Home Improvement

Al Fresco Dining in Style: Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

July 15th 2021

At HSS Hire, we’re often asked for DIY outdoor kitchen ideas by homeowners who want to create an entertaining outdoor space. If you’re thinking of renovating your garden, whether it’s to add value or to tap into the indoor-outdoor trend of al fresco living space, we can help.


The best outdoor kitchen designs blend in with your garden’s natural surroundings. What could be better than an outdoor cooking station that looks out over open countryside? Or a cozy snug sat beside a pizza oven?


Read on for some inexpensive outdoor kitchen ideas you can do yourself at the weekend, along with more extensive projects that include built-in sinks, garden fridges, counters and islands. Best of all, you can hire all the tools you’ll need for the job right here at HSS.

Prepare the Space

Your first port of call is to choose where you want to build an outdoor kitchen and prepare the space. Pouring a concrete patio is a good idea for creating a solid, level surface to start building — our article gives you some good guidance on the topic.


For a complete outdoor kitchen, you’ll also need more than just somewhere to stand the barbecue. Remember to leave enough area for a kitchen island, counters or outdoor kitchen cabinets, and if possible, try to leave access to mains water and safe outdoor electricity supply.

What to put in an outdoor kitchen?

garden kitchen
(Credit: Antoninapotapenko) URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/

Secondly, you should decide what appliances and surfaces you want to have in your outdoor kitchen, so you can plan their positions and build retaining structures around them. Need inspiration? Here are a few features hot in 2021:

Wood-Fired Oven

A wood-fired oven is an excellent option outdoors. A wood oven at maximum temperature can cook a pizza in minutes, but it will also help heat your garden if you sit nearby. You can buy wood-fired ovens for a relatively modest outlay, or better still, why not build your own? There are plenty of guides on how to do this available online.

Install a built-in grill and sink

An outdoor sink is one of the best BBQ area ideas to turn your grill into a fully-fledged kitchen. This ranks among the best outdoor kitchen ideas with pizza ovens and fire pits, giving you a selection of cooking methods for different occasions. In addition, a built-in grill and sink provide you with somewhere to quickly rinse cutlery and wash up between courses. Handy, hey!

An outdoor drinks fridge

A garden fridge can do more than just keep your drinks cool—although that’s a great start on a hot summer’s day! With even a small outdoor fridge, you have somewhere to put perishable ingredients until you’re ready to cook. That means you won’t have to keep running back into the house for chilled items. Better still, you’ll have more space inside for food and drink that you don’t want to take outside.

Preparing for bad weather


outdoor kitchen
(Credit: clu) URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/

A common mistake is to build a garden kitchen in good weather without planning for how to protect it when the storm clouds roll in. Here we’ve highlighted a few ideas to keep the BBQ smoking all year round:

Create a covered structure for shelter

There are lots of different covered outdoor kitchen ideas to choose from online. The most common are fixed canopy, roof or pergolas, all of which are reliable ways to protect your appliances in style. It’s worth investing in individual covers for your appliances, especially if they’re fixed in place—this can help weatherproof them against the wind, rain, and cold.

Choose a retractable canopy

Don’t like the idea of being undercover on a sunny day? Retractable canopies are also great if you’re pondering outdoor covered kitchen ideas. You can extend the canopy when you need to, and pack it away when you want open-air cooking, perhaps replacing it with traditional patio parasols to provide some shade in specific seating areas instead.

Add dimmable lighting

Dimmable lighting is one of the best simple outdoor kitchen ideas to make sure your cooking area feels comfy late into the evening. You want your outdoor lighting to be bright enough so that you can see to cook, but dimmable bulbs and switches mean as the evening wears on, you can turn down the brightness to a comfortable level for a cosier atmosphere around your fire pit.

Make it part of your garden

kitchen garden
(Credit: HadelProductions) URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/

An outdoor kitchen can turn an abandoned garden into a 5-star retreat, especially when you integrate it well into its surroundings. Here are a few quick ways to turn a tired space into a plush sanctuary fit for hosting guests:

Use reclaimed timber on a budget

Reclaimed timber can be used to create rustic countertops and work surfaces, and is a great budget option compared to buying fresh wood, especially for large counters. Make a traditional butcher block using salvaged timber or cheap offcuts, trimmed to the same size. Then it’s simply a case of sandwiching them tightly together in a carpentered wooden frame.

Add a herb garden

You’ll need ingredients for your outdoor cooking—so why not grow them within arm’s reach? A vegetable patch needs ample space and is best placed at ground level. However, a small herb garden can be planted in a counter-height container to bring some natural greenery to your outdoor cooking station. It’s also a great way to spice up your recipes at the same time!

Finishing touches

Don’t forget to add a few finishing touches for maximum comfort and to crank up the cosy factor to eleven:

Floor Rugs

Floor rugs are an excellent addition to define the space and change the look of your patio. They bring colour and are soft underfoot. Just be ready to run inside with your rugs if the rain comes, or have some handy rainproof patio storage nearby to toss them inside in seconds. If you opted for one of the canopies we previously mentioned, you’d save yourself the panic.

Cushions and blankets

Soften your patio furniture with weather-resistant cushions and throw blankets so you can snuggle down if the evening drops cold. Again, patio storage chests are designed to hold a good number of outdoor cushions, so you can keep weatherproof pillows in easy reach and don’t make room for them inside your home.

Jar candles

Jar candles burn for hours, and their shape helps protect the wick against blowing out in a summer breeze. The natural flickering light adds a beautiful vibrancy to outdoor areas and will work even better with gently swaying foliage and the trickling sound of any garden water feature.

Enjoy your outdoor kitchen

We hope we’ve given you food for thought with these simple outdoor kitchen ideas. Whether you’re on a budget, building an outdoor cooking area to overlook a stunning scenic view, or creating a rustic outdoor space from reclaimed materials, there’s even more inspiration for your project in the HSS Hire Blog.


It’s your space, so choose your favourite materials. Once you’ve got the plan ready, we’re here to support you with the tools needed to get the job done faster. So browse our hire store today to see what we’ve got available. And good luck!

About the Author

Laila Naqvi

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