How to build an outdoor kitchen

This article is about how to build an outdoor kitchen. In this diy project, we will show you how to build a beautiful outdoor kitchen from scratch, in which you can enjoy both  cooking your favorite food and having dinner with your family or friends. This project has an average difficulty, as you have to mix and pour concrete, build up walls of concrete blocks and to install flagstone. Nevertheless, if you read the full article and follow our instructions, you will be able to transform your dream outdoor kitchen into reality.

The first problem is the location of the outdoor kitchen. In most of the cases, you have to build the outdoor kitchen under a big tree, as to benefit from its shade in hot summer days. However, you have to leave at least 5’/1.5 m from the tree trunk, as to protect it from smoke and for fear that its roots may damage the construction over time. In addition, many people tend to choose the location of the outdoor kitchen near the house, as to have access to the refrigerator; we personally recommend you to construct the kitchen in your garden, as to enjoy the stillness of nature and the singing of the birds. In addition, leave enough space from your neighbors fences, windows as to escape their prying eyes.

Before starting the project, you have to draw clear and complete plans, from the very beginning. Generally speaking, it is in the human nature to assume things will go smoothly and you have enough time to adjust the project while you are working. On the contrary, it is better to start with a clear idea, with a drawn plan, which has to contain: the outdoor kitchen design, dimensions, materials and tools you need. Fortunately, our mission is to help you take the best decisions for your project, so pay attention to details.

 

Made from this plan

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In order to build an outdoor kitchen, you need the following:

Materials

  • Bricks – BRICKS
  • Sand, gravel, cement – CONCRETE 
  • flagstone / soapstone – CLADDING
  • Wooden boards – FORM
  • Steel bars – REINFORCEMENT NET

 

Tools

 

Tips

  • Buy or rent a power mixer to save you from a hard work
  • Pay attention to concrete recipes as they are essential for a proper job

 

Time

  • One weekend

Related

 

 

Outdoor kitchen building plans

Outdoor kitchen building plans

Outdoor kitchen building plans

 

The design of your outdoor kitchen has to fit the style of your house and garden, otherwise it won’t add any value to your home. Study attentively the details of your house: curved lines, materials used, colors and so on.

Smart Tip: If your house is made of stone and wood, it would be a pity to spoil its aspect by building a modern outdoor kitchen, packed with stainless steel appliances. Take this aspect into consideration, when making the plan on paper.

 

 

Pouring the outdoor kitchen’s foundation

digging foundation trenches

Digging foundation trenches

 

First, you have to build a sturdy foundation. Lay out the foundation, using batter boards and string, then dig the trenches. Dig around 15”/35 cm, by using a shovel. If you run into roots, you should chop them with your shovel or in the worst case you could use a handsaw.

Make sure the bottom of the trenches is firm and plane, by removing the soil  with the shovel. Next pour 2”/5 cm of gravel into the bottom of the trenches and make sure it is level.

 

Foundation formwork for outdoor kitchen

Foundation formwork for outdoor kitchen

 

Reinforce the concrete foundation with steel bars. The local inspector should tell you the exact number of bars and the layout you should use. These bars add strength to the foundation and prevent the concrete from cracking.

Next, build the form,  from 8”/20 cm wide wooden boards. Make sure that all sides of the form are level, otherwise the foundation surface won’t be horizontal. Secure the form stakes every 20”/50 cm, to make sure  it resists the pressure of the concrete.

 

Mixing concrete with a power mixer

Mixing concrete with a power mixer

 

Next, prepare a small quantity of concrete and pour it into the form-work. We have used the following recipe for our foundation: 2 parts cement, 3 parts sand, 4 parts gravel and enough water to obtain concrete with cream consistency.  Mix the compounds thoroughly in the power mixer, for several minutes and avoid inserting any residues in the mix.

Smart Tip: Do not mix concrete in cold weather. Transport the concrete, with a wheelbarrow.

 

pouring concrete

Pouring concrete in the formwork

 

After we have prepared the concrete, we used a wheelbarrow to transport the concrete from the power mixer to the formwork. You should pour the concrete step by step, not all at once, as to distribute it evenly into the trenches.

Use a stick to remove the air pockets and to make sure the concrete is set up firmly. Protect the concrete from cats, dogs, leaves and dust. Hit the sides of the form with a hammer, to remove the air pockets. In case it rains, cover the concrete with foil.

 

Pouring concrete in the foundation formwork

Pouring concrete in the foundation formwork

 

Continue the process by preparing more concrete and pouring it into the form-works. Next, use a straight edge to level  the concrete foundation, by pulling the tool over the sides of the formwork. In this manner, the cement paste will float at the top of concrete, creating a beautiful plane surface, which can be finished with a broom after it hardens, if you want to add texture.

Smart Tip: If it is too hot outside, sprinkle water over the concrete, to prevent it from cracking.

 

Dried concrete foundation

Dried concrete foundation

 

After we have covered the whole surface of the foundation with concrete, we had to wait a couple of days until the cement has dried out. Hurrying  things up is one of the biggest mistakes, as the foundation will suffer dramatic consequences on the long term.

Meanwhile, we have brought about 100 concrete bricks near the construction site. On the market there are many types of bricks, with different dimensions or shapes. There are all good, just make sure they are resistant and don’t break easily.

 

 

Building the outdoor kitchen’s walls

Building outdoor kitchen with concrete bricks

Building outdoor kitchen with concrete bricks

 

In order to lay down the cement bricks, prepare a small the mortar. You could either buy a prepared mix, or use a simple recipe: mix thoroughly 3 parts of cement with 5 parts of fine sand. Add water gradually until it gets the consistency of cream.

Start with one corner and then add a brick at the end of the row. Hook a string line at both ends, as to be at the top of the bricks. Next, continue the course, making sure there are all aligned. The gap between the bricks should be around 1/2”.

 

Building up outdoor kitchen's walls

Building up outdoor kitchen’s walls

 

Continue building the first row on the whole perimeter of the outdoor kitchen. Use a spirit level to see if the wall is level and plumb. Do not continue adding bricks if they aren’t aligned, as you will make things worse. Work with patience and good judgement using protective plastic gloves, as the mortar might damage your skin.

Smart Tip: If you are inexperienced, prepare a small quantity of mortar in a bucket, as a large quantity will probably harden.

 

Building brick walls for the outdoor kitchen

 

After we have finished the first row, we started the second layer of bricks. Notice that the pattern of the second row; it is essential to lay the brick in the stretcher bond, as to give the wall strength. In order to obtain this pattern  you should start the second row with a half brick, instead of a regular one.

Use the spirit level to check if the walls are plumb, and rise up the string, in order to make sure the wall is straight.

 

Verifying if the walls are plumb

Verifying if the walls are plumb

 

Use the level to make sure the wall is level and plumb, otherwise you will find it very difficult and costly to repair the problem. Remove the brick if necessary and lay it again, correctly. If you have to break a brick, as to fit in a specific place, you should use a masonry hammer, in the following manner: measure the needed dimension of the brick, and then apply several firm hits all over the mark on the brick, until you get the piece you need.

If it happens to break it wrongly,  don’t worry too much as it is also common to professionals. Clean up the tools and the power mixer, if you take a break or you have finished preparing concrete. After it hardens, it will be almost impossible to remove it from your tools.

Smart Tip: Do not use broken or damaged bricks, as you cannot predict how they react in time.

 

Building brick walls for the outdoor kitchen

Building brick walls for the outdoor kitchen

 

You should add other courses of bricks, until you reach the right height for your needs and tastes. In our case, we decided that four courses of bricks are enough, but it all depends upon your needs and according to the size of the bricks.

Fill the space between the concrete blocks with mortar, using a trowel. Remove any excess material, using a trowel or a wire brush, as it will harden and it will be difficult to remove it from the bricks later on.

 

creating the countertop

Creating the countertop

In this project, we have decided to make a concrete counter-top, and then to pave it with flagstone. Consequently, we have created a net of steel bars, as to make sure the countertop will support the weight. Connect the bars using galvanized wire and a pair of pliers.

Smart Tip: Use spacers to leave a clearance space of 1”/2.5 cm, between the form-work and the reinforcement net. Lock the wooden components together tightly, with 3” screws.

 

Installing flagstone countertop

Installing flagstone on kitchen countertop

 

After you have poured the concrete over the re-bar network (mix 3 parts cement, 2 parts sand, 4 parts gravel and water), you should let it dry out for at least two days (48 – 72 hours), before continuing the project.

Next, we will install the flagstone counter-top using another concrete recipe: 3 parts cement, 3 parts fine sand, 2 parts gravel and enough water, as to get a compound with creamy consistency. Use a mallet to level the flagstone.

outdoor brick kitchen

Outdoor brick kitchen

 

Last but not least, we have to plaster the walls, in order give a nice appearance to the outdoor kitchen. Consequently, use the following recipe for the mortar: mix thoroughly 3 parts cement, 5 parts fine sand and water, as get a compound with cream-like consistency.

Smart Tip: We will explain the entire process of how to plaster a wall, in a future article, so that you can see the full project from the very beginning up to the final stage. Afterwards, apply several coats of white paint to enhance the look of the kitchen.

 

How to build an outdoor pizza oven

How to build an outdoor pizza oven

 

After you have built the outdoor kitchen with cabinets, you could continue your project by making a wood fired pizza oven. As we have already said, you should decide from the very beginning if you want to add a brick dome and a cooking stove to your outdoor pizza oven, as to plan its dimensions proper.

Smart Tip: Work with good judgement, as the little details account for the final look of your outdoor kitchen. Cover the outdoor brick dome with an insulating layer.

 

 

Thank you for reading our article about how to make an outdoor kitchen and we recommend you to check out the rest of our outdoor projects. Please share our articles with your friends, by using the social media widgets.

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