Outdoor BBQ gas powered

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas and Trends for 2023

Spring is on the horizon so now is a good time to start thinking about and planning your garden renovation projects. One key trend for garden makeovers this year will be the alfresco dining experience, which partners up nicely with having a place to cook and entertain guests. One of the key elements of this will be an outdoor kitchen area. Having a comfortable place to cook whilst enjoying the warm summer sun and being around the social interactions of your friends and family.

Within this post, I’d like to share some of the hottest garden design ideas to help you plan your garden makeover and make it a spot that can be enjoyed without the hassle of the constant backwards and forwards to the kitchen and back.

Outdoor kitchen idea 4

To kick things off let’s think about the space you have already and what you might do to transform it into a habitable, comfortable area.

Plan your outdoor living space

We always find it best to draw up plans of our garden to scale so that we have a visual representation of the space and what items might look like within it. Not everyone will have vast amounts of space to play with but this doesn’t matter when we plan and think carefully about what we want and where to place them.

A patio or decking area

A patio or decking area will be the ideal starting point for your garden makeover and will provide a level surface on which to build your outdoor kitchen. Decking areas will tend to be easier to construct and in most cases will be cheaper. It’s up to you which you would prefer but here are a few key considerations when think about both of these:

  1. Size and layout: Consider the size and layout of your patio or decking area in relation to the overall size of your garden and the position of your house.
  2. Material: Decide on the type of material you want to use for your patio or decking. Options include wood, composite, brick, concrete, and stone.
  3. Function: Think about how you plan to use the space and what features you would like to include alongside your kitchen, such as built-in seating, a fire pit, or a hot tub.
  4. Access: Consider how you will access the patio or decking area and whether you need steps, ramps, or a railing.
  5. Lighting: Plan for lighting to make the space usable at night and to highlight any landscaping or features. We opted for festoon lighting which makes our outdoor space bright and useable whatever the time.
  6. Maintenance: Keep in mind the maintenance required for the material you choose and whether it fits your lifestyle. Wooden decking will require treatment annually whilst a stone patio may only require cleaning every couple of years.
  7. Budget: Determine a budget for the project and try to stick to it.

Whether you like the idea of a patio or a decking area you will be able to create a special, functional space in your garden. We have created both in our houses and have managed to create a modern, contemporary space. Here are a couple of images to kick start your imaginations.

Creating a covered area

An outdoor kitchen will definitely benefit from a covered area. A kitchen left open to the elements is possible but it comes with a number of challenges and cleaning will become a regular task. As you can see above, we have built a lean-to veranda on both of our houses. This provides protection from the rain, snow and wind and allows us to use the space all year round. Whilst it is a bit cold in the winter, fire pits, chimineas or outdoor heaters make the space more comfortable and versatile.

There are a few different structures that can provide cover for your outdoor kitchen. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Pergolas: A pergola is a structure made of vertical posts or pillars that support a framework of beams and rafters. They can be used to create a shaded area or to support climbing plants. These are self-supported structures set away from other buildings.
  2. Gazebos: A gazebo is a freestanding, outdoor structure that is usually octagonal or round in shape. It has a roof and open sides and is often used for entertaining or as a focal point in a garden.
  3. Pavilions: A pavilion is a larger, more substantial structure that is typically used for outdoor entertaining. It may have walls and a ceiling and can be open or closed on one or more sides.
  4. Awnings: An awning is a retractable canopy that can be attached to the side of a house or building. They can be used to provide shade on a patio or deck.
  5. Verandas: These structures are normally attached to a building and can be covered with a number of different styles of roofing. This could include glass, perspex, polycarbonate sheets, corrugated bitumen, tiles or metal sheets. You can even build your own veranda with these instructions.
  6. Retractable Roof: Retractable roof systems can be used to create covered outdoor spaces that can be opened or closed depending on the weather.
outdoor covered areas

Outdoor kitchen furniture and equipment

Thinking about your outdoor kitchen and the equipment you want will be key to its success. You might not want to fully replicate your indoor kitchen but you might want to consider some of the following items.

Cooking equipment

You can’t have an outdoor kitchen without some way to cook your food. There are many different types of cooking equipment available for outdoor kitchens, with one of the most famous being the BBQ. Let’s take a look at a few options for cooking appliances outdoors.

A gas BBQ – Available in a number of different sizes and styles a gas-powered BBQ is quick and convenient for cooking a number of different meals. You can buy self-standing ones or worktop-mounted gas BBQs.

A wood or coal-fired BBQ – Cooking with a coal-fired BBQ is a very rewarding experience due to the skills involved in the preparation. You’ll more patient with one of these but you also tend to have more options in terms of flavour and portability. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons.

Pros of a gas BBQ:

  1. Convenience: Gas BBQs are easy to start and heat up quickly, making them convenient for impromptu cookouts.
  2. Temperature control: Gas BBQs have adjustable heat controls, allowing you to cook food at the desired temperature, ensuring that your food is cooked to perfection.
  3. Consistency: Gas BBQs heat evenly and consistently, making them less likely to burn food.
  4. Low maintenance: Gas BBQs are easy to clean and maintain, unlike charcoal or wood-fired grills which require ash removal and cleaning of the grates.
  5. Portability: Many gas BBQs are portable and can be easily moved, making them perfect for camping, picnics or tailgating.
  6. Fuel source: Gas is a readily available fuel source and is generally less expensive than charcoal or wood.

Cons of a gas BBQ:

  1. Flavor: Gas BBQs do not add the same smoky flavor to food that charcoal or wood-fired grills do, some people prefer the taste of food cooked on a charcoal or wood-fired grill.
  2. Running out of fuel: If you run out of propane during cooking, you will have to stop the cooking and replace the propane tank.
  3. Cost: Gas BBQs can be more expensive than charcoal grills, especially for high-end models.
  4. Emissions: Gas grills produce more emissions than charcoal grills, which could be an environmental concern for some.
  5. Limited heat range: Some gas grills may not get as hot as charcoal grills, and may not be suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as searing.
  6. Dependency on a gas source: Gas grills are dependent on a gas source, whether it be propane or natural gas. This means that if the gas runs out, the grill will not work, unlike a charcoal grill where you can always use charcoal.
Outdoor BBQ gas powered

A pizza oven – Again, pizza ovens tend to be available in gas or wood-fired models. Each has its pros and cons just like a BBQ. There is, however, an outdoor pizza oven such as the Ooni Koda 16 which is a multi-fuel oven. That means you can cook with wood, coal or gas.

You could also opt for a DIY, build-your-own pizza oven from bricks and mortar. Building your own pizza oven or hiring someone to do it for you is a great way to integrate an outdoor cooking oven into your garden. You could cook pizza, bake bread or even lasagna.

Outdoor pizza oven

Here’s a list of other outdoor cookers that you might want to consider.

  1. Grill: A grill is a popular choice for outdoor cooking, and can be fueled by gas, charcoal, or wood. They can be freestanding or built-in and come in a variety of sizes and designs.
  2. Smoker: A smoker is a type of outdoor cooker that uses wood or charcoal to smoke food. They come in different sizes and designs and can be used to smoke all types of food.
  3. Kamado Grill: Kamado grills are ceramic grills that are designed to hold heat and smoke effectively, making them ideal for slow cooking and smoking.
  4. Rotisserie: A rotisserie is a device that slowly rotates food over a heat source, allowing it to cook evenly on all sides. They can be used to cook chicken, roasts, and other large cuts of meat.
  5. Griddle: Griddles are flat plates that can be heated by gas, propane or electricity. They are perfect for cooking pancakes, bacon, and other breakfast items.
  6. Outdoor Stove: An outdoor stove with an oven is essentially a wood fire stove with a separate compartment for cooking. They are available in a number of different sizes and can be installed as a permanent feature or smaller ones can be used and stored when not in use.

Outdoor kitchen furniture

A functional kitchen will benefit from a number of different furniture types to help support your cooking requirements. Consider some of these items to make your outdoor kitchen perfect:

  1. Worktop space: No kitchen is complete without a decent amount of worktop space to help you prepare your meals.
  2. Refrigerator or cooler: A refrigerator or cooler can be incorporated into the outdoor kitchen design to keep drinks and food cold.
  3. Outdoor sink: An outdoor sink is useful for cleaning and food preparation.
  4. Prep and serving tables: Prep and serving tables can provide additional counter space for food preparation and serving.
  5. Lighting: Outdoor lighting, such as string lights or lanterns, can create a pleasant ambiance and make the kitchen usable at night.
  6. Storage: Outdoor cabinets and storage can keep your kitchen organized, and protect your utensils and other equipment from the elements.
  7. Cooking and serving ware: You will need a variety of cooking and serving ware, such as pots and pans, utensils, plates, cups, and glasses.
  8. Ventilation: Enclosed outdoor kitchens require proper ventilation to remove smoke and fumes. A hood vent or a built-in fan can help to keep the air fresh and clean.
Outdoor kitchen idea 1

Outdoor seating, tables and workspace

Further to the section above you might want to take you kitchen to the next level with some of these great ideas:

  1. Dining table and chairs: A sturdy and weather-resistant dining table and chairs are essential for an outdoor kitchen. Consider a table that can seat a large number of people, or one that has an extendable leaf for added space.
  2. Bar or counter-height seating: Bar or counter-height seating allows guests to sit and chat with the cook while meals are being prepared.
  3. Outdoor kitchen island: An outdoor kitchen island provides additional counter space for food preparation and serving.
  4. Grill or BBQ: A grill or BBQ is a must-have for an outdoor kitchen, allowing you to cook and entertain at the same time.
  5. Refrigerator or cooler: A refrigerator or cooler can be incorporated into the outdoor kitchen design to keep drinks and food cold.
  6. Outdoor sink: An outdoor sink is useful for cleaning and food prep.
  7. Lighting: Outdoor lighting, such as string lights or lanterns, can create a pleasant ambiance and make the kitchen usable at night.
  8. Comfortable seating: Comfortable seating like rocking chairs, couches or sectionals are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the company of guests.
  9. Umbrella or shade structure: An umbrella or shade structure can provide protection from the sun during hot days.
Outdoor kitchen idea 2

Completing your outdoor kitchen and living area

Finishing off your outdoor garden and living space can be the most exciting part. this is where you turn your garden into a truly individual and unique space that displays your personality. There are many ways to achieve this, including:

  • Outdoor furniture, such as chairs, tables, and lounges
  • Lighting, such as lanterns, string lights, and candles
  • Decorations, such as statues, sculptures, and fountains
  • Shade structures, such as umbrellas, awnings, and pergolas
  • Cooking and dining equipment, such as grills, ovens, and outdoor kitchens
  • Heating elements, such as fire pits, chimineas, and outdoor heaters
  • Water features, such as ponds, waterfalls, and fountains
  • Rugs, pillows, and cushions for comfortable seating
  • Plants, flowers, and trees for beauty and privacy
  • Play equipment for children like swings, slides, and sandbox
  • Outdoor games such as cornhole, bocce ball, and horseshoes
  • A hot tub or a spa for relaxation and entertainment.

In conclusion, creating an outdoor kitchen is a great way to enhance your outdoor living space. By following the steps outlined above, you can design and build an outdoor kitchen that is both functional and beautiful. Start by selecting a location that is convenient and comfortable, and then choose materials and equipment that are durable and appropriate for outdoor use. Consider factors such as weather, wind, and sun exposure when planning your outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor kitchen idea 3

It’s important to also pay attention to the layout and design, ensuring that the kitchen includes all the essential elements such as a grill, refrigerator, sink and storage, as well as any additional features that you desire. If you’re new to outdoor gardening then it’s worth reading up on the different plants, soil types and climates to give yourself a head start.

You can also add some decorative elements like outdoor lighting and plants to create a beautiful ambiance and make the outdoor kitchen a place where you can entertain guests and spend time with family. With the right planning and execution, your outdoor kitchen will be the perfect place to cook, eat, and entertain in the great outdoors.

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