Outdoor kitchens are becoming a very popular addition to many homes. Mint Kitchen Group asked our experts for their best tips and advice on how you can have the perfect outdoor entertaining space.
Outdoor kitchens are a wonderful addition to any home and when designed correctly can certainly increase the amount of time you utilise your outdoor space. Even though they are outside, the same design considerations popular to home kitchens come into effect.
The first thing to consider is the space. Are you extending your existing entertaining area outside, or building a completely new space for your new outdoor kitchen? The area will need to work in sync with the existing features, as it would inside your home. Think about dining areas, pool areas, play areas. Remember that you are designing an outdoor room, not just a kitchen nook, and flow is important to ensure it works as envisioned.
Gas, electricity, and water will also affect where you can easily put things, particularly in terms of budget. Once you have a clear picture of where you want the kitchen to be, you can start to develop a focal board for all your wonderful ideas.
Searching the internet for inspiration is a great place to start. Use an online service or print out and stick all your wonderful plans on a visual board to help you zone in on exactly what features you wish to have and the feel you want to create. Visualisation boards are great tool as you can remove and add as your project idea evolves. Once you have a good clear plan of what you want, you can start shopping and planning your budget for all your needed accessories.
Consider utilising a corner in your space so you can easily navigate your outdoor kitchen. Like with all kitchens you will need a cold area, sink zone, prep areas, storage and cooking grills hotplates, and cooktops. Don’t forget the storage! Taking the time to carefully plan the space is vital for a successful project.
The Outdoor Experience
The only main difference between an indoor kitchen and an outdoor kitchen is the weather and exposure. Shelter is paramount to protect your area from the weather when the kitchen is not being used. Good shelter that comes in the form of man-made structures or ones that combine both natural shelter and man-made are perfect. Many also consider drop-down plastic walls that can protect against the wind or a hint of rain interfering with your entertainment. This will also extend the amount of time you can use your outdoor entertaining area. Consider awnings, rain shelter, pergolas, and even outdoor heating systems.
The materials you chose to utilise also need consideration. Natural stone will need to be resealed often to prevent damage from the elements. Some products are simply not suitable for the outside design or will need a lot of maintenance and protection to keep them looking great. Make sure you work with a reputable kitchen designer and talk to them about the materials and products they recommend, and that they are rated for outdoor use.
Another good tip is to consider the relationship between the indoor kitchen and the outdoor kitchen. If you are entertaining a large group these areas will be working in sync with each other. If so, think about how these two spaces can flow together and the type of traffic they will have between each other during busy times. It may be as simple as adding in a sliding window or ensuring there is enough room to walk between the two spaces. This could change where you position your outdoor kitchen. Professional advice can certainly help with this aspect and more. Installing the kitchen closer to your indoor kitchen is a good plan if it works. It will allow a good even flow when entertaining and not see you running back and forth between the two spaces.
All About the Experience
The most wonderful thing about outdoor kitchens and entertaining areas is that you can get creative with your cooking options. Utilising grill tops, cooktops, open flame, or even smokers in your design is a popular choice.
It’s very important that your space is not only stunning and highly functional but also low maintenance. If the space is easy to clean and take care of you will be much more likely to enjoy it often. High-quality stainless-steel benchtops are a popular consideration – not only are they easy to take care of but they are also corrosion-free. They can also withstand heat and are grease resistant. Decent storage is also advisable to keep all of those ‘outdoor’ cooking utensils in easy reach. This will save you running back to the indoor kitchen to get prepared to entertain in the outdoor setting.
Counter space is also important and sometimes overlooked in outdoor kitchens. Prep areas are vital to any outdoor space, just as with your indoor kitchen. Having just a grill and sink will quickly become cluttered when trying to serve food and attempting to keep uncooked items away from cooked foods. Without the right amount of bench space, your outdoor cooking experience can quickly become a chore with ample plates and clutter. Giving yourself the exact space you need is a good point to consider when planning your perfect space.
Other things to consider include:
- Flooring options – think low maintenance and good quality.
- Power and gas – will this be easily accessible to the area?
- Cooking prep services – more is better than less.
- Heating – will extend the usage of the area.
- Weather Protection – rain and sunshine.
- Seating and dining – easily accessible to the cooking area
- Lighting – ample overhead lighting options.
With the right advice and planning you can create the outdoor cooking experience of your dreams. Becoming an entertainers fantasy and working seamlessly as a highly functional and beautiful space. Talk to our Mint Kitchen Group specialist designers today about your plans for an outdoor kitchen project.