Equip an area for al­fresco cook­ing and din­ing year round.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Take the liv­ing out­side and set up al­fresco food prepa­ra­tion and din­ing ar­eas.

OUT­DOOR KITCHENS are def­i­nitely on the hot list for gar­dens right now. Whether you’re a pizza oven afi­cionado, bar­beque nut or sim­ply don’t have a big enough cook­ing space in­side your house, most of us would agree that cook­ing out­side is much more pleas­ant than be­ing stuck in­side four walls with food smells waft­ing around. So why not make the process more ef­fi­cient and en­joy­able with the right equip­ment? Maybe it’s that cave­man in­stinct com­ing to the fore, but men seem to par­tic­u­larly en­joy de­mon­strat­ing their culi­nary skills out­doors, even more so when there’s a flash bar­beque, oven, fridge and bench to work with.


Be­fore in­vest­ing in ap­pli­ances or fix­tures, first clar­ify your over­all aim. Is it sim­ply to cook out­side with­out con­tin­ual trips in­side for drinks, cut­lery and plates? Are you a pas­sion­ate foodie and want to pro­duce gourmet dishes while you en­joy the gar­den? Will you be cook­ing mainly for the fam­ily, small groups or large gath­er­ings? This will not only help de­ter­mine the size of your bar­beque or out­door oven, but also the de­gree of prep­ping space, stor­age and seat­ing you re­quire. Do you need an out­door fridge for beer and wine? Even if you’re mainly cater­ing to kids or teens, cold drinks are al­ways in de­mand.


To get the max­i­mum use out of your out­door kitchen, try to make it use­able all year round. This means cre­at­ing shel­ter from wind, sun and rain with screens and over­head canopies, es­pe­cially for the cook

(avoid com­bustible ma­te­ri­als over the bar­beque or out­door oven, though!). Hav­ing a bar­beque on cas­tor wheels so it can be moved to a more shel­tered spot in win­ter is also a good idea. Pa­tio heaters or an out­door fire­place will help to ex­tend your use of the space through­out the cooler months of the year.


What do you like to cook? One ad­van­tage of hav­ing an out­door kitchen is that you can sup­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing cook­ing ap­pli­ances you have in­side. Bar­be­ques are the ob­vi­ous choice, but you can also opt for out­door ovens for pizza, bread, meat – even cakes – as well as ro­tis­series, smok­ers, wok burn­ers and tep­pa­nyaki plates.


De­cid­ing where to put the out­door kitchen is ob­vi­ous if you have an ex­ist­ing out­door en­ter­tain­ing area. If not, then easy ac­cess to it from your in­door kitchen is key. Not only will this min­imise run­ning in and out be­tween the two, it will also cost less to con­nect to ex­ist­ing util­i­ties such as power, gas and wa­ter. How­ever, this may not be pos­si­ble with steep sites or where the view, sun or ameni­ties (such as a pool) are not close to the house. In this case, rather than it be­ing used as a sup­ple­men­tary cook­ing space, the out­door kitchen will need to be equipped as a stand-alone en­tity with plenty of stor­age and prep­ping space.


If in­door and out­door kitchens are go­ing to be close to each other, think about a de­sign that al­lows the two to merge seam­lessly to cre­ate one large, fab­u­lous en­ter­tain­ing area when you open the doors – a great op­tion if your in­side kitchen is quite small. For a re­ally stun­ning ef­fect, try to use ma­te­ri­als and de­tail­ing that com­ple­ment or re­peat those in­side the house: bench­tops, door hard­ware and cab­i­netry, for in­stance.

“Gen­er­ally the same prin­ci­ples ap­ply for kitchens out­doors as they do in­doors.”


Once you’ve got the ba­sic struc­ture and size of your out­door kitchen mapped out, you can then start look­ing at its func­tional lay­out.

Gen­er­ally the same prin­ci­ples ap­ply for kitchens out­doors as they do for in­doors, with the size, po­si­tion and prox­im­ity of cold ar­eas (re­frig­er­a­tion), hot ar­eas (bar­be­ques, ovens and cook­tops), wet ar­eas (sinks) and dry ar­eas (prep benches and stor­age) all de­signed for max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency.

One sim­ple ap­proach is to di­vide the out­door kitchen into three main zones: prepa­ra­tion, cook­ing and serv­ing. But if you’re still un­sure, talk to a kitchen de­signer. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween your in­door and out­door kitchens should also be con­sid­ered in the de­sign. Will you use them to­gether or separately when en­ter­tain­ing or cook­ing? Will the foot traf­fic flow be­tween them work ef­fi­ciently?


Good light is es­sen­tial when cook­ing out­side. Go for some form of di­rec­tional task light­ing over the cook­ing and prep ar­eas, but make sure it won’t shine too brightly onto the out­door din­ing area.


Dura­bil­ity is es­sen­tial for any­thing used out­doors, so it’s an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion in choos­ing the fit­tings and ma­te­ri­als for your kitchen. Even stain­less-steel bar­be­ques will even­tu­ally cor­rode in coastal lo­ca­tions, but us­ing pro­tec­tive cov­ers will in­crease their longevity.

Keep the main­te­nance work­load down by choos­ing hard-wear­ing ma­te­ri­als in your out­door kitchen, and re­mem­ber that cab­i­netry and benches will need to be weather-re­sis­tant un­less they are in a pro­tected area.

Choose grease-re­sis­tant ma­te­ri­als for benches, and coat deck­ing, con­crete, stone or paving stones with sealant to avoid food stains. Slip­pery floor­ing ma­te­ri­als such as tiles are not ideal in out­door cook­ing ar­eas. And in lo­ca­tions where the weather gets very cold, avoid tiled splash­backs or benches, as these can crack in heavy frosts.

Use a butcher’s block for food prepa­ra­tion and serv­ing.

Ad­join­ing the kitchens will cre­ate a seam­less flow.

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