Ignite FB Tracking PixelDIY Outdoor kitchen ideas: The basics - Vincent Zhang

DIY Outdoor kitchen ideas: The basics

by Vincent Zhang 10/09/2023

If you've ever dreamed of having your own outdoor kitchen, you might be surprised to learn that you can build one yourself DIY. Outdoor kitchen ideas range from simple to elaborate, and can fit a variety of outdoor spaces.

Using your choice of favorite cooking appliances and other tools, you can create the stylish outdoor kitchen of your dreams. Here's how:

Plan your outdoor kitchen

The best way to transform an outdoor kitchen is by putting together the proper layout and materials. What is your available space? What elements of an indoor kitchen should you include? Consider the total backyard and how much room you need to dedicate to the cooking process to make a design plan and budget.

Prep zone

It's crucial for any kitchen to have sufficient prep space. Luckily, there are some simple solutions for creating prep zones in an outdoor kitchen. A simple folding table or bar cart are excellent space-saving furniture pieces you can use for preparing ingredients or plating food.

As for tools to include in your prep space, go with cutting boards, grilling utensils and cleanup supplies. Having an outdoor sink gives you a convenient way to wash tools and prevent cross contamination while cooking.

Cooking zone

There are many ways to set up the actual cooking area of your outdoor kitchen. One popular choice is an island style kitchen. An island will typically contain the main cooking appliance, such as a stainless-steel grill or wood fired pizza oven.

Airflow is also essential, so watch out for the space above the grill when choosing the perfect spot. Have a fire extinguisher and other safety supplies within reach to stay safe in the kitchen at all times.


Where in your yard will you set up your outdoor kitchen? Depending on the size and layout of the space, you have options. Installing your kitchen against walls or patios is convenient as it will give you quick access to the house. However, check your local fire safety regulations to make sure any fire is a safe distance away from the main structure.

Positioning an outdoor kitchen farther from the house allows more freedom in configuration, but can make logistical factors like connecting to utilities more complicated.

Outdoor decor

Once you establish the basics of your outdoor kitchen, it's time to think decor. Find durable and weather-resistant furniture to use when dining or entertaining outdoors. Bar seating is a fun and simple way to seat multiple people while saving space.

It is recommended to have a pergola or retractable roof or canopy to protect outdoor kitchens and dining areas from the elements. Decorate your choice of overhead structure with festive string lights or lanterns.

A DIY outdoor kitchen build can be a big undertaking, but your hard work and planning will pay off with every delicious meal you cook in your own backyard.

About the Author

Vincent Zhang

I am a real estate broker, property manager, and investor, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. To each client, I bring close to a decade of experience in real estate, first as a real estate investor, then manager, and now love to share my experience and knowledge with property buyers and sellers as a real estate broker. Since attending the University of Michigan in 2005, I have lived in Ann Arbor ever since. My exceptional knowledge of the market as an investor and property manager provides a unique perspective and competitive advantage to my clients for selling and buying both residential and investment properties.

I have successfully managed investment properties in Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo and have conducted real estate transactions throughout southeast Michigan. Whether clients are looking for their first home, vacation homes, or the home of their dreams, I will be able to stay on top of the process, remove obstacles and make the real estate deals as pleasurable as possible. I enjoy working with people and finding ways to share a laugh or two in the process. I take pride in being available to my clients and being responsive to their needs.

In addition to my residential property expertise, and my multicultural background, I am capable of working with international investors and home buyers to make their international property purchases smoother and trouble-free. If you are interested in the acquisition of investment homes for your children while they attend the University of Michigan, as a property manager, investor, and broker, I will be able to help you make that reality come true.

I graduated from the University of Michigan and own and operate several businesses in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. In addition to my real estate experience, I am also a technology enthusiast and am always on the hunt to use technology and media to enhance the buying and selling experience. 

If you are looking to make your first home purchase, or are trying to sell your home, give me a call and I can guide you through the services that I can offer you to help you start along the journey. I take great pride in my work and it would be an honor for me to represent you and your needs.

Yours truly, Vincent Zhang