Does my Outdoor Kitchen need a roof?

Covering your outdoor kitchen is a big decision that can significantly impact the cost, look, and timeframe of your project. There are some obvious advantages to doing so, and a number of reasons not to. 75% of our outdoor kitchens don’t end up covered. So of the 25% that do, why do they and what are the considerations?

Only 25% of Grillo outdoor kitchens end up under cover.

The cost of a typical metal louvred 3 x 5m pergola can range from £5,000 to £25,000.

Most people barbeque when it’s sunny. Many pergolas are simply for style or shade, not protection.



This will be the biggest factor for many. A typical metal louvred 3 x 5m pergola will cost roughly £5k to £25k depending on brand, or more if you require side-walls and other features. So you can easily end up spending more on the cover than you do on the kitchen. For some this is worth it, for others it’s not. If you really want a cover but can’t justify the outlay, consider a large garden parasol. In many cases they can be easily retrofitted should you decide one is needed.

Project with a garden parasol in Dorset

Groundworks & Timescales

Most pergolas require some sort of groundworks to secure them, and often an electrical connection. If you’re mid garden project and have a team of landscapers on already on site, this won’t be an issue. If you’re just looking for something to sit on your patio, your options may be more limited, and any groundworks could significantly delay your kitchen. It’s worth noting that some cover options can be fitted after your kitchen is installed – such as garden parasols, see the Cost section above.


Not all pergolas are covers. In fact, traditionally, a pergola was for style or shade, not protection from the elements. Many of our projects have the kitchen placed under a fixed wood or metal slatted pergola that offers some shade but no protection from the rain. Others have the pergola to one side for sitting under, and the kitchen uncovered. You may choose or reject a cover based simply on how it looks, and that’s okay.

Outdoor kitchen and Willow the dog in Horsham, West Sussex

All fired up, no place to go

Putting barbeques under any sort of cover comes with a few safety and practicality considerations. Barbeques produce smoke, and that smoke needs some place to go, preferably not forming a layer at about head-height. So you’ll need to consider the permeability and height of your cover, and ensure it’s something that is not easily smoke- or heat-damaged. And you must ensure any barbeque is not placed anywhere it may cause a fire risk. In particular, the open fire of the Chef’s Anvil generates significant heat, which could cause damage to timber or metal louvres alike.

Jerry’s story - hoover your louvres

Jerry went to a friend’s for an al fresco meal. An immaculately laid dining table under an immaculate pergola. Dinner is ready and beautifully presented, so the host rotates the louvres to allow some sunlight in, as though drawing back the curtains for the grand opening-night performance. Cue a cascade of winter’s debris onto the party below. Dirt, dead leaves, the full bug hotel, you name it. We’re not told what happened next, but the message is simple – if you have rotating louvres, you will need to keep them clean.

Be out when the sun’s out

What if it rains on my barbeque? Well, as the nursery rhyme says, we’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, whether we like it or not. But this isn’t strictly true. Mostly we only choose to head out for a barbeque when the sun’s shining – and if it’s raining, we stay inside.

How do you normally entertain?

For most people having a barbeque is a spontaneous decision based on the weather. But if you plan your parties further in the future than the MetOffice’s crystal ball can read, a cover could save the day. Especially if moving inside isn’t an option, see below.

A kitchen in a beautiful setting in Macclesfield

Sun or shade?

The British climate gets a lot of bad press, both at home and abroad. But this doesn’t stop us buying more convertible cars than any other country in Europe. When the sun shines, everyone wants to be outside. Not too hot, not too cold, everywhere’s green… The Med, America, Australia, India? In summer they can be too hot – great for a holiday, but not for everyday. In Australia, outdoor kitchen areas are often fully-enclosed and glazed so they can be air-conditioned. But the British climate is perfect for outdoor living.

Can the party move indoors?

If you have enough space inside, and your social events are fairly flexible, you may consider simply moving inside if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Ross’s story - pigeon problems

Ross’s timber frame pergola has proved immensely popular… with the local pigeon population, who seem to think it’s the perfect perching spot. His weekend job is now cleaning the pergola-shaped outline of pigeon droppings from his patio. Options are bird spikes (unsightly), air rifle (mind the greenhouse), or relying on the local sparrowhawk… Bear this challenge in mind when considering a pergola!

Does the kitchen need protecting from the elements?

No. Your Grillo outdoor kitchen is designed for outdoor use (!) and comes supplied with barbeque covers, so much like your car it will cope just fine with whatever the weather can throw at it. As with your car, if you keep it in the garage, it will need washing a bit less often, and is less likely to receive an unwanted present from a passing pigeon. But for most of us, pigeons and car washes are a fact of life, and the garage is more valuable as overflow parking for little-used belongings and detritus that won’t fit in the attic. So the car stays on the drive. For more info on caring for your kitchen see here.

A small urban kitchen in Chelsea, London

Are Grillo cabinets watertight?

The doors and rear fascia’s are not designed to seal completely. That said, the worktops are solid porcelain, so unless the weather’s really wild it will be fairly dry inside your cabinets. If you want to keep things in your cabinets year round, airtight plastic boxes are the way to go. Find more storage tips here.

English summer is beautiful. Project in Saffron Walden, Essex

In Summery

The most important thing is that you enjoy your kitchen. In summer, when the sun’s out, Britain is beautiful, and you’ll be enjoying your kitchen regardless of what you decide.

If you’re unsure, consider finding a pergola that can be retrofitted, then complete your project without it. You can then enjoy your garden, revisiting the cover question should you find you need one, and once you have a better idea of your requirements.

English summer is beautiful. Project in Saffron Walden, Essex

Ready to start building?

Head to our online shop to browse the pre-designed Vantage layouts, or to build your own!

Other helpful tips from our blog:

Do I Need To Fix My Kitchen Down?
11 Best Outdoor Kitchens
Caring for Your Grillo Kitchen