Your backyard doesn’t have to just be a grass-filled place where the kids play. Obviously, you could add some simple touches with gardening or simple lawn furniture. Or you can turn that space into an outdoor living space where your whole family will gather regularly. One of the best ways to create that kind of space is with an outdoor kitchen.
If you love the idea but don’t know what kind to create, this list should hopefully spark some thoughts and help you move in the right direction.
Simple Stone Kitchen
One of the most beautiful options for your outdoor kitchen is a simple stone kitchen. Admittedly, by “simple” I mean nothing fancy, but it will be a hefty job, nonetheless. This particular example has a built-in grill, sink, lots of counter space, and some other nice amenities, but you may not need something as extensive as this. You can always expand, too, if you’re thinking full refrigerator, bar, or even a built-in meat smoker.
Built-In Beer Tap
If you love entertaining and know how to choose a good brew to keep on hand, you may wish to consider creating your own bar with a built-in beer tap. This is a great option for a full-size kitchen with a standard bar or a deck bar and dining space.
Simple, But Elegant Dining Area
A great option for your back patio is a simple, but elegant dining area. You can find a lovely outdoor table and chair set and create a charming backdrop with trellises and vines for your outdoor dining, or plant a rose garden surrounding the dining nook, creating a tea garden dining experience.
Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
Love pizza? You may want to consider adding a home-made wood-fired pizza oven into your outdoor kitchen design. These are great not just for amazing flavors for your Italian treat, but they make a great central point in your outdoor living space and add some warmth to the air for cooler seasons.
Simple Wood-Burning Stove
For those looking for a super simple outdoor cooking option, you can create your own simple woodburning stove setup like this. It’s budget-friendly, just about anyone can build one from bricks and a metal grate or sheet, and it works easily in any kind of setting. Just add wood!
Screened Roof With Ceiling Fan
For those who use their outdoor spaces often in all seasons, a screened roof is a great option to consider. This allows for the sunshine to beam through still while protecting your dining and cooking areas from falling leaves and other debris. Adding a ceiling fan can help to circulate smoke from a grill or smoker and ease some of the summer heat.
Pergola With Full Surround Bar
If you enjoy hosting small dinner parties and BBQs, creating a kitchen with a pergola and full surround bar could be a great choice. This provides you with plenty of seating, a lovely atmosphere, and a little bit of shade at the sunniest times of the day.
Farmhouse Style Patio Kitchen
Gardeners and veggie lovers might love this farmhouse-style patio kitchen. The beautiful style of the rustic Farmhouse décor combined with loads of storage and easy access allows you to enjoy the beauty of modern rustic design while giving you plenty of space for canning and pickling outdoors.
Poolside Lounge, Bar, and Dining
If you’ve got a pool, why not flesh that space out with a full all-season setup? Adding in some comfortable lounging furniture, a simple bar to serve summer cocktails, and a cozy dining area can turn that ho-hum pool patio into the backyard of your dreams.
Fully Covered Kitchen and Dining Area
Some environments just call for a fully covered outdoor space, whether that’s because of the intense sunshine of your tropical climate calling for shade or the ever-present threat of rain in the Pacific Northwest. Here, you may want to consider extending that roofline of the house to create a fully covered kitchen and dining area so that you can enjoy it in all seasons. You don’t need anything fancy, either. A straightforward grill station and sink and simple dining furniture could well be enough for all your needs.
Built-In Round Grill
Love unique takes on traditional styles? You could try building-in an elevated round grill. Designs like this are great for adding some unique ambiance while giving you a solid place to gather with the family and friends and cook that delicious meat at eye level for easier conversation.
Simple Stone Grilling Station
If you don’t have a lot of space, you can add a simple built-in stone grilling station. This type is small enough that you can have it on your tiny condo patio or tucked into the corner of a larger patio where the kids use up most of the space.
A Full Open Air Kitchen and Dining Setup
For larger backyards where space is plentiful, a full open-air kitchen and dining set up like this one might be your best choice. You can build in a fridge or include refrigerated drawers, a grill, an outdoor oven or pizza oven, a sink, and loads and loads of counter space. This kind of setup is especially great for large families and folks who love to host parties with several people in the kitchen working together.
Portable Grill Station
If permanent outdoor kitchens aren’t a great fit for your situation, you can find a simple, pre-made portable grill station. They include the grill, a little counter space, some storage, and, in some cases, a refrigerator. Most usually also include an overhang on the opposite side that can function as a minibar counter.
A Sunken Kitchen
Have some uneven ground in your backyard? You could always try a sunken kitchen setup. Use stone or bricks to create your solid wall surrounding the kitchen and then install whatever features you love most for this kind of setup.
Craving an ethereal design? Think fairy garden meets patio dining. For this style of outdoor kitchen and dining, you’ll obviously need a bit of space and some time. You’ll need to find the right plants, of course, but adding a simple chandelier, partial walls or trellises, simple rustic furniture, and even some unique water features can make those fairy tale dreams come true.
Herb Garden Kitchen Combo
Love growing your own herbs? Why not combine that passion with your outdoor kitchen setup? Build yourself an outdoor bar and kitchen space, then plant your herbs in pots or window planters and scatter them through your rustic kitchen. Whenever you need some fresh basil or time, it’s already right there. No need to head to the garden.
Casual Concrete Dining Bar
Going for something a bit more rustic? You can build some poured concrete furniture like this dining bar. Poured concrete and polished concrete make for great, solid furniture for the outdoors. You know it won’t get spoiled by unfavorable weather and will last for decades.
If dining space isn’t enough, you can always add in a built-in grill on one of the slabs and create a full outdoor kitchen.
Modern Full Living Space
If you like to host parties, a space like this one could be great. There’s enough seating for casual company, a full kitchen setup, and plenty of floor space for dancing. Switch things up and focus more on the cozy eating room or expand the kitchen’s possibilities with a full-size fridge and built-in ice maker for easy cocktails.
Space Saving Stone Kitchen
If you’re limited on space, you can use a design similar to this stone kitchen shape. A narrow path gives enough room to move from counter to grill to storage area with ease, with the raised bar dining space on the outside, saving enough room that folks with even a small yard can enjoy an outdoor kitchen.
Don’t want something permanent? You can try this fun and unique style of outdoor cooking and dining in one with an all-inclusive table. The firepit – which works much like a hibachi grill – is right there in the center of the table.
This is perfect for roasting marshmallows with the kids, hosting a grown-up hibachi grill-your-own party, or just having some flexibility in where and how you dine outdoors.
Outdoor Fireplace and Casual Dining
For a modern take on a casual dining space, you can build yourself a clean line outdoor fireplace and add a simple and comfortable dining set. You don’t need a lot of space for this particular style – just enough room for a few chairs and a small table on a modest patio. A simple poured concrete patio is great for this feel, in particular, giving you level ground and clean lines.
Cozy Patio Kitchen for Two
Don’t have kids at home anymore? You can convert that old wide-reaching patio to a cozy little kitchen and dining patio for two. With a nice built-in fireplace or chimenea, a grill station, and some relaxing loungers, you’re set for many romantic evenings of grilling out together, chatting, and just drinking in the beauty of a starry night. When the grandkids or friends pop over, you can always move the chairs around and make space for more.
Simple Stone BBQ Pit
If you’ve got some scrap stone or bricks lying around and a little bit of mortar, you can DIY your own simple stone or brick BBQ pit in a small space. Depending on the design you choose, you can make a small one like this for your tight corners or get more elaborate and give yourself room to roast a whole pig for that luau you’ve been dreaming of hosting someday.
Your Own Tiki Bar
Whether you’ve got a pool or a standard patio in your backyard, adding in your own tiki bar can take things from “okay” to “super fun” in a few steps. You can go all out and build a semi-authentic roadside tiki bar like this one or toss up a thatched awning and purchase a pre-made tiki bar from a HomeGoods or furniture store. Just add a cooler or mini-fridge and you’re all set!
A Swim-Up Bar and Kitchen
Clearly, this is a poolside bar at a hotel, but you can scale the concept down to fit your own yard and build in your own Maldives-esque dream bar and outdoor kitchen that fits your space and personal needs. Some thatched roofing or wood tiles like this, a sunken bar space leaning into the side of the inground pool, and simple inserts like refrigerated drawers, an ice maker, and a built-in grill can do it.