17 Backyard Kitchens That Make Us Want to Live Outside

We can't stop staring—or dreaming.

July  7, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: eating outdoors is one of the greatest joys of summertime. As the days get warmer and the sun stays out longer, our focus naturally shifts into the backyard and beyond.

But when your kitchen is inside—and the warm weather is, well, outside—you can start to feel a little separate from the action. The family’s gathered around the patio table or playing a game of cornhole on the front lawn, while you’re indoors grabbing (more) ice, dressing the salad, you get the picture. It's moments like these where I get a serious case of outdoor kitchen envy.

You know what I'm talking about: the twinge of longing you get as you imagine what you’d do with more (or in fact, any) outdoor cooking space, a bottomless budget (looking at you, wood-burning pizza oven), and endless summer evenings (we'll never eat another dinner indoors again). While this season we’ll simply have to keep working with what we’ve got—or not got—we can also treat our envy with inspiration from those who have the resources or year-round summer climate to make our outdoor kitchen dreams their realities.

Here are 17 of the most charming outdoor kitchens from around the world—from the pastoral to the whimsical to the freakishly fancy, these showstopping setups are a feast for the eyes. They’re the kitchens that, if they were ours, we’d live in all summer long. Don’t call it ogling; call it research for next summer (or plain ol' wishful thinking).

1. Riviera-Inspired

Yes, I would like to live on the French Riviera—especially in this Côte d’Azur villa. Look just beyond the charming dining table and you'll see a rustic, yet well-equipped outdoor kitchen area with room for prepping, grilling, and mixing up batches of refreshing cocktails (gin spritz, anyone?).

2. Concrete Dreams

What’s sturdier than an entire kitchen setup made up of one solid piece of poured concrete? Not sure, to be honest. This area could lean totally industrial, but it’s grounded by modern subway tile, mounted antlers, and a smattering of small plants.

3. English Country Charm

The English countryside never fails to entice. Add a breezy backyard kitchen complete with shuttered French doors, handmade tiles, handwoven jute rug, pink foxglove, and... swoon.

4. Small Living

Looking at this tiny, rustic outdoor kitchen makes me think of a quote from A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Call this rough gem a kitchen of one’s own. It’s got a sink, a simple cooktop, and a bucolic setting—what more does one need?

5. Just the Essentials

This wee outdoor cooking space (can we be sure it's even functional? It's almost too pretty!) had us at enamelware. Plus, all of those great kitchen textiles. And that vintage galvanized bucket.

6. Found Treasures

This adorable kitchen looks to be propped up by some old crates (with wheels attached for the potential to actually relocate the cooktop should you want to put on a Hibachi-style show for your outdoor guests). The fence behind serves as vertical storage for pots, pans, and aprons.

7. Pretty in Pink

This funky pink kitchen is packed with personality—from the mismatched potted plants and lush landscaping to the industrial stainless steel table topped with colorful linens and dishware. It's completely functional, too, with a sink, grill, and plenty of counter space.

8. Green Oasis

This vine-covered mini paradise evokes the feeling of something that’s been cultivated for many years, but shiny glassware and clean-lined cabinetry keep the space feeling sharp. Add a gorgeous backsplash, lots of citrus for cocktail-making, some vintage accents, and it’s a delightful space to entertain.

9. Nautical Meets Secret Garden

While the blue and white stripes tend towards a beachside theme, this luxurious outdoor kitchen and dining area maintains a Hamptons-like charm, but perhaps just set in the woods. String lights, wood accents, and an overhang pull it all together.

10. Sleek Pizza Paradise

“Sleek” is the word to describe this modern kitchen, which perfectly balances the strength of concrete—a durable material requiring next to no maintenance—wood, and steel with lush textural landscaping adding softness. I imagine pizzas taste better coming out of that oven.

11. Keeping it Colorful

Backyard kitchens need not be cloaked in all neutrals, as this bright and cheery one proves. They’re also a great opportunity to experiment more with tile or decor that might be too loud for day-to-day inside the house.

12. Watermelon Sugar…

This modern kitchen manages to maintain all the clean lines that concrete affords while still feeling magically cozy (those juicy watermelons certainly do their bit). It’s worth scrolling through all the pics in this account to see how they built this beautiful kitchen and all the charming ways they use and style it.

13. Indoor-Outdoor Living

Cooking up a feast is that much more enjoyable when you've got a massive glass garage door merging the line between indoor and outdoor. Picture yourself relaxing by the kitchen island, glass of wine in hand—sip, sip, ahh.

14. Lakeside Luxury

This kitchen is what happens when you've taken your indoor kitchen outdoors—quite literally ripped it out and plonked it by a lake nestled in between the mountains. It’s got everything an indoor kitchen has, from a sink to a cooktop to a grill to a pizza oven, and more cabinet space than the average New York City apartment has.

15. Fireplace Goals

Forget an indoor fireplace, this towering outdoor beauty sets up the surrounding space for the ultimate outdoor kitchen. A long, live-edge dining table has plenty of room to welcome friends and family to enjoy dinner by the crackling fireplace, feel the breeze, and gaze up at the stars.

16. Simply Chic

Jessica Alba's outdoor kitchen is a California dream with a cool palette of blues, greys, and warm wood tones. Little pops of color in the glassware and florals (just look at that stunning bougainvillea) bring brightness, while the tile design lends a bit of extra personality.

17. Tucked Away

Close the overhang on this compact outdoor kitchen and you might never know it was there in the first place. Hidden inside this sleek wooden box are must-haves for grilling success: a full-size grill with all the bells and whistles, hanging wall hooks for cooking tools, a sink, and plenty of drawers for storing dishes, spices or seasonings, and then some.

This article was updated in July 2022 to add even more outdoor kitchen ideas.

Which outdoor kitchen would you like to cook in most? Tell us below!

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Bunny Schulman

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Laura S. July 25, 2022
Any idea why I can’t view most of the kitchens on my iPad?
Lisa D. May 16, 2021
They’re all beautiful but that kitchen with a view - yes, please!