If you're a fan of alfresco dining, an outdoor kitchen can be an absolute lifesaver. Rather than trekking between the indoor kitchen and the outside dining space when preparing food and entertaining guests, you can do both at once, while having much more fun. An outdoor kitchen can also add a real touch of class and uniqueness to your backyard. So, what should you bear in mind when coming up with outdoor kitchen ideas? Other than the structural integrity of the kitchen, cool alfresco style is all about intertwining your own personal touches into your natural surroundings.
As any dedicated chef knows, the best meals are made with freshly grown ingredients. If you want to blow guests away with your culinary skills while ensuring that your outdoor kitchen is full of stunning decor, why not make your very own hanging baskets and fill them with homegrown produce? It doesn't have to be complicated — even old fruit bowls or colanders will look great when strung up and filled with attractive plants.
Depending on how often you make use of your outdoor kitchen, you're probably going to require lots of space to store your pots, pans, and utensils. If you're aiming for a rustic esthetic, repurpose old wooden drawers or shelves with a few simple sanding techniques and a layer of protective varnish. Those hoping for a modern can invest in sleek metal storage units to keep kitchenware safe, even when the elements are against you.
Alfresco dining does not have to mean compromising on your cutlery or glassware. Stock your outdoor kitchen with intricate knives, forks, spoons, and glasses to ensure that all of your party guests feel well looked-after. You could even buy a few champagne flutes if you’re planning on hosting some celebrations.
Some homeowners need nothing more than a grill big enough to make a few burgers and franks at a time when they’re hosting an outdoor party. If you’re vegetarian or prefer something a little more refined, however, you’re going to need a proper hob and oven. If you’ve yet to install your outdoor kitchen, do some research to find a cooker that suits your needs. There are countless options available from rustic but high-tech grills to full kitchen set-ups.
Making sure that you have plenty of ice-cold drinks to offer guests is probably the most important role of the party host. To save yourself endless trips inside during outdoor soirées, add a spacious fridge to your outdoor kitchen and fill it to the brim with beers, various wines, and plenty of soft drinks. You’ll get extra hosting points if it comes with a freezer compartment, that gives guests easy access to ice.
Don’t be afraid to let your kitchen blend into its surroundings. Adorn it with greenery to truly embrace the outdoor lifestyle. One of the easiest ways to achieve this look is to invest in a few big potted plants. If you’re feeling a little more daring, however, you can drape the kitchen with winding vines and even add small trees for a wild atmosphere.
Generally speaking, outdoor kitchens can be split into two types: simple outfits with steel, waterproof cooking equipment, and minimal roofing, and more complex layouts closer in appearance to indoor kitchens, with a roof to protect the less weather-safe items. If your outdoor kitchen falls into the latter category, it may be worth investing in a glass roof to embrace a greenhouse that allows you to feel close to nature while staying protected from the elements. If you have options for dining both beneath and away from the covering, you'll be all set for whatever the weather dishes out.
When preparing to create your dream outdoor kitchen, an obvious first step is deciding where on your property it's going to go. Logistically, the best place is right next to the house, as you can hook the electric devices up to the main wiring and will not have to set out on a trek every time you need something from inside the house. You may also find this arrangement makes it easier to protect your kitchen from the elements, either with an existing overhang or a prepared wall from which to build your extension.
If you’re going to be cooking humble dishes and enjoying barbecues in your outdoor kitchen, a brick and steel esthetic might work for you. One of the best things about a steel and brick outdoor kitchen is that they are made to withstand the elements and do not require overhead protection. What's more, they offer a subtle, minimalist look that will complement a contemporary home perfectly.
Although you will probably want to install mood lighting in your outdoor kitchen and dining spaces, it is vital that you are able to see clearly when handling hot food and utensils. For this reason, think about how best to install big lamps near cooking appliances and countertops. Remember — if they feel too bright and oppressive, they can always be switched off when the cooking is done, to be replaced by lanterns or fairy lights. But don't forego kitchen safety for ambiance!