how to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget

Many people have large outdoor areas they barely take advantage of, like decking, patios, and concrete slabs. Aside from garden seating, most of the time, these spaces go unused. It is unfortunate since they have the potential to become something incredible.

Building an outdoor kitchen by yourself is something you can do to revamp your garden. You can turn your empty patio or decking into a delightful spot for gatherings, hosting visitors, and enjoying meals.

Read on because, in this article, we will look a how to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget, covering all the considerations you need to make before embarking on this DIY project.

Considerations to Make Before Planning Your Outdoor Cooking Space

Want to build an outdoor kitchen? Then you must first do plenty of planning. This is not a simple DIY task, and there are many considerations to make.

Below we look at some of the most important things to keep in mind if you want to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget.

Purpose of the Outdoor Space

One of the first things you should consider is what you want to use the DIY outdoor kitchen for. This outdoor space can have many different uses, and it doesn’t only have to be for cooking food. Examples of uses include:

  • A seating area to enjoy the warm weather
  • Additional space for parties and entertaining guests
  • A cooking area to prepare outdoor meals
  • A dedicated area for BBQs
  • A spillover area to your existing kitchen

The possibilities are endless. For example, you may want an outdoor kitchen area mainly as a dedicated seating area. The ability to prepare food may be secondary, and you may want to concentrate more on the seating.

Alternatively, you may want the primary purpose to be cooking or BBQs. If this is the case, you’ll need to consider what appliances to include, such as an outdoor fridge, an oven, or a BBQ.

You may also want to expand your existing indoor kitchen to include an outdoor section. This could be something simple, like installing sliding doors onto your patio and adding seating and tables for meals.

Decide on what you want the purpose to be. From this, you can start to plan and design more effectively. If you’re not entirely sure of the project you have in mind, you can always talk to a kitchen designer for some extra advice.

Available Space to Build An Outdoor Kitchen

Next, you must assess your outdoor area and see what space you have to work with.

This dictates exactly what you can do and how big you can make your outdoor kitchen.

Dining area outside the house

If you have a small garden, for example, you may only be able to consider small outdoor kitchen ideas or even a simple movable cart that you can push outside. If you have a small garden, you must also think about if you want to use the whole space for your kitchen or not.

In contrast, if you have a larger garden, you have to choose a suitable area. Oftentimes, outdoor kitchens are built on existing patios, concrete slabs, or even decking.

Ability to Create a Permanent Shelter for the Kitchen

One of the main issues with creating a great outdoor kitchen is protecting it from the elements.

Unless you live in a country with incredibly mild winters, your outdoor area will be subject to the elements – especially in the UK. This means your outdoor kitchen can easily deteriorate and even get damaged, ultimately undoing your hard work and costing more money in the long term.

As a result, you must consider if you can adequately protect the construction. Ideally, your outdoor kitchen should have a permanent shelter – like a gazebo or pergola. If not, the materials used should be weatherproof and resistant to wear and tear.

Availability to Connect Electricity and/or Gas

Lastly, you must also look at the need for electricity and/or gas.

You need electricity if you want an outdoor standard fridge or an outdoor cooker. This means that you require an electrical outlet in your garden. If not, you have to consider how you can run electric cables from your house to your proposed kitchen area. This can be incredibly expensive, and it may require professional help.

Moreover, you need a secure gas supply if you want a gas cooker, gas hobs, or gas BBQ. This may also require extensive pipework and re-routing of your existing gas supply.

Therefore, when planning your outdoor kitchen, look at the existing outlets for gas and electricity in your house and garden, and consider how easy they will be to utilize in your DIY project.

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas on a Budget

It is difficult to give one particular design and idea for outdoor kitchens. What you can do really depends on the available space and what you want to use the outdoor area for.

Therefore, we have provided a range of different DIY outdoor kitchen designs below. These are all achievable on a budget.

Outdoor Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

If you don’t want an entire outdoor kitchen, why not install a pizza oven? Pizza ovens have a higher initial cost, but they are long-lasting and fun to use.

To install a pizza oven for cooking, you must have a relatively large outdoor area and a suitable flat surface to place it on. It is possible to build your own pizza oven using conventional building materials like breeze blocks. However, this takes a higher level of DIY skill and may be more expensive.

You can also buy smaller pizza ovens that can be used outdoors. These could be installed as built-in cooking appliances in an outdoor kitchenette.

Patio Conversion Into an Outdoor Kitchen

This is the dream scenario for most people who want to build an outdoor kitchen.

Close-up view of opened barbecue grill at patio

You could easily convert this into an outdoor kitchen if you have a large patio area.

Depending on the location of the slabs in relation to your house, you could easily erect a covering to protect the kitchen from the elements.

Many people use their patio to create an entire outdoor kitchen. This could include a cooker or BBQ, surrounding kitchen cabinets, and a dedicated food prep space.

You could use simple kitchen cabinet units and install them into a wooden frame. These units could then fit along an external wall of your house. If you have the space on your paved surface, you could also add a large dining table or rattan furniture for seating and eating meals.

Decking Conversion Into an Outdoor Kitchen

Decking is also an ideal candidate for creating an outdoor kitchen. However, you must be careful with decking as it typically cannot hold as much weight as a patio or concrete slab.

If you have decking, you could look at creating a simple L-shaped kitchen unit. There could be your BBQ positioned at the corner, with cabinets fixed on either side within a wooden frame.

If you want to install a BBQ, make sure that you leave enough space so that it can be wheeled out, cleaned, and maintained when necessary.

It could also be an idea to add additional supports or bracing underneath your decking in the positions where you intend to install the outdoor kitchen. This will make sure that the decking doesn’t sag from the weight.

Simple Outdoor Serving

If you cannot spend a lot or have limited space, why not consider building an outdoor serving cart?

This is an incredible way to save money and make your outdoor area usable for meals and entertaining.

A serving cart could be a simple wooden table, desk, or even something like a butcher’s block table. It should essentially have multiple surfaces, shelves, and trays that you can use for food prep space and serving food and drinks.

You could visit local charity shops or look for old furniture that you could buy cheaply and repurpose. The serving cart may need sanding and painting, but you could easily create a rustic look.

If you create an outdoor serving cart, make sure that you treat it with a weather-resistant stain. Alternatively, you could store it inside your garage or shed.

Outdoor Bar Cart

Similar to a serving cart, you could alternatively make an outdoor bar or bar cart.

This solution could use the same basic ideas, such as a repurposed table, butcher’s block, or even a sewing cabinet.

To turn it into a bar, you could create an insert in the centre of the tabletop and use it to create an ice bucket. You could then fill it with ice and use it to chill your drinks.

The unit should also include drawers so you can store essential items like bottle openers, straws, and glasses. If you have any money left from the project, you could use it to expand your drinks supply!

Outdoor BBQ Area

cooking facility in a yard

This is one of the most popular ideas for a DIY outdoor BBQ area – perfect for the grilling season and one of the easiest to complete too.

A clear idea that you can do is to surround your BBQ and create a BBQ island. This is essentially a series of cupboards and storage units to encapsulate your bbq – much like a cooker inside is traditionally surrounded by kitchen cabinets.

The best place to do this is on an existing patio, concrete slab, or decking.

The first step is to position your BBQ and make sure it is accessible and not close to any combustible materials. You can then measure it and create a frame surrounding it. The structure could be made of wood, and you could include cabinets on each side of the bbq.

It is important that the BBQ has sufficient ventilation and that you can easily lift the lid to access the food.

Outdoor Kitchen FAQs

Is It Worth Having an Outdoor Kitchen?

It depends on many factors, and there is no definitive answer. Building an outdoor kitchen is only worth it if you use it regularly and benefit from it.

Also, outdoor kitchens are generally worth it in countries or locations with better weather. However, if you take this variable into account and protect the outdoor kitchen area properly, it can certainly be worth the effort and investment.

Does a DIY Garden Kitchen Have to Include a Bbq Area?

No! People commonly have a BBQ as part of their outdoor kitchen area, but it is not necessary. Instead, you could simply create an area where you can serve food and sit to relax when you have a few friends over.

Alternatively, you could include other food preparation appliances like a cooker or a pizza oven.

What Are the Disadvantages of a DIY Outdoor Kitchen?

The main disadvantage is that your own outdoor kitchen may not be suitable for use 365 days a year.

Even if you cover your outdoor kitchen with an orning or shelter, it may not be pleasant to use during the colder winter months, for example. In contrast, you can always use your indoor kitchen, regardless of the weather!

DIY Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

We hope you now have a great idea of how to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget. As you can see, it is possible to improve the usefulness of your outdoor living area.

Depending on what design you choose – whether it’s an outdoor brick kitchen at the end of your garden or a patio conversion – you embrace your creativity and create a dedicated area for BBQs, parties, or fully-fledged meals during the warm weather months.

Building an outdoor kitchen is a DIY project that can be fun to plan, design, and create. Not to mention, it can also add extra value to your house and allow you to enjoy the outdoors more!

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