Close this search box.

What Makes a Great Outdoor Kitchen?

When you build your outdoor kitchen it is a big investment in your home. You want to make sure you get one that will last, and something you will enjoy

Outdoor kitchens can do wonders for your home. Not only does it create a beautiful place for people to gather for parties and other events, but it can add value to your home. Overall, an outdoor kitchen, when done right, can be quite a worthy investment. But, in order to get the best outdoor kitchen possible, you need to know: what makes a great outdoor kitchen?

A great outdoor kitchen needs a few things:

However, when looking for the best outdoor kitchen, there are even more things you’ll probably want to consider. 

A great outdoor kitchen can be used in all seasons and can provide an amazing place to make memories. Read on to learn more about the must-haves for a great outdoor kitchen, as well as some tips on how to use them to their full potential. 

What Does My Outdoor Kitchen Need?

The greatest of outdoor kitchens focus on a few key points:

  • Good lighting
  • Solid covers
  • Appliances 
  • Safety

Any outdoor kitchen, whether it possesses these qualities or not, has the potential to get there. That’s what makes any outdoor kitchen great, regardless of the state that it’s in. They’re flexible and can be adapted to fit the needs of any chef. 

An outdoor kitchen.
A great outdoor kitchen can be used in all seasons and can provide an amazing place to make memories.


Safety is the most important aspect of a great outdoor kitchen. After all, an outdoor kitchen can’t be anything if it malfunctions and ends up unusable. Guests in your outdoor kitchen deserve to feel just as safe as they would inside of your home. 

An outdoor kitchen with pool.
You should make sure your outdoor kitchen is at least ten feet away from your house.

You should make sure your outdoor kitchen is at least ten feet away from your house. This is because you will probably have some sort of appliance that produces heat, like a grill or even a pizza oven, and you want to put some distance between a heat source and your home. You should also remove flammable materials from around your kitchen just in case. 

Good Lighting

Good lighting is essential for creating a welcoming and fun atmosphere, but it’s also critical for overall safety. After all, you wouldn’t walk into your home’s indoor kitchen and start throwing together a meal in the dark, right?

Father and kids installing LED Lights outside.
Good lighting will also allow you to be positive your food was cooked properly, which is equally important.

The same goes for your outdoor kitchen. You need ample lighting so you can see things like extension cords, obstacles in your path, and other abnormalities. Good lighting will also allow you to be positive your food was cooked properly, which is equally important. The food that comes out needs to be as great as the kitchen itself!

Popular choices for lighting include:

  • Overhead light bulbs for your everyday cooking needs. An overhead light will disperse the light evenly so you can get the best look at your food. 
  • Globe lights for aesthetics. Globe lights come in all kinds of sizes and colors. They can provide just the right amount of ambiance for a nighttime dinner party or an outdoor movie night. 
  • LED strip lights for color. People use these a lot on the backs of their appliances to make it look like they’re glowing from behind. You can change the colors on them, making them perfect for setting any kind of mood. 

Now, let’s look at a good cover.

A Good Cover

No matter how you slice it, an outdoor kitchen is going to contain some expensive stuff that you’re going to want to protect. You can get all kinds of covers from all kinds of places, but it’s vital to find one that can hold up. Even if you don’t live in a place that experiences harsh, snowy winters, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a cover that says it can hold up in some snow just in case. 

Outdoor kitchen with cover.
An outdoor kitchen is going to contain some expensive stuff that you’re going to want to protect.

The most popular (and often the cheapest) option is to cover your outdoor kitchen with a tarp when you know it’s going to rain or snow. A vinyl or canvas tarp will do, and you can double up if you’re really worried. However, there is one more option: getting a real roof installed over your kitchen.

This is definitely a more expensive option, and it makes your outdoor kitchen even more of a permanent structure. However, it also takes away some of the hassles of tarping up your whole kitchen before it rains, and it enables you to use it if it is raining. 

For an outdoor kitchen, you should aim for a hefty amount of clearance (approximately 5 feet) between your appliances and the material. That way, if your roofing materials contain any plastic or wood, they’re not in danger of ignition. 


Appliances can really make or break your outdoor kitchen. Though you may be inclined just to pick appliances that you think are gorgeous and work for the space, you also need to consider practicality. At the end of the day, it’s an outdoor space, and your kitchen will undoubtedly spend some time exposed to the elements. 

An outdoor kitchen appliances.
You should choose stainless steel in your outdoor kitchen for your grill, stove, sink, and refrigerator.

You should choose stainless steel in your outdoor kitchen for your grill, stove, sink, and refrigerator. Stainless steel comes in a few different colors, so you can still get that aesthetic you’re craving. It is also weatherproof, meaning that rain and snow won’t cause it to rust, and excess heat won’t cause it to warp. You can also find stainless steel cabinetry.


Countertops are just as important as appliances in terms of aesthetics, and they can really make an outdoor kitchen great. However, just like appliances, you need to prioritize functionality and practicality. 

Some of the best materials to use are:

  • Granite provides a great look and feels to your kitchen and can be sealed, effectively protecting it from the elements.
  • Tile, which provides a unique look. Depending on the type of tile you use, though, it is susceptible to breakage and damage. 
  • Concrete, which is less common and therefore can have more of a “wow” factor than granite or tile. In addition, concrete can (and needs to) be sealed for protection against growing bacteria and the elements since it is porous.

Now you know what makes a great outdoor kitchen.

Final Thoughts

A great outdoor kitchen isn’t as hard to achieve as people might believe at first glance. Though it may take some time and money, you can have a great, functional outdoor kitchen with just a few essential things like coverage, lighting, and the perfect appliances for you.

Related stories

read this next

The brick pizza oven is a true labor of love. It can take months to build your brick pizza oven and countless hours to get it fully operational, but it’s well worth it. With your own personal brick pizza oven, you can enjoy delicious homemade pizzas all year long. This step-by-step guide will help you build your personal brick pizza oven in no time!
Granite is a very durable stone and does not require sealing, re-sealing, or rigorous maintenance. It is one of the most sought after materials for kitchen countertops but has also become popular for use in outdoor kitchens as well. It’s stain resistant, easy to clean, and offers years of beauty when used outdoors.
An outdoor pizza oven is a great way to enjoy a good meal with the whole family. They are also the perfect solution for hosting pizza parties for friends. If you have an outdoor pizza oven, you’ve probably wondered if you can use it in the rain. This is a pretty common question and can help determine what type of weather you can cook in so you don’t end up getting stuck cooking inside because of an unexpected downpour.
Reheating pizza in the oven is a simple and tasty way to enjoy your favorite snack. If you’re wondering which heat settings are best for reheating a frozen pizza, or how long it will take for your frozen pizza to heat through, then this guide is for you.
Your kitchen is the heart of your home, and it can be used to cook dishes that warm you not only physically, but emotionally. The comfort of a warm meal at the end of a long, cold day is one thing few think about until they no longer have an outdoor kitchen. Here are 5 tips on how to build an outdoor kitchen for cooler climates.
There are a lot of reasons you may have a refrigerator outside. Maybe because you often grill out and need cold beverages close to the action. Maybe because your garage isn’t climate controlled, and it can’t fit in your basement refrigerator. Maybe you just love to have friends over and need that extra space. Reasons aside, keeping a fridge outside means learning how to take care of it properly so that it lasts as long as possible
It is usually better to keep your pizza oven outside, as it will allow the coals to burn longer and the heat to dissipate. However, if you live in an area that has many strong winds or heavy rains, it might be best to keep it inside.
Outdoor kitchens are usually made of durable materials such as stone or fireproof brick that can withstand the elements. If your outdoor kitchen is located in a more moderate climate, it can generally be left uncovered throughout the year.
Pots and pans are designed to go into the oven at a high temperature, so there is no reason why they cannot be used on a barbecue. But it may not always be advisable. A barbecue generates heat from burning fuel. This creates carbon deposits which, if thrown directly onto a pan or pot, may not scratch off easily. Greasy food will stubbornly cling to the pan and may create smoking, as well.
The pizza oven rotates a circular tray through the fire, heating both sides of your wood-fired pizza at once. While this may take a little longer than an oven that uses cast iron rotating trays, it’s a safer and easier way to use an outdoor oven.
There is a long list of reasons that an outdoor pizza oven is worth it. Cooking pizza outdoors is fun, convenient and gives you so many more options than just grilling. From cooking corn on the cob right next to the pizza to making dessert pizzas.

Receive the latest news

Get Our Cacti Newsletter

Stay updated with the latest facts, tips, advice, and more!

Your privacy is important to us.