Unique outdoor kitchen designs – tips and ideas for your summer kitchen
We selected some of the best outdoor kitchen designs which will give you great ideas for the finishes, the furniture and the layout of the space. As soon as the first sunny days come, we start to spend more time outdoors. Playing with children or having a barbecue with family and friends are just a few ideas for having fun in the open air. Modern outdoor kitchen designs are an extension of the living space and invite the whole family outdoors! Nowadays, the layout and equipment are a replica of the kitchen in the house and include much more than just one barbecue. Most often the design includes an outdoor fireplace, a sink, a fridge and storage space.
Cooking in the summer in a hot and tight kitchen can be a real torture. While the residents of a city apartment have no choice, the owners of a private home with a garden can take out the cooking. Your own garden kitchen is the crowning glory of your terrace and garden design! In terms of comfort and functionality, modern outdoor kitchens leave nothing to be desired. In addition dining in the fresh air is one of the most precious summer pleasures. A summer kitchen is an area attached to the main house or a separate construction intended for cooking, resting and entertaining – the perfect place for evening gatherings and meetings with friends. Depending on the choice of materials and the method of insulation, an outdoor kitchen can be used both during the warm season and in colder weather.
First of all, you need to decide what functions the summer kitchen will perform. If it’s just a place to relax with your family in the open air, then a convenient option is a compact kitchen island, which includes a grill and a dining table. If an open kitchen is a place for parties, you need to provide enough seating space to accommodate your guests. Sofas and soft corners will be a great addition. Accessories will add special chic and comfort – a bar counter, a pizza oven, a spacious refrigerator, a hammock and so on.
In general, outdoor kitchens are divided into two types:
Open garden kitchen – open from one or more sides. In such a kitchen you can spend the entire summer season – from late spring to early autumn you will enjoy the pleasant weather.
Closed summer kitchen, for example, arranged in a garden room or a separate construction provides protection from the effects of the weather, even if it loses a substantial part of the unique charm of the open air kitchen. To provide an unobstructed view of the landscape and nature, sliding glass doors are a good solution. The main advantage of such designs is that you can use this room at any time of the year, regardless of the weather. They can be stand-alone constructions or attached to the house.
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Outdoor kitchen designs – choosing the right place
Choosing the right place to build an outdoor kitchen plays a crucial role. You need to take into account a lot of details – from the project itself to the equipment planned in it. How far will it be removed from the house? Will it be attached to the main house or will it be a separate building in the garden? This depends on the size of the construction but you need to take into account that the kitchen should not be too far from the main house. Obviously, when the outdoor kitchen is designed in proximity to the main building it will be easier and cheaper to arrange the communications, but if you had to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner on the opposite side of the site is not exactly convenient.
Unfortunately, not all plots are big enough for the construction of a summer kitchen and you may need to sacrifice a part of the garden. However, even small outdoor kitchen designs can have an exclusive look and fit perfectly into the overall landscape design. Many people arrange their summer kitchen on the veranda of their house. This option is quite budget friendly and does not require capital construction works.
When planning the design you need to take into consideration several factors:
- Accessibility and availability of connections – Are there any necessary supply connections, for example for water and electricity, and is it possible to dispose of the waste water?
- Distance from the house – the construction of a summer kitchen, which has a common wall with a house (in the form of a covered terrace), will significantly reduce the cost of the project. On the other hand, the smoke from the oven may get into the house. The basic idea of the summer kitchen is to save the house from the smell of cooking. Consider the direction of the wind that is characteristic for your region, trying to locate the fireplace so that smoke does not get into the dining or lounge area.
- Distance from roads – fumes, dust and noise are not the best background when you want to relax or entertain friends and family.
- Distance from toilets, septic tanks, composting facilities, sheds and cages with animals, sewerage wells and other places with a characteristic, bad smell.
- Fire protection – this is essential when you want a kitchen design with an open fire (barbecue, charcoal). If you plan to construct a wood burning oven or a barbecue, you should make sure that there are no flammable buildings nearby. You have to get acquainted with the fire regulations and building codes for your area.
- Presence of trees – the treetops will provide a pleasant shade and keep cool. Cooking in front of a hot stove under the hot summer sun is not so pleasant.
- If your outdoor kitchen does not have a roof, it will often be exposed to sun and rain. So, you need to pay particular attention to the choice of high quality outdoor furniture and equipment.
Outdoor kitchen designs – styles, materials and equipment
Outdoor kitchen designs feature different styles but the main rule is that they have to work with the overall design and style of the main house and the landscape. Whether you opt for a contemporary design, a traditional, rustic, French country, Mediterranean or Tuscan style – the decor and appearance of your outdoor area should create an impression of harmony and tranquility. Choosing the materials and finishes will depend on the personal taste of the homeowners as well as their budget.
Wood is the most popular material for the construction of light buildings or constructions like pergolas and arbors. Stone is another natural material that will ensure coolness even on the hottest days.
You need to decide whether it will be wood, stone or stainless steel that will predominate in the outdoor kitchen design. Take your time and check if the material you plan to use will be able to withstand bad weather. If it is an open kitchen, it is brick and stone that will serve you for a long time without problems. Wood and metals that are exposed to the sun and rain will require regular maintenance.
Here are a few useful tips for the design and equipment of an outdoor kitchen:
- Oven – Do not forget the main purpose of the kitchen. A pizza oven or a grill are, of course, perfect for an outdoor kitchen, but for the daily needs you cannot do without a gas stove or an electric oven. You also need a suitable worktop and a sink.
- Lighting for the outdoor kitchen – Good lighting is essential in any kitchen but if you want to enjoy pleasant summer evenings you need to combine functional lighting in the cooking area with ambient garden lights that create mood. For safety reasons, the lighting of open kitchens should be provided with additional protection against ingress of water.
- Furniture – The seating area is also an element that will undoubtedly complement your outdoor space. The dining area is very practical if you have it next to the kitchen. Thus, when you finish preparing the food, you will immediately serve it on the table. Upholstered furniture is not recommended for outdoor kitchens. A good alternative is lightweight and practical wooden furniture with soft seat covers. Furniture made of rattan, seagrass, wrought iron, teak, etc. and metal are equally suitable.
- Adequate sun protection – consider installing a wooden pergola or get some shade sails. Do not forget to decorate the outdoor dining area with plants.
Big or small, rustic or modern, open or closed, with gas, electric or charcoal grill – an outdoor kitchen is a great thing! Take a look at the pictures in our gallery and let yourself be inspired for your own project.