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Nowadays outdoor kitchens are more elaborate extensions of the indoor kitchen and far more sophisticated than a simple charcoal grill. The layout of an outdoor kitchen needs to be appropriate for the space available while meeting the entertaining and dining needs of the homeowner.

Stand alone counter with half-circle shape Large L-shaped counter with prepping station and serve section
Small L-shaped counter with split levels for bar service Large curved outdoor kitchen divided into a separate area from the outdoor living room and fireplace. Easily provides plenty of cooking prep areas and room for guests.

Counter Sizing

  • Use the equipment list of grill size, appliances and accessories to calculate how much space is required for the counter.
  • Allow for placement of a serving platter between each accessory or appliance on the counter. A good rule of thumb is 16".

Outdoor Kitchen Size & Layout
Time: 04:08
Outdoor kitchens are quickly becoming a must have on homes around the country. See how to design, size, and configure an outdoor kitchen to accomodate for your needs. Visit several beautiful backyards with designer/contractor Scott Cohen to get ideas for your home.

View All 35 Outdoor Living Videos

Consider entertainment needs to figure out how many serve stations will be needed. If a bartender or caterer will be stationed at the counter regularly, leave a 3-4 foot working space around each.

  • Scale your outdoor kitchen appropriately to the backyard space. In a smaller garden be careful not to overweight the size of the counter.
  • Working triangles that are talked about so much when designing indoor kitchens are not as applicable outdoors. Of greater consideration is to plan for three main "stations" or "zones".
    1. Preparation zone
    2. Cook zone
    3. Serve zones (food and beverage)

Outdoor Kitchen Counter Layout Basics

  • Basic stand alone counter
  • L - shaped return
  • U-shape
  • Split levels for bar service
  • Separate cook prep and serve section

View more counter layouts in the Outdoor Kitchen Photo Gallery.