The Ultimate Guide to Designing an Amazing Outdoor Kitchen

The backyard BBQ is a great Aussie tradition and there’s nothing better than having a welcoming and enjoyable space in which you can cook food and dine outside with your friends and family. But before you start the process, consider some of the options you have for a BBQ area and outdoor kitchen design. From food preparation surfaces to mood lighting, dedicated entertaining space to patio furniture… it’s a good idea to understand what it will take to make your outdoor area ideal for you and your family.

Step 1 – Find inspiration: 10 BBQ area ideas

Consider one or more of these inspirational ideas for your outdoor BBQ area:


Covered alfresco dining: Create a covered outdoor space with a sturdy pergola or shade sail to shield against the harsh Australian sun or unexpected rain, allowing for year-round BBQ enjoyment.




Built-in BBQ island: Install a built-in BBQ island with a countertop, sink, and storage cabinets for a functional and stylish cooking area that complements your outdoor decor.




Pizza oven: Consider adding a wood-fired pizza oven alongside your BBQ for a versatile cooking experience that’s perfect for gatherings and family dinners.




Native Australian garden: Surround your BBQ area with native Australian plants, such as kangaroo paw, eucalyptus, and banksias, to enhance the natural beauty of your outdoor space.


Outdoor kitchen: Design a complete outdoor kitchen with a range of appliances like a barbecue grill, teppanyaki grill, pizza oven, fridge, and side burners to make outdoor cooking a breeze.





Timber decking: Install timber decking to create a warm and inviting atmosphere around your BBQ area, making it a comfortable place for guests to relax.



Entertainment zone: Combine your BBQ area with an entertainment zone, complete with seating, a sound system, and a television for watching sports or movies outdoors


Outdoor bar: Set up an outdoor bar area with a countertop, stools, and a well-stocked bar fridge for serving drinks and cocktails while you BBQ.






Fire pit or chiminea: Add a fire pit or chiminea to your outdoor space for cosy gatherings during cooler evenings, and it can also serve as a secondary cooking option for skewers and marshmallows.






Outdoor lighting: Install outdoor lighting, such as string lights, lanterns, or wall sconces, to create a warm and inviting ambiance for evening BBQs.






Step 2 – Plan your BBQ area

When it comes to planning your outdoor BBQ area, alfresco space, or outdoor kitchen, there are a few important things to consider, and a few important questions to answer. Let’s run through a few of them…

What are some of the key considerations?

  1. Purpose and lifestyle: Determine the primary purpose of your outdoor space. Are you mainly planning to use it for cooking, entertaining, or both? Consider your lifestyle and how you envision using the space. 
  2. Designer selection: Choose a qualified designer or architect who specialises in outdoor living spaces. Their expertise can help you make informed decisions regarding layout and design ideas, materials, and functionality. 
  3. Space utilisation: Maximise the use of your available space. Optimise traffic flow, allocate areas for cooking and dining, and create zones for relaxation and entertainment. A well-planned layout can enhance the functionality of your outdoor area. 
  4. Appliance selection: Carefully choose your outdoor cooking appliances based on your cooking preferences and needs. Consider options such as gas grills, charcoal grills, smokers, teppanyaki grills, pizza ovens, and side burners. Select appliances that align with the types of cuisine you enjoy preparing and the number of guests you typically host. 
  5. Materials and durability: Select weather-resistant and durable materials for your outdoor kitchen and furniture. Materials like stainless steel, stone, and concrete are excellent choices for countertops, flooring, and cabinetry. Ensure that your materials can withstand the Australian climate. 
  6. Safety: Prioritise safety in your design. Install proper ventilation for grilling areas, ensure gas connections are secure, and provide adequate fire protection measures. Follow local building codes and regulations. 
  7. Shade and shelter: Consider the harsh Australian sun and occasional rain when designing your outdoor space. Incorporate shade options like pergolas, shade sails, or umbrellas to protect yourself and your guests from the elements. 
  8. Lighting: Plan for sufficient lighting to extend the usability of your outdoor area into the evening. Use a combination of task lighting for cooking, ambient lighting for dining, and decorative lighting for aesthetics. 
  9. Storage: Include ample storage space for cooking utensils, BBQ tools, and outdoor dinnerware. Cabinets, drawers, and shelving can help keep your outdoor kitchen organised and functional. 
  10. Entertainment features: If you enjoy hosting gatherings, consider incorporating entertainment features like outdoor speakers, a TV or projector, and comfortable seating for guests. 
  11. Budget: Determine your budget early in the planning process. It will help you make decisions about the quality of materials, appliances, and additional features you can include in your outdoor space. We’ll consider budgets in more detail at Step 3. 
  12. Maintenance: Keep in mind the maintenance requirements of your outdoor area. Choose materials and appliances that are easy to clean and maintain to ensure longevity. 
  13. Local regulations: Check with your local council regarding building permits and regulations for outdoor kitchen construction, especially if you plan on making structural changes to your property.

By carefully considering these factors, you can create an outdoor BBQ area that not only meets your cooking and entertaining needs but also enhances the overall enjoyment of your outdoor living space.

What size space do you need for an outdoor BBQ area?

The required space for an outdoor BBQ area depends on its intended use. For a basic cooking and grilling setup, around 0.5 to 1 square metre is often sufficient. However, if you plan to create a comprehensive outdoor kitchen with dining and entertainment areas, you’ll need more room. Consider providing at least 1 to 1.2 square metres per person for dining spaces, ensuring ample room for traffic flow between zones. Additional features like bars, storage, and shade structures will also impact the required space. Local regulations and personal preferences should be considered when determining the ideal size for your outdoor BBQ area.

What can you do for a small outdoor BBQ area?

If you only have a small space for an outdoor BBQ area, such as a unit balcony, consider one of these options:

  • Vertical BBQ garden: Maximise your vertical space by creating a “vertical BBQ garden.” Install a wall-mounted or fold-down grill that can be easily tucked away when not in use. Around the grill, set up a series of vertical garden shelves or a trellis system for growing herbs, small vegetables, or decorative plants. This not only saves space but also adds a green, vibrant touch to your outdoor area.
  • Compact corner BBQ nook: Utilise a small corner of your outdoor space to create a compact BBQ nook. Install a built-in grill or a compact tabletop grill along with a small prep counter. Opt for foldable or stackable chairs and a folding table that can be easily stored when not in use. Use the remaining wall space for hooks or shelves to store BBQ tools, utensils, and condiments, keeping everything organised and within reach.
  • Mobile BBQ cart: Invest in a mobile BBQ cart or grill station, with wheels, that can be moved around as needed. This compact and versatile solution allows you to grill in various locations around your outdoor space. When not in use, you can store the cart in a shed or garage. Enhance the area around the cart with foldable chairs or cushions for seating and a small container garden to add charm to the space.

These creative options make the most of limited space while still providing you with a functional and enjoyable outdoor BBQ experience.

How far does my BBQ need to be from my house?

Most metropolitan fire services recommend a minimum of 1 metre worth of space between a an outdoor barbecue and a house wall, and many have examples of what happens when BBQs are installed too close to houses. Designers will often recommend a 3 metre gap as best practice and some will recommend separating your cooking area from you house on the other side of an outdoor dining area. 

Step 3 – Plan a budget for your BBQ area

Planning a budget for your outdoor BBQ area project is a crucial step in ensuring that your vision aligns with your financial means. Begin by defining your project scope and priorities—decide whether you want a simple setup or a more elaborate outdoor kitchen. Research the costs of materials, appliances, and any additional features you desire. Be sure to factor in expenses for permits, labour, and any unexpected contingencies. It’s essential to establish a clear budget range and allocate funds accordingly to different aspects of your project, such as landscaping, construction, and furnishings. Consider whether you’ll tackle any DIY elements to save costs or if you’ll hire professionals for the job. Regularly review and adjust your budget as the project progresses to ensure that you stay on track and avoid any financial surprises. By planning thoughtfully and realistically, you can create your ideal outdoor BBQ area without breaking the bank.

Step 4 – Choose a BBQ

When selecting BBQs for a new outdoor BBQ area, it’s important to consider your cooking preferences, budget, and available space. Here are some great options:

  • Gas BBQ grill: A gas BBQ grill is a popular choice due to its convenience and quick heating. It’s available in various sizes and configurations, including freestanding or built-in models. Look for features like multiple burners, side burners, and rotisserie options for versatile cooking. Gas BBQs offer precise temperature control, fast heating, and a wide range of available accessories. Ideal for grilling, roasting, and even smoking.
  • Charcoal BBQ grill: Charcoal grills offer that classic smoky flavour and are favoured by BBQ purists. They come in various sizes, from compact kettle grills to larger barrel-style units. Consider models with adjustable grates and vents for temperature control. Advantages include intense heat, authentic flavour, and a traditional BBQ experience. Perfect for grilling burgers, steaks, and slow-cooked barbecue.
  • Cook N Dine Teppanyaki Grill: The Cook N Dine Teppanyaki Grill is an excellent choice for those who love versatile cooking. It features a flat, stainless steel cooking surface that allows you to grill, stir-fry, sear, and cook a wide range of foods. It’s particularly great for entertaining and creating interactive dining experiences. It features even heating, it’s easy to clean, and offers a unique cooking experience. It’s available in various sizes and configurations to fit your outdoor space.
  • Electric BBQ grill: Electric BBQ grills are a convenient option, especially in areas with restrictions on open flames. They come in various sizes and are easy to use and maintain. Look for models with adjustable temperature settings. Electric BBQs offer clean and simple operation, no open flames, and are suitable for small spaces like balconies.

When choosing a BBQ for your outdoor space, consider your cooking style, the number of people you typically cook for, and your budget. Additionally, make sure the BBQ fits well within your outdoor kitchen or BBQ area’s layout and design.

Gas or electric BBQ?

Gas and electric BBQ grills offer distinct cooking experiences with their own set of advantages and considerations. Gas grills, often fueled by propane or natural gas, are prized for their quick heating and precise temperature control, making them ideal for grilling, roasting, and even smoking. They provide that classic BBQ flavour and are a favourite among outdoor cooking enthusiasts. On the other hand, electric grills are known for their ease of use and cleanliness, making them suitable for small spaces and areas with open flame restrictions. They heat up quickly and evenly, and their adjustable temperature settings allow for various cooking styles. However, electric grills may not deliver the same authentic smoky flavour as their gas counterparts. When choosing between the two, it ultimately comes down to your cooking preferences, available space, and local regulations, with gas grills offering that traditional BBQ experience and electric grills providing a convenient and hassle-free alternative.

Benefits of Cook N Dine

The Cook N Dine Teppanyaki Grill offers several unique benefits as a BBQ option for outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Its flat, stainless steel cooking surface ensures even and consistent heat distribution, allowing for precise control over the cooking process. This versatile grill enables not only grilling but also stir-frying, searing, and cooking a wide variety of dishes, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy diverse culinary experiences. The Teppanyaki Grill promotes interactive dining, as it can accommodate multiple guests cooking their food simultaneously, fostering a communal and engaging atmosphere during outdoor gatherings. Additionally, its easy-to-clean surface and durable construction make maintenance a breeze, while its availability in various sizes and configurations allows you to tailor it to your outdoor BBQ area’s specific needs. Overall, the Cook N Dine Teppanyaki Grill brings a unique blend of versatility, functionality, and sociability to your outdoor cooking space, making it a standout choice for BBQ enthusiasts.


Designing the perfect outdoor BBQ area is more than just setting up a BBQ grill; it’s about cultivating an atmosphere where memories are made, stories are shared, and good food becomes the centrepiece of great times. As you’ve journeyed with us through the nuances of design, material choices, and setup tips, we hope you’ve found inspiration to transform your backyard into the BBQ oasis of your dreams. Remember, the best BBQ spaces are not only functional but also reflect the personality and preferences of their owners. Whether you’re hosting a large gathering or enjoying a quiet meal with close ones, the essence lies in the moments of connection, laughter, and sizzling delights. So, light up that grill, invite your loved ones over, and savour the joy of outdoor cooking in a space truly your own. Happy barbecuing!