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Outdoor Kitchen Designs & Ideas

An outdoor kitchen isn’t like your standard interior cooking and dining area — it’s better! Outdoor kitchens allow you to enjoy the great outdoors and the pleasant summer weather as you prepare meals for your family or entertain friends, but if it isn’t designed in quite the right way, you may find yourself rushing back inside to grab utensils, dishes, or food items. 

In this guide from Twelve Oaks Landscape Co., we’ll give you some professional tips on how to maximize your outdoor living space. Incorporating these design and construction concepts will not only enhance the functionality of your outdoor kitchen, but it will also better reflect the aesthetic personality you’ve envisioned! For more information and assistance on creating your ideal backyard oasis, please contact our landscaping professionals in Chattanooga and surrounding areas today.

Stylize Your Space

First and foremost, you’ll need to consider what you plan to use your outdoor kitchen area for. Do you anticipate using it primarily for family meals, or do you want to host large get-togethers with friends and neighbors? Will you need lots of countertop space or just a small prep area? The way you intend to use your outdoor kitchen will determine the best way to stylize it. 

Countertop Concepts

The countertop layout you select for your outdoor kitchen area should make food preparation and dining a more enjoyable experience, so it makes sense that there are some best practices for optimizing convenience and efficiency. There are two primary layouts for countertops: L-shaped and U-shaped. An L-shaped countertop layout will maximize efficiency and space, giving you additional space to store appliances, cookware, and built-in grills and fixtures. A U-shaped outdoor kitchen concept is more compact but also highly convenient, allowing you to navigate from task to task so you can get food served up sooner for your family and guests.

Many outdoor kitchens are built directly outside the indoor kitchen area, especially if it’s near a window or sliding door. This makes practical sense, as it minimizes the distance you’ll have to travel when transporting groceries or carrying dishes between your backyard and interior living space. You may also consider adding an island with counter-height chairs; this gives you some additional space to prepare food and creates an alternative dining experience, whether it’s a casual barbecue sit-down or a sophisticated bar-style scene. Islands are also perfect for buffet lineups, so you’ll never have to worry about where you’ll put your self-serve dishes at the next neighborhood potluck. 

Design Elements For All Styles

From minimalistic to rustic to modern, there’s a design concept for every outdoor aesthetic. If you have a smaller backyard with limited space, a minimalist design is likely a great option. If you can spare to use some more square footage or want to splurge on decor, check out our suggestions for rustic and modern designs. 


Small backyard living spaces can still accommodate all the essentials of an outdoor kitchen. Start the process by selecting a high-quality grill and making it the centerpiece of your concept. Add a small seating area around the grill, fitting two to four chairs in front of an island bar or a high-top table. You may want to add a sink or a small range, as well as a storage cabinet or two. Minimalism is all about maximizing space without sacrificing functionality, but you can certainly still add decorative accents to make this area your own. Just a simple umbrella or decorative rug can go a long way in making your small outdoor kitchen feel like a comfortable and open place.


In an area like Chattanooga, the sprawling green hills and tree coverage are perfectly complemented by a rustic design style featuring rocks, wood, and stone accents. When selecting appliances for your outdoor kitchen, opt for burnished bronze, iron, and copper in lieu of all stainless-steel gadgets. Rather than a porcelain backsplash, a polished pebble mosaic may do just as well, and it will go great with a concrete dining table too! Planning to do a lot of grilling or cooking with an oven? Wooden fire pits and wood-burning stoves give you all the culinary benefits of a gas grill with all the aesthetic appeal of an old-fashioned furnace.


Just because your kitchen is an outdoor living space doesn’t mean you have rough it. Modern designs can be seamlessly integrated into your backyard kitchen. Cool grays and blues for accents will complement your all-weather stainless steel appliances and fixtures, from chrome sinks to metallic handles on cabinet doors. Whether you’re planning on having an island eating area or a full-sized dining table, marble countertops can be treated to withstand the elements of the outdoors and are available in a variety of neutral hues. Finally, add a bit of personal flair with vibrant seat upholstery or a few potted plants.

Ready To Get Cooking?

Once you’ve decided on your kitchen countertop layout and general design theme, it’s time to get to work on building out your outdoor oasis. There’s a lot of work that goes into constructing a backyard living area, but you’ll never feel lost or alone when you work with a professional from Twelve Oaks Landscape Co. Whether you’re in Chattanooga or a surrounding city in Alabama, we have the bandwidth to come directly to you and give you guidance on how to maximize space and stay within budget. Contact us today to learn more about our services in outdoor living design, landscape management, lawn care, and more!

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