Have you ever looked through the pages of interior glossies and lusted after the impeccable Outdoor kitchen on offer? Yes, us too.
But creating the perfect alfresco dining space doesn't have to be reserved for show homes and warmer climates. By following some simple design advice, you too can create a versatile outdoor space, which – even in the UK - can be used all year round...
Plan it out
You wouldn't start an indoor kitchen renovation without first having a fool-proof plan, so why would an outdoor one be any different?
A clever design will make your cooking experience much more enjoyable, so think about your cooking style and the space you need. If you’ll be catering to a large group of people account for this, as bigger meals will require more prep space and a more spacious seating area. However, if you only have a handful of people to cater for, it would be better to have a cosier kitchen and save more space for greenery in your garden.
To weather the elements, you need to think about the materials you use in your outdoor kitchen. Check they are suitable for outdoor use, being UV-stable, durable, flame-proof and frost-proof.
You should also consider orientation. The prevailing winds in the UK are west or south-westerly, so position your cooking area or grill so smoke blows away from the seating area.
Make a centre-piece
The focal point of any outdoor kitchen needs to be your cooking source. Whether it’s a top of the range BBQ, a pizza oven or an old-school charcoal grill this is the going to be the heart of your kitchen.
Knowing what you’d like to cook will help you choose the right piece of equipment and prevent you from buying something you won’t use. The more you can customise your kitchen design, the better.
Make a statement and help make the kitchen a versatile space all year around by setting up a chimenea, patio heater or fire pit to provide heat even in winter or chilly evenings.
A sink is an essential component for an outdoor kitchen, as it is inside your home. However, your outdoor sink needs to be weather-proof. Ideally, choose a sink made from 316-grade stainless steel, or alternatively you could use a ceramic sink. The tap also needs to be hardwearing, made from solid steel to prevent rusting
A fridge is a must-have for keeping the food fresh and the drinks cold. There’s plenty of outdoor fridges on the market to choose from, so you can find the one which suits your needs best. To make the cocktails even colder, you could even invest in an ice-machine.
Keep energy efficiency in mind and turn off the gas and electric appliances when the kitchen is not in use. If you’ve got an outdoor sink, make sure the supply lines are drained to avoid pipes bursting.
Cover it up
The Great British weather can be an unpredictable beast, so to ensure your perfectly cultivated outdoor kitchen is fit for use all year round, it may be a good idea to install a cover over the area.
A natural wood shelter will blend into a garden environment well and get better with age. This will also be resistant to rot, decay and insects if treated and maintained well. However, it’s essential to ensure you maintain adequate ventilation in all covered areas. A builder will be able to advise on this if you are unsure.
While the kitchen may be a mini-mecca, it’s still outside. It’s a good idea to invest in custom-made covers to keep appliances, worktops and equipment protected when the kitchen isn’t in use.