How to Build Your Dream Outdoor BBQ Kitchen

How to Build Your Dream Outdoor BBQ Kitchen

Have you ever dreamed of an outdoor BBQ kitchen of your very own? Maybe your dream is the perfect setup to watch the big game, or it’s got a beachy feel for cool summer nights, or maybe it’s just the perfect place to host your family and friends for a cookout. Whatever you imagine, you can make it a reality wherever you are and with whatever space you have. On the patio, next to the pool, beneath a pergola, or even right out on the balcony of an apartment, you can make big or small adjustments to create an outdoor BBQ kitchen space that will bring you platefuls of happiness and good times.

How to Create a DIY Outdoor Kitchen

1. Create a plan.

What is your “construction” process going to look like to create this outdoor BBQ kitchen? Do you want a complete outdoor living space with a sitting area, or are you looking for a simpler upgraded grilling area? If you have a big space and a sizable budget, maybe you want to hire a landscape designer. If you’re handy and looking for a low-cost update, you can make your DIY grill station look phenomenal in just a few steps.

Here are the factors to consider when creating a plan for your outdoor BBQ area:

  • Size of space
  • Budget 
  • Location (climate and weather are important for the materials and layout)
  • How you typically use the space (events, number of guests, eating inside vs outside, etc.)
  • Equipment and appliances you’d like in the space (grill, mini fridge, ice maker, stove, pizza ovens, wet bar, etc.)
  • Materials you’ll use (example: stainless steel versus natural rock)
  • Codes and regulations in your county
  • Maintenance (how often you’ll need to clean and upkeep the area)

outdoor bbq

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

2. Consider how to use the space.

You’ll want to take an objective look at the space you’re working with to determine where your grill and furniture will go. It doesn’t hurt to even sketch out a blueprint. Even if the sketch is ugly, it will get the job done!

Here are two questions to ask yourself when considering how to use your space:

  • How many guests do you usually entertain?
  • Where do you need to put the grill so it’s safely away from the house, overhangs, and other flammable materials?

3. Pick a focal point.

Every room (even an outdoor room!) needs a focal point. That’s what draws the eye first and ties together the theme and atmosphere of the space. We personally like making the grill the focal point because that’s what’s bringing us all together outside. Brainstorm some ideas about how you can work your grill into the design of the space.

We love some of these Fresh Patio designs that incorporate a Big Green Egg into different outdoor BBQ kitchen areas. Whether brick, stone, or wood, the BGE goes beautifully with everything!

4. Place your grill.

The first part of your layout to prioritize in the space is your grill, not only because it’s the focal point, but also because it has certain safety requirements. For example, your local government may have codes and regulations regarding how far from the house you need to keep your grill to minimize risk of fire. We adore charcoal grills, but they release a lot of smoke and heat, so you’ll want to keep them in a well-ventilated area.

First, consider where your grill needs to be located to maximize safety as you move into the additional structures and appliances section below.

Pro-tip: Give your grill a deep cleaning. You’ll be amazed how one good clean can dramatically improve the look of your backyard!

5. Consider additional appliances, countertops, and structures.

If you’re creating your dream outdoor BBQ kitchen, you probably have some structures in mind. Before you commit to anything, think about what kind of appliances and structures you’d actually use when you’re entertaining, and then consider your budget (or think about DIY possibilities).

Here are some appliances you might consider for your dream outdoor BBQ kitchen (keeping in mind that all-weather appliances often cost more than indoor models):

  • Ice maker
  • Cooler
  • Freezer
  • Mini fridge
  • Stovetops
  • Wet bar/beer taps (BBQ and beer are a match made in heaven!)
  • Sink
  • Dishwasher
  • Fireplace
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Warming drawers
  • Pizza oven (not necessary if you have a pizza stone for your charcoal grill)
  • Storage Space

You’ll also want to consider whether you want to install outdoor countertops. Some people like the idea of countertops around their grill, which works beautifully as a space for prepping, cooking, and serving. Others want a kitchen island with bar stools where everyone can gather to cook and prep together (this setup is a great idea for fans of Korean BBQ).

Countertop materials to consider:

  • Concrete: durable, modern, and cost-effective, but can fade with time
  • Stainless Steel: durable, resistant to tarnish and damage, and gorgeous, but is pricier and gets hot in the sun
  • Granite: gorgeous and fade-resistant, but is porous and can absorb stains with time
  • Soapstone: strong, bacteria-resistant and withstands fluctuations in temperature, but can be pricey
  • Wood: natural look, but requires a lot of maintenance and protective stains to prevent damage
  • Tile: glazed ceramic tiles offer stunning décor, but they can have issues in changing temperatures and grout gets dirty easily

6. Find some patio furniture.

Now that you have an idea of what you want your kitchen setup to look like, think about the dining and seating area. Think about whether you want a full dining area or bar seating and how many chairs you actually have room to fit.

There are tons of patio furniture options out there, so here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Create a cohesive theme with your grill/countertop layout. Ask a designer or a friend at the local hardware store which patio sets would work best with the space, layout, and theme you’ve chosen.
  • Buy a matching set and keep it stylish, yet functional.
  • Make sure the furniture fits in the allotted area while maximizing space for entertaining. For example, we love benches that tuck under the dining table and can be put away to save space when everyone’s finished eating. Bar stools along a wall or countertop work well, too.
  • Consider the material. Stainless steel and aluminum (with removable pillow toppers) are durable and easy to care for, while wood and wicker require more upkeep.
  • Ensure that you choose sun- and weather-friendly material to extend the longevity of your furniture.

Check out The Spruce’s tips for buying outdoor furniture.

7. Choose some storage options.

If you’re installing countertops, you’ll likely include lots of storage space underneath. You can also consider wall-mounted overhead cabinets, rolling cabinets, and, of course, grill carts. We love grill carts because they’re convenient, simple, and easy to DIY. You can attach it to your grill for prep or keep it separate for serving.

Keep your storage organized by grouping tools into different baskets or bins. A little grill organization inspiration can make your grilling and cleanup a whole lot easier when the time comes.

outside bbq

Photo by Shaun Montero on Unsplash

8. Utilize functional decoration.

A little décor changes everything, especially if it also has a practical and functional purpose. Some functional decorations we love:

  • Shelves that show off your BBQ rubs and seasonings
  • Decorative screen for privacy
  • Outdoor rug
  • Big patio umbrellas (great for shade on hot days)
  • Colorful backsplash behind appliances
  • Outdoor cushions
  • Water features and fountains (you can even DIY water features)
  • Planters
  • Herb garden
  • Tabletop fire

There are plenty of DIY outdoor kitchen ideas you can find; doing a quick Google or Pinterest search can give you some ideas for the perfect outdoor design to match your budget and DIY capabilities.

9. Add lighting.

Lighting is the ultimate functional decoration. Adding lights means you can keep the party going all night long, while also adding ambiance and atmosphere to the space. Just like everything else, you want your lighting to fit your theme. For example, lanterns might work for a rustic vibe, and tea lights are better suited for a more elegant atmosphere.

Find lighting that fits your décor and your electrical capacity in the outdoor space. These hanging mason jar lights are a low-budget way to use fence space and you can make this DIY chandelier your own based on your style.

We also highly recommend a grill light so you can safely grill at night. You can buy inexpensive LED clip-on grill lights on Amazon.

10. Find a place for your Kick Ash Basket.

Don’t forget to find a place to store your Kick Ash Basket accessories! We designed our outdoor BBQ kitchen around our grill, and that means making sure that our Kick Ash Basket, Kick Ash Cans, heat resistant gloves, and even our JJ George Grill Torch all have a home close to the grill so we are ready for action!

Start Shopping for the Kick Ash Products by Grill Here

Say goodbye to worrying about the hassle of removing ash or charcoal. With the Kick Ash Basket, you just shake your charcoal out, dispose of the ashes, and get back to cooking and partying in your new DIY grill station and outdoor BBQ kitchen. No muss, no fuss— only good times with Kick Ash!

What does your dream outdoor BBQ kitchen look like? Let us know all your DIY outdoor kitchen ideas!