Tips for designing an outdoor kitchen

Designing an outdoor kitchen can add value to your home and lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to create an outdoor kitchen with the latest appliances that will rival your interior cooking space or one that’s a little more modest, we’ve got a few tips that will help you in the process.

1. Proximity to your interior

Before you start designing an outdoor kitchen you need to determine its location. When locating your outdoor kitchen consider the proximity to your interior, especially if you don’t have an outdoor dining space. A cooking area that’s close to your home will make life easier when taking food in and out, and can also mean the person in charge of the BBQ isn’t left out in the cold.

2. Integration with entertaining space

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Covered outdoor kitchen with Watego® lounge area by Landart

If you’re only designing an outdoor kitchen and not redesigning your entire backyard, it’s worth keeping in mind how your kitchen relates to your outdoor entertaining space including your living, dining or pool areas.

Consider the layout, the materials and colour palette, and how the kitchen will function alongside the other areas of your garden.

3. Functional areas

Just as you would with an interior kitchen, a well-designed outdoor kitchen ensures the layout is functional.

Is there enough room between the dining area and barbecue to cook comfortably?  Is there sufficient bench space to place food, condiments and utensils while cooking? Do you want to wash up outside? Do you need a beverage fridge? Is there room for ventilation?

4. Equipment

Choosing the appliances is a step in designing an outdoor kitchen where barbecue lovers get excited. But beyond choosing whether you have built-in hot plates as well as grills, a wok burner or wood fire oven there are a few sensible things to consider.

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A simple outdoor kitchen with BBQ designed by Outdoor Establishments

You’ll want to make sure the equipment is made from a material that’s weatherproof and easy to clean. You’ll need to consider what services you have access to such as electricity, gas and water. Think about whether you need ventilation in your space.

It’s worth also questioning how often you’ll utilise the equipment before you splurge – a cocktail station may sound great in theory, but is that how you usually entertain?

5. Surfaces

An important decision for your outdoor kitchen is the materiality of your bench tops and flooring. Kitchen benches should be able to withstand a range of temperatures, be weather resistant and be easy to maintain. Likewise, your choice of flooring such as stone pavers should also be durable and forgiving.

6. Lighting and heating

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An outdoor kitchen with integrated lighting designed by Hare + Klein in collaboration with Hare + Klein

Standing at the barbecue with a flashlight isn’t the most practical way of cooking, so ensuring you have adequate lighting will extend the usage of your outdoor kitchen. If you want to maximise the functionality of your kitchen, think about installing outdoor heating. You could choose an electric system or an outdoor fireplace that will provide heat and add to the ambience of your space.

7. Shelter

Building shelter is another great way to extend the use of your outdoor kitchen. Custom designing a pergola can also help define the space and integrate it with the architecture. If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, installing sails or using a quality umbrella may do the trick.

Visit our page ‘Which pergola is right for your outdoor space‘ for some inspiration.

Feature image: Outdoor Kitchen by Eckersley Garden Architecture with a Torino™ bluestone bench top.