Tips for Designing a Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Posted on by Bruce Blok
Bruce Blok

An outdoor kitchen doesn’t need to be huge, but if carefully designed you can have an efficient fun space for the grillmeister to work while still being part of the party. Here are a few tips to get started:

Location. It is generally a good idea to locate your outdoor kitchen near the main house, and even better, near the main kitchen. This makes it easy to carry food and other materials in and out, and allows for some use of the main kitchen as needed (and makes those inevitable trips back after the one thing you forgot a lot shorter). Other factors to consider are landscape features such as patios, decks, lawn, or pool. Sun, shade, and wind may also be issues to think about.

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This outdoor kitchen is conveniently located between a patio and the pool which is just out of the photo to the left.

Function. Consider exactly how you will use the area. What appliances are must haves? How much prep will be done in the main kitchen, and how much outside? Where will your guests be while you are cooking? When eating?

Include a bar top. Ever notice how people like to hang around the grill and watch? Adding a bar top that faces the cook gives guest a place to watch and enjoy themselves while staying out of the cooking space.

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In this view of the outdoor kitchen above, you can see that the grills are outside with bar seating facing the cook, while the main prep area is sheltered under a roof. This also provides a place for a large TV that can still be viewed from the bar area.

Shelter. Let’s face it, those summer days are great, but this is Michigan.Having some shelter, whether from the sun, wind, or rain, can greatly increase the usefulness of an outdoor cooking space. Infrared heaters can extend the season well into autumn, and a ceiling fan can keep everyone cool when it gets a bit too warm.

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This kitchen is on a screen porch, well sheltered from the weather. A spiral stairway provides access to a second floor screen porch and large deck that wraps part of the house making an ideal setup for entertaining.


Place the beverage cooler and beer or water at the end of the bar. That way your guests can help themselves and frees you up to concentrate on the cooking.

Lounge space. Having seating on a nearby patio or deck gives guests another place to hang out while waiting for the barbecue or to relax after dinner.

Fireplace. While a TV is a must for many people, you may want to consider a fireplace or fire pit.  Whether it is roasting hotdogs and marshmallows, or just enjoying good conversation, nothing beats a good fire on a cool autumn night.


Gathering around a fire is a great way to spend an evening with friends and family.

Bruce Blok

About Bruce Blok

Bruce is co-owner of Blok Builders Inc., a family owned business focused on providing the ultimate project experience through personal involvement, communication, and dedication to quality and value.

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