I’ve previously talked about the importance of outside space and making it more of a living area. There has been definite trend for creating more of an extra room from  our gardens. We’ve seen developments from outdoor bars to cinema areas and we’ve definitely been upping the ante when it comes to seating areas. Our outdoor space has become more of an entertaining and socialising area so perhaps it’s no big surprise to see a further development namely the outdoor kitchen so I thought in this blog I would offer some tips on what elements you could include for an outdoor kitchen/ diner. 

Cooking

Image of an outdoor kitchen on a decked area. It is backed by a low white painted wall. The central element is a barbeque with sink and prep area to either side

The ultimate is an actual mini kitchen with cooking area, prep space and sink. This is definitely one for the serious chef. The most flexible designs come in modular forms which allow you to incorporate different elements according to what you require or the space available. You can include storage, space for the logs and a fridge.

BBQ

Image of an egg shaped barbeque which is on wheels. It is positioned on a patio next to a bistro style table and chairs

If you don’t have the space or budget for an actual outdoor kitchen, there is no doubt that we all enjoy a barbecue. This can range from the small portable drum style that can fit in small spaces such as a balcony or small patio to large gas barbecues. For smaller spaces the one below from Ikea enables you to add to the basic oven with a trolley for preparation and/ or a storage unit.

The kamado style egg shaped ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker epitomised by the Big Green Egg featured above has become a hit. It is a versatile cooking device capable of acting as a grill, oven, or smoker and can be free standing or incorporated in a modular kitchen. 

Image of a decked area showing a wooden trolley with barbeque on top. To one side is a separate small trolley with  worktop and shelf underneath. To the other is another unit with doors. All are on castors so cna be moved around.

Pizza Oven

Image of a pizza oven in the corner of a patio area under a timber roof. It is built from brick with a storage area for logs underneath

Aside from the barbecue there has been a huge interest in pizza ovens and these can range from small portable ones to built-in. So now, in addition to your traditional barbecue fare, you can also offer your guests home-made pizza!  Choose from a rustic style constructed from brick or clay or, if your property is modern and contemporary, go for a sleek style in stainless style.

Dining Furniture 

Image of an outdoor dining area  with wooden table with plank style top and rattan chairs

Rather than focus just on the kitchen aspect of an outdoor kitchen I want to expand slightly to talk about a kitchen dining space. With the actual dining furniture you need to consider the style of dining that you are likely to undertake most frequently, is it more formal events in the style of a dinner party or more relaxed informal gathering because this will be reflected in the style of furniture that you choose. If it’s the former then the style of furniture is more likely to reflect what you might have in your indoor dining area. If it’s more informal then the style of furniture is going to be more casual. For example, an upcycled wooden table and a mixture of chairs and/ or benches.

Dressing The Table

The way in which you will present your table will largely follow on from the style of furniture i.e. for formal dining You will have crisp linen, white crockery and perhaps crystal glasses. For the more relaxed approach your table covering might be a gingham, spotty or floral cloth or a simple table runner with mixed stoneware crockery and chunky glassware. For informal gatherings, as it’s summer, I like brightly coloured crockery that conjures up the spirit of far away places. Add plain glassware or pick out one of the colours in the crockery. This new collaboration between John Lewis and Waitrose called the Levantine range caught my eye. Have fun and go for a style that reflects your favourite holiday destination.

And Finally …

Given the unpredictable British weather, when planning your outdoor kitchen it’s as well to include some shelter. This is useful to keep off the rain but equally provides shade if the sun is shining. Don’t forget to include various types of lighting including fairy lights, lanterns and candles, greenery and some form of heat for later in the evening when it turns chilly.

Planning an outdoor kitchen but not sure where to start or what’s best for your outdoor space? Call me on 07745 876182. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North West and North Wales. Just needing inspiration? I offer an E – Design service.