How to create a mini outdoor kitchen to take meal times alfresco in a super-small space

Don't let a bijou balcony, a petit patio or a cosy courtyard stop you from enjoying dining outside this summer but opt for an outdoor kitchen with a mini footprint

Mini outdoor kitchen set up on wooden fence panel with stacked crates
(Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young)

Outdoor kitchens are on the rise, as more and more of us look to enjoy the benefits of alfresco dining as soon as the sun starts to shine. And you don't have to have a huge outside space to enjoy one, as this mini outdoor kitchen idea shows.

With the popularity of the best pizza ovens growing each year too, even if you have a particularly small space, there is always a spot to squeeze in an outdoor kitchen set up. 

So if you have a spare afternoon, just a little bit of DIY knowledge and the enthusiasm to enjoy your next meal outside, give this mini outdoor kitchen idea a try.

How to create a mini outdoor kitchen 

Mini outdoor kitchen set up on wooden fence panel with stacked crates

(Image credit: Future Plc/Carolyn Barber)

While you might be wondering exactly how to build an outdoor kitchen, for most designs, you will need a bit of space, so those of us with balcony gardens or small patios might worry we are missing out.

But with this mini outdoor kitchen idea, it has such a small footprint (around 80cm wide by 35cm deep) that it can be slotted into even the teeniest of outdoor spaces, to take dining outside from a dream to a reality.

What you'll need


1. Protect the area

First things first, lay down your dust sheets or plastic sheeting to protect the ground and any nearby plants from getting splattered with paint. You'll need a dry day to take on the painting but not one that is too hot and sunny as the paint could turn sticky. Most DIY outdoor kitchen ideas lend themselves to a clear, dry but not too sunny day- luckily the UK provides plenty of days like that! 

2. Paint your panel

Next, paint your wooden panel and crates in the same colour of your choice. If you're not sure what shade to go for, looking at garden paint ideas should give you some inspiration, but think whether you want your mini outdoor kitchen to blend seamlessly into its surroundings, or be bold and make a statement in it's space.

If it's the former, shades of green, grey and black will make it less imposing, but if the latter is more your bag, choose a bright pink, yellow or aqua. 

3. Attach your crates

Once your panel and crates are dry, turn the crates onto their side and stack together to make a 2 by 2 formation and screw securely together. Next place the stack at the bottom of the panel and screw this together too. 

4. Position in place

Once the crates and panel are securely attached to each other, position against a wall, side of a shed or against a balcony railing. You might want to use a couple of cable ties if positioning against railings, to ensure it doesn't get blown over in any heavy winds. 

5. Add S hooks to hang cooking essentials

Single trellis panel painted in grey with kitchen utensils hung from S hooks

(Image credit: Future Plc/Carolyn Barber)

Now that your mini outdoor kitchen is in place, you can fill each of the crate cubbies with all your dining and eating essentials, such as crockery, glasses and condiments. Hang a couple of S hooks from the trellis panel to hang kitchen utensils, bread and serving boards, placemats and even barbecue tools, so everything is at hand.

Then set up your best barbecue or pizza oven nearby and enjoy many a meal time in the sunshine.

Here are some of our favourite buys for cooking up summer meals in a small-space.

What is the cheapest way to build an outdoor kitchen?

While you might think that building an outdoor kitchen is a costly endeavour, this mini outdoor kitchen could cost you as little as £60, especially if you have some paint left over from a previous project. 

You'll just to need to purchase a trellis panel and some wooden crates, but even these could be picked up on the cheap from second-hand sites or free local schemes. 

What is the minimum size for an outdoor kitchen?

If you have a particularly wee outdoor space, you might be thinking that an outdoor kitchen isn't for you. But this clever mini outdoor kitchen idea, has a super-small footprint of just 80cm wide by 120cm tall by less that 35cm deep! 

Obviously you'll need to factor in space for a small piece of best garden furniture to actually enjoy the alfresco dining experience, but even an outdoor space with such small dimensions can enjoy a meal in the sunshine. 

Holly Walsh
Content Editor

Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.