8 outdoor sink ideas to keep garden mess out of the kitchen

Upgrade your barbecue area, wash your dogs and organise your potting station with these backyard basins.

No matter how hard you try, washing soily hands and rinsing mud from your tools is messy work. Really messy. That’s why we’ve found some stunning outdoor sink ideas that will keep your kitchen and bathroom basins mud free. (And will no doubt put an end to squabbling over who walked dirt through the house.) 

If you’re less green fingered, but love to dine outside, then we have outdoor sink ideas that can elevate a basic barbecue into an outdoor kitchen area, too. Moving some of the sink-based tasks to the garden means you’re not stuck in the kitchen. This removes the need for flustered to-ing and fro-ing while you entertain guests.

Let’s not forget our four-legged friends – outdoor sinks are hugely useful as feeding and cleaning stations too. If you’ve not got the luxury of space for a boot room, they can be a godsend after a muddy country walk. 

dry outdoor sink ideas set into a green potting benchCredit: Gardenesque
Buy this potting garden bench from Gardenesque for £249.99

From dry potting sinks to small handwashing stations to cocktail corners – we’ve got outdoor sink ideas that will appeal. It doesn’t matter how you spend your time in the garden, as there’s always a sink to suit.


1. Reclaim a stone sink

Give a garden extra and instant character

Outdoor sink ideas with reclaimed stoneCredit: Sylvan Studio / Christine Whatley

We love giving objects a second lease of life. Not only does it help reduce waste sent to landfill, and make use of items sitting somewhere unloved, but it adds a gorgeous aesthetic to our gardens. 

This reclaimed stone sink was added to a garden designed by Christine Whatley of Sylvan Studio. It allowed the owner to wash off vegetables freshly picked from the kitchen garden, which is where the sink was located. The stone sink was found at a local reclamation yard. Its pairing with a rustic wooden workbench and vintage tap is in keeping with the natural colour palette.  

The placement under a window is another useful outdoor sink idea, as the window helps to frame the basin. It echoes a common kitchen sink design that sees washing up stations placed by a window so you can gaze out dreamily while you work.  

2. Elevate your outdoor WC

A sophisticated sink inspired by a flowerpot

outdoor sink ideas with outside WC handwash basinCredit: Lime Lace

If you have WC in your garden – and some still remain from Victorian times, when many were built – then why not upgrade it with an outdoor basin? 

This Bak concrete sink from Lyon Beton has been inspired by the design of a flowerpot (how fitting for the garden!). Depending on its surroundings, the basin can be recessed, semi-recessed or sat upon the countertop.  

This charming design wouldn’t look out of place inside your home either. If you’re keen to tile around your outdoor sink, you may want to check out our pick of the top tiling trends. 

Featured product

The Bak concrete sink by Lyon Beton at Lime Lace

RRP: £395

3. Upcycle a butler’s sink

Ideal for a kitchen garden (or washing your dog!)

Outdoor sink idea with butler sink in walled kitchen gardenCredit: Amanda Patton Landscape & Garden Design

This is a good outdoor sink solution if you have a courtyard garden or walled space with an existing outside tap located on a wall. Simply add a Belfast or butler sink beneath to create an instant utility area with no need for additional plumbing work, if you collect the wastewater underneath. That was the case in this walled garden, designed by Amanda Patton. 

Patton told Exceptional that these heavy sinks are frost-proof and can be positioned beneath an outside tap, with discharged water collected in a bucket beneath for reuse in the beds. 

“They are especially useful within a kitchen garden for washing out plant pots, repotting key plants into larger pots or simply giving new plants a good soak before planting,” she explains. “It’s always better to stand pots in water rather than water from above.” 

Did you know? 

Belfast sinks are a useful size for washing smaller dogs in. No matter how much we adore our pooches, having a bathroom or kitchen splattered in mud after a particularly wet walk isn’t ideal. A friend of Exceptional uses a Belfast sink to contain this mess in the garden, and it’s perfect for the job. 

4. Avoid plumbing with a dry potting sink

No need for pipes or drainage

Potting bench with dry outdoor sink ideaCredit: B&Q

Does the thought of adding plumbing to your garden to make your outdoor sink idea a reality sound like too much work? 

Then perhaps a dry sink is for you. Outdoor dry sinks can be integrated into a potting station, like this one from B&Q. Everything you need to store, pot, prune and water can be kept in one handy place. It’s really useful if you don’t have a shed or greenhouse to make a mess in, while keeping the garden as tidy as possible.  

This dry sink can be lifted out of the unit, so you can gather tools, cuttings and soil as you work, then rinse them at a different basin indoors. Plus, extra workspace can be created when you don’t need the sink, by sliding the wooden countertops together. 

Featured product

Buy the Outsunny Garden Potting Bench Workstation Table w/ Sliding Tabletop & Dry Sink from B&Q

RRP: £59.99


5. Create a cocktail corner

Upgrade your al fresco entertainment

Outdoor sink ideas with bulter sink and egg barbecueCredit: Greencube Design

If you’re a keen al fresco entertainer, then this outdoor sink idea is for you. Created by Greencube Design, it’s the second butler sink in our list, and has a cold-water connection.  

This sink area could have many uses, as it’s placed near a barbecue in the full garden design, so can become a food prep station. But it could easily be used as a bar area. The cold tap can rinse glasses and cocktail shaker components, ready for the next fresh serve. You could even fill the sink full of ice and use it to keep drinks cool.  

Of course, as these outdoor sink ideas are so versatile, this one could also be used for simple gardening tasks, keeping the muddy mess outside and away from interiors. 

6. Mix up your materials

A tin basin is hardwearing

Wooden and tin outdoor sink ideasCredit: Shutterstock / stock_studio

This rustic, homemade outdoor sink idea uses a stainless-steel basin for its hardwearing qualities. Though there are three different materials used in a small space, the wood, tiles and steel don’t compete with each other. Just be aware that its placement in the garden could mean some parts wear faster than others. Perhaps seek out a weatherproof treatment for the wood.  

You could choose to have the basin plumbed in, or just have the tap plumbed. Then, fill the basin up as needed then lift and empty it down a drain, so it wouldn’t be attached to the unit. Again, this is a good option for washing fruit and vegetables, or washing dirty cups and plates after entertaining outside. 

7. Set a sink into granite

Reflect its surroundings

Outdoor kitchen with outdoor sink ideasCredit: Chiltern Garden Design / Nigel Proctor Photography

If you have an existing barbecue area, or you’re designing an outdoor kitchen, then you’ll want to include an outdoor sink.  

This basin, from Chiltern Garden Design, has been neatly mounted into a granite worktop. This is so shiny it beautifully reflects the laser cut panel designer Sam Proctor used as a backdrop to the space. The reflection makes the design feel cohesive, and the granite top is really easy to keep clean – ideal if you’ll also be potting the occasional plant here. 

Though the materials are weather resistant, to further protect the kitchen from the elements, the area was covered with a bioclimatic pergola. This can open and close depending on how much light and shelter is wanted beneath it.  

8. Use natural objects

Set it with stones

Outdoor sink idea with natural stones, vintage tap and mossCredit: Shutterstock / NICKY1841

This outdoor sink idea creates an ethereal garden straight from the set of The Lord of the Rings (if Middle Earth had modern plumbing).  

The natural stones have been virtually untouched before being set into the basin, and finished with a vintage faucet. The damp conditions and natural materials have created an ideal environment for moss to grow, which only adds to the magic.  

Of course, this might not be the best outdoor sink on our list for food prep. But it makes a wonderful hand-washing station. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a natural source of spring water on your land, it could always be plumbed in to extract that at source. 

How to choose the right material for your outdoor sink

Durability is key

No matter which outdoor sink idea appeals to you, style and function are meaningless if the basin isn’t made out of the right kind of material. 

“Outdoor sinks should be made of extra-durable materials that can withstand all weathers,” says Sam Proctor, owner and lead designer at Chiltern Garden Design. “This includes UV from the sun’s rays, moisture, freezing and thawing conditions.” 

Proctor explains that potential options include stainless steel, composite materials that look like stone or granite, or even copper (which is rust resistant, but will turn green over time).  

If your outdoor sink is out in the open without any kind of cover over it, Proctor says it would make sense to have a cover fitted so that it doesn’t fill with debris when not in use. 

“A wooden sink cover board can be made to fit and makes a handy chopping board,” she adds. 

Installing your outdoor sink

Things to remember 

Before choosing your style of outdoor sink, it’s useful to consider what you’ll be using it for, and where you plan on installing it in your garden. 

“Are you aiming to use it for outdoor events and barbecues, or is it for cleaning and day to day activities?” asks Trinity Owhe, design expert at Victorian Plumbing. “This will help you decide which style of outdoor sink you should install and where to install it.” 

Before purchasing an outdoor sink, Owhe notes it’s also important to consider where the water supply is. 

“Although you can divert your water supply so it’s accessible in the location you desire, this can be expensive and invasive work,” she says. “Working with the water access points already available will make your installation process quicker, cheaper and less stressful. 

“Drainage is also important to consider. If you aren’t planning on connecting your outdoor sink directly to the exterior of your house, you may not be able to connect your sink’s drainage to your home’s plumbing system,” Owhe adds.  

“Your other options are to have a bucket system in place for your sink to drain into. Or you can allow your outdoor sink to drain into your natural landscape.” 

Rosanna Spence

Written by Rosanna Spence she/her


Rosanna Spence has been a journalist for nearly 10 years, reporting on a huge array of topics – from microwaves to cocktails, sustainable buildings, the Caribbean islands and beyond. She’s interviewed chefs at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurants and chatted to countless CEOs about their businesses, as well as created travel guides for experienced travellers seeking life-changing adventures. Throughout her career, she has created content for Business Traveller, i-escape.com, Pub & Bar, BRITA, Dine Out and many more leading titles and brands.

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