Designing an Outdoor Kitchen and Barbeque Area
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. Versatile, relaxing and full of fresh air, an outdoor kitchen has the ability to change your lifestyle and help you to get more out of your home year-round.
With so many factors to consider in creating the perfect outdoor kitchen space, we’ve outlined some of the key points to consider when working with kitchen suppliers to create a design that will bring you and your family enjoyment for years to come.
Focus on functionality
In planning your new outdoor space, it’s easy to get led astray by inspiration magazines, shows or websites. But one of the most important considerations is how you want to use your space.
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 factors like:
- The size of your barbeque and appliances
- Type of lighting
- Heating and cooling options
- The types of outdoor furniture
- Any building features such as benches
Plan your space
Once you know the area you’re creating, you can begin to plan in more detail. 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 will the area between your outdoor kitchen and indoor space be covered? To use your outdoor kitchen all year round, so make sure you don’t have to trek 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? Incorporate the cooking hardware you want, so you can maximise your workflow and create a safe space.
Use kitchen principles: All kitchen suppliers will tell you that ergonomic kitchen design hinges on a good work triangle – the space between the cooktop, fridge and sink. Depending on your outdoor kitchen functionality, you might only have the barbeque and sink. 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.
Choosing hardwearing materials for benchtops, appliances, furniture and shading is essential to make sure your outdoor kitchen area doesn’t succumb to the harsh sun and wet weather.
Engineered stone and stainless steel make excellent benchtops for outdoor spaces, as they’re non-absorbent and durable under the sun.
Design for comfort
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. Kitchen suppliers now offer a huge range of designer fire pits and integrated heating solutions that ensure you can enjoy your outdoor kitchen all year round.
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.