How to Build Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen: DIY & Professional Install

Outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular additions to gardens, patios and decks over the past decade. As more people look for ways to dine and entertain outside, creating an outdoor cooking space has become a dream project for many homeowners. If you’ve been thinking about building your own outdoor kitchen, this guide will walk you through the entire process, from initial planning to enjoying your finished culinary space. 

Outdoor dining area on decking


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The first step in creating your ideal outdoor cooking space is proper planning and design. Take time to consider the following:

Budget: Outdoor kitchen projects can range from simple DIY builds using concrete blocks and basic grills to high-end customised kitchens with stone surfaces, top-of-the-line appliances, and more. Set a realistic budget based on your goals, space, and resources. 

Features: Decide which features are must-haves vs. nice-to-haves. At minimum, include a high-quality grill and prep space. Other popular add-ons include a sink, pizza oven, mini-fridge, storage cabinets, countertops, lighting, heating, TV and sound system.

Location: Patios, decks and gardens all work for outdoor kitchens. Optimise shade and protection from the weather by situating your outdoor kitchen beneath a pergola and ensure proper drainage and access to water and gas lines.

Permits: Depending on your plans, you may need permits for the construction. Research local regulations where you live and get in touch with your local authority if you’re unsure.


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One of the biggest decisions when installing an outdoor kitchen is whether to take on the project yourself as a DIY effort or hire a professional contractor. There are pros and cons to each approach to consider.

The main benefits of a DIY install are the cost savings from not paying labour fees. There’s also a great sense of accomplishment that comes with successfully constructing your own outdoor cooking oasis. 

However, DIY outdoor kitchens require a significant investment of time, physical effort and potentially learning new skills like plumbing, electrical work and masonry. The process of securing proper permits can also be challenging for homeowners.

Hiring a professional contractor has advantages in these areas. Contractors bring expertise and experience specific to outdoor kitchen installations, ensuring the job is completed efficiently and to proper code.

Reputable contractors offer warranties on their workmanship as well. For more complex designs and a high-end finish, you may be better off leaving it to a knowledgeable contractor. We can offer our expertise to ensure your outdoor kitchen is fitted seamlessly. 

Outdoor dining set-up close up

Kitchen with pergola overhead


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Before any installation can begin, the area for your outdoor kitchen needs to be properly prepared. Start by completely clearing out the designated space, removing any existing structures like sheds or landscaping beds. 

Proper drainage is critical for outdoor kitchens to prevent flooding and water damage issues. Sloping the ground slightly away from the kitchen allows water runoff to drain away effectively. Don’t overlook running any required utility lines for electrical, gas and water supply at this stage as well.  With the site prepped and all necessary utility connections in place, you’ll have a clean slate ready for laying the sturdy foundation that your outdoor kitchen will be built upon. 


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With the space prepped and all utility connections in place, it’s time to install a solid, level foundation to build your outdoor kitchen upon. For kitchens going directly into the garden or patio area, pouring a concrete slab is the standard foundation. Ideally, the slab should extend a couple feet beyond the planned kitchen footprint and be around 4-6 inches thick, reinforced with rebar. If you’re hiring a contractor for your install, they’ll be able to assist with this step. 

If building an elevated outdoor kitchen onto an existing deck, a sturdy framed foundation will be needed first. Construct a square or rectangular frame using pressure-treated lumber and secure it firmly to the deck’s surface with galvanised lag screws or construction adhesive. 

No matter which foundation method you choose, take the time to get this critical first step done correctly. A well-built and level foundation provides the strength and support to ensure your dream outdoor kitchen looks and functions beautifully for many years.

If you’re looking to install a pergola over your outdoor kitchen space, then ensure you check groundworks guidance to make sure you’ve mapped out the appropriate floorplans ready to fix the footplates to your surface for stability. The Suns Lifestyle Blenheim Modular Outdoor Kitchen can be configured to fit within our pergola collections for a year-round hosting space.

Kitchen with pergola overhead

Blenheim kitchen under cover


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With your outdoor kitchen’s infrastructure in place, it’s time for the fun part – choosing all the appliances, cabinets, counters and amenities that will turn it into a fully-equipped culinary headquarters. 

The Grill: As the heart of any outdoor kitchen, selecting the right grill is crucial. Decide between gas, charcoal, pellet or even a smoker model that fits your BBQ preferences. Also consider accessories like storage cabinets, side burners, rotisserie or griddles.

Cabinets and Storage: Outdoor kitchen cabinets provide convenient storage for cooking tools, tableware and appliances while hiding unsightly components. Choose weather-resistant materials like powder-coated carbon steel for rust-resistant units that look great all year round. 

Refrigeration: A refreshment cooler, beverage fridge or full-size outdoor-rated refrigerator allows you to keep foods and drinks conveniently on hand while cooking outdoors. Models with ice makers and glass front doors are popular options too.

Prep Surfaces and Sinks: Prime countertop real estate near the grill allows for meal prep and plating. Opt for durable, low-maintenance materials that can withstand the elements like tiles or sintered Neolith or Quartz stone available in a variety of finishes. An outdoor sink with hot and cold water greatly expands your kitchen’s functionality.

Complementary Pieces: Enhance entertaining with bars, side cabinets for recycling bins, warming drawers, pizza ovens, side burners and weatherproof electrical outlets. Lighting, fans and heaters also create ambiance and comfort.

With so many possibilities, dream big but also focus on smart spacing, workflow efficiency and quality components engineered for the outdoors. The right package will let you fully enjoy your alfresco cooking and dining oasis.

Shop our selection of outdoor kitchens

Building your dream outdoor kitchen is an exciting and rewarding project that adds immense value and enjoyment to your home. Whether you decide to tackle the installation as a DIY labour of love or bring in professional contractors, this guide provides all the essential steps and considerations along the way.