Creating the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Space (Updated June 2021)

A successful outdoor kitchen and dining space is all about proper design. A well-designed space integrates cooking, eating, and entertaining into one amazing outdoor experience. If you plan it right, every penny that you spend on your space will be put to good use. By creating the perfect outdoor kitchen and dining space, your yard will be the envy of everyone you entertain.  

Basic Elements of the Design:

There are basic elements that recur in every outdoor kitchen and dining space. These elements make your design accessible and comfortable.  

Outdoor Bar


A bar is a perfect addition to an outdoor kitchen and dining area. It provides extra seating and counter space for all your entertaining. 

Incorporate an outdoor bar into your built-in grill. Or increase the countertop near your outdoor sink and refrigerator. However, you decide to include a bar countertop into your landscape design remember it should complement your existing home features and your lifestyle.

It can be an area for adults or a place where kids can grab a quick snack. Either way, it’s a versatile outdoor space to entertain, watch sports, or view the sunset.  

Having an outdoor bar means having all your favorites at your fingertips and ready on tap. It also means no last call because the fun stops when you do.

Built-in Barbecues

Built-in barbecues come in many designs. Options include pellet, charcoal, propane, and natural gas barbecues. Built-in barbecues also have accessories such as side burners and spits.

Depending on your design, you may opt for a free-standing grill such as a kamado-style grill or even a pizza oven. Be realistic about what you’re going to use your barbecue for, but don’t sell yourself short of your dreams. 

Outdoor Counter Space

An advantage of planning an entire outdoor kitchen space is being able to prep outside. This keeps the clean-up outside and allows the food prepper to join in on the conversation while making a delicious meal. Properly situated counter space is essential to outdoor kitchen success. 


hardscape-patio, stone patio design

Hardscaping is essential to any outdoor kitchen and dining area design. It gives the space definition and practicality. 

Stone pavers are a low-maintenance and durable option for patio design. They are weather-resistant and easy to replace if damaged.  

Hardscaping often includes patios, pathways, stairs, and retaining walls. Hardscaping is different from softscaping in the way that it pertains to non-living landscape elements.   

If you have retaining walls in your landscape design, consider their versatility. Retaining walls surrounding your outdoor living space can double as bench seating. They also work as a ledge for container gardens.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor spaces tend to be used for entertaining. Of course, most entertaining has a timeline that extends into the evening hours. Outdoor lighting for your entertainment space provides safety and comfort for you and your guests. Make your lighting adjustable to create the perfect ambiance for every occasion. 

Outdoor Climate Control

You may not consider climate control when your first planning an outdoor space. However, most modern outdoor living spaces have all the creature comforts.

Outdoor patio heaters are as important as fans and misters that cool people down when out in the open air.

Fire pits create light and warmth, while swimming pools may offer guests a chance to cool off. There are many creative ways to control the climate in your outdoor kitchen and dining space


A new trend in outdoor kitchen and dining spaces is television screens. Hanging one behind a bar or in another covered area allows you to watch sporting events and a binge-worthy mini-series in your outdoor space. 

Materials and Good Design

No design is complete without the right materials and a Good Design. This is where outdoor kitchen and dining space designs get serious. It’s all about bringing the indoors to the outdoors, and that requires some expertise.

Weatherproofing, flooring, retaining walls, drainage for sinks, plumbing, gas lines, and electrical wiring are just a few items that go into creating a quality outdoor entertainment space. 

How to Plan Your Design:

After conceptualizing the design of your outdoor kitchen and dining space, it is time to do some real planning.

Write it Down

Write down the items that you want to go into your design. This will help to make sure you include everything you dreamed of in your final plan.

First, focus on items that you feel must be included in your design. Then you can think about the other items that may or may not work into the realities of the space or budget. 

Create a Budget

Your budget should include how much you want to spend on certain design items. You should also plan for contingency funds when things don’t go quite as planned. If necessary, contingency plans can pull from one item to pay for another. We recommend taking contingency funds from portable items such as the grill, entertainment items, or dining set. These can easily be upgraded later.

Plan for Privacy

trees, shrubs, and flowers on border of property, plan-for-privacy

Whether it’s noise pollution or an unsightly neighbor’s yard, planning for privacy is a good idea. You never know when you might need it most.

There is a variety of trees and shrubs that work well as a living fence or greenscreen. Arborvitae is often used because it grows tall and stays green all year long.

The best privacy screens have plant layering which creates a more natural look. A mix of trees, shrubs, and perennials will offer your landscape texture, depth, and a variety of colors.

Privacy isn’t the only benefit of adding a living fence to your landscape though. You will also save on heating and cooling costs for your home while reducing the amount of dust throughout your property.

Talk to a professional. Contact a landscape design company to schedule a site visit and begin the planning process. They will confirm that your plans are feasible and help you develop a professional design. Once you have your design in hand, construction can begin. 

A successful outdoor dining and living space happens when you know what you want. Secondary to that is following the right steps with a professional to make that dream a reality.

If you have the chance, visit some outdoor living spaces. Find out what you like, and what you don’t like. Research is the best way to create a successful design. Go into your outdoor design with knowledge, and you will have no regrets.