Tips for Planning the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Gone are the days of a standalone open flame BBQ in the backyard. With the rise of reality home improvement and cooking shows, the thirst for grand design and style and the advent of lifestyle blogs, today’s home chef and seasoned entertainer requires something more. With this the line between indoor and outdoor continues to be blurred with the creation of large outdoor rooms, elaborate alfresco dining areas and the birth of the outdoor kitchen. So important is a kitchen that they say it’s the heart of any home. It’s a place to gather, eat, drink and be merry with very friends and family alike. An outdoor kitchen can not only double the physical capacity of this household lifeline but is also an opportunity to cook, eat and entertain whilst enjoying the ambience of the garden and our fantastic weather. In these areas, landscaping and outdoor stylists replace interior design and stylists. That is why at Stone Lotus Landscapes, we believe that your landscape is about much more than manicured lawns, shrubs and trees. Your outdoor space, when designed correctly is a vital extension of your home and the lifestyle you want to live. So here are our handy tips on where to start if you are planning an outdoor kitchen. Location, Location, Location When designing your overall garden the position and location of various elements and areas, including your outdoor kitchen must be taken into account. Do you want to be able to use this space rain, hail or shine? If so, your outdoor kitchen should be close to the house and connected by a covered awning. Or do you want the space to be a complete self-contained area purposively built away from the rest of the house? Think about which door you’ll want to come out of to get to your outdoor kitchen. If you envisage a smaller outdoor kitchen that will rely on food storage and preparation to be completed inside, bear in mind how far away it is from the kitchen. Also think about where your outdoor kitchen will be in relation to other features in your backyard (such as your pool, deck and garden) and which direction you would like to face when cooking and entertaining others. For instance, you probably do not want cooking to be done too close to your clothesline or entrance to inside and when dining it would be preferable to be surrounded by garden and overlooking the pool. Also as a cost consideration, often the most sensible place for outdoor kitchens are within the patio, deck or pool area of your backyard. These areas are normally built with easy access to the house, and tie in to existing utilities like gas, electrical and plumbing lines. Outdoor kitchens are also often built against a back wall of the house to allow for easy access to utility lines. Pro tip: Decide on a location, and then determine how the entertaining, living, and cooking spaces will be arranged and apportioned. Size Matters Outdoor kitchens range from small areas with little more than a built-in barbeque and countertop to large, fully equipped kitchens complete with a hotplate, burners, pizza ovens, countertops, sinks, fridges, bars, other appliances and storage cabinets. In order to consider what size outdoor kitchen you want you will need to think about how you intend on using it and how many people you will most often be accommodating. For instance, if the designated space is close to the kitchen, you have small family and do not plan on hosting large events or parties very often, then a small simple outdoor kitchen with a built in barbeque, some bench space and a sink to help with the clean-up, is probably all you need. Often the size of your overall outdoor space will also be a factor as to how much space you wish to designate to this over other areas such as pool or garden. Pro tip: choose durable good quality appliances and materials that are weatherproof, heat resistant, and easy to clean. Rot resistant wood, stainless steel and stone are ideal. Layout Once you know the size of your outdoor kitchen (which is determined largely by how you are going to use the space and what appliances will be included) the next consideration is layout. Here the same principles apply to your designing your indoor kitchen. For a functional space that flows, the space should be grouped into three designated areas, preparation (including storage), cooking and cleaning. Style Even if your outdoor kitchen is beautiful by itself, it is essential that it blends in well with the surrounding environment. It should reflect and complement the overall style of your home and the original design concept for your garden. Otherwise the space can detract from your home, look like an afterthought or just be downright ugly. Pro tip: chose materials and colour palette that have been utilised elsewhere inside the home or in the garden. Pro tip: ensure you chose durable furniture and decorative items that are specified as outdoor if they will be subject to the elements. Pro tip: Outdoor lighting design is just as important as indoor lighting. Lounge and dining areas could have decorative, adjustable lighting to create ambience, and cooking and other major activity areas should have effective, well positioned task lighting. Next Steps Yes winter is coming (yep a Game of Thrones reference). However, now is the perfect time to starting planning and building your outdoor kitchen (the process can take some time especially if council approval is required) so that it is completed before summer! If you wait until spring, Stone Lotus Landscapes and other reputable companies in this area can be booked out for several months. So give us a call we’d love to start designing your perfect outdoor kitchen. Northbridge Project Northbridge Project – A covered cooking area and open dining space overlooking the pool.