Why move your kitchen outdoors?
- Credit: Archant
Promotional feature: Why should homeowners install an outdoor kitchen, and what considerations should they make beforehand? Outdoor Kitchens & Decking Ltd explain
Outdoor living is a rapidly growing lifestyle phenomenon, often reflected in RHS garden shows such as Chelsea and Hampton Court. Many homeowners search for lifestyle products to make their homes more comfortable and aesthetically appealing. And today, it’s as true outdoors as it is in.
An Outdoor Kitchen can provide a complete social area where family and friends can relax and enjoy outdoor life from early in the spring to late autumn. Cooking for friends and family is how we entertain inside, so the outdoor kitchen is the next logical step.
Cooking on gas
Charcoal was always the traditional method of outdoor cooking, but gas is now in favour, probably because it is cleaner and takes less preparation. Gas is also generally more controllable and instant.
Modern oven type outdoor burners will also accommodate charcoal trays which fit directly over the burners. This gives you the option of two cooking methods on one burner at the same time.
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Outdoor kitchens can be designed to fit into virtually any available area in your garden, but it’s important to think about where best to position your kitchen area. Factors to consider include:
• Will it be in a good relative position to the sun,
• Will it catch the wind,
• Is it in an ideal position to form a social area.
These decisions will also have a bearing on the design element of the kitchen area.
Design requirements for your outdoor kitchen are much the same principle as an indoor kitchen/diner.
A basic design could start with a simple brick or stone built unit, with granite or slate worktop, including a built in grill/oven unit with a stainless steel built in cupboard underneath for a gas bottle and storage. The minimum size for this type of construction would be approximately 1.500L x 0.750w x 0.900h
From this basic concept you could extend your design to suit your requirements; for example, you could specify an “L” shaped design with an extended 1 metre wide breakfast bar complete with stools. The worktop could be split level with a raised front level for dining and drinks and a lower surface for food preparation. This can look stunning and will be a magnet for friends and family who wish to treat meal times as social occasion.
There are endless stainless steel inset appliances available to incorporate into your worktops, such as gas rings and infrared searing burners for steaks and fish. There are also various base units to consider, such as cupboards, multi tier drawer units, and recycling bins.
Depending on the available worktop area, an inset sink with hot & cold water and an inset ice bucket could be invaluable if you are hosting a large gathering, especially if you are some distance from the house. All outdoor appliances such as wine coolers and fridges must be outdoor rated and certified.
The introduction of an overhanging roof or canopy into your design would be the icing on the cake; this would give a certain degree of weather protection, especially if you choose to have a breakfast bar design with seating.
Lighting, heating, music and indeed television for those grand sporting occasions would complete the setting for a truly social entertainment area.
In order to achieve longevity of construction with minimal maintenance, the building method and materials should be comparable to that of accepted house building standards.
Many websites, especially those in the US, provide preformed kitchen structures using timber or sheet materials. However, most of these forms of construction are not compatible for long term use within the UK climate.
Base walls can be constructed on a damp-proof course using reconstructed or natural materials, such as stone or brick. A contrasting look could be achieved by using concrete block covered with either solid porcelain tiles or a coloured rendering such as k-rend.co.uk to the face of the working area,
Granite worktops will add beauty, class and style to your kitchen, and with the variety of granite styles you’re sure to find a style that will compliment your chosen base material.
Take time to visit the supplier and choose from a full size slab (approx 3mt x 2.mt) rather than a sample (approx 10cm sq) which rarely gives an accurate indication of the overall finished product.
Be very clear to your supplier that the granite is for outdoor use; a large proportion of granite used for indoor installations is excessively filled, and if used outside for long periods could rapidly deteriorate.
The roof construction will depend on the design and materials of your kitchen area. A powder coated aluminium frame covered with slightly tinted glass will achieve a minimal, contemporary appearance, and the framework work can be any colour you choose.
If you opt for a traditional design, then a more substantial green oak frame, perhaps with cedar shingles would be more appropriate.
An outdoor kitchen area is an investment in your home and your lifestyle; as such it should compliment your home in both design and construction. The higher the level of comfort, the more inviting and enjoyable it will become.
For more about Outdoor Kitchens & Decking Ltd. visit their website.
Outdoor Kitchens & Decking Ltd
Unit E&F, The Old Brickyard