DIY Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Outdoor kitchen with grill, counter top and chairs.

jim kruger / Getty Images

While summer doesn't technically start until June 21, it's Memorial Day weekend when families aim to move their cooking outside. With the school year wrapping up and vacations on the horizon, enjoying your outdoor space allows you to usher in summer by embracing the warmer weather.

Outdoor kitchens come in many styles and price ranges with focal points that range from built-in grilling spaces to wood-fired brick ovens, depending on your cooking style and desires. First, come up with a blueprint that includes what you want to cook and what type of hang-out space you wish to accompany it. (Some outdoor kitchens even boast big-screen TVs!). Then, devise a plan that incorporates your ideas into an easily-constructed space. Depending on your skill set, you may have to swap a natural stone countertop for concrete or use pre-built cabinetry in lieu of custom shelving to do it yourself. However, the end project should yield a home-side space perfect for throwing a party or a relaxing dinner for two. 

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    A Rustic Outdoor Cooking Space

    Modern Outdoor Kitchen

    The easiest outdoor kitchen to construct yourself is one with a simple form and drop-in elements. The kitchen featured here represents this perfectly with its garden-table design and charcoal grill. White-washed wood and wicker storage baskets give it a timeless look without getting too fancy. And, the simple storage space below makes accessing logs for a patio bonfire a breeze. The addition of living plants, as well as the overlap onto the lawn, completes the rustic look by integrating nature into the presentations. Pair this space with Adirondack chairs placed around a steel fire pit for the perfect entertaining nook.

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    An Outdoor Bar

    outdoor bar
    Summers of Sussex

    An outdoor bar, complete with a grill and seating, can be constructed easily by using cedar landscaping timbers for the bar's base and a countertop of your choice. Choose steel (like in this kitchen), butcher block, concrete, or even painted and sealed plywood to top your bar for a no-frills addition to your backyard. A propane grill can be the focal point, complete a with a host station for serving food and drink to guests perched atop minimalist steel barstools. Top off the look with a mini fridge so that you don't have to stray far for libation accouterments. 

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    An Outdoor Galley Oasis

    Outdoor Kitchen
    Better Homes & Garden

    Depending on your space, budget, and climate, it might be worth investing in an outdoor oasis, complete with all the amenities of an indoor kitchen. The galley kitchen pictured here incorporates state-of-the-art appliances, like a Wolf range, stainless steel cabinetry, and granite countertops. And while it may look complicated to pull this off on a DIY, by planning for and purchasing pre-built and precut stone, the only hand strewn element becomes building a frame around them. If you have extra funds, sub out items like the adobe pizza oven or the lattice pergola, complete with LED solar lights. Then, lay the brick floor yourself and add in some landscaping. After your space is complete, you may find yourself abandoning your indoor setup to cook and eat outside all year long. 

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    An Indoor-Outdoor Kitchen Space

    Outdoor Kitchen With Removable Nano Wall
    Spaces Images / Getty Images

    Make your one and only kitchen space dual purpose by closing it off in the wintertime and then opening it up in the summer. Full-size picture walls can make any kitchen seem light and airy when the doors are shut. Then, come summer, removable Nanawalls fold up into nothing, allowing open space where it once was closed. You can also recreate this concept by installing large, sliding glass doors. Whatever wall design you choose, create a seamless segue from in to out with stone flooring and an outdoor courtyard, complete with landscaping, potted planters, and seating. And, the best part about this space is that you don't have to remake a kitchen; just reconceptualize the wall.