BBQ’s have stepped up a notch – from the portable BBQ wheeled into the back yard to full functioning mini kitchens complete with large BBQ, sink, lighting and refrigeration! Now that’s outdoor entertaining made easy (and fun!).
With the growth in popularity, outdoor kitchens are now available to suit most budgets and preferences. From the customised, fully integrated to outdoor kitchen packages complete with sink, BBQ and grills, from your local hardware store or BBQ specialist.
Looking for some outdoor kitchen ideas? There are a few things you need to consider before you start planning and building your outdoor kitchen. Follow these outdoor kitchen design tips and your guests will never leave!
When choosing the location of your outdoor kitchen, there are several aspects you need to consider before you set out to design and build.
Is the ground level? There is nothing worse than sitting on chairs on a sloping block. If you need to level the area, this will be an added cost that needs to be accounted for.
Easy access to utilities - Check out where you would like to install your outdoor BBQ and kitchen. This may have an impact on where the outdoor kitchen will be located. If you are unsure, Mr Drains can help locate your gas and water lines and advise on the placement of your outdoor kitchen to maximise space and minimise installation costs.
‘The rule of thumb is the closer to the house kitchen, the less expensive installation will be’. Luke Coulter, General Manager, Mr Drains.
Check out the direction of the sun at different times of the day. You don’t want your guests to be dining in the setting westerly sun. Also, take into consideration the view from your house of the outdoor kitchen, you still want to maintain the view of your backyard, pool or the views beyond.
Plan on a clear path or easy access to your indoor kitchen, as you will still need to grab extra supplies from it, doing the BBQ or party.
As with your indoor kitchen, safety is very important. Provide enough space around the cooking areas so people do not bump into each other with hot dishes or the appliances with open flames.
Ensure the flooring you use is non-slip, as water and other spilt materials could become a slip hazard.
Design your outdoor kitchen, so the BBQ, grills and ovens are located away from high traffic areas and children playing. These appliances can also create smoke, so ensure they are placed in a well-ventilated area.
3. Decide on the appliances you would like
Purchase good quality appliances that are designed specifically for outdoor use and the harsh elements of the weather. They will serve you well for many years and will be easy to operate and keep clean. Look out for stainless steel and ceramic appliances, they are very durable and are low maintenance under all weather conditions.
Gas BBQ’s, pizza ovens, grills and wok cookers are safer and more efficient when plumbed to the gas line. A licensed plumber can install this in line with building and safety codes for endless gas supply.
Will you need a sink? You can install a small sink for quick hand rinses and access to water or choose a larger sink for washing dishes. You will need to call a plumber to plumb the sink to the house’s water supply and connect to a drain.
For safety reasons, ensure you use an electrician and plumber for the installation of all appliances to meet safety and building code regulations.
4. Storage and bench space
Think about the kind of cooking and entertaining you will be doing in your outdoor kitchen. Bench space is needed for food preparation, serving food and cleaning up. Try to maximise the bench space within your design.
Who doesn’t need storage? Choose storage for items such as cooking utensils, cleaning items and supplies you don’t want to be traipsing into the house for.
What kind of seating would you like to use? You have many options to choose from; table and chairs, sofas or bar settings with high stools. This is likely to be dictated by your preferences and the kind of entertaining you like to do. If your space is large enough, you can combine different seating in zones.
Ensure the seating is comfortable so guests can relax. Chair pads will make dining chairs and stools more comfortable as will extra cushions to an outdoor sofa.
The most successful outdoor kitchens function well and are efficient but also have a wonderful atmosphere – whether your outdoor kitchen will be tucked into a cosy corner of your back yard, or the airy balcony with sweeping water views, or surrounded by established plants or a herb garden.
Choose soft lighting in strategic places around the outdoor kitchen for carefree entertaining. But don’t forget to put in task lighting over the cooking areas so you can see when the chops are done!
Let’s face it, the area should be comfortable for your guests. A night of entertaining involves comfy seating whether that is in the form of table and chairs, or some outdoor sofas and a rug.
What about heating and cooling? If you will be using the space in the cooler months, gas or electric heat strips fixed to the ceiling are a great idea to quickly heat the area and extend the seasons you can use the area. If space permits, a fireplace adds a cosy ambience or install a fire pit for a less expensive option.
Some covered outdoor areas become heat traps if ventilation is not adequate, try installing ceiling fans. There are some stylish ones on the market designed specifically for the outdoors.
• People will always gather where the food is, be generous with the space and provide lots of seating.
• It’s all about emerging nature, with the indoors for relaxing entertaining.
• With every product choice, you make for the outdoor kitchen, ensure it is designed for the harsh elements of the weather so they last long and look good for many years to come. Ensure all materials and products used are UV tolerant, waterproof or dry quickly and can be easily cleaned.
No space or budget for an outdoor kitchen?
If space or budget doesn’t quite permit an outdoor kitchen, just yet, how about opening up your indoor kitchen to the outdoors by adding French doors or sliding glass doors. Alternatively, add a benchtop to the outside kitchen window for an instant bistro bar.
For tighter budgets, try hooking up the trusty BBQ to the mains gas line. This is a great way to ensure endless BBQing throughout the summer without trips to the service station for new gas cylinders – that’s got to be just as good!
Outdoor kitchens will not only give you years of fun, laughs and delicious meals, doing it right can add value to your home. If you need help designing your outdoor kitchen, talk to the plumbers at Mr Drains on 9986 1234. We can help you place the appliances in the right spot for functionality and ease of use and access.