Built-in BBQ ideas: 10 on-trend looks for alfresco cooking spaces

These stylish built-in BBQ ideas will get you inspired for your own outdoor kitchen zone

built-in BBQ ideas
(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens and the Landscape Lady® Sue Douglas)

Want a permanent zone for cooking outdoors? You need some built-in BBQ ideas – and there are lots of gorgeous looks that are both practical and stylish.

More and more of us are using our backyards as extensions of our indoor living spaces – as hubs to entertain, relax, and cook delicious feasts out in the fresh air. Maybe you're content with wheeling the best BBQ out from your shed for your summertime get-togethers. But, if you want to go a step further, creating a designated space for cooking up a storm is a surefire way to upgrade your plot.

The best designs blend into their surroundings effortlessly, becoming a chic feature in their own right. We've rounded up lots of on-trend looks to help get you inspired for your own alfresco makeover.

10 built-in BBQ ideas to recreate in your backyard

Design the ultimate BBQ area with these built-in designs – your alfresco entertaining will instantly be elevated.

1. Keep it chic with an all-white scheme

courtyard outdoor kitchen by CENA Outdoor Kitchens

A stylish courtyard setup from CENA Outdoor Kitchens

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

A sleek and slimline counter space, complete with one of the best gas BBQs and maybe a pizza oven, too, will instantly transform a small courtyard.

Chrome finishes look contemporary against an all-white backdrop – we're talking counters, walls, and paving for a seriously cohesive feel. Plus, such a scheme will have a brightening effect on the surroundings, too.

Add shelving for a row of potted herbs in matching containers for a pop of greenery and to give your cooking a boost with their fresh flavors.

2. Opt for counters that complement the surroundings

outdoor kitchen and dining area by Consilium Hortus

This modern family garden was designed by Consilium Hortus

(Image credit: Consilium Hortus/Michelle Foulser)

This beautiful, modern entertaining space combines a pizza oven and a built-in gas grill in a chic corner unit. Its layout means it frames the outdoor dining setup perfectly while providing definition to the perimeter of the zone.

Using matching textures and hues throughout your scheme will result in a pulled-together look. Here, the cool gray cladding ties the counter together with the nearby wall water feature (one of our favorite ways to give a plot a sensory boost). The color palette is also mirrored in the practical yet stylish furniture.

3. Upgrade your roof terrace with a modern cooking setup

modern built-in BBQ on roof terrace

The perfect hub for entertaining

(Image credit: Jacek Wac/Alamy Stock Photo)

Turn a small urban plot into a sophisticated zone for cooking up a feast with a compact outdoor grill station, complete with space for prep and serving drinks. This slick built-in BBQ looks fantastic on the glossy countertop of a contemporary, black bar.

A duo of minimalist bar stools completes the scene, while a shiny foot rail will make perching even more comfortable while guests enjoy a tipple or two. Up the privacy without blocking the light with frosted glass fences, and don't forget a potted plant or two for extra color and interest.

4. Mix materials for an industrial-cool look

built in BBQ by CENA Outdoor designed by the Landscape Lady®

This smart backyard designed by the Landscape Lady® features a setup from CENA Outdoor Kitchens

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens and the Landscape Lady® Sue Douglas)

Industrial gray units contrasting against warm timber are a match made in heaven for modern garden ideas. We love the integrated wooden bar counter in this setup, too, and how it complements the raised beds dotted throughout the rest of the plot.

This built-in grill fits into the scheme effortlessly. Note the minimal style of the sink nearby, too – a convenient feature that also adds to the visual appeal of the space.

5. Hang festoons overhead for a beach bar vibe

corner outdoor kitchen by CENA Outdoor Kitchens

This scheme from CENA Outdoor Kitchens will smoothly transition from day to nighttime use

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

A monochrome scheme makes a stylish surrounding for built-in grill ideas – it's a color palette that always oozes with effortless sophistication.

Add a pop of vibrancy – such as these mint-green bar stools – for an extra boost of character. We like the spiky potted plants, too, which add a sense of fun.

When creating a permanent cooking space, you'll need to think about how the zone transitions from day to night. Lighting is a must to keep the mood elevated (and so you can continue to cook while seeing what you're doing). There are plenty of options, but for a relaxed style, you can't go wrong with festoon light ideas strung overhead.

6. Integrate a charcoal grill into your entertaining zone

The Viking Friluftsliv Garden, designed by Will Williams at RHS Hampton Court

A stunning outdoor cooking zone in 'The Viking Friluftsliv Garden', designed by Will Williams at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival 2021

(Image credit: RHS/Neil Hepworth)

Built-in BBQ ideas aren't just for gas grills if you prefer cooking over charcoal or wood. This iconic design, spotted at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival, slots perfectly into a bespoke counter, with cleverly integrated storage below for fuel.

As Jonathan Stanley of Caesarstone says, 'Good storage is key,' and that goes for shelving and cupboards in your BBQ surroundings, too.

'It is useful to have dedicated space for your most-used items to save you running backwards and forwards to your kitchen for cooking utensils, plates, cups, and serving bowls. Increasingly, people are looking to create living pantries, complete with fresh herbs to add to your favorite dishes,' he adds.

You can find more gorgeous outdoor kitchen ideas in our feature.

7. Make your BBQ the focal point

outdoor kitchen by Cashmere Caveman Wild Kitchens

This gorgeous outdoor kitchen is from Cashmere Caveman Co

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs/Future)

Now here's an outdoor grill idea that's a little different from the norm – and we have to say, we're in love.

The cooking setup includes a duo of fireboxes which can be used with charcoal or wood. Glass lids can be left open or closed as you watch your grilled goodies cook. 

It makes the perfect focal point for an outdoor gathering, especially as the central chimney will prevent the zone from getting smokey. And a rack overhead is a clever way to make the most of the vertical space, and means all cooking tools can be kept conveniently within arm's reach.

8. Keep it compact and contemporary

modern garden with built-in BBQ by consilium hortus

A clean and considered scheme designed by Consilium Hortus at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival 2021

(Image credit: Consilium Hortus/Michelle Foulser)

With the help of an integrated fridge and a smart countertop, you can combine your built-in BBQ ideas with an outdoor bar – just like in this scene designed by Consilium Hortus.

Positioned to the side of the patio, it means the designated chef can still socialize with guests who are seated at the dining table while cooking. 

The overall design is light, bright, and welcoming, and we love how the bordering planting punctuates the scheme with vivid hues. The super-streamlined appearance of the BBQ itself is the perfect match for such a contemporary plot. 

9. Go for sleek and seamless designs

modern outdoor kitchen from CENA Outdoor Kitchens

This setup from CENA Outdoor Kitchens features a induction hob and gas grill

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

Speaking of contemporary, if you want to embrace a truly minimal style, then consider a setup like this. 

With a flush-mounted induction hob and gas grill that sink seamlessly into the worktops, it's a gorgeous and very grown-up approach to BBQing outdoors. The open and airy design means it's ideal for cooking while entertaining, too.

10. Make the most of a narrow space with a corner built-in BBQ

modern built-in BBQ by CENA Outdoor Kitchens in narrow space

Cook up a feast with a setup like this

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor Kitchens)

Add a corner counter into your built-in BBQ ideas as a great way to make the most of a narrow garden space. 

This setup features an induction side hob alongside a 4-burner gas grill. There's also a fridge, sink, and weatherproof cupboards beneath the counters – resulting in a well-equipped cooking station for preparing refreshments after a spot of tennis on the adjacent court.

We're fans of the marble-effect top, too – a classic look that always looks stylish.

What do you need to consider when installing a built-in BBQ?

There are lots of things to bear in mind when learning how to design an outdoor kitchen and installing built-in BBQ ideas to your backyard.

Jonathan Stanley of Caesarstone says a key consideration is how your cooking space fits into your existing plot. 'Is the outdoor kitchen going to be right next to the indoor one, or self-contained in the sunny spot at the other end of the garden?' Most will be next to or close to the house. But, if you're planning to implement yours at the other end to maximize sunlight, for example, then it's worth thinking about creating additional storage for kitchen essentials, he advises.

Managing Director Jacques at CENA Outdoor Kitchens also has some top tips to help you stay safe and make sure your built-in BBQ lasts for many years to come:

  • Always read the manufacturer's guidelines and installation instructions if doing the project yourself.
  • 'I would advise those carrying out a self-build outdoor living area to have gas appliances professionally installed for safety,' he says.
  •  Always follow manufacturer guidelines in respect of flammable materials and their relative position to the grill.
  • Wooden cladding is common, but usually, the structure is metal or stone for fire safety.
  • Some grill companies may offer a liner to house the grill and add additional protection: Jacques says it's a good idea to use this.
  • Think about gas bottle position in relation to the BBQ so that you can safely isolate the supply in the event of a fire. Also, do not house a gas bottle directly underneath a BBQ – any fat or other hot cooking runoff will drop directly onto it. What's more, you should ensure the gas storage has ventilation so you can get rid of gas in the event of a leak – this should be at the bottom of the cabinet as gas is heavier than air and will sink.
  • The standard hose length is 3ft which is the maximum length for a flexible pipe and should be enough to reach a separate compartment which should not be directly underneath the grill. If you need additional reach, you will need solid pipework which should be installed by a professional qualified fitter.
  • The majority of outdoor cooking appliances are not insulated and will get very hot to the touch on the outer face, so if you're adding your built-in grill to a family garden, be sure that children are always supervised.
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.