Tony Young of Urban Outdoors, which imports Cubic Outdoor Kitchens, talks about the trend for entertaining al fresco and outdoor kitchens
We’re all aware that one of the effects of the pandemic has resulted in homeowners not only examining their home’s interiors but also very much their exterior living & entertaining space, with a desire for exceptional facilities in the outdoor space.
Using outdoor space for entertainment is effective for people living in warm and moderate climates because it can be used nearly all year round.
It allows homeowners to move seamlessly from the indoor living room to the outdoor living room.
This means more flexibility in how to spend time, entertain, or simply gather with family and friends. It also makes it easier to pack up and move between spaces depending on the whims of the weather.
When it comes to additions to the outdoor living space, outdoor kitchens have become popular. Homeowners often use their outdoor living spaces to spend time with friends and family, to relax or for a place for children to play.
Since indoor gatherings have been difficult this past year, outdoor gatherings in a garden became many people’s first choice for things to do, especially since April 12 in England.
Outdoor kitchens were already becoming popular in the UK, but with a renewed interest in all kinds of outdoor living they gained in popularity with people living in lockdown and spending more time in their gardens with family.
A quality outdoor kitchen can offer many different designs and layouts and a wide choice of appliances that can suit individual needs or cooking passions to make outside living key to many.
But with the typical British weather, keeping warm is key to outdoor living and a fire pit can be a great focal point throughout the whole year.
Covered patios and decks are a good choice for many homeowners – they can create shade, space for an outdoor kitchen and a fire pit as well as offering shelter from the UK climate when required.
But what of those in less temperate climates, such as Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland?
This is where a bioclimatic pergola combined with an outdoor kitchen will be the answer for many.
Such a pergola has a roof with rotating blades to keep out the wind and rain but allows the sun to shine through when required. Some even fully retract.
They can be equipped with heaters, LED lighting, side panels, bluetooth speakers allowing clients to use their kitchen all year round.
And how to choose a quality outdoor kitchen? Low-maintenance, hygienic work surfaces and sustainable, high functionality and weatherproofing are just some of the hallmarks of outdoor cabinetry today. It’s become the de facto gold standard.
Style and aesthetics are important to many, so the shape, colour and finish choice should be as wide as possible to integrate with garden surroundings.
Look also for a long-term warranty against inclement weather conditions.
Make space for a pizza oven, maybe a Green Egg or Kamado grill and an induction hob.
Other sophisticated cooking appliances have been supplementing BBQ grills in well-equipped outdoor cooking stations, in recent years, such as a teppanyaki plate or plancha.
These new and improved outdoor spaces now go far beyond what comprised an outdoor kitchen in past years.
Fixtures and appliances have become more sophisticated too, with outdoor sinks such as Italian design company Barazza beginning to reflect the same multipurpose designs that we see in indoor kitchens.
Refrigeration, wine coolers, dishwashers and ice makers are commonly added outdoors, too.
While the pandemic won’t last forever, the realisation it has brought to millions of homeowners of the importance and value of their outdoor spaces will likely endure for quite a while.
This trend was already growing before 2020 and seems unlikely to do anything but keep on growing now.
Read more practical tips on how to design outdoor kitchens from Will Lyne, master designer and co-owner of Christopher Peters Kitchens.