try out some new al fresco-cooked recipes? Putting your outdoor kitchen in a corner of your plot and screening it off with a short wall will create a defined cooking zone.

The beauty of this outdoor kitchen idea is that the wall doesn’t have to be huge – you can use a low screen, create a wall of plants or use a doorway to accentuate the sense of entering a room. You could even create a tiled wall of your own against the garden fence!

Another idea is to make a feature of your outdoor kitchen and create a separate room by setting it up on a large raised deck or by putting a different flooring beneath your kitchen space for a stylish indoor-outdoor look.

Or you could place your kitchen beneath a pergola to recreate a beautiful galley kitchen effect. The options are endless!

Top tip: If you use a screen or trellis, you can use the gaps and hooks as a savvy storage solution for your outdoor kitchen utensils!

Moucharabiya Large Screen

Moucharabiya Large Screen

View offer

Available in a range of design, colours, and sizes, Screen with Envy has a beautiful collection of garden screens that'll add style, and privacy, and help define your outdoor kitchen area. We love this screen that's been inspired by the traditional design of windows seen in Arabic architecture.

MÄLLSTEN Floor Decking

Mu00c4LLSTEN Floor Decking

View offer

Super easy to add to your garden, you can use this floor decking from IKEA to create your very own kitchen floor. Made of weatherproof porcelain, each decking piece clicks together without the need for tools.

Forest Garden 6x6 Double Slatted Panel x 3

Forest Garden 6x6 Double Slatted Panel x 3

View offer

These panels feature slats mounted alternately on the front and back, creating that partition, whilst still letting some light and air flow through. The timber is pressure treated to give a 15-year anti-rot guarantee and is available in three sizes.

Forest Garden Square Pergola

Forest Garden Square Pergola

View offer

Using a pergola is a fantastic way of framing your outdoor open cooking and dining space whilst still allowing plenty of ventilation. To create a whimsical display, grow a climbing plant across the top of the structure such as wisteria.

Tapestry Living Wall

Tapestry Living Wall

View offer

To make your outdoor kitchen fit in more seamlessly with the rest of your garden, incorporate a living wall into your kitchen design. This beautiful tapestry of classic evergreen plants provides a real focal point and the 18 boxes comes with all plants and compost included.

Outdoor kitchen inspiration

If you're not sure which direction to go, there is loads of inspiration online. Check out some of our favourite outdoor kitchen ideas from Instagram:

Artificial grass for an effort-free flawless lawn

The best Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs that will change the way you relax

Outdoor rugs to pep up your patio

The best garden pods to buy in the UK

Relax with a subscription to Modern Gardens magazine

Modern Gardens magazine

View offer

Get inspired each month with Modern Gardens magazine. In every issue, you will find the latest trends and shopping hints (that won't break the budget), easy and simple DIY projects with clever upcycling ideas, and a look at some of our readers' gardens for you to enjoy. Love your outdoor space even more with inspiration from our magazine. Whether you're looking for the latest digital edition or are interested in our monthly subscription, Modern Gardens has everything you need. Available to download on Android and Apple devices so you can take Modern Gardens with you wherever you go. Not only that, make sure you look out for our exclusive gifts when buying either your digital or print subscription.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us