Don’t let the unpredictable weather dampen your Al Fresco cooking and dining ambitions. From summer rain showers to unexpected heat waves, an Irish summer can throw obstacles in the path of outdoor entertaining. But with these tips, you can create an outdoor kitchen that’s up to the challenge and ready to provide years of enjoyment and memories. From the right appliances to the perfect layout, you can create a functional and inviting space, no matter what the weather throws your way.
When deciding where to place your outdoor kitchen, it’s important to consider several key factors. Location is the first and most important consideration. Take the time to carefully evaluate potential locations, considering factors such as the orientation of the space, any fixed elements you’ll need to work around, and the views from your home.
You’ll also want to consider the kitchen’s proximity to your indoor kitchen and whether you prefer an integrated or separate outdoor dining experience. If you plan on a location away from the main house, you may need to incorporate additional storage or appliances to make it practical and functional.
Once you’ve settled on the ideal location, the next step is determining the best layout that caters to your specific needs. A straight, linear layout is perfect for smaller spaces. In larger spaces, an L or U-shaped layout can make a bold and stylish statement. Consider adding extra counter space for seating or incorporating a banquette for a more social and inviting solution.
If you want your outdoor kitchen to match the style of your indoor kitchen, consider investing in a bespoke design. Bespoke solutions cost a bit more than off-the-shelf options but allow you to make the most of your space and perfectly tailor the kitchen to your preferences. On the other hand, if you prefer a more convenient option, excellent modular kitchens are available. These provide the ability to choose from various components and configurations.
When it comes to materials, it’s important to prioritise weather-resistant ones, such as composite cladding and decking. Among the durable choices are cedar, teak, and sustainably sourced iroko timber, known for its exceptional stability. Consider options like polished plaster or large porcelain tiles for worktops, offering resistance to UV and frost damage. Artificial countertops such as Dekton by Cosentino are ideal for outdoor use. This super durable work surface will ensure a functional and enduring kitchen setup that thrives in any weather condition.
Appliances are an essential part of any outdoor kitchen, and your choice of BBQ will be a significant factor in the overall design. There’s a long-standing debate about whether gas or charcoal BBQs are best, and both have unique advantages. If you choose a gas BBQ, it’s worth considering a plumbed-in model for convenience.
This way, you’ll never have to worry about running out of fuel and will always be ready to grill up a feast. Plus, it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re entertaining.
Pizza ovens have become popular recently, with many countertop options readily available. Ensure you have plenty of countertop space to accommodate the oven and some under-counter storage space for storing it away when not in use.
Other nice-to-have additions include a sink, fridge, and possibly even a freezer in your outdoor kitchen setup. Make sure to include cupboards or drawers to store essential outdoor cooking utensils and equipment.
When planning your outdoor kitchen lighting, it’s important to consider both form and function. Bright task lighting around the cooking area is crucial for safety and ease of use, while mood lighting in the dining area sets the perfect ambience.
Choosing high-quality fittings is also key. Being labelled as “outdoor lights” doesn’t guarantee suitability for Irish weather conditions. To ensure durability and protection, check the IP rating of the fittings. The IP rating indicates the waterproof level, with a higher rating offering better resistance. Opt for fittings with an IP rating of at least 65, equivalent to what you would use in your shower. Always check the IP rating on the box or details before purchasing any light fittings to ensure they can withstand the outdoor elements effectively.
When planning an outdoor kitchen, it’s essential to consider comfort and usability in all weather conditions. Look for a roof structure that retains heat in winter, provides rain shelter, and allows ample sunlight during summer. Options like pergolas, awnings and retractable canopies are worth exploring.
If you plan to use the outdoor kitchen year-round, consider adding some heating solution. Options like fire pits and patio heaters are excellent choices, but modern Wi-Fi-controlled heaters add convenience, enabling you to warm up the space remotely, even before stepping outside.
Play with planting
Finally, make sure you incorporate planting to help frame the new kitchen area, add softness and help it blend nicely with the garden. Use planting to create screening and privacy. A mix of carefully positioned trees, hedging and perennial planting will help create screening and interest throughout the year.
So, don’t let the weather forecast rain on your parade. With a bit of planning, you can be the master of your outdoor kitchen domain whatever the weather has in store.
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