Knowing how Australians love the outdoors — and barbecuing — the outdoor kitchen is one of the fastest growing lifestyle trends. An outdoor kitchen centralises every aspect of entertaining: the cooking, eating, and fun is all had in the one space outside - not to mention this makes cleaning up a breeze and best of all, cooking smells stay outside!
Entertaining is not just done on living rooms and patios. In today's practices, when most rooms are multi-functional due to the lack and prime cost of space, entertaining in the kitchen is has not only become normal, but also somewhat amusingly clever! Entertain year-round and be the host with the most, check out these designing tips for the perfect outdoor kitchen.
Plan your design
Know exactly how much you have to spend including labour costs if you get a professional company to install it, and the cost of all the appliances and hardware like tapware, storage and even your lights. Leave a little extra as a buffer for the few hidden costs that you’ll need that you weren't aware of. More importantly, stick to your budget — it’s easy to get carried away. To avoid having a half-fabulous, half-finished kitchen, stick to your plan.
Make a visual note of your kitchen design, then work out what you can afford and what can fit in the allocated space. Think about how you entertain and the type of food you like to eat. Would you get use out of a rotisserie, a wok burner, or an oven?
Would you need a wash area in your outdoor kitchen? Should a typical white sink or a wooden basin provide more of an outdoor look? Think about whether you’d like gas burners so you can cook side dishes such as vegetables. Aside from the cooking, also think of aesthetic order - remember the way you manage your kitchen shows a lot about you. Do you have cluttered counter tops or are you the type that has everything neatly tucked in pull out pantries? Does your drawer resemble spaghetti or do you have everything neatly tucked in a drawer organiser?
Once you know what you've got to work with in terms of finances, measure the available space in your backyard. Essentially, the more space you have, the fancier it can get, but you don’t need a lot of room to do it well.
It’s important to think very carefully about how much room you want the outdoor kitchen to take up; if space is limited in your yard you’ll need to exercise restraint or there’ll be no room to sit and relax or do anything else. You’ll need to find the right balance between a kitchen that will meet your needs and retaining enough space for entertaining. When you’re doing your measurements and planning, don’t forget to allow enough room for outdoor furniture such as lounges and a dining table so you have somewhere to sit and eat.
Cover your heads
Your outdoor kitchen needs to be completely covered and weatherproof. This can mean positioning it under an existing permanent roof (such as a verandah), having a roofing extension built, or even erecting a pergola-type structure. If building a pergola, it will need a solid roof. Another option is a retractable sail or awning that can be pulled back during fine weather and extended when it’s rainy or when the outdoor kitchen isn't being used.
Side protection is also important, if your outdoor room don’t have solid walls to protect the kitchen, you can always plant a dense hedge or erect a screen to keep wind and rain from entering at the sides.
With simple additions like heating and fans (ceiling fans or free-standing), the area can truly be used throughout the year, regardless of the weather.
Plan your Space and sitting Space
Where will your guests be seated and where will they eat? Bench space is an important design consideration, particularly if you plan for your guests to sit around the bench to eat.
The layout of your outdoor kitchen should provide for room to eat, whether it’s a space for a dining table or simply bar stools set around the outside of the benches. If space is at a prime, a galley-style kitchen is ideal or an L-shaped bench design. Larger areas are great for U-shaped layouts and can incorporate an island bench with cupboard space underneath.
Remember to consider the distance from the inside kitchen to the outside kitchen and will determine whether you need to incorporate extra storage, refrigeration, or washing-up facilities.
You will need a qualified plumber and electrician for all connections to your outdoor kitchen. When it comes to gas you’ll also need to identify which gas supply you will be using so that you can purchase appliances accordingly.