How To Build BBQ Island Within A Reasonable Budget In 2021

Take advantage of the outdoor space for a house innovation via this article on how to build BBQ island.
Installing BBQ grill islands is an effective way to make use of the backyard. However, most people fear that their budget is not sufficient. That is why I will introduce inexpensive options with specific steps to build a BBQ island on your own.
You will gain an optimal amount of square-inch cooking and food storage, as well as separating food prep and grilling from socializing with a raised counter.

how to build bbq island featured

The Average Cost To Build A BBQ Island

Before deciding which outdoor kitchen island types and designs to build at home, I believe that budget-minded homeowners would like to learn further about the amount of money they will invest in.
The estimated cost for the general construction ranges from at least $5,000 to $12,000 of models with high-end features. It will cost you around $2,000 to $5,000 more to install the following appliances.
There are 2 popular options to choose from: a masonry or brick outdoor kitchen that will cost $400-600 per linear foot, and a prefab framework for your installation with a low budget of $300-500.
This is the average price range to acquire necessary components and install a grill island at home. Make sure you will not miss out on any relevant tools to complete constructing an outdoor cooking space without interruption.

Attractive DIY Outdoor BBQ Kitchen Inspirations

It is important to determine which outdoor kitchen styles to opt for before learning how to build BBQ island. These island grills with diverse extra features enable better adaptation to your cooking requirements.
Rather than spending too much on the kitchen installation expenses, you might want to splurge on quality ingredients instead. Take a look at these brilliant decoration ideas at a low price to construct your future kitchen.

1. Stone Covered Grill Island

stone covered grill island

Despite taking up more room than other models, a stone grill kitchen is recommended for household use. It is easy to build the kitchen on the weekend with the heavy work assisted by some friends.
The construction of this kitchen type is straightforward without professional help to minimize your budget. Its finishing look will include a stunning stone countertop, drawer, and cabinet (feel free to pick other materials!).

2. Outdoor Kitchen With Concrete Countertops

outdoor kitchen with concrete coutertops

A stainless steel or wooden BBQ island with countertops made out of concrete is the perfect combination for long-term outdoor use. This type of material ensures you have a weatherproof counter space that won’t crack or buckle over the years.
It does not require professional skill to build this countertop. Begin with some steel studs and build it up from there. To improve aesthetics for the concrete material, you might want to install a tempered glass inlay.

3. Outdoor Deck Kitchen

outdoor deck kitchen

If your backyard has already included a deck, build this kitchen right onto the deck for fantastic outdoor entertainment with anything you possibly need.
Of course, you can select whatever appliances you wish to include, such as extra storage cabinets and the type of finish (e.g., stainless steel). This variation is quite simple to build by yourself.
What if you do not have a deck to set the kitchen on? My solution is to build a small patio area instead, which is also an effortless project.

4. Pergola Outdoor Kitchen Bar

pergola outdoor kitchen bar

In contrast to common thinking that installing an outdoor kitchen bar with a pergola is challenging, this overhead add-on is not difficult to build, even for inexperienced users.
I feel that adding a pergola to your BBQ island can always bring a relaxing Caribbean vibe to the lawn. Besides, it is possible to place the pergola at the end of your deck or construct it in the form of a freestanding kitchen.

Popular BBQ Island Types

Here are the most popular BBQ island constructions for an enjoyable cooking time in the backyard. Consider each layout carefully to select the suitable type of grill for your long-term outdoor kitchen.


A portable BBQ kitchen is suitable for limited but multitask spaces that can switch from a cookout central one day to a garden hub another.
You can decide between a movable charcoal or gas grill with grates made of stainless steel or heavy-cast iron. Do not forget to add an easy-to-clean grease trap for a hassle-free clean-up afterward.
In my opinion, engineering a rolling cart with shelves for this BBQ island is a smart option for counter space and storage. To lower the risk of serving uncooked burgers, get a clip-on light for grills.
Value: $300 – $3,000


This model gains great popularity as an all-in-one choice for people with more available square footage and money to spend.
Its basic setup often involves a 5-foot grill island in stucco-clad style for the main construction. Apart from that, the package will contain a drop-in gas grill, doors for propane tank access, and a tile counter.
You can order the following accessories in individual pieces to support a prefab BBQ kitchen: LED lighting, granite countertops, and a small refrigerator to your advantage.
Value: $2,000 – $30,000


Many high-end grills on the market offer high-quality custom craftsmanship, regardless of being built by a handy homeowner or professional.
The wide range of built-in appliances on this fixed outdoor kitchen ensures that you will experience some of the most optimal counter space and food storage.
Since its style and material can match the surroundings through your customization, the BBQ island will deliver a high flexibility level.
You might want to purchase extensive lighting, in-ground utilities, a large layout, or a pergola roof for added convenience in use. However, remember that these extras will raise the overall building price.
Value: $3,000 – over $50,000

How To Build A Grilling Island At Home?

The main reason why people prefer installing an outdoor kitchen on their own at home is due to the versatile custom design for a DIY BBQ island at a minimum cost of labor and related appliances.
Without the need to check the price for professional help, here is how you can personally construct a cooking island. Always remember to equip yourself with the required tools, materials, and safety gear first.

Step 1: Get The Measurements

The first thing is to measure the base. Take the grill dimensions (depth and width), and do not forget about any extended extras at the back (e.g., gas lines). As you add 0.5 inches to each measurement, you will get the opening size of the grill.
You will want to measure the distance between the ground and its lid, then minus 2 inches for its countertop height.
Next, determine how wide and deep the BBQ island is in total. Multiplying the grill width by 3 is a good point to begin with since both sides will get equal countertop areas.
Take the depth of the grill and add 6.5 inches for the total depth.

Step 2: Build The Frame

man build the frame

I would recommend selecting a U-shaped top and base due to its ability to support freestanding kitchens and hold multiple appliances.
Frame these components for the island using the total dimensions of its depth, width, and grill opening you have just measured. Use studs and wood screws that are pressure-treated to frame each piece.

Step 3: Construct Surrounding Corners

Joining double pieces of 1×4 pressure-treated pine helps you form the grill’s vertical corners. You can pick between face-driven or pocket screws as desired since both variations will do their job.
In most cases, the countertop thickness is often about 1 to 1.5 inches. You will need to subtract 3.75 inches from the overall countertop height before adding this thickness to achieve the verticals’ lengths.

Step 4: Assemble Separated Parts

The best way to support the countertop is to attach a 1×4 edge band around the top frame. If you plan to add storage and operable doors to this island, think about sheeting plywood in the base frame.
Subsequently, use 4 wood screws to attach the grill top frame, base, and verticals to each corner. Turn the whole frame over to install each corner with furniture-leveling feet and add 2 more inches on its center across the back.

Step 5: Choose The Countertop Material

From my point of view, it is ideal to consult a local fabricator to know which type of material suits your needs the most.
Is it going to be granite, outdoor-rated ceramic tile, or concrete? Choose any material for your countertop that can put up with strong heat and different external elements well.
After selecting the material and establishing the lead time, you can template the grill island frame with 1 inch of the overhang around its perimeter. Also, make sure you take into account any extra cladding thickness.

Step 6: Install The Island Frame

Place the island frame into its final position and check the level. If you find the ground variance going beyond the maximum leveling feet range, add a plastic shim while adjusting the feet.

Step 7: Cap Frame With The Countertop

This step is about installing the countertop to the island and making sure the grill handy stays by your side if necessary to proceed with any adjustments to the top.

Step 8: Clad Exteriors

clad exteriors

You can clad the island face in a wide range of materials from metal, masonry to wood. In case you choose pine studs, cut them into thin strips, then use finish nails installed into the framing top and base.
From my perspective, installing another material like masonry might require you to take some sheathing for exterior cladding beforehand. As you go through this step, consider whether you need operable doors to store food and kitchen appliances and cutleries in the island base.

Step 9: Install The Grill

Finally, it is time to slide your portable grill into place but remember not to compress the exterior lines. The front of the grill should flush with the island face for better airflow movement at its back.

Why Should Your Island Stay Close To The House?

It largely depends on your house condition and preference to build an outdoor kitchen anywhere possible in the backyard. However, you might change your mind after knowing why you should locate this grilling island as close to the house as possible.

  • Reduced budget

Running utilities not too far from the house saves you many operating expenses to spend more money on food. This optimal placement is a budget-friendly option to eliminate extra costs.
Also, it is advisable to reduce your paving budget by installing a fixed deck or patio near the back door from the very start.

  • High convenience

You needn’t reach out for food and other supplies from across the yard if it is already close to the indoors. My tip is to locate this BBQ island at a safe distance of 15 to 20 feet from your original kitchen.
Moreover, seated guests around the island will feel more comfortable not having to face the intense sun rays in this outdoor environment.

  • Optimal shelter

Thanks to the provided zero-cost protection from the house’s walls, your outdoor kitchen will receive an optimal shelter. Based on what I know, you can avoid encountering the smokehouse effect under an overhang with the BBQ grill placed close to the roof’s perimeter.


In general, anyone can construct an outdoor kitchen if they follow each step in the how to build BBQ island guidance above.
This article is the best place to understand more about building costs, design plans, the main construction types, as well as safety reasons to place your island near the house. Thank you for reading.

Roger Lee
Roger Lee

Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Roger Lee, and I am a 30-year-old man with a hybrid blood of Chinese and Russian. I decided to set up this site to share with everyone my love and passion for open-air cuisine. It all started when my parents opened a restaurant and I had the chance of getting exposed to the art of outdoor cooking.
This website aims at sharing about my hobby, recipes, and tips for cooking to everyone. Try them out and tell me about your experience.