It’s hard to resist the charm of an outdoor kitchen. Perfect for a family barbecue, celebrations, holiday parties, or just any other Sunday evening in the summer.

But what can you do in terms of project scale, budget, and style when it comes to an outdoor kitchen design?

Turns out there’s enough variety here to fit your home and your budget. Outdoor kitchens are usually considered luxury additions because of the required preparation, but this project can be done with a medium budget.

Existing structures like pergolas and decks are great spots for an outdoor kitchen, but they can also be left in the open with proper planning and design considerations for a cheaper alternative.

But enough babble, let’s get into the good stuff. Take notes and make your outdoor kitchen design come true!

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe

1. Under a pergola

Pergolas are already a great patio shade idea, which is why they fit perfectly into our plan here.

But first, let’s break down the most important considerations you have to make when building an outdoor kitchen:

Plumbing access. If you want a proper sink, your plumbing needs to reach this area. A local plumber can help you plan this out better. Keep in mind that there are standalone sinks with no plumbing required, but they are of course limited.

Electrical. Outlets and appliances you might bring outdoors need access to electricity as well as protection from certain outdoor scenarios. If it rains, you should have a way to protect your appliances and shut down electricity in that area to prevent problems.

Lighting. You’ll most likely want to spend the evening in your kitchen, especially during the more pleasant summer weather. Make sure you have good lighting to match the occasion and to keep the space functional during nighttime!

With that out of the way, adding an outdoor kitchen under your pergola shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s a great spot that allows for a pretty comprehensive kitchen, complete with an oven, chairs, table, sink, and great lighting. 

2. The real deal

Many outdoor kitchens focus on the basics – like it is a minimal version of a traditional indoor kitchen. This is usually due to budget constraints, or just because the design dictates that this isn’t your main kitchen to begin with, so it can shine with just the basics.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the real deal outdoors.

Depending on what you plan to use this kitchen for and how often you’ll use it, it can and should contain the same elements you’d expect as if it were indoors.

As such, this one is complete with cabinets, an oven, a sink, and a mini-fridge. If it’s a party you want, it’s a party you’ll have.

3. Classy minibar

On the more minimal side, you can instead focus on creating an outdoor minibar.

For this, you don’t need more than a sink and a grill, giving you enough to fuel any celebration. The bar stand is the main attraction that you can decorate with themed benches, but a mini-fridge would come in handy too.

Though you can also use an ice tray to keep drinks cool during the evening if you want to keep it simple. The idea is to create an outdoor kitchen that suits your needs!

4. In the open

We’ve seen options with cover, but an outdoor kitchen can also be left in the open.

It makes the spot more liberating and vibrant without sacrificing any of the charm. For a nice bit of shade, you can use a table with an umbrella. Easy to set up when it’s necessary and just as easy to remove when it’s not.

In fact, if you want a budget version of this, you can use a standalone sink, a mobile grill, and a few chairs – voilá. If you like the setup, you can then invest in building a proper structure later.

Get more details on building an outdoor kitchen!

5. Outdoor wood oven

The best place for a barbecue is outdoors, everyone knows that. You can complement this wonderful activity with a proper wood oven, only now combined with a sink for your everyday needs.

There’s no need for electricity in this setup, so you’re saving yourself a lot of prep work. A mobile light extended from the nearest outlet should be enough for an evening by the fire, even better now that you have a sink where you can prepare the food and even serve drinks.

This is a truly unique kitchen that just wouldn’t be the same indoors!

Ready to plan your outdoor kitchen design? Get free quotes from local addition and remodel pros in your area today!


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