10 Outdoor Sink Ideas That Are Such a Functional Addition for a Yard, But So Good-Looking, Too

These design ideas are proof outdoor sinks are pretty as well as practical. Here's how the experts are designing them into their contemporary backyard spaces

outdoor sink ideas; outdoor kitchen with outdoor sink by Lundhs
(Image credit: Lundhs)

Not only does an outdoor sink transform the practical side of your outdoor kitchen ten-fold, it can also be a design feature that elevates its aesthetic.

'Your outdoor space is additional real estate, so a sink outside helps make your value, emotionally and financially, increase,' says Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. 'And that's an overall win!'

If you're planning an outdoor kitchen for your yard, there are some good reasons that a sink is indispensable, and once you factor in how much of a beautiful detail they can be too, it'll soon creep up your list of new essentials for your outdoor space.

10 ways to add an outdoor sink to your yard

'Outdoor sinks can be a practical addition to backyards, offering homeowners a convenient location for food preparation,' says Hege Lundh, who works for contemporary stone brand Lundhs, which is often used for outdoor kitchen countertops and sinks. 'They're also useful for gardening and landscaping tasks, and prevent the need to traipse in and out, which can cause additional mess to the house.

'What's more, outdoor sinks are useful for pet owners, offering a dedicated space for grooming,' Hege adds.

Thinking about installing an outdoor sink? Our experts share why you won't regret it and their top tips on what to choose below.

1. Set Up a Social Hub

outdoor sink and bar area by Garden House Designs

(Image credit: Garden House Designs)

The kitchen is the cornerstone of the home inside, and your outdoor kitchen serves the same purpose: a place to gather, socialize, and entertain while simultaneously prepping and creating.

Making the outdoor sink part of the social set-up means you don't have to leave your guests unattended while you prepare and cook food. It also makes entertaining a more pleasant role for the host as you won't have to traipse in and out of the house multiple times during an al fresco lunch or dinner.

'An outdoor sink is a very practical addition to the backyard because once you're outside, you want to enjoy it,' confirms Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. 'Not having one means you'd have to go inside and wash things or prep indoors and miss out on all the action, fun and conversations going on outside.

'Plus, if you have young kids, it's nicer to stay outside while keeping an eye on them, just like you would inside. So schlepping in and out isn't a hassle anymore.'

2. Create the perfect prep space

outdoor kitchen and sink with olive tree by Cucine

(Image credit: Cucine)

Hosting can sometimes feel a little stressful if you don't have enough space to prep, wash and cook your culinary delights.

An outdoor sink space (as above) can be a very practical addition even if it's not part of a full outdoor kitchen.

It means you can take all your ingredients outside and stay in one spot while you whip up a salad for the BBQ, whether it's for guests or just a family dinner.

3. Add a Pop of Color

outdoor kitchen with green cabinets

(Image credit: Cucine)

'Form should always follow function, but that doesn't mean function is the consideration first and foremost,' says Linda Hayslett.

She continues: 'Outdoor living style has really been overlooked in the past because of the lack of thought when it comes to form, but there are better and newer designs, products and materials that can help shape your outdoor space to be more usable, comfortable, colorful and accessible —more than just in the hot summer months for barbecuing.'

Adding cabinet shelving below your sink doesn't have to be a purely practical touch. Throw in a pop of color to add a warm, inviting, vibrant feel to your outdoor living room.

Linda adds: 'Finishes such as different metals that are powder coated can make the outdoors feel more interesting, relaxing and inviting, offering a better vibe to come outside instead of staying indoors or going to the neighbor's for those summer festivities.'

4. Embrace Weather-Resistant Materials

outdoor kitchen ideas with stone worktops

(Image credit: Lundhs / Morten Rakke)

Just like with your outdoor furniture ideas, the material of your outdoor sink needs to be well considered and able to stand up to the elements.

Stainless steel is always a good idea thanks to its quality, heat and water-resistance, and its ability to maintain a sleek appearance over time.

Other great options are composite materials or natural stone (as seen above). 'Some good materials to choose are ones that you see out in nature, because if nature made it than they will most definitely be able to handle the weather,' explains Linda Hayslett.

'So materials that not only hold up but bring texture and uniqueness because they are one of a kind will add extra style.'

She continues: 'Other materials such as concrete, powder coated metal, and man-made products such as Dekton, are great ways to have an outdoor space that lasts long in sun, rain, or snow. They've been tested, used over the years and researched to withstand what Mother Nature has to offer, therefore, you can't go wrong with well tested materials.'

Hege Lundh agrees that natural stone is always a good choice. She comments: 'In terms of materials, opt for a natural stone which is able to withstand anything from heavy rain and freezing temperatures to strong UV rays.

'Its extremely low absorption quality makes it the ideal option for outdoor sinks. It is also super low maintenance when it comes to cleaning, with water and soap being enough to keep the materials looking as good as new.

'This quality makes it perfect for use on food prep areas and statement sink designs.'

5. Mix upscale materials for an elevated aesthetic

outdoor kitchen with marble countertop and wooden cabinets

(Image credit: MyFace)

When considering outdoor kitchen materials, do dare to mix upscale choices for a design-smart finish.

The elegant outdoor kitchen above by MyFace shows how you can create an elevated look outside in the same way you can on the inside of your home. The marble adds a touch of timeless elegance, and the stainless steel components are durable as well as sleek.

'Your outdoor space is another room or home, so treat it as such,' says Linda Hayslett. 'It can be the 2nd heart of the home with just as great layouts, appliances, furniture and finishes.

'The only difference is to be mindful of materials and what your year-round weather is like. But even in cold weather, outdoors can be a place to gather if you have the right pieces in place.'

Linda Hayslett
Linda Hayslett

Linda Hayslett is a west coast designer, known for bringing laidback style to her interior schemes. However, she's also designed some of our favorite every outdoor kitchen spaces we've featured, too.

6. Don't forget about storage 

outdoor kitchen by LH Designs

(Image credit: LH. Designs/Lauren Taylor)

'Just like a kitchen indoors, you should always think about storage, cabinetry, flatware and tableware, and food products,' suggests Linda.

'The outdoor kitchen isn't just a BBQ for only those summer occasions anymore. It's a area that gives you more open space to play without damaging things. Kids, friends and family can run around or jump in a pool while you're hanging out and/or prepping things at the sink.

'If you're indoors, you're not able to have that experience. So, creating a space where you don't have to go in and out constantly while barbecuing and chilling outside means having the same amount of storage as your indoor kitchen.'

So what kitchen storage should we be including outdoors? Linda adds: 'Sink, upper cabinets or open shelving for pots and plateware, having a fridge and/or freezer, drawers for utensils and smart organization for cookware are all considerations needed to have a great functioning outdoor kitchen.'

7. And remember to style it up

outdoor kitchen with outdoor sink by Lundhs

(Image credit: Lundhs)

Fancy soaps, vases, potted plants, pretty baskets, stylish trays, tasteful tea towels - add all the things you'd use to pretty up the sink space in your home. The result? A welcoming space that feels design-fresh and alluring to spend time in.

'Most indoor kitchens have a sponge, dishwashing liquid, a group of spoons for cooking and sometimes a nice candle,' says Linda Hayslett. 'But outdoor kitchens never get the same attention.

'You have to clean and function around an outdoor space just like an indoor space. So having the same items by an outdoor sink should be no different. There are fun, cute matching items that can be styled by the sink outside that function just as well when in use.'

8. Integrate a sink as part of a full outdoor kitchen

outdoor kitchen on apartment terrace in the city by LH Designs

(Image credit: LH. Designs/Lauren Taylor)

With more of us working from home than ever, the trend for maximizing the square footage in our homes is only gathering pace.

And outdoor living rooms and kitchens are a key part of the space-smart revolution. While some of us are opting for simpler set-ups that might include a countertop space, sink and pizza oven or grill, others taking the opportunity to create an entire second kitchen on the terrace, decking, garden or balcony area.

Take inspiration from the beautiful space brought to life by LH. Designs (above), and include an oven, dishwasher, pendant lighting, and a kitchen table - along with an outdoor sink, of course - for the ultimate outdoor entertaining area that really optimizes your space.

9. Make the most of an unused corner

outdoor kitchen and sink by Fantin

(Image credit: Fantin)

However, don't feel like you have to go the whole hog and create a full outdoor kitchen to get the benefits from an outdoor sink.

An unloved or unused outdoor corner can be turned into a super practical space with the addition of an outdoor sink and unit. A dog washing station (that can also be used for the kids) after a muddy walk before entering the house, or simply somewhere to prep for a BBQ without creating extra mess inside.

10. Pop an outdoor sink in a pool house

pool cabana in backyard by Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture

(Image credit: Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture)

Of you're lucky enough to have a pool and pool house, an outdoor sink in the area will be a really helpful addition.

Whether you're washing food and cutlery or using it for garden chores, a sink will make outdoor life easier.

Joseph Richardson, of Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture, explains: 'Homeowners should consider incorporating an additional water source, like an outdoor sink, to their next pool house project.

'Sinks add convenience to everyday chores as they be used in a variety of ways! Of course, a sink can be useful when enjoying meals al fresco, but it can also be helpful to clean pool toys, or watering outdoor plants. Having an additional water source will come in handy for a variety of outdoor projects.'

Pool house with outdoor kitchen and outdoor sink by Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture

(Image credit: Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture)


What Can I Use for an Outdoor Sink?

You can use an indoor sink for an outdoor sink but just be mindful of the material you are choosing.

An outdoor sink needs to weather and UV-resistant to ensure longevity of the product and to make sure you're not spending extra money or reinstalling and plumbing costs.

outdoor kitchen with outdoor sink by Kate Anne Designs

(Image credit: Kate Anne Designs/Jeffrey Brian Riemer)

What Kind Of Sink Is Best For Outside?

Stainless steel is a brilliant choice for an outdoor sink as it's UV and stain-resistant as well as being resistant to rust and corrosion. It's ideal for withstanding incremental weather as well as the rays of sun on those beautiful sunny days.

Another great option is natural stone, which can withstand the effects of extreme temperatures as well as being easy to clean and maintain.

In terms of style, a flushmount sink (one that sits within the countertop), is a clean-lined, easy-to-maintain choice for a modern outdoor kitchen, while a pedestal style, one that sits atop the counter, is a stylish option for a feature sink that becomes a design focal point.

'A one-of-a-kind stone made into a pedestal sink outside would offer style and function at the same time, and make a centerpiece of the sink itself,' says Linda Hayslett.

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.