Designing an Outdoor Kitchen and Barbeque Area
It’s the quintessential Australian home design. A deluxe living space that has all the mod cons of your inside home, but outside. While a coal barbecue will always have a space in the heart of Australians, the art of barbequing and outdoor living has long surpassed sweating under a sunshade and battling the elements in pursuit of the perfect steak.
These days, outdoor living spaces are often as high, if not higher, on the list of must haves for renovators and home buyers looking for a great lifestyle balance. How can you say no to kicking back outside with a cool drink, enjoying the summer breeze and late evening light and cooking up a storm with your family and friends? Versatile, relaxing and full of fresh air, an outdoor kitchen has the ability to change your lifestyle. With so many factors to consider in creating the perfect outdoor kitchen space, where do you start in creating a design that not only works for you not but in the not too distant future.
- Get Clear on Your Functionality
Beyond the obvious of cooking outdoors, being realistic about how you will use the space is important. Do you just want somewhere undercover to cook comfortably? Or are you a passionate entertainer looking for somewhere to host? Knowing how much time you will realistically spend in your outdoor area, and how many people you need to accommodate, will determine the quality of the space. It will affect the size of your barbeque and kitchen appliances, type of lighting, heating and cooling options and the types of outdoor furniture or building features such as benches that will be required.
- Plan Your Space
Once you know the type of area you are creating, you can plan your space. There are a few key considerations to tick off when planning your space, including
- Location: how far away from the main home is it, and is the distance between your outdoor kitchen and indoor space covered? You want to be able to use your outdoor kitchen all year round, so make sure you can avoid trekking through the rain to get to your barbeque.
- Choose your items: are you happy with a good barbeque? Or do you want a fully functioning kitchen complete with a wood fire oven and smoker? Know what cooking hardware you want to incorporate so you can design an efficient workspace, maximise your workflow and create a safe space.
- Use kitchen principals: ergonomic kitchen design hinges on a good work triangle – this is the space between the cooktop, fridge and sink. Depending on your outdoor kitchen functionality you might have all of these elements, or just the barbeque and sink, but regardless, using the same work triangle principles is essential for creating a good flow.
- Set out your zones: outdoor kitchens tend to have more zones than their indoor counterparts.
- Hot zones will incorporate smokers, cooktops, pizza ovens, barbeques and rotisserie.
- Cold zones include outdoor fridges, freezers and beverage centres.
- Wet zones include outdoor eskies or beverage tubs, ice makers and sinks.
- Prep zones are made up of your storage areas, bench tops and service areas.
- Be Savvy with Your Materials
By their very nature outdoor kitchens will inevitably be ravaged by the elements at some point. Choosing hardwearing materials for benchtops, appliances, furniture and shading is essential to make sure your outdoor kitchen area does not succumb to the harsh sun and wet weather. Engineered stone and stainless steel make excellent benchtops for outdoor spaces as they are non-absorbent and durable under the sun.
- Choose Your Mod Cons
Creating a truly comfortable space will inevitably involve compensating for climate extremes. Ceiling fans are usually the best option for some extra cooling during the hot summer months, while fire pits or gas heaters are the go to for winter. There is a huge range of designer fire pits and integrated heating solutions that ensure you can enjoy your outdoor kitchen all year round.
There is also a huge range of technology that will enhance the quality of your outdoor areas and give you instant entertainer credit.
- Make it Low Maintenance
It’s easy to get carried away in your outdoor kitchen designs, but making sure it’s as low maintenance as possible has major benefits. While you might be doing your cooking and entertaining outside, you will inevitably end up using both kitchens to some degree, so making sure your clean-up is minimal means you are likely to use it more.
Above all, create a space you want to spend time in, will work for your household and add some magic to your lifestyle.