Six Big Summer Kitchen Ideas

If the (fairly) recent heatwave has you dreaming up outdoor kitchen ideas, you aren’t alone! However, that brings all kinds of questions – like what should go in a summer kitchen? What is a summer kitchen used for? And how much does a summer kitchen cost?

Here, we’ll delve into some of our favourite summer kitchen ideas, designs and tips, giving you a feel for whether one is right for your space, and how you might use it.

1. Choose your cooking appliances wisely

The whole point of giving you amazing outdoor kitchen ideas is to help you see how you can cook (and eventually eat) outside. So we’d begin by giving particular consideration to the method of food preparation you’ll want, since this will also inform the layout of your outdoor space.

A barbecue might be the obvious go-to here – but will it be gas or coal-based? Alternatively, you could choose to go for a cooker or outside pizza oven – or add any combination of these, making for a larger outside kitchen area. You could even install a fire pit and spit roast things over it!

Whatever you opt for, start here, then base your other decisions around it – bearing in mind you might also want to add more cooking options down the line.


2. Decide where your summer kitchen needs to be

Once you’ve decided how you want to prepare food, you can start designing your space around it. There are two main ways to do this.

Build close to the wall of your home

The closer your summer kitchen is to the outer wall of your home, the more protected it will be from the wind. And if you add an awning or permanent gazebo-style roof to the space, it will be effectively covered from the other elements too. One word of caution, though; try and position your grill away from the kitchen window or back door – or you might see the house unintentionally fill up with smoke!

Alternatively, create a fully-stocked kitchen away from your main building

Alternatively, you might decide that building a separate kitchen in a powered outhouse away from your main building is your best bet. This is an especially big summer kitchen idea, since a distanced outdoors kitchen means you won’t want to be walking back in the house for things like water or food. You’ll need storage, utilities (gas, water and electricity) and food preparation equipment all ready to go, along with a powered outbuilding building to house them all in. For that reason, completely separate summer kitchens tend to be a more expensive option – but can be especially impressive when you invite guests over.

3. Implement the kitchen triangle

We featured this prominently in our ‘How to Plan Your Ideal Kitchen’ blog, so it stands to reason you’d want to consider it in your ideal summer kitchen, too. The kitchen triangle theory dictates that your fridge, sink and cooker should be positioned to make a roughly equidistant triangle. It might sound small as tips go, but the benefits you’ll get once you start using your kitchen make it one of the most amazing big summer kitchen ideas we can suggest.

4. Build an outdoor bar area

Outdoor drinks preparation areas are especially fashionable at the moment, with pop-up style Tiki bars and outbuildings with a bar as their centrepiece, both very viable options.

If you do go for a bar, then stocking it with the right appliances is another amazing outdoor kitchen idea. You’ll want a blender for mixing drinks, and either cooling drawers or a fridge freezer capable of withstanding temperatures below zero degrees centigrade (most aren’t graded for this, so do your research carefully!). Put all those together with a stocked drinks selection, and you’ll have the making of some rather fun summer soirees!

5. Give some thought to seating and dining arrangements

An outdoor kitchen is the very definition of ‘open plan’, so one amazing outdoor kitchen idea is to make the most of it by choosing the right furniture to fill the space. A stylish outdoor table, chairs and sun parasol might be your first port of call here, but you can also buy outdoor-friendly luxury rattan furniture like corner sofas, coffee tables or entire u-shaped seating areas with specially-designed drinks coolers. You may even decide to add a furnished summer house where people can mingle and stay overnight after the party winds down.

6. Don’t forget heating!

The weather in the UK can turn quite cold once the sun goes down, even during the dead of summer. So the last of our final outdoor kitchen ideas is to give some thought to heating the space so you can continue to entertain into the wee small hours. Whether you go for a central firepit, garden braziers or a contained wood burner, adding open flames of some sort will give a glamping-style feel to your summer evenings.

Do you need more summer kitchen inspiration?

A summer kitchen can be used to entertain friends, throw parties or just enjoy your outdoor space to the fullest. And while we’ve made our recommendations here, you can add anything that fires your imagination.

As for the cost – well, that really depends on how many of our outdoor kitchen ideas, designs and tips you follow, and how much else you add to the mix!