Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for Better Backyard Living

A really good outdoor kitchen design is not only functional, but it also adds to and enhances the beauty of any outdoor living space.  Some of the most amazing kitchen design ideas on display around the internet are those which utilize natural stone in the construction of the walls, floors and bar areas. When designing outdoor kitchens you want to create something that is not only beautiful, but you want it to be highly functional and economical as well.

When you think about how you would like to create your beautiful outdoor kitchen, it is usually best to start with a list.  And this list is actually going to be comprised of two other separate lists, one that contains your must-haves, and the other will contain your wants.  This is a very important step when you intend to build your kitchen. And this is largely because there are so many options to consider, from the floor to the walls and countertop. You will also have choices to make regarding how you want to furnish your new kitchen space.

Choose a great outdoor kitchen layout and design.

Take some time to research pictures of backyard kitchens on the internet, and especially on Pinterest.  There is a treasury of great ideas and designs to be gleaned from there. And it’s a good idea to pay attention to various layouts so you can see what you like and don’t like as you view images of outdoor kitchens.  We also recommend that you save the images and layouts you like best to a Pinterest board (or download them to a folder). You can give these to your builder or contractor to provide them a better idea of what you like.  Such visuals are always useful and valuable when talking to designers.

Decide on your backyard kitchen features.

There are a lot of fun and useful features to think about and plan for so we thought we would offer you a short list to help get you started!

Okay, so let’s start with the typical size of your guest list. If you often have a lot of people over you’ll want to plan for more seating, a larger cooking area, and perhaps an additional stovetop, too, as well as a sink.  If you plan to use the area primarily for your own family, or if you typically only invite one or two guests, then a small outdoor kitchen area might make more sense. After all, there is no reason to install larger features that don’t get used. Still, it’s better to have too much space rather than too little.

Outdoor Grills & Ovens

Another of your options you will want to examine is regarding your grill. For instance, what size of grill do you want? And how are you going to plan to use the grill? You will have choices of charcoal or gas. You can even add a smoker, a slow cooker, or even an oven if you want. And while we’re at it, what about an outdoor pizza oven for really special pizza parties? You can even get outdoor oven kits for a DIY project.

Counter Space

There will be food prep to plan for, as well as clean up. Do you want or need a sink so you can do meal prepping and hand washing right there while cooking?  You will find designs with multiple levels of counter tops or with an island for additional prep space.

Outdoor pizza oven on a stone patio
A pizza oven makes a fun addition to a backyard kitchen.

Kitchen Bar

You may want to install a nice kitchen bar area, which can be another small-space seating solution. It can also act as a nice seating overflow when needed. If you have a large space then perhaps you’ll want a larger dining table.

Covered Space

Pergola covering a natural stone outdoor kitchen space.A popular question that is asked often is, “Does an outdoor kitchen need to be covered?” We advise our clients that it’s a good idea to make sure you have some sort of covering for your outdoor kitchen if at all possible. This will be helpful for shade as well as those little surprise rain showers that pop up in some areas. Whether you choose a pergola, a large patio umbrella, or a full roof, most people end up being very glad they opted for a covered area.

Pergolas (as pictured here) create nice partial-shade for a covered patio. And if you are concerned about rain and providing some protection for your kitchen fixtures, then a more traditional roof may be your best option. Or even multiple patio umbrellas may work, depending on your specific climate. However, wind needs to be kept in mind when considering umbrellas. Will you want to take them down and set them back up again?

Outdoor Refrigerator

And will you need a full-sized refrigerator? Or will a mini-fridge suffice? And especially if you’re planning for a small backyard or patio area, this is another important factor to bear in mind. 

Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting

Lighting for your patio kitchen can also become a big deal. Remember, you will want adequate lighting for meal prep, and then when it comes to setting the mood, some more subtle landscape lighting overhead and around your dining area may be just what you’re looking for.

Storage Space

You will have all kinds of cooking and food prep utensils as well ass your serving items to store, so be sure to include this in your search for planning ideas.


And finally, don’t forget to add some nice color highlights to spice up the look of your new outdoor kitchen area. These accents can be coordinated in your patio and pool areas and throughout your entire outdoor living space. Many people choose to carry their indoor color scheme and style right out into their outdoor area for design continuity.

Lighting is important when planning for meal prep in an outdoor kitchen.

Does an outdoor kitchen add value to a home?

Since outdoor kitchens are such a hot and growing trend among homeowners, there is a steady flow of new looks and styles each year. Still, when considering whether to build or add a new patio kitchen to your backyard, there are some financial considerations to be weighed. One of the most commonly asked questions is whether it will pay for itself in resale value.  And there are reputable sources reporting that outdoor kitchens will bring a desirable 100% – %200 return on investment, depending on climate and materials used.

Natural stone is one of the most beautiful and enduring building materials available.  You will find some amazing outdoor kitchen designs that were built using natural stone products.  We recommend to our clients to weigh the long-term value of using natural stone building materials for their patios, pool areas, and outdoor rooms, including kitchens

Get a professional kitchen design estimate.
Our friendly and expert staff are ready to answer your questions about Outdoor Kitchens. 

Get started on your new backyard kitchen now!

Southwest Stone Supply carries all the beautiful stone that you would ever need to build your outdoor living room and kitchen patio areas.  And we offer delivery and drop shipping to all 48 states in the lower U.S.  You get good prices, the best in customer service, and our stone products are the perfect solution for finishing off those outdoor spaces and projects.

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