BBQ area ideas: 11 stylish setups for alfresco cooking in your plot

These BBQ area ideas will get your backyard ready for cooking up a storm this summer

BBQ area ideas: Dobbies furniture on sunken patio
(Image credit: Dobbies)

By adding some top BBQ area ideas to your plot, you'll be able to host the best alfresco get-togethers this summer. And now warmer weather is on its way, what better time to start planning an update?

Whether you're investing in one of the very best BBQs or already have a trusty grill that's seen you through the years, creating a dedicated area for cooking and feasting is a wonderful way to zone up your space. From sunken patios to shelter you from the wind to chic covers that allow you to grill up a storm whatever the weather, we've brought together lots of inspiring setups to try in your backyard.

11 BBQ area ideas to impress your guests

These chic spaces show how you can create the perfect backdrop for your best BBQ, including prep areas and essential seating solutions.

1. Add plenty of stylish shelving to your BBQ space

outdoor bbq grill area with shelves

Good storage solutions are a must-have for outdoor BBQ areas

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson/Future)

It's always a good idea to add plenty of storage to an outdoor grill station. That way, you can keep all your sauces, condiments, cutlery, and tools easily within arm's reach.

Plus, it allows you to get creative with styling – rustic wooden chopping boards and pretty pots full of herbs, for instance, will up the aesthetic value of the zone and are practical to have nearby. We're big fans of those patterned tiles, too, for extra character.

A setup like this, arranged along a wall, means a dining table and chairs can be positioned directly in front, keeping the space open and ideal for socializing while cooking.

2. Surround the BBQ area with pretty planters

modern outdoor dining and cooking area designed by Paul Martin

We love the leafy greenery that surrounds this backyard, designed by Paul Martin

(Image credit: Ros Drinkwater/Alamy Stock Photo)

With its minimal palette of cool white, lush green, and light-toned timber, this setup oozes with contemporary appeal. 

There is plenty of space to maneuver while cooking and socializing, and the practical bench means everyone can budge up to let more people sit down. Don't forget about lighting, too, when planning your BBQ area ideas – these sleek wall lights will take the zone from day to night effortlessly.

But what's really caught our eye here is the statement planters – both lining the perimeter and suspended on the walls. Hosting a fragrant herb garden, they offer a sensory benefit to the space, plus they'll elevate grilled goodies easily with their fresh flavors.

3. Subtly divide your BBQ space from your dining area

modern outdoor kitchen and dining area from Consilium Hortus

A modern family garden designed by Consilium Hortus

(Image credit: Consilium Hortus/Photography: Michelle Foulser)

You may prefer to keep your cooking zone and dining area a little more separate. Not separate enough that going back and forth is a chore – but enough so that the dedicated chef can whip up a storm uninterrupted, with plenty of space. Plus, with an outdoor kitchen setup like this, you can leave the washing up until later, as it will be kept out of the way.

And, if you opt for a sleek worktop that doubles up as a bar, the BBQ area can become an entertaining zone in its own right later on in the evening. This is ideal if you love hosting garden parties as it allows your guests to spread out around your plot.

4. Keep it contemporary with a modular prep station

outdoor kitchen on patio from Ikea

A modular scheme from Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

Looking for outdoor grill ideas for slightly smaller spaces? Going for modular units is a good approach, as you can mix, match, and rearrange the space as you see fit.

This on-trend set features everything needed to cook up a feast, and the cool gray hue complements the surroundings perfectly. All that's needed is a modern dining table and chairs to complete the decked zone, and you've got a chic base for entertaining in style.

5. Use a sunken patio for dining alfresco

patio area with furniture from Dobbies

This entertaining zone from Dobbies is practical and stylish

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Using levels in a backyard is a useful landscaping technique to create different zones, such as this sunken seating and grilling space. And, if you opt for a portable BBQ design and foldable furniture as part of your patio ideas, it can all be moved easily if you need floor space for something else. Plus, you can put it into winter storage without hassle.

Tall walls and raised beds will provide shelter from the wind while you cook and relax. And we love this row of espalier trees for an added boost of privacy and leafy greenery up high. Plenty of potted plants add to the look, softening the hard paving and creating a peaceful paradise for summertime entertaining.

6. Add a mini BBQ to your balcony

Morso bbq on balcony

Small backyard? You can still enjoy outdoor cooking with the Morso Balcone electric BBQ

(Image credit: Morso)

Small plots shouldn't mean you have to sacrifice on stylish outdoor living. Even tiny urban balcony gardens can still host chic BBQ area ideas – all you need are a few savvy space-saving solutions.

A BBQ that attaches to railings is a brilliant example as it takes up no floor space at all. Pair with a folding bistro set and you've got a petite setup ready for a romantic evening meal for two. Why not add some vertical planters filled with beautiful blooms to the railings, too?

7. Up the ambiance of your BBQ area with lanterns

outdoor kitchen with shelving

Use different levels for twinkling lights

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs/Future)

Good outdoor lighting ideas can transform a space, BBQ areas included. As Jonny Brierley, CEO at Moda Furnishings says, 'Lighting is absolutely essential for setting the scene and creating a cozy ambiance outdoors. Whether it's warm hanging lights or a glowing table lamp, the use of soft lighting is crucial for creating a warming atmosphere, especially during the cold winter months.' So, for an easy update that will instantly elevate the mood, be sure to factor some into your plans.

Lanterns positioned at different heights around your cooking and entertaining zone will offer a twinkling glow that looks simply gorgeous as the sun sets. You can always opt for outdoor-suitable LEDs if you'd rather avoid the safety risks of real flames.

A few practical task-lighting solutions are a good idea, too – that way you can cook up a feast day or night. Think recessed spotlights, modern wall lights, or, if your space is covered, perhaps a statement pendant light or two.

8. Cover your BBQ area for year-round use

covered outdoor grill by CENA Outdoor Kitchens

This setup from CENA Outdoor Kitchens can be enjoyed whatever the weather

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

Speaking of covered spaces, if you love the idea of entertaining outdoors throughout the seasons, then adding a cover to your BBQ area may be a serious option to consider.

There are so many structures to choose from, such as modern, louvered pergolas to traditional timber gazebos. It will instantly turn your cooking and dining space into a chic garden 'room' that can be enjoyed whatever the weather. Just ensure you seek advice from your BBQ manufacturer first, as you'll need to ensure there is enough clearance and minimize safety risks.

You can find more cold-season entertaining inspiration in our dedicated winter BBQ ideas guide.

9. Brighten your BBQ dining area with colorful accessories

Dobbies outdoor dining furniture with bbq

A summery scheme from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

The best outdoor dining areas are both practical and pretty, and this scene is a case in point.

Featuring plenty of comfy seating and an easy wipe-clean table, it's perfect for family get-togethers. And by positioning a portable BBQ at one end, conversations can continue while cooking commences.

As with any outdoor living space, it's the finishing touches that can make all the difference and really make or break a theme. Here, the setup has been accessorized with a tropical-style outdoor rug, colorful blooms, and pastel dinnerware, offering a summery vibe. We like the containers of bamboo nearby, too – a great way to create an all-natural screen that ties in with the scheme.

10. Install a sleek worktop that doubles up as a table

Outdoor kitchen with Neolith Beton Silk Outdoor Kitchen Table 12mm Designed by Stone Centre

This outdoor kitchen features worktops from Neolith

(Image credit: Neolith)

Add sturdy worktops around your BBQ area for both food prep and a bar-style table – it will instantly elevate your space and set a sophisticated, cohesive tone. There are tons of finishes to choose from, but we love the on-trend, industrial appeal that this setup offers.

Don't overlook the convenience of an outdoor sink in your scheme, too – it'll save you having to traipse to the house to wash the dishes or your veggies.

11. Go for a modern look with moody tones

BBQ on patio with shed and planter

A minimal color palette gives this setup an on-trend vibe

(Image credit: daz18000/Stockimo/Alamy Stock Photo)

Picking a garden color scheme is a surefire way to create a harmonious effect, whether it's for your flower beds or your outdoor living zone. Here, the inky-black shade of the garden building and fence ties into the grill, chiminea, and larger planter nicely, while rattan furniture adds a timeless, naturalistic appeal.

Adding container gardening ideas to your BBQ area is a great way to give it an extra boost, too. You can switch up the flowers per the seasons – these spring hyacinths are sure to bring joy to any onlooker.

More top tips for BBQ area ideas

After some more inspo for your BBQ patio ideas? Jonny Brierley of Moda Furnishings shares his tips.

'Designing a BBQ area is all about creating the most relaxed, best environment for family and friends to enjoy on all types of occasions,' he says. So, consider all the features that will make using the space comfortable – whether that's a patio heater, a parasol to provide cool shade in the height of summer, or even some new garden furniture.

'It's important to keep in mind the size of your space and how many people will be using it,' he adds – ensure there is enough room for everyone to sit down, but leave space for people to move around easily, too.

Jonny suggests the use of modular sets that will fit your space easily, as well as bar tables with built-in fire pits – perfect for those with more compact plots. Dining tables with corner sofas are ideal for larger gatherings, he adds.

Keep an eye out for fire pit tables with built-in BBQ grills, too. With these, 'you can enjoy an evening to its fullest without having to leave the table.' They're ideal for a laid-back garden party, as you can cook up your favorite barbecued goodies while staying comfortably seated.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day.