Summer is nearly here

Outdoor kitchen with BBQ fridge and sink

Summer is just around the corner so it is about time to wheel out the BBQ or you could look to build an outdoor kitchen or BBQ area.

Whether it be a simple built-in BBQ or include everything including the kitchen sink is up to you. In the 13 years I have been designing and building outdoor kitchens I have seen the market grow as well as the range of products you can include.

Gone are the days when it was only a built-in BBQ now there are outdoor rated fridges, pizza ovens of all sizes, teppanyakis (a Japanese iron griddle), gas side burners, smokers, warming drawers plus that sink. All able to stay outdoors and be used all year round.

Planning an outdoor kitchen is a lot like planning an indoor kitchen. What space is available? What do you like to cook? Is there enough preparation or servery area? The type of equipment and of course your budget.

Not everyone is going to tuck into a burger so do not forget those who have different diets such as vegetarians, vegans, gluten free to name a few. It may be a case of two separate cooking areas, this can be achieved with a second BBQ or using a gas side burner with griddle. If this is required you will also need a second set of BBQ utensils as that griddled haloumi will not taste the same with beef fat on it.

Tradition used to dictate that charcoal was the only way to BBQ but that is changing with gas BBQ sales growing fast much down to the ease of lighting and instant temperature adjustment. Although there are still many charcoal options available or you can go for a dual gas and charcoal model to keep everyone happy and remember if it is black it is burnt, not BBQed!

The construction is normally masonry to withstand our weather. You can achieve a look to blend into your garden using sympathetic materials similar to your home or patio or stand out to make a statement. Most worktops are granite or marble as they have not deep grain and can be easily cleaned, this can be expensive so the alternatives are tiles or quartz but they must be suitable for outdoor use. As a safety measure it is important to make sure the construction includes ventilation especially if gas bottles are being stored.

Most outdoor kitchens will require electricity possibly for the BBQ , fridge and more likely for lighting the area, from experience I know it is hard to cook in the dark even with the light from the flames. If you would like a sink make sure that you can reach all the services required such as water in and waste out, I would suggest doing this first rather than after the new patio has been laid.

As they say a BBQ is for all week not just the weekends so make the most of the summer!