Outdoor grill station ideas: 11 stylish set-ups for alfresco cooking

Our round-up of outdoor grill station ideas will get you inspired to cook up a feast in your backyard

outdoor grill station ideas: design by Garden House Design
(Image credit: Garden House Design)

Adding some outdoor grill station ideas to your plot is a fantastic move if you love cooking alfresco. An instant way to elevate a simple BBQ, a proper prep area means you have space to chop, marinade, and keep your seasonings and sauces to hand. It's a must-have for serious chefs.

Whether you're going for a gas or wood-fired grill, there are all kinds of outdoor kitchen ideas that it can be incorporated into. From statement tiles to color-coordinated cabinetry, a dedicated station will define a more permanent cooking area of your plot. And, it can be a style feature all in itself. It can open opportunities for more storage space, too, to keep all clutter neatly tucked away.

We've brought together some of our favorite outdoor grill ideas to help you choose the best style for your backyard. Whatever the size of your plot, you'll find something to inspire from these looks.

11 stunning outdoor grill station ideas for entertaining at home

From sleek and luxurious styles to modular schemes, these outdoor grill station ideas will get you wanting one of your own in no time.

1. Add striking shelving overhead

Gaze Burvill kitchen at Chelsea Flower Show 2019

An outdoor kitchen featuring Dekton® Trilium by Cosentino, designed by Gaze Burvill

(Image credit: Gaze Burvill/Clive Nichols)

Installing slimline shelving above your outdoor grill will help you make the most of the space and keep everything you need within arm's reach while you're cooking. 

Lining up a row of potted herbs is a great way to utilize shelves. After all, almost every meal tastes better with a scattering of fresh basil, oregano, or chives – and the cheery green foliage will elevate the look of the zone, too. 

Think about installing a cabinet or two, or even a mini-fridge for keeping drinks cool. A sleek metal bar – just like this smart copper one – is also a good addition as can be used to hang your best BBQ tools.

2. Pair a small station with plenty of plants

outdoor grill station with plants

This grill station may be petite but its perfect for a small urban plot

(Image credit: David Giles/Future)

On the lookout for small garden ideas but fancy your own outdoor grill? It can be done – just take a cue from this set-up.

The polished chrome grill sits neatly atop a sleek white worktop, which offers just enough room for a chopping board and a potted herb or two. If you're only cooking for a smaller gathering, it's all you really need.

All the luscious greenery and bright white surroundings add an extra element of elegance to the zone. You could weave some twinkling fairy lights along the fence too for upping the ambiance when night falls.

3. Turn heads with statement tiles

outdoor grill station with monochrome tiles

Ca' Pietra Parisian Café tiles and a bespoke Carrara marble worktop from Artisans of Devizes look chic in this space

(Image credit: Grazzie Wilson/Tranquilo Landscapes)

Treat your best BBQ to a fun and fresh grill station just like this one – we think it makes an ideal backdrop for summer outdoor entertaining. With show-stopping monochrome tiles in a chevron pattern, the counter is turned into a real design feature of the plot and complements the smart slatted fence and large-format pavers beautifully.

'When it came to designing my garden, I knew that I wanted to create an eye-catching outdoor cooking area – as big foodies it was a priority – and I wanted it to stand out,' says Grazzie Wilson, Ca' Pietra's Creative Lead. 'We clad the front with Ca' Pietra Parisian Café tiles and a bespoke Carrara marble worktop from our sister company Artisans of Devizes.'

Not only is there space for food prep but there's enough room for hosting a mini pizza oven, too. And, as Grazzie says, there's also space to socialize.

4. Pair with a cozy fireplace for ultimate outdoor living

Grillo outdoor kitchen

This outdoor cooking zone from Grillo is both smart and welcoming throughout the seasons

(Image credit: Grillo)

Want to use your grill station all year round? Consider adding an outdoor fireplace nearby. This rustic brick version will keep everyone feeling toasty and looks super impressive too.

A structure overhead adds to the outdoor-living-room vibe – just ensure it's safe for your specified grill model and if so, that there's enough clearance. 

We're fans of the chic black counters in this zone too. They contrast well with the chrome grill and are practical with their integrated storage space.

5. Add decorative cabinetry

outdoor kitchen designed by Garden House Design

We love this kitchen set-up by Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

Adding decorative panels to cabinetry adds tons of character and visual appeal. And here, the charcoal hue oozes with a sense of industrial cool. There is lots of room for storage and prep too, so you can really get creative with your cooking.

If you're looking for new modern garden ideas for your backyard makeover, we'd say this is a brilliant approach.

6. Opt for a station with log storage

Morso grill on patio

The Morso Forno outdoor oven will help you cook up a storm

(Image credit: Morso)

Perhaps you'd prefer a wood-fired grill over a gas version – like this sleek design, for instance. 

These types of models obviously need fuel, and to keep your space looking tidy, you'll need somewhere nearby to store it. Well, you can't get much nearer than beneath the grill itself, and this smart station does exactly that. A rail on the side is ideal for hanging your BBQ tools, while the wheels underneath mean it's easy to move around your plot to suit your needs.

Need more log store ideas? You can find lots of alternative looks in our guide.

7. Get creative with paint

outdoor grill station painted with Sadolin and Sandtex paints

Personalize your outdoor grill station to suit your individual sense of style – this one has been given a makeover with paints from Sadolin and Sandtex

(Image credit: Sadolin and Sandtex)

Even the simplest of grill station ideas can be given a show-stopping spruce with a bit of creativity. All it takes is a lick of the best exterior wood paint to channel tons of personality into blank cabinets.

Take this stunning scheme, for example, which mixes cool gray tones for an understated and sophisticated result. We like how the fence has been painted in a complementary shade, too, while wooden chopping boards and exposed brick add a touch of rustic warmth.

8. Find the perfect match with modular designs

modular outdoor grill station by Oxenwood

Oxenwood outdoor kitchens are built bespoke to your needs

(Image credit: Oxenwood)

Opting for a modular design when planning your grill station ideas means you can get something perfectly suited to the size of your plot and your individual needs.

With this range demonstrated above, you can pick from different sized grills, hob burners, warming drawers, fridges, and even sinks, for a set-up that matches everything you could want for your outdoor cooking space. Look for designs that are made to last and withstand the elements – these ones are crafted from solid, quarter-sawn FSC- and PEFC-certified oak with Belgian bluestone tops.

Whether you need a grill station for a large plot or to add to your small patio ideas, something customizable like this is a great option if you have the budget. Alternatively, you can find some brilliant off-the-shelf modular kitchen sets – try the GRILLSKÄR range from Ikea.

9. Go all out with a sleek outdoor kitchen

Caesarstone outdoor grill station

Incorporate your grill station into a beautiful outdoor kitchen, as seen in this design from Caesarstone

(Image credit: Caesarstone)

Turn your outdoor grill station into a full alfresco kitchen, complete with a built-in pizza oven, sleek worktops, cabinets, and hanging shelves. You could even add some outdoor bar ideas into the mix and create a stylish hub for outdoor entertaining.

We love the neutral tones in this space for understated yet timelessly chic appeal. And that paving underfoot is the perfect finishing touch.

10. Pick a grill with built-in shelves

VonHaus grill

Pick a compact grill with side shelves included, like this design from VonHaus

(Image credit: VonHaus)

Not got much space for your grill station ideas? No problem – opt for a compact, portable design like this one – they make some of the very best BBQs

Handy integrated side tables can hold plates, spices, and your tools, while wheels mean it can be moved around to wherever is convenient. It's a stylish and practical addition to any deck or patio, without having to commit to a fully-fledged, built-in design.

11. Draw the eye upwards

outdoor grill station with planters overhead from CENA outdoors

A show-stopper of a scene from CENA Outdoor

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor)

Now here's a grill station that really makes a statement! 

Vertical gardening is perfect for smaller plots such as urban courtyards. Whether you use trellises or planters sturdily attached to garden fences or walls, it's a great way to fit more flowers and foliage into your backyard without taking up extra floor space. Just remember you'll need to factor in a way to safely water them if you're positioning them up high.

What is the best worktop for an outdoor grill station?

'Having a worktop around your outdoor grill station is one of the things which sets it apart from a classic BBQ grill,' says Jacques Shelton, Director at CENA Outdoor. 'It enables you to prepare food outside while enjoying your guest's company.'

Of course, it's important to choose worktop materials that can withstand variabilities of weather – frost, rain, sunshine, and snow, continues Jacques. 'There are lots of options including Neolith (a sintered stone) and granite or composites such as Dekton and Hi-Macs.'

Jonathan Stanley of Caesarstone says, 'The worktop is a crucial element to get right in an outdoor kitchen; it's on show the whole time and has to withstand everything that the elements can throw at it, as well as the usual bumps and spills that you get with a kitchen surface.'

Look for a product that has been specifically designed for outdoor environments. You'll want it to be non-porous; durable; resistant to mold, mildew, and scratches; and, to keep it looking tip-top, easy-to-clean. Bear in mind that some materials will fade over time due to sun exposure too.

rooftop outdoor kitchen by Caesarstone

Choose your worktop for your grill station carefully – this Caesarstone choice complements the surroundings beautifully

(Image credit: Caesarstone)

How do you design an outdoor grill station?

'When you're planning your space, make sure you have sufficient surface area to plate up food and mix drinks,' suggests Jonathan Stanley of Caesarstone. 'You'll also want plenty of space for guests to sit at – balancing a plate on your lap is so last year.

'Design in a high cocktail table in matching stone for guests to sit and enjoy their food and drink. Low stone tables set around a fire pit will keep things cozy as the temperature drops.'

Laura Davie of Cosentino UK shares some of her tips for planning your outdoor grill station ideas: 'The key to designing an outdoor kitchen is to source beautiful, varied materials that are durable and appropriate for use outdoors.

'Whether you're designing a full outdoor kitchen or simply hoping to create a BBQ area with the wow-factor, combining different materials and finishes will add interest and soften the overall look,' Laura continues. 'Look for surfaces that are low maintenance and hardwearing, such as correctly seasoned oak, stainless steel, or composite surfaces.

'For cabinetry, oak is naturally weatherproof and durable and will silver over time to become more striking still. For the flooring and work surface, consider materials such as Dekton that are available in a range of different designs that replicate natural materials, such as marble or on-trend concrete looks.'

You can find more tips on how to design an outdoor kitchen in our guide.

pizza oven on patio from ACR Stoves

This Vita pizza oven from ACR Stoves includes log storage and useful side tables

(Image credit: ACR Stoves)

When it comes to choosing the grill itself, Jacques Shelton, Director at CENA Outdoor, shares his tips.

'There are myriad grill options to choose from, so here are a few ways to narrow it down,' he says. Of course, the first choice is whether to go for one of the best gas BBQs or a traditional charcoal model. 'Although a BBQing purist might fight for charcoal, I prefer to go for gas. It's quick to get up to a good cooking heat and you can easily maintain a consistent temperature. 

'The cost of a gas grill can vary dramatically with some all-singing, all-dancing grills at the expensive end of the scale boasting infrared burners, rotisserie functions, and sear plates. There are also the kamado-style grills from brands such as Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe. These are fabulous, versatile grills which have gained legions of fans. We include them in outdoor kitchens by building a bespoke stand for them. 

'Just remember to match the grill to your cooking preference. If you also have a pizza oven and realistically, you'll cook pizza more often than steaks, go for a simpler grill. 

'The space you have available will also impact the grill you go for. A big multi-burner grill might end up being frustrating to use if you’re left with zero space around it to work with. You could choose a mini Big Green Egg if you have limited space but really want a pizza oven, fridge, and grill in your set-up,' he adds.

CENA outdoor covered kitchen and bar

A covered cooking space from CENA Outdoor

(Image credit: CENA Outdoor)

Where is the best place to put an outdoor grill station?

Whether you're opting for a classic BBQ, something a little fancier, or one of the best pizza ovens, location is a key factor to consider.

'While the location of an outdoor grill or pizza oven is a homeowner's personal choice, it is important to ensure that your outdoor oven is no closer than 10 feet from the entrance to your home, and that there is ample ventilation for your oven to prevent smoke inhalation for anyone nearby,' says the team at ACR Stoves. 'It is also vital that you choose a location that is away from flammable materials or structures such as a fence or shed.'

Be very careful if wishing to locate your outdoor oven or grill under structures such as a gazebo to ensure the smoke can easily disperse. It's always best to seek a professional's advice if in any doubt, to reduce safety risks.

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.