How to Design & Build an Outdoor Kitchen.
Our Director of Landscape Design Mark Latchford gives his insights when considering the design and build of an outdoor kitchen.
Do you need planning permission to build an outdoor kitchen?
Depending on the scope of your project and the site location, if it’s a listed home, in green belt or situated in an AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty), it is likely you will need to submit plans for landscaping work for an outdoor kitchen, and there may be planning conditions to adhere to. These would also cover other hard landscaped areas and structures such as a pergola, outbuilding or other type of shelter for the kitchen.
However, if your home isn’t listed or in one of these areas, hard landscaped areas with an outdoor kitchen could well be covered under Permitted Development. It’s best to employ professional consultants to find these things out before any building works start. Working with a Landscape Designer, they will be able to help you develop a design that works within the site-specific requirements together with the style of your home and your budget, whilst allowing your own personality to shine through.
What should you consider when it comes to building an outdoor kitchen? For example, how much sun or shade the spot gets, and whether the ground is level?
Firstly, think about the location of your outdoor kitchen. What is its proximity to the main house, what kind of shelter you would like to have or conversely how open will it be to wind or under trees where there will be leaf drop. How much sun or shade will it receive and at what times of day and evening. Think about the size of the space, how much privacy you would like and the view you would like from it.
Secondly, think through the practicalities and the utilities. How many people typically will you be entertaining – family, friends, and parties – this may influence the cooking, dining and circulation spaces. Think about the material choices with regard to weather and staining resilience, and consider your water and power supply, any drainage needed and the ambience you would like to create through the lighting. Other practicalities to think through are if you need step free access and what position you would like the BBQ – do you want to cook with your back to your guests or to face them to allow for conversation.
Thirdly, think about the food prep and cooking areas. Do you want gas vs. charcoal, together with any other cookers such as pizza oven, grill, wok burner, rotisserie and smokers – there are some great outdoor kitchen options. Think about your meat vs. veg space, any outdoor fridges, bar and drinks prep areas, and what storage space will you need.
What optimum layouts are there for an outdoor kitchen?
Treat the space similarly to an internal kitchen. Again, consider the circulation space, the position of cooking equipment in relation to the seating areas, and the practicality of their arrangements. A single unit against a wall of fence with a dining area close by is a good way to make the most of smaller spaces. Having an L or U shaped outdoor kitchen, or even an island, with plenty of space for food prep and convenient access to a sink allows the opportunity to still face people for conversation whilst you’re cooking.
What materials are good for an outdoor kitchen and why?
There are some great materials for an outdoor kitchen, from hard-wearing natural stone, porcelain, tiles and polished concrete to Corian, resin, and timbers for cupboard doors and side panels. The important thing to remember is that it will be outdoors all year round, so will need to be weather resistant, easy to clean and resilient to staining, such as oils and red wine.
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Whether you’re looking to transform your outdoor space or design an imaginative new build home or extension that links seamlessly to the surrounding grounds, we can work with you to create a space that is unique to your property and lifestyle.