DIY outdoor kitchen: how we built our dream design

Looking for inspiration for your new outdoor kitchen? As a lover of Scandi design, renovator Alia of @ourhouseinlondon on Instagram has created a stunning setup, perfect for entertaining al fresco. Let’s find out more about the process…

“We started our DIY outdoor kitchen project in 2022 and needed to complete it before the end of the summer, as we were planning a massive garden party. Our vision was to create a casual dining and entertainment space with enough work surface for preparation, cooking, and serving.

“I love built-in outdoor kitchens and was keen to achieve the look on a budget. To keep costs down, we designed and built it ourselves. We tried to get professional help, but no one wanted to take on the job as it was too small and contractors were in high demand that summer.

“We started by relocating the plants, filling the planters with rubble, levelling them off, and using them as a base for the kitchen. Next, we built the wooden frame and used decking boards as cladding. Finally, we enclosed the barbecue to ensure it had that built-in feel.”

DIY outdoor kitchen with large BBQs
The old raised flower beds served as foundations for the DIY outdoor kitchen. It was a good way of using what was already in the garden.
Outdoor kitchen with the outdoor seating area.
The outdoor kitchen is placed next to the seating area.

Weatherproof surfaces

“The surfaces needed to be heat resistant because of the barbecue but also hard enough to withstand the British weather. We chose waterproof plasterboard and outdoor tiles for the worktop and area above – and then we had to learn how to tile. We made sure we had the right tools and picked large-format designs to minimise on the cutting. Thankfully, it has turned out well, and so far no tiles have fallen off.

“To keep the look consistent, we painted the wooden enclosure using Osmo’s wood finish in anthracite grey. It’s a weather-resistant paint in the same shade as the log cabin at the bottom of our garden.

“It took us a long time to decide on the tiles, and eventually we picked ones with a weathered look. The grey and white design looks striking and works well with the dark grey theme.”

Outdoor kitchen tiles
The tiles had to be weatherproof and match the aesthetic of the garden.
Close up of the outdoor kitchen with utensil holders.
The finishing touches of the outdoor kitchen include a bottle opener and a matching towel rail.

Need help planning your outdoor kitchen? Click here for expert advice

It’s all in the detail

“We tried to think of ways to best use the available space for our DIY outdoor kitchen and how to make it functional. So, for example, the Ooni pizza oven is a perfect fit for the expanse of work surface.

“Finally, it was down to the finishing touches, such as including black handles and coordinating the kitchen roll holder and bottle opener to match, as well as adding useful extra storage with shelving above the worktop.

“The project took longer than we expected and there was a lot of trial and error along the way. The 40°C heat during the summer of 2022 didn’t help either. We both work and had the family function as a deadline, so spent every evening and weekend working on the project.

“It was hard but look at it now. We’re so happy with how it turned out.”

Close up of Ooni pizza oven in the kitchen.
The Ooni oven is ready to bake pizza at a moment’s notice.

Alia’s words of advice

  • Remember the small but important details in your DIY outdoor kitchen design, such as the handles, plus useful items such as a bottle opener and kitchen roll holder. 
  • Be mindful that the kitchen will constantly be exposed to the elements, so focus on waterproofing your design.
  • When planning and installing the project, triple check the measurements and the space.
  • Plan your project for the spring, when the weather is cooler. Unfortunately, we had to work in 40°C heat, which was very unpleasant.
THE DIY outdoor kitchen in grey with natural elements like a wooden fence and natural stone tiles.
The grey finish of the units matches other elements in the garden, which helps create a cohesive look.

Don’t forget to grab your August issue in newsagents nationwide, on the KBB magazine app or via Readly – on sale 4 July 2023.

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