Creating an outside space to cook and entertain is a growing trend for modern, luxury gardens. If you're considering an outdoor kitchen, here's 5 things you'll need to think about.
Image: Gaze Burvill
With entertaining at home more popular than ever, wheeling out a rusty barbecue once a year just won't cut it now when it comes to al fresco cooking.
Many homeowners are now looking to include outdoor kitchens where space allows, incorporating built-in appliances and prep space so that you can enjoy your outside space for as long as possible when the weather permits. If you're considering an outdoor kitchen as part of your garden renovation, here's some of the design ideas you'll need to think about to ensure it's functional as well as stylish.
Image: Life Outdoors
First things first, you'll need to decide on a location for your kitchen. If you have a large garden you want to make more of, the idea of located your outdoor entertaining space away from the main house may be attractive, however, there will be some practical considerations to keep in mind. A garden kitchen adjoined to your home can be just as good an idea, however, still offering the opportunity for alfresco dining without having to desert your guests for the kitchen all evening long.
Think about the orientation of your garden, whether that's the space which enjoys the sun from midday to evening, or questions over prevailing winds that might make outdoor cooking a little more tricky.
When it comes to the practical layout of your space, you can follow many of the same design rules for planning a kitchen. Think about how your kitchen is orientated in comparison to your dining space for example, to avoid you having your back to friends and family when cooking in the kitchen. An island can be a great addition for this reason.
Also think about functionality of your space, in regards to where you store, prep, cook and clean. Creating a 'work triangle' between stove, sink and fridge is the golden rule in a home kitchen, but you can adapt this to whatever features your outdoor kitchen includes.
Image: Bartholomew Landscapes
As well as creating a look you love, the capacity for materials to endure the weather should be high on the agenda for your outdoor kitchen. If you're working with a design specialist on your space, you can expect materials to be up to scratch for a typical English weather forecast. Concrete, brick, stone, ceramic and quartz make for brilliantly durable options, while treated, hardy woods can help to bring the natural edge to your kitchen so that it feels at home in a garden setting.
Appliances and fixtures
Largely, cooking appliances in the garden are focussed more on cooking styles that aren't usually incorporated in your inside kitchen. Think barbecues, smokers, pizza ovens, tandoori ovens and more. However, there are many outdoor kitchens, especially modular, pre-fabricated designs, which also includes traditional hob cooktops.
A fridge is great for outdoor entertaining, as it can be used for drinks as well as keeping food fresh in warmer weathers, but you'll need to consider whether your space will have an electricity connection.
Where possible, include a sink in your kitchen to avoid trailing dirty plates through the house back to the dishwasher.
Also think about storage (there can never be enough storage for outdoor seat cushions) and somewhere to put rubbish while you're using your outdoor kitchen.
Image: Unique Home Stays
If your outdoor kitchen is away from the main house, you'll have to think about what services need to be connected up to this garden space. If you have a fridge, or want better lighting options available to you, then electricity would need to be extended out to the garden kitchen. Many cooking appliances can be operated with propane cylinders, however, the initial outlay in cost in connecting up your gas mains may be worth it in the long run, especially if your outdoor space also features a gas firepit.
Protection from the elements
Image: IQ Glass
"Options for shelter include everything from simple timber pergolas to oak-framed barns and sail shades," explains Craig Ormiston, founder of Life Outdoors. This protection means that your furniture can stay dry during those unexpected summer downpours, and you can have more control over light and exterior temperature. "Modern louvred-roof pergolas are remote-controlled and come in any colour. They can have heating, lighting and a sound system installed."
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