An outdoor kitchen is more than just a barbie and an Esky. Today’s outdoor kitchen comes complete with gas, electricity and running water. Creating your own outdoor kitchen is a big undertaking though and needs careful planning and consideration of a number of factors.
Your outdoor kitchen needs to be within easy reach of the house, because you will find yourself running in and out for different things. Unless you make your outdoor kitchen fully self-sufficient, with its own crockery, utensils, cookware, etc., being near the house is essential.
Before you begin designing your outdoor kitchen, you need to determine what purpose it is going to serve. Will it be basically a barbecue area, or do you plan to entertain large groups of friends? If the latter is the case, you need to think about kitchen/dining options and make sure you have sufficient room for both in your design.
The kinds of meals you like to cook will also determine the style of your outdoor kitchen. If homemade pizza is your specialty, you may want to include a pizza oven. If salads and stir-fries are your favourites, then plenty of bench space will be needed for preparation.
The type and quantities of meals you plan to cook will also dictate the kinds of appliances to include. A refrigerator is a must, unless you plan to keep running inside every five minutes, and so is a set of cook tops and an oven. You may want to go all out and include everything your current kitchen contains, such as a dishwasher, microwave and freezer. This will depend on your budget of course and it needs to be remembered that a lot of extra appliances will add to your energy bill as well.
Appliances such as stoves require special wiring and indeed, any wiring needed in your outdoor kitchen must be done by a qualified electrician. Your appliances also need to be installed in such a way as to be fully protected from the weather, so your outdoor kitchen may need to be viewed as an extension to your house, which would require professional construction and appropriate council approval.
If you plan to cook for large groups, then seating is obviously an important consideration. If you don’t plan to make your outdoor kitchen too large, then a long dining table with bench-style seating would be a good space-saving option. If the furniture is to be left out permanently, then it must be durable and weatherproof as well.
Eating outdoors can be very enjoyable, but the weather can never be relied upon, so covering your kitchen/dining area with retractable awnings allows you to take advantage of both sun and shade and also keep the rain and wind at bay. Awnings these days have strong, durable metal frames and their fabrics are tested and rated according to the Beaufort scale to ensure durability.
An outdoor kitchen is a great way to make the most of your backyard. If you enjoy cooking and entertaining, then it’s the perfect combination of practical comfort and al fresco freedom.