10 clever outdoor kitchen storage ideas to keep your space organised

Keep everything spick and span with these nifty tricks

Crates in garden holding plates, glasses and napkins
(Image credit: Gaze Burvill/Sub Zero & Wolf)

With alfresco dining becoming every more popular, we've had to start thinking about outdoor kitchen storage ideas. We love nifty storage solutions indoors, so there's no reason our gardens should miss out.

The rise of the outdoor kitchen has been an exciting movement that we're welcoming with open arms – and praying we get the weather to match! What it does mean of course is that you need to treat it a little like you would your kitchen inside.

'An outdoor kitchen is an extension of inside your home, providing a space to prep, serve and cook meals alfresco,' explains Dee Fontenot, resident style advisor, Wayfair. 'Think about the space in the same way you would inside, to make it super practical and functional as well as stylish.'

Clever organisation will ensure you have what you need, right when you need it - no matter what size of garden you're working with. These outdoor kitchen storage ideas will turn your space into one that works as well as your indoor cooking area.

Outdoor kitchen storage ideas

'Think about how close your actual kitchen is to the outdoor alternative – if it’s close by lots of storage may not be an issue,' advises Chris Bonnett, Founder, Gardening Express

'Think about how you’ll use it – is it for family mealtimes, to use the best BBQ or entertain large groups of friends? If you’re clear in its purpose then you’ll be able to work out how much storage you’ll need for the cutlery, crockery and accessories you’ll need.'

Chris Bonnett, founder & CEO, Gardening Express
Chris Bonnett

Gardening Express is a leading online Plant & Garden Specialist based in the UK. The business was created by founder CEO Chris Bonnett, and has grown to be a thorn in the side of traditional rivals with its dynamic approach and new thinking. The concept is simple; a dedication to quality, service and value for money, has resulted in this entrepreneur taking Gardening Express to be one of the UK’s largest online businesses of its type in just a few short years.

1. Be on trend with open (crate) shelving

outdoor kitchen storage ideas with crates, tableware, glassware, planters, baskets, jugs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Crates are such a versatile piece to use both inside and out and you can't go wrong with them. They're lightweight, easy to move and can be personalised easily. 

You can get creative with some easy DIY and paint the exterior, interior or leave them bare depending on your scheme you want to achieve with your outdoor kitchen storage ideas. Plus, they'll be strong enough to store glassware, tableware, utensils and napkins.

2. Consider a hanging panel

outdoor kitchen storage rack attached to outdoor sink, utensils and storage hanging from it, herb plant

(Image credit: Ikea)

In a small garden, one of the best outdoor kitchen storage ideas is to make the most of the walls. This could be with a wall-mounted rack that you can hang items from, shelving or rail.

As always, Ikea have some wonderful solutions and their Grillskär back panel will enable you to store utensils in containers and hooks from it – plus there's a nifty rail for tea towels too. 

3. Potting benches offer versatility

outdoor kitchen with storage tables, drawers, shelving, hanging rail with utensils, plants, pots, tableware, baskets, apron

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Double use pieces are always worth their salt and potting benches often come with a myriad of outdoor kitchen storage ideas and sometimes a very handy zinc top that works for both potting up and serving food from. 

Look for designs that have drawers and shelving and if you want to get super organised label up the drawers using a mini chalkboard

4. Pop up a length of copper railing

outdoor kitchen with BBQ, storage ideas, hanging rail, row of potted herbs, vases of foxgloves, bar stools, sink, tiled floor

(Image credit: Gaze Burvill/Sub Zero & Wolf)

Look out for innovate outdoor kitchen storage ideas like installing a copper pipe style hanging rail along the length of your serving area. It will be ideal for saucepans but also hanging herbs and other utensils like BBQ tools and will keep the worktops free for prep.

'A sink with a spacious preparation area and outdoor storage are also key for keeping BBQ tools, metal bowls and trays, condiments, plus extra space for a spare gas bottle and the grill cover,' points out Ricky Davies, marketing director, Sub-Zero & Wolf UK & Europe.

headshot of Ricky Davies, marketing director, Sub-Zero & Wolf
Ricky Davies

A long-standing member of Sub-Zero & Wolf, Ricky Davies recently stepped up his role as Director to drive forward an exciting pipeline of new products and partnerships. Founded in 1945 and headquartered in the USA, Sub-Zero, Inc., is the leading manufacturer of luxury refrigeration, freezer, and wine storage products. In 2010 Wolf Gourmet was acquired and combined to become ‘Sub-Zero & Wolf’. Together, the brand continues its pursuit of bringing best-in-class appliances, beautiful design, and memorable moments to luxury homes around the world.

5. Invest in a purpose built unit

outdoor kitchen storage unit with zinc worktop, hanging hooks, two shelves, BBQ to left

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Clever storage options that are designed specifically for outdoor kitchen use can offer excellent solutions.

'A BBQ counter can be painted to match and fashioned together in an L-shape for a portable homemade outdoor kitchen,' points out says Dee Fontenot, resident style advisor, Wayfair

'As demand for outdoor kitchens continues to grow, in turn so do the storage designs and options available, with various materials and finishes.'

6. Choose vertical storage

outdoor kitchen with Big Green BBQ, tiled walls, storage, shelves, condiments, glassware, low table, storage for cutlery, compost, logs

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you're working with a mini outdoor kitchen, then the best option is to look up with your storage system. 

Install as many shelves as you can without them peeping over the fence and remember to utilise the floor space under the first shelf too. Then within these shelves use baskets, boxes and crates to keep small items in. 

7. Opt for integrated storage

white outdoor kitchen with BBQ, sink, purpose built, seamless design, storage sections, rug, baskets, logs, white bunting

(Image credit: AOS Outdoor Kitchens)

For a more seamless look, and if you're having a bespoke space crafted, opt for integrated outdoor kitchen storage ideas. Evenly spaced shelves each with a purpose will most certainly make your life easier.

Don't overfill them though, create groupings that are practical yet easy on the eye so they don't get cluttered. 

8. Use tray tables

outdoor kitchen with grill based BBQ, hanging storage, tray table, dining table on left

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Tray tables have always been a useful pice of furniture to have – ideal for using as lamp tables inside and as bedsides. 

They also work well outside as that extra outdoor countertop space for food prep or serving. Or pop your condiments on them for everyone to help themselves. Another bonus is that you can fold them up when not in use. 

9. Hang wooden boxes from the wall

outdoor kitchen with white work top, BBQ, log storage, tableware storage, wooden boxes with herbs

(Image credit: Benchmarx Kitchens)

The aim is to always keep worktops free for prepping – same as your kitchen inside, but when you've maxed out your shelving where can you go?

We love the idea of attaching small yet practical boxes to the wall, they can be used for growing herbs and plants of course, but also, why not use them for spices, cutlery and sauces? 

10. Harness a unit that can work indoors and out

indoor/outdoor kitchen storage wire rack with spice jars, kettle, utensils, chopping boards, plants, wooden bowls

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

'For stylish outdoor kitchen storage ideas opt for more practical, yet beautiful pieces of furniture like our Hornton wire units,' suggests says Francesca Morris, senior buyer, Garden Trading. 'These are a great way to create versatile storage that can be used both inside and out, that way you can get all year round use.'

The beauty of wire storage is that you can see through them which helps to create the illusion of space in a smaller outdoor kitchen. 

How do you store things in an outdoor kitchen?

'There are lots of storage options for outdoor kitchens from creating stylish kitchen cabinets to using storage boxes, glass canisters for ingredients, herbs and spices and steel bins,' explains Chris from Gardening Express.

'When it comes to alfresco cooking, the BBQ will always be the star of the show, however, it is important to consider the full layout and arrangement of products for a truly seamless experience,' points out Ricky from Sub-Zero & Wolf.

'Ideally, you want to ensure that you are able to prepare and cook an entire meal without having to rush in and out of the house. This means separate outdoor refrigeration for freshly preserved ingredients and chilled beverages, alongside warming drawers to keep pre-cooked food ready to eat are essential.'

What are the options for outdoor kitchen cabinets?

'There are a number of options you can choose from to tailor an outdoor kitchen to your style, space and budget,' says Dee from Wayfair. 

'Similarly to a kitchen design, there are bespoke options available, off the shelf units or you can DIY your outdoor kitchen, with outdoor shelving and cabinets to create an outdoor kitchen set up.'

'Unless your outdoor kitchen is undercover, you will need weatherproof options,' adds Chris from Gardening Express. 'BBQ utensils will need dry storage to protect them from rusting and keep moisture and dirt away from them.'

'There are costly options out there for outdoor kitchen cabinets, but if you want to have a go yourself, hunt out salvage materials like reclaimed wood or recycled stone and brick to create a unique look.'

How do I protect my outdoor kitchen essentials from the weather?

'The obvious way to weatherproof an outdoor kitchen is to cover it with a roof or canopy - this also means you’ll be able to use it regardless of the weather,' points out Chris from Gardening Express. 'Think, too, about where you built it to protect from windy conditions and bright sunlight.'

'Utensils and outdoor kitchen essentials will need dry storage so factor that in when designing the space. Consider furniture too and ensure it’s covered over to protect it from the elements and use a waterproof sealer.'

'Display items on garden shelves in dry weather – transferring into larger airtight waterproof boxes in wet or windy weather, storing away in an outdoor kitchen cupboard,' suggests Dee from Wayfair.

'If you have surplus items in your kitchen, such as extra peppermills or tea towels, create a specific box for the outdoor kitchen and keep those items together in one place.'

'When warm weather returns, items may require a general clean and tidy depending how long they have been stored away for, but having them all together will speed up the process of opening your outdoor kitchen for the season.'

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events.