Once you’ve begun to turn your brown thumb green, you’ll want to spend as much time outside as possible admiring the fruits of your labor (literally). When the weather is warm, grilling out can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
But you can make your backyard even more enjoyable – and an ever better place to cook – by adding an outdoor kitchen space. Here are ten tips to get you started.
10 Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen
1. Create a budget before you get started
Kitchens in general can be expensive, so it’s key to start with a budget to figure out what kind of kitchen you can afford to create. If your budget is on the lower end, you could opt for a fire pit, rather than a full-fledged oven, for example.
And if you have the time and the know-how, you can save big by renting the necessary equipment and DIY-ing much of the project (although when gas lines are involved it’s best to leave that part to the professionals!).
2. It’s all about location, location, location
One of the wonderful things about an outdoor kitchen is that you get to keep your indoor kitchen cleaner since you won’t be trekking back and forth between the grill and your house.
That said, location is key when it comes to planning where your outdoor kitchen will be. For starters, consider where the sun rises and sets in relation to your new kitchen, as that lighting may impact when you’re able to use the kitchen.
Also, if you’re not installing a sink, you’ll want to be near a water source.
3. Understand good kitchen design
The same design principles for an indoor kitchen should be applied to your outdoor one, although outdoor spaces do have additional challenges, such as the fact that there are no walls!
4. Ensure the traffic and design flow
Traffic patterns are essential to making your kitchen as functional as possible. Consider how the kitchen’s layout will work with the rest of the property — whether you have a pool or outdoor seating — to make sure that it flows both in terms of traffic and in terms of the design elements of each space.
5. Consider the utilities needed
Any outdoor kitchen will require the use of some utilities. Where you have access to electricity and gas may impact where you install your lighting or set up your oven.
6. Build with durable materials
A key difference between an outdoor and indoor kitchen is that the outdoor one will be exposed to a whole array of elements. Even if it is technically covered by a roof or an umbrella, things like rain and snow can, and will, get in.
As such, use durable materials, and make sure things such as cabinets are waterproof to avoid as much rust and weathering as possible.
7. Make it easy to clean
The last thing you want to do in your beautiful outdoor space is to spend time cleaning. Make it easy to wipe down surfaces by building your kitchen with materials like stainless steel.
To make cleaning your outdoor space easier, be sure to check out our review on the best pressure washers available on the market.
8. Choose different kinds of lighting
For the evening and night hours, brighten up your outdoor space and install different kinds of lighting depending on the area. Above the grill and sink, install task lighting, while over the seating a ceiling fan with lights would work well to brighten up the space.
No matter which type of lighting you pick, use more than one circuit, and make sure that it’s suitable for damp conditions.
9. Pick flooring that won’t get slippery
Notice a theme here? Consider that, since it’s outdoors, everything is going to get wet at some point. For your flooring, avoid materials that get slippery easily, like tile, and opt instead for flooring that lasts longer, such as a stained wood deck.
10. Provide a seating area
While the primary function of your outdoor kitchen will be to cook, it can also be a place for people to socialize. Consider putting in a bar or serving area in your kitchen, or even a more traditional dining table and chairs.
An outdoor kitchen is an extension of your home. It should be functional yet comfortable and can quickly become a focal point of your outdoor living. With these 10 tips, you’ll be well on your way to designing a great outdoor kitchen.
Creating a Beautiful Alfresco Barbecue Area
When the weather’s fine there’s no better place to spend the afternoon or evening than in the garden with friends, family and some freshly-barbecued food.
The weather might look bleak right now but spring will come around in no time. Get ready to enjoy the pleasures of alfresco cooking by filling up that empty patio space with some furniture and an inexpensive barbecue.
Choose Your Dining Furniture
There’s a wide range of outdoor furniture available covering a variety of styles to suit both your taste and budget. Some comfortable but waterproofed seating is best and wicker armchairs with padded seats are a traditional option.
Metal chairs, including cast aluminium, are robust and lightweight enough to be moved around, plus virtually no maintenance is needed.
Most garden furniture sets will come with a matching table and it’s a good idea to include a large parasol with a tilt function to ensure enough shade is provide when sitting outdoors .
Charcoal and Gas Barbecues
The choice of fuel required to cook with is largely a matter of personal taste although many experts claim that grilling on charcoal yields the best results.
Charcoal bbqs provide high temperatures, as much as 300°C, and will therefore cook meat fairly quickly; some practice will be needed for first timers.
If you’re also looking for that smoked flavour when cooking meat or pork then charcoal is the right option. Gas versions are easy to clean, have better temperature control and can also heat far quicker than charcoal.
Additional Points to Remember
Always check out how much free space you have on the patio or garden before heading out to buy furniture and barbecue equipment.
You also need to know where the sun rises and sets because people tend to forget this detail. Outdoor blinds placed in the right spot bring wonders.
There are plenty of differently-sized bbqs including the space-saving kettle designs and the larger portable wagons, permanent brick or half-barrel versions.
Also think of investing in some additional items such as lighting; this can include dual heater/lamps for attaching to a parasol interior or brass table top lanterns.
Some hanging plants for the patio area make a nice touch or even a free standing water feature if you really want to splash out.
There’s no need spend a huge amount of money to create an outdoors seating area and most of the equipment is generally inexpensive.
Maintenance Tips for Your Barbeque During Winter
During the summer months, you may find yourself outside most nights cooking dinner on the barbecue. But unless you live in the tropics, barbecuing in winter is not so common.
Whether it’s a single grill barbecue you’ve had for 10 years or a big double griller from a speciality retailer such as Barbeques Galore, your barbeque needs love all year round – including during winter.
Below are five tips to get you started.
1. Spick and Span
The first step to grill maintenance in winter is to give your whole barbeque a good clean before tucking it in.
Start with the grill plates, which should be given a thorough scrub down to remove all grease and food scraps.
This is best done with a stainless steel wool scrub or brush. Don’t stop at the grill though; get a cloth and wipe down the rest of the barbeque, including the inside and outside of the lid.
2. Inspect the Goods
Once your barbeque is looking shiny, give your grill the once over for any damage or parts that aren’t working, as the dormant winter season is the perfect time to get these fixed.
Inspecting your barbeque shouldn’t just be performed before you store your grill away for the winter though; you should do several check-ups throughout winter too.
By doing this, you can make sure no insects or animals have decided to take up residence.
3. Focus on Longevity
Barbeques should not be something you’re buying a new version of every couple of years just because your old one is serving up odd tasting dishes.
This can often happen when grills aren’t cleaned or maintained properly, so it is important to combat this issue now before your barbeque goes into hibernation.
The best way to stop moisture and rust build-up is to give your grill a rub with some oil. This technique can also be done to increase longevity even if you’re using your barbeque more frequently.
4. Cover Up Your BBQ Grill
Once the above steps have been followed, you are now ready to get your barbeque covered up for the cold snap.
If your barbeque didn’t come with a cover, or the one you have is simply looking too worn out, get yourself to a speciality store or outlet to find one with the specifications for your barbeque.
Make sure it’s made of a tough, durable material in order to withstand the drop in temperature – and to protect it from too many creepy crawlies getting inside.
5. Keep It Cosy
Even though you might have invested in a good-quality cover to protect your barbeque, this doesn’t guarantee complete protection from the elements.
The best way to maintain your barbeque over the winter months, particularly if you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain or snow, is to store your covered grill in a garage or shed.
If you’re one of those people that tend to let the barbeque gather cobwebs and debris during the chilly season, the above maintenance tips are just for you.
Such advice will go a long way in helping to make sure your barbeque stays in working condition throughout winter and is ready for summer.
High quality products are usually the cost-effective option as minimal maintenance will be required throughout the year and the items will provide long-term use.