What to consider when planning an outdoor kitchen

If you are one of the many UK homeowners deciding to invest in an outdoor kitchen for your home, the journey to dream alfresco dining space may seem a little daunting at the start, especially if like most of us, your first port of call is social media.  The likes of Instagram or Pinterest are great for initial inspiration but it’s very easy to become overwhelmed with images of the ‘perfect’ looking kitchen (many of which will have been staged for photography shoots and magazines.)

Taking some time to plan and consider functionality, materials, even positioning of the kitchen, at the very beginning, will help ensure the end result is both beautiful and functional, for many years to come.  

Whether it’s a laid back, cosy corner for Friday pizza nights or the ultimate built-in kitchen and entertaining area, here we take a look at the top 5 things to consider when planning your new outdoor kitchen.

Choosing the right cooking option

The heart of any good kitchen is surely its oven and cooking outdoors is now so much more than wheeling out the BBQ when you are having guests over.  Gas, grill, hob, wood-fired, there are so many versatile ways to cook outdoors, depending on how you want to use your space.  If you want a versatile cooking option, a Valoriani wood-fired pizza oven from Orchard Ovens will give you endless entertaining options, from delicious hand-baked pizza to a perfectly cooked Sunday roast lamb.  Also, with various custom design options available, including bespoke traditional brick domes, a wood-fired pizza oven can add that wow factor to the overall design of your kitchen.

Create an all-weather space

This is the UK and, as our weather can be unpredictable, it’s worth considering how you can make the most out of your space in all weathers.  Consider having at least part of the area covered and think about where you position the kitchen – are you making the most of where the sun falls in the garden?  Is it sheltered from any strong winds?  Is it too exposed to other factors such as strong sunlight?

Durable materials should be high on your list

When choosing worktops, cupboards, shelves, appliances or units, ensure you select materials that are durable; they need to be UV, water and heat resistant, as they will all be exposed to the elements for a long time.  Stainless steel worktops are a good choice, as is the use of brick-built structures which can withstand exposure to wind, rain and sun!   This is just another benefit of installing an artisan-built Valoriani oven as it’s an investment that will stand the test of time.  This authentic Tuscan wood-fired oven’s longevity is a minimum of 10 years but there are Valoriani ovens installed in the UK over 20 years ago that are still going strong!

It’s also worth giving a thought to, if an accident should happen, the areas where replacement parts or sections of a kitchen may be needed.  It’s reassuring to know that the floor of a Valoriani oven is extremely robust, but it can be replaced if needed, without dismantling the entire oven, therefore not resulting in huge financial costs.

Get to know your ergonomics

Have you considered your work triangle – the three points between your oven, sink and refrigerator? It is thought that having these elements at the right distance from each other will ensure an efficient and easy-to-use space.  Heights of worktops, the reaching height to shelves and having the right amount of worktop should all also be added to your checklist.

Another consideration is how close to your house to position your kitchen. You may want a seamless integration from indoor to outdoor, or perhaps you have the perfect spot at the end of the garden?  Power, drainage and internet connectivity may all influence this decision.

Time to think about the detail

Once you understand the functionality of your space, you can think about the smaller details. Will you mirror your home’s existing interior style or perhaps you will want a slightly different look?  If you’re a keen gardener you will probably be thinking of ways to incorporate some greenery into the scheme, even a few pots planted up with flowers and herbs can really bring a scheme together.  What type of lighting and where it is situated is also important, especially if you plan on using the kitchen well in to the autumn and winter months.  And finally, practical accessories such as shelving, seating and storage need to be considered.  Have drawers and baskets to hold the essential tools and utensils, to ensure they are easily on hand when you need them. 

Whatever style or size of outdoor kitchen you want to create, a detailed and thorough plan from the outset will help guide your project.  If you would like to discuss how you could incorporate an artisan-built Valoriani oven into your dream entertaining space, call us on 01772 250000 or email info@orchardovens.co.uk



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