How to Design an Outdoor Kitchen Island

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You don’t have to pay top-dollar for someone who will create the design for your outdoor kitchen, most specifically an outdoor kitchen island. Just save the dollars for the builders, electricians, and plumbers. However, if you are a handyman or you have prior carpentry skills, then putting together an outdoor kitchen island may not be as difficult.

The first thing that you need before you take out the drill and the hammer is to create a plan for your outdoor kitchen island. Your plan or design needs to be concrete and as detailed as possible to minimize error and rework. It is also important to note the size and design of your yard where you will install your outdoor kitchen island as well as your cooking setup.

Make sure to put in mind the safety of your users as well as the efficiency of your design. For that, we have listed some basic designs and some outdoor kitchen building ideas that will take your backyard barbecuing parties to a whole new level, whether you are planning to build classic grilling haven or a fantasy island packed with amenities.

What are the benefits of an outdoor kitchen island?

Since most families are used to having parties and small gatherings in their homes, they have often utilized their backyard for a place to grill barbecue and other goodies. This type of gathering, though informal, is much for fun and intimate. Not to mention, it also saves a great deal of money.

An outdoor kitchen makes this event much more convenient for the host and fun for the guests. However, before you will be able to enjoy this, you must first establish the location of your outdoor kitchen and the design of your island. We have listed the benefits of utilizing an island instead of the portable wheeled counters.

Benefit 1: Since most of your appliances would be placed outside for ease of use. A nicely created outdoor kitchen island will house and protect all appliances, especially the built in ones.

Benefit 2: It provides provisions for a sink as well as cabinets and storage areas for your utensils. This way you won’t have to run back inside the house whenever you need to wash your hands or when you need to grab a fork. A good sink and drawer that may be housed in your island is the:

Magnus Sink with Pull Out Kitchen Faucet and Soap Dispenser


Sunstone Grills Flush Triple Access Drawer

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Benefit 3: The island also serves as a place where you can prepare all the necessary ingredients for the dishes to be cooked, baked, or grilled. Doing the preparation outdoors also entertains guests and promotes bonding.

Benefit 4: The island may also serve as tables for the guests where they can eat, drink, and talk while you are doing the cooking. A good-looking countertop for this will be something like the:

Home Styles Kitchen Island

The counters, when design and color-coordinated look fantastic.

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What are the tips in designing an outdoor kitchen island?

The design of your outdoor kitchen must be basic enough to be built easily yet classy and pleasant in the eye. How will you be able to make this work? We have listed some factors to consider in designing:

Function – You don’t need to be a professional kitchen designer to know the basic principles of kitchen design. Take not of the cold areas (refrigerator, bars, coolers, etc.), hot areas (grills, ovens, and stoves), wet areas (sink), and dry areas (storage and preparation counters).

All these areas must work effectively and should be in the correct proximity, each with enough spaces. An example is considering not putting the wet areas and cold areas next to the hot areas.

Exposure to elements – Since your kitchen will be located outdoors, make sure that the kitchen islands would be located under shelter. Those appliances that are portable may be exempted to this rule, especially if it needs ventilation such as the grills. Or you may include additional cooking options such as open-wood flame and other types of cooking that won’t be affected by the weather.

Location – Even if your outdoor kitchen has all the necessities to function as it is, ideally, it should still be built close to your indoor kitchen. Most likely, food that you will prepare will still come from your kitchen indoors and that you are only bringing it outside for cooking or a few hours storing.

Durability – Since it will be housed outdoors, create an outdoor kitchen island that is not hard to maintain or won’t require painting or sealing. A good quality type of island would be made from stone veneer instead of real stone because the latter is heavy, expensive, and requires a mason.

A stone veneer is lighter, cuts faster, and lasts as long as real stone. A nice and affordable design would be the:

Ekena Millwork  Cascade Stacked StoneWall Faux Stone Siding 

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What are the different shapes of kitchen islands?

  1. Straight Line Kitchens – Also called a “kitchenette”, this design may have your kitchen installed against a wall or on its own facing a small bar table where guests can eat. This is ideal for smaller spaces where only one cook can man the kitchen at a time.
  2. L-Shaped Kitchen – Unlike the straight-line kitchen, this one allows two to three people to work together. While one is cutting and whipping up ingredients in one counter, the other may be cooking and grilling, making it more efficient. This type of counter may also house more appliances.
  3. U-Shaped – This is the best design for mimicking a freestanding kitchen complete with all appliances such as grill, refrigerator, dishwasher, sink, and bar area. Only use this design if you have a wide free space.


Designing your own outdoor kitchen island may be difficult at first but once you get to know the factors that you need to consider, creating the basic overall look is not that hard. You will also find that it is fun, motivating, and engaging to begin from simple drawings up to seeing your ideas built bit by bit until it becomes a reality.

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