Outdoor Kitchens: Spaces to Use Year-Round

By Alex Hawkins Updated February 5, 2024

Outdoor kitchens can make the most of your space. With a few simple tweaks, you can enjoy them throughout every season.

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The allure of an outdoor kitchen is undeniable: Imagine hosting springtime brunches to celebrate the weather, dining under the summer stars, or starting autumn meals with charcuterie in the garden. However, many homeowners consider outdoor kitchens to be only a warm-weather investment. 

When used to its full potential, this space can be used year-round, providing ambiance for entertaining in every season. If you’re unsure how to incorporate this space into your fall and winter rituals, consider our top five tips to maximize your outdoor kitchen space year-round. 

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Space

Thankfully, intentional design can make this kitchen space one that you love occupying, even in the colder months. It’s easy to get the most out of an outdoor kitchen with a few simple changes. 

We recommend considering the following for your outdoor kitchen area:

Of course, not all of these choices may be right for you and your home. Depending on your region and how you use your space, one simple adjustment may be all you need. While you consider your space, you may want to try one of our favorite lawn care services to pair your outdoor kitchen with a lush lawn.

Modern dining room table and chairs on beautiful open kitchen in greenhouse against natural fresh and green plants on background
Photo: Adobe

Raise the Roof

You may consider adding a pergola or roof to add year-round viability to your outdoor entertaining. This measure will protect your space from wind, snow, and rain and also provide convenient shade during the peak of the summer months. Plus, your outdoor furniture will last longer and experience less fading if it’s protected from direct light and the elements. 

Another option to consider is a canopy, which comes with the added benefit of being easily removable. Finally, if you haven’t begun your construction yet, consider building your outdoor kitchen inside a gazebo for a picturesque yet protected placement.

Turn Up the Heat

Outdoor heaters are powerful, quiet, and cost-effective for chilly evenings in the great outdoors. Placing two or three heaters throughout your space near seating areas can create cozy conversation corners. 

Even better, the available options make it easy to choose your preferred ambiance. For example, glass flame outdoor heaters provide comforting lighting along with warmth. Other options include traditional standing metal heaters and overhead outdoor heaters.

Get Fired Up

Installing a fire near your outdoor kitchen is a surefire way to gather together with loved ones any time of the year. Cozy fires are a year-round crowd-pleaser, whether a built-in model for one of your walls or a crackling fire pit as part of your outdoor entertaining space. If you’d prefer a gas or electric fireplace option, you’ll also have many choices.

Cozy patio area with garden furniture, swimming pool and outdoor fireplace
Photo: Adobe

Plant a Seed

One way to make your outdoor kitchen more appealing in the autumn months is to plant a garden. Serving your home-grown produce next to the garden it came from is a fabulous dinner theme. The blooming garden nearby will create a backdrop to your mindful meal and add some greenery during the fall season.

Ideal plants for a fall harvest include Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, potatoes, and mustard greens. Round out your garden’s landscape with a few fall flowers, such as chrysanthemums and pansies, for a pop of color. Use our guide to the best lawn fertilizers to keep your grass as impressive as your garden.

Raise the Bar

In months with extreme weather, a meal outside may be less than appealing. However, adding an outdoor bar to your kitchen can be the perfect spot for a cup of cocoa—spiked or not—or a refreshing spritz in the summer months. Having the tools you need for a beverage in your outdoor kitchen is sure to increase its use year-round.

Consider adding a few barstools to your floor plan and some weatherproof storage space for your bottles and mixers. A built-in wine fridge may also be a welcome addition to your design. You know your guests best, so make accommodations for whatever suits your fancy; you can’t go wrong with a delicious beverage, alcoholic or not.

Outdoor Entertaining for Every Season

There’s no reason to limit an outdoor kitchen to summer use. With a few accommodations, you’ll be able to enjoy your view all year long. Remember, even one or two of these tips can convert your backyard into a year-round entertaining space, so choose your favorite few to try before the colder months arrive.

If you’re considering an outdoor kitchen and wondering if it’s a seasonal investment, know that the space can be a versatile part of your home. The addition of warmth, bar elements, a garden, or an overhead covering can keep you returning to the area season after season.