My thrifty garden landscaping project: How to install an outdoor kitchen

Some items in this blog post have been gifted

If you want to create an outdoor kitchen in your garden, it’s easy to DIY it with just a few pallets, a scaffold board & a ceramic sink. Here’s how I made a handy kitchen cabinet & worktop for my deck from scrap wood…

Throughout my 2019 garden landscaping project, I’ve kept in mind the outdoor dining space that I so wanted to include in the design. As it’s the space closest to the house, it was also one of the last things to do, as we began with terracing the slope of the garden and worked our way up.

So now that the deck has been installed (another DIY that we cracked on with in June – I didn’t think to take photos for the blog at the time, oops!) I’ve been spending time turning it into my dream alfresco cooking/dining space. I’ve made a scaffold board table, which I’ll share on the blog soon, and installed an outdoor tap – which got me thinking…

Why couldn’t I create an outdoor kitchen on my deck? With the tap already in place (and looking rather messy with the hose pipe and drainpipe beside it) I began thinking about building a cabinet. It would fitted to the wall, beneath the tap and give me some space to store the hosepipe and sprinkler neatly away.

Plus, it would provide a handy surface and space for an outdoor sink – a mini kitchen, if you will. I could imagine it clearly, and I already had most of the materials needed: a couple of pallets, a scruffy old scaffold board, hinges and paint. I even had the plumbing supplies as my husband had found a sink waste pack in a skip!

So the only thing I didn’t already have to hand was an outdoor sink. So I went on the hunt for something suitable. I remember seeing a lot of butler sinks in gardens when I was younger, albeit being using as a planters. But it got me thinking and I decided to look for a ceramic sink for my outdoor kitchen.

If you can’t go for something a little different outdoors, when can you eh? I decided to go for a fun option and I found my dream rainbow basin on the Lovasi website. The black outside of the bowl matches the accessories in my cosy garden corner, the painted sheds and the bench cushions. I love a bit of monochrome!

But it’s inside the basin where the party is really at. There’s a vibrant sweep of rainbow colours around the bowl and it looks fabulous! I was so excited when I unwrapped the delivery and saw the colours for the first time – they are so vivid and really add some energy and excitement to the design.

With the sink as the feature of my outdoor kitchen unit, I decided to go for a more muted colour on the cabinet. Again, I used the leftover grey garden paint from my scaffold board benches project to give the pallet wood a subtle wash of colour to contrast with the worktop.

For the worktop I put together two scaffold boards and sanded down the extremely rough edges until they resembled driftwood. It took a lot of sanding, I can tell you! But it was worth it as the wood look so lovely now and feels really smooth.

I decided to give it a coat of wax to seal it before adding it to the top of the cabinet and, I later found out, this made it more water resistant – which is very handy for a kitchen “worktop”.

The cabinet frame was made from the thicker pallet supports and the cladding is the thinner planks of timber from the top of the pallet. We added a couple of hinges and magnetic closures to create a door and screwed the worktop onto the frame from underneath so that you can’t see any screws.

We used an adhesive to attach the ceramic basin to the worktop and plumbed in the sink in the same way that you’d install an indoor basin. I was so excited to turn the tap on and see if it all worked…

Thankfully, all the plumbing worked perfectly and now I have a gorgeous outdoor ‘kitchen’ on my deck. There’s space either side of the basin and I’ve already been imagining how cool the sink would look filled with ice and beers!

Plus, now all my messy hose pipe reel and accessories has somewhere to be tidied away after we’ve watered the garden. Since taking these photos I’ve also wheeled our mini barbecue over beside the sink unit, so it’s looking very much like an alfresco kitchen now!

What do you think of my little outdoor kitchen and basin? Let me know in the comments below and I’d love to hear if you’ve got something similar in your own garden πŸ™‚


Some items in this blog post have been gifted to me and the pink links indicate a gifted product, affiliate link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience πŸ™‚


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

4 thoughts on “My thrifty garden landscaping project: How to install an outdoor kitchen

  1. Haha go for it Ellen! Let me know how you get on with your ‘outdoor kitchen’ project – I’d love to see photos when you’re done! πŸ™‚

  2. Looks brilliant!! Can’t wait to get started on my own projects in our next Southern Hemisphere summer πŸ™‚ I think I might steal this idea if you don’t mind πŸ˜‰

  3. Wow this is amazing! It looks really good and also how pretty is the sink? I’d never have thought on putting a sink into the garden. You have done a brilliant job

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