Let’s eat out! 7 ways to create the perfect outdoor kitchen

Design ideas, top tips and styling advice on how to create the ultimate open-air cooking space

Scurrying back and forth between kitchen and patio is a thing of the past. Instead, many are opting to create outdoor kitchens that not only provide the perfect cooking space, but also bring a warm, sociable feel to open-air entertaining. Common elements include grills, countertops, refrigerators and storage units, but the confident alfresco cooks amongst us are taking it to the next level with smokers, pizza ovens and even spits for roasting! Country Homes & Interiors share 7 ways to ensure your outdoor cooking space works for you.

Lovely layout
As with an indoor kitchen, a good design will make cooking more comfortable. Plan your route from cooking area to dining space – dodging deck chairs and garden ornaments is not advisable with piled-high plates in hand!

Keep your cool
A fridge and freezer are must-haves for keeping food fresh. From compact and portable to built-in, there’s plenty on the market to choose from, all specifically designed for outdoor use. Ensure your guests don’t suffer the ultimate dinner party let down of a warm drink by investing in an outdoor icemaker, too.

Under fire
A grill or oven is the centrepiece of any outdoor kitchen so do your research. Theres lots to consider before investing; how often are you planning to use it, summer months only or all year round? Do you prefer gas, electric, charcoal or wood-fired? How much space do you have to play with? Also consider the material it’s made from – stainless steel, slate, stone and tile are all great weatherproof options that can stand the test of time. Contact a local electrician to have outdoor sockets put in for using small appliances such as kettles, toasters and radios.

Cover up
We do live in Great Britain after all, so prepare for surprise showers or intense sunny spells with a beautiful canopy that covers your kitchen and dining space. A shelter made from natural wood works well, as it’s resistant to rot, decay and insects. Set up a chimenea or patio heater, and there’s no reason why you can’t use your outdoor kitchen all year round.

Prepare and protect
When you’re not using your kitchen, it’s a good idea to invest in custom made covers to keep appliances, worktops and equipment protected. Save on energy by turning off the gas and unplugging everything. If you’ve got an outdoor sink, make sure the supply lines are drained to avoid pipes bursting.

It’s all in the detail
Keep your kitchen functional and beautiful with simple styling ideas. Add colour with bright bowls, cups and trays made from sturdy melamine, and mix and match clashing cushions and textiles in coordinating shades for a summery feel. Create a romantic glow with candle lanterns in varying sizes.

Store in style
Short on space? Hanging racks and shelves are a space-saving way to store utensils, condiments and spices. A folding table can be set up and taken down easily and roomy weather-tight cabinets are perfect for storing dry goods.

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