Anyone can create an outdoor dining area no matter how much space they have to work with. Even though a top-quality outdoor kitchen requires specific materials that are often more expensive, you can still achieve something that’s good and will last with different materials that cost less.

The basics: What do you need?

First, you need to decide on the type of set-up. Will it be permanent or will you take it down at the end of the summer? You need to consider the following:

  • Your budget
  • Actual dimensions of the area to be designed (draw up a detailed plan)
  • Type of set-up
  • Choice of materials
  • Features that need to be integrated


Finally, calculate the quantity of materials needed, plan the hardware, and determine the best possible approach to building your outdoor space.

Outdoor kitchenOutdoor kitchen

Pro tip : Remember that weather fluctuations are hard on outdoor materials. Some cheaper materials require more maintenance.

What are your design options based on the outdoor space available?

For the backyard

If you have something permanent in mind or want to install slabs on the ground, take a look at the land from a technical perspective.

  • Where does water naturally flow or pool?
  • Pinpoint the sunny and shady areas and note the prevailing winds
  • Don’t forget about noise—for you and your neighbours’ benefit


To ensure everything is practical, follow the rules of ergonomics applied indoors. Make sure there is enough room to move around the dining area.

If you want easy access to water and electricity, the cooking area should be set up near the house so you can connect these utilities. Otherwise, you are looking at extra installation costs. Also, smoke can become an issue if the cooking area is too close to guests or the windows of the home. Conversely, if it is too far away, the cook will end up doing more walking than cooking.

To avoid being at the constant mercy of the weather, installing a roof may be a good idea—budget permitting, of course. A semi-open roof is a practical option as it lets in light while sheltering the cooking area.

If you choose this option, the structure must be well anchored to prevent it from shifting with freeze-thaw cycles. Before embarking on the work yourself and fixing the structure to the house, learn how to properly anchor it so you don’t compromise your home’s exterior siding. The structure must be strong and well sealed to prevent any movement.

Outdoor kitchen design optionOutdoor kitchen design option

For the deck

Check to see if the by-laws of your municipality permit the installation of a barbecue. The dining area should not be too far from the door.

To create a more intimate space, think about building a privacy screen. Plants and special lighting can go a long way to create a cozy and intimate deck.

For the balcony

A balcony, no matter how small, can be practical with the proper set-up. Smaller spaces require resourceful minds. This is an opportunity to put your hands-on skills to good use.

First, measure your balcony, then make the most of every inch. Unleash your imagination and create simple, dual-purpose furniture.

Dining area balcony apartmentDining area balcony apartment

Dual-purpose furnitures

Dual-purpose furniture is a great option for small spaces. A simple wooden crate can double as a table and a storage unit. A bench-chest or a box to hide the recycling or garbage bin are also great ideas.

A balcony bar

User-friendly and simple to make if using wood, a balcony bar can work with any type of railing. The style is up to you. Make a detailed sketch outlining the steps, materials and tools you will need.

To be effective, the bar must be attached to the balcony railing. Use an electric jigsaw to ensure a proper fit to the edge of the railing.

The assembly must be solid. Opt for classic mortise and tenon joints if you can. Otherwise, tightly screw everything into place. Drill guide holes to avoid splitting the wood. Add an extra storage option by attaching hooks under the bar.

Balcony barBalcony bar

Pro tip : Treated wood has some real pluses for this type of project. It’s cheap and easy to work with when you have the right tools. However, make sure to properly protect cuts with the right product.

Best materials for an outdoor cooking area

In general, the most resistant and long-lasting materials for outdoor cooking areas tend to be more expensive. These include stainless steel, marble and more modern options such as Dekton and granite. While opting for these materials certainly creates a durable outdoor kitchen, it also comes with a bigger price tag.

Raw or treated wood

A simple solution that’s easy to work with. Certain types are better suited to outdoor conditions. Treated wood is suitable for the internal framework of furniture.

Maintenance and finishing

It must be properly protected.Oils are particularly good for protecting wood. Despite the extra care needed, keeping the wood’s natural look brings a certain charm.


For dining areas, forget polyurethane varnishes and stains.

Treated wood is excellent for all the internal framework of furniture. Make sure the cuts are properly sealed with an appropriate finishing product.

Treated wood outdoor benchTreated wood outdoor bench

Stone, brick, pavers, concrete blocks

hese materials are also stylish solutions. When properly installed, these materials provide your furniture with a solid base. You can even create a built-in storage space knowing that it will be stable and keep its shape.

Maintenance and finishing

If your set-up is permanent and you have chosen to use blocks, it is widely recommended to fix them together. Use an appropriate adhesive. It must be weather resistant and adhere to concrete. Be sure to stick to your plan.

You can then seal all surfaces close to the cooking and food-preparation areas.


Paint or stain the material to bring a fun and creative feel to the area. Use concrete paint and stain.

Make the concrete your canvas and create graphic or floral designs or floral. Create your own stencil or use a ready-made one. The stain may bleed beneath the stencil. Be sure to take your time and apply it with a foam brush or a stain applicator pad.

Spray paint can also be used. Maintain the correct spraying distance and keep the stencil in place with masking tape. Choose an aerosol with the best adhesive properties.

Finally, using a combination of products such as blocks to create nice, straight edges guarantees a beautiful result. It’s up to you to decide what’s best.

Concrete planter boxConcrete planter box

Porcelain (For food prep area)

Porcelain is a tasteful and affordable option for a work surface. It is durable, waterproof and insulating.

Maintenance and finishing

Cleans easily with soap and water.


If you are going to use porcelain, the base of your set-up must be solid and hold its shape.

Tiles can then be installed on the surface or bonded with an outdoor adhesive.

Using porcelain lets you to install your prep area near the cooking area (BBQ) because it is heat resistant.

Aluminum surface

Maintenance and finishing

Cleans easily with soap and water.


Aluminum can be fixed to the surface in a number of ways.

Use roofing nails for a cost-effective option. They have a large head and are treated to withstand the elements.

The "must-haves"

Gas BBQ Broil KingGas BBQ Broil King


No outdoor cooking area would be complete without a barbecue.

Choose a model that suits your space, budget and use. A good quality unit is always a smart choice.

Outdoor light setOutdoor light set


Lighting is key to creating a pleasant evening ambiance.

There are endless possibilities depending on your set-up.

Alma Sectionnal Sofa SetAlma Sectionnal Sofa Set

Furniture and decor

Whether and how to use benches, chairs, tables, cushions or flower planters is a tricky puzzle only your tastes and needs can solve.

Cushions, patio heaters, chairs, tables, storage cabinets, plants.

Bigger budget?

Why not include a sink, fridge, storage area or garbage bin in your outdoor cooking area? Going all out? How about a pizza oven, smoker, beer tap? The sky’s the limit. When choosing these elements for your outdoor cooking area, it’s a good idea to use materials that are resistant and long lasting

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