Cooking and dining al fresco is the best way to enjoy the summer breeze. It’s also a great social call with guests more eager to lend a hand during get-togethers. Unlike a conventional kitchen, there are additional considerations to make since weather can have an effect on wear and tear.
Where indoor kitchens can have a complete set of design features like expensive tiling, a kitchen island with all the trimmings etc, outdoor kitchens are best kept minimally designed with features that don’t need a lot of maintenance.
A true al fresco kitchen is not a good idea no matter what climate conditions you experience. Everyday sunlight, dust, humidity and wind will not only bring in dirt and grime but may tamper with the working of gas burners and electrical appliances. Here are some tips provided by experts that all beginner designers should follow.
Keep it simple
Unlike other rooms, kitchens must be simply designed with a good layout, only those appliances you need and plenty of space to move around. The materials used in construction should be very easy to maintain. As it is, you’ll be cleaning up spillage when cooking so you don’t need the added burden of a difficult-to-maintain kitchen.
A dwarf wall is a good idea aside from the roof as using appliances to create a boundary can leave them subject to the elements. Perhaps the most challenging effort is to make sure plumbing works smoothly as it has to be extended outside the house.
Stone/tile countertops and floor
Unlike the easy choice for indoor kitchens, outdoor kitchens must have countertops and floors that can withstand exposure to the weather. This means no ceramic tile countertops if you live in a cold region and no limestone as it’s extremely porous. Cultured granite countertops are the best and look for those that have UV resistance.
As for floors, granite blocks and concrete are the two choices. To prevent porosity from suffering spillage effects, periodic resanding and sealing are necessary.
A large enough prep space
When choosing countertops, plan keeping in mind the size of the prep space. Outdoor kitchens are perfect for family cooking but accommodating all the helping hands means there should be enough space.
A bar top
Setting up a small bar in the kitchen will eliminate the need to pop into the house every time you or a guest needs a drink refill. Have another bar indoor by all means but if the outdoor kitchen will be used extensively, install another in it.
Good traffic flow
A spacious kitchen can be left to the dogs if traffic flow is not kept in mind. The cooking and washing areas should be dedicated spaces but not far from the seating spot because the whole point of cooking outdoors is to make sure everyone can socialize. Setting up the kitchen near a pool, if you have one, is a better idea than separating the two.
Fire resistant awnings and eaves
For the gas stove and grill, make sure they’re not placed under combustible roofs or ceilings. Materials like stucco, gypsum and brick are recommended materials for walls, ceilings and eaves.
Fun fact: An outdoor kitchen boosts home value especially among buyers with families. So if you think it’s unnecessary expenditure, remember this if you ever decide to sell your house.