BBQ shelter ideas: 10 covered cooking spaces for year-round outdoor living

Grill up a feast whatever the weather with stylish BBQ shelter ideas – we've rounded up plenty of inspiring looks

BBQ shelter ideas: CENA Outdoor Kitchens
(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

Add some BBQ shelter ideas to your garden design plans and you'll be able to make the most of your outdoor cooking zone come rain or shine. It's the best way to extend your alfresco living space and enjoy the fresh air for longer, and there are plenty of options to suit all sorts of plots.

'Here at CENA Outdoor, 63% of our projects include a shelter of some kind,' reveals CENA Outdoor Kitchens Director, Jacques Shelton – and the popularity isn't surprising. After all, an overhead cover isn't just practical, but it can also give the visual appeal of your zone a boost. And, it can even up the sense of privacy – handy for overlooked, urban spaces.

So, if you plan to invest in one of the best BBQs this year, then it's well worth considering BBQ shelter ideas, too. You'll find our favorite setups in this guide to help you get inspired.

10 brilliant BBQ shelter ideas to elevate your plot

Whether you want to shelter your best gas BBQ or a rustic, charcoal-fuelled model, these styles will help you find a solution for your space.

1. Create shade with a striking side structure

modern outdoor kitchen with cover

An on-trend look for modern outdoor kitchens

(Image credit: Tibor Molnar/Alamy Stock Photo)

Looking for a BBQ shelter to suit a modern garden? Something like this could be the perfect approach.

Adding such a simple yet statement structure over your grill is a great way to provide respite from the summer sun's glare. What's more, it provides definition to the zone.

Of course, it looks super stylish, too – we particularly like the contrast it provides against all the cool paved surroundings. And the bordering plants are the ideal match for a splash of architectural greenery.

2. Install a chic garden building for an outdoor living 'room'

garden building with gas bbq by Garden House Design

Upgrade your space with a shelter like this one from Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

If you've got the budget and the space, consider a contemporary garden building to house your alfresco cooking and entertaining zone.

Integrated lights, chic wooden paneling, and a sturdy roof make this the perfect base for outdoor socializing in style – whatever time of day and whatever season.

A large, laid-back dining setup and comfy sofa complete the BBQ area – what more could you need for post-swim refreshments?

3. Choose a timber gazebo to shelter your BBQ

outdoor kitchen from CENA Outdoor Kitchens in wooden gazebo

This classic design is from CENA Outdoor Kitchens

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

Gazebos are a classic garden feature that will never go out of style, particularly if you opt for a timber-framed version.

As long as you ensure there's enough clearance around your appliance, they are a great solution for covering an outdoor grill and complement almost any style of backyard. 

Pair your BBQ gazebo ideas with timber-cladded counters to enhance the laid-back, naturalistic look and maintain a sense of cohesion. And for an even more comfortable outdoor experience, consider adding heaters attached up high to the structure. That way, you can keep guests happy and conversation flowing even as night falls and temperatures drop.

4. Shelter a space to cook and serve drinks

covered outdoor kitchen by CENA Outdoor Kitchens

The perfect hub for socializing, by CENA Outdoor Kitchens

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

Combine your built-in BBQ ideas with an outdoor bar for the ultimate garden party setup. Add in a pizza oven, too, and you can mix up your culinary creations to suit the mood.

This sturdy shelter sits beautifully in the patio space, complementing the nearby rattan furniture. Cladded walls on two sides mean there's plenty of privacy from neighbors while enabling the addition of useful shelves and decorative signs.

5. Team a contemporary BBQ with a modern pergola

Grillo outdoor kitchen under pergola

A chic setup from Grillo

(Image credit: Grillo)

Plenty of people consider pergola ideas when designing decks or patios, and for good reason. From simple, timber constructions to high-tech, louvered designs, they're a classic solution for providing a spot of shade. And, there are plenty of ways they can be dressed up to elevate the look and feel of your outdoor space, too – from climbing plants trained around their structure to fairy lights.

We love how this design mirrors the grill station with its industrial-cool charcoal tone. And, the duo of pendant lights are both pretty and practical.

6. Get back to basics and grill over a garden fireplace

modern outdoor covered dining area with fireplace

A cozy space for entertaining at home

(Image credit: ThreeDiCube/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Love the thought of outdoor fireplace ideas for your backyard? These rustic features are a surefire way to make a statement. And they aren't just for keeping everyone feeling cozy – add in some grill attachments and you can cook up a feast over the flames.

Install your fireplace and chimney into a designated garden building and you can guarantee that it will get plenty of use all throughout the year. You could even take inspiration from this scene in terms of the log storage solution used – a stylish way to separate a dining area from a more relaxed, lounging zone.

7. Add lights to your outdoor structure for nighttime BBQs

Grillo outdoor kitchen under wooden gazebo

Cook up a feast after night falls with a setup like this kitchen from Grillo

(Image credit: Grillo)

Any patio cover idea can benefit from some outdoor lights. That way, the space will feel just as welcoming when the sun sets – just what you want when hosting summer evening soirées with loved ones. Take a look at this stunning setup, for instance.

Strings of festoons attached to the beams of a pergola or the roof of a gazebo are always a reliable choice for recreating that chilled-out, beach-bar vibe. And as well as boosting the ambiance, it will allow you to see exactly what you're doing should you wish to continue cooking up a storm.

8. Keep your BBQ shelter simple and sleek

covered modern outdoor kitchen by CENA Outdoor Kitchens

A contemporary space from CENA Outdoor Kitchens

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchen)

Keep the look clean and considered with a slick garden build like this that doubles up to define the boundary of your plot. 

Recessed spotlights are always a good option for that subtle, streamlined look – whether you install them into the ceiling or into the paving or decking underfoot. This space benefits from under-counter lighting too – a contemporary way to brighten up any outdoor grill station.

We also like the mix of materials here, which includes brushed stainless steel and granite worktops and plenty of timber for a relaxed, organic feel.

9. Add extra shelter with slatted panels

outdoor grill in shelter from CENA Outdoor Kitchens

A dreamy blue scheme from CENA Outdoor Kitchens 

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

Opting for slatted panels, whether it's on a garden building like this or a simple screen between garden zones, is a great way to provide privacy and shelter while allowing light and air through.

It results in a pleasing, modern look, and as demonstrated here, works well when used to surround outdoor kitchen ideas. Pair with brightly-colored counters for a fun scheme that's perfect for a family garden.

10. Cover your cooking zone with an oversized parasol

Grillo outdoor kitchen with parasol

Swap permanent structures for a versatile parasol, like in this setup from Grillo

(Image credit: Grillo)

When considering BBQ shelter ideas, don't forget about the less permanent options. Sometimes, one of the best garden parasols is just the thing for the job – particularly if you don't want to splash too much cash.

One of the main benefits of a parasol, besides the generally lower price, is that they are so versatile – simply pop them up in the case of light drizzle or glaring sun. A side-pole design is often the best choice as it won't get in the way as you cook. And, for evening entertaining, you could take inspiration from this scene and suspend string lights around the canopy.

What do you need to consider when choosing a BBQ shelter for your plot?

There are lots of factors to bear in mind when learning how to design an outdoor kitchen, and that goes for when you're choosing your BBQ shelter ideas, too. 

One of the most important aspects is, of course, the safety implications. Jacques Shelton of CENA Outdoor Kitchens explains how any type of parasol, fabric shade, or shelter will need to be flame retardant, so always check the specifications to be sure. 

If you're using a fabric shelter, Jacques also advises choosing a wipe-clean or washable design, 'to prevent stains from smoke or flare-ups if you use a parasol over a grill or wood-fired oven.' 

Jacques also notes the importance of providing plenty of clearance between the heat source and fabric – essential even when it is flame retardant. This goes for sturdier structures too – if in any doubt, always check with the manufacturer as well as checking your grill's product requirements. And, 'if a space is in any way enclosed, think about ventilation; for example, ensuring there is the ability to open doors, glass walls, and roofs,' he adds.

You'll want your shelter to be practical for your needs, as well as safe. 'We think carefully about what the canopy is for, as rain covers and shades may need different solutions,' explains Jacques. 'Rain covers can be fixed, such as an oak-framed gazebo or a dedicated open-on-two-sides garden building. But, those going for shade solutions will need to consider the aspect and the movement of the sun, so we consider the best position or use something which can be moved – for example, a sail shade.'

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

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.