One of the best things about summer is all those evenings spent dining outdoors with family and friends – but incorporating the right equipment and design features can make the experience all the more enjoyable. With the latest technology and materials that stand up to our harsh Canadian climates, alfresco cooking spaces can be as practical as their indoor counterparts. Here are some of my favourite design ideas that you should consider.
If you watched the second season of Bryan Inc. (you can do so here if you haven’t!) you would have seen the new pizza oven we installed on our back patio. It has been one of the best additions we’ve ever done. We use it all the time when we’re home, and it cooks some of the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted. I can’t recommend this enough – and you can build one for a reasonable price.
When we built the pizza oven, we also added a charcoal BBQ within the same construction. This has been so useful too. There is something about the taste of charcoal grilled meats and vegetables that is absolutely delicious.
If you have counter space and room underneath it, then I highly recommend a beverage fridge of some sort. Few things beat an ice cold drink with dinner or while entertaining guests outdoors, and to conveniently grab said drink without going inside is the ultimate luxury. I have recently discovered outdoor keg fridges, and that is simply genius.
Washing dirty plates or grills outside is such a convenience. One of the issues with hosting outdoors is having people go back and forth between indoors and out. This often can’t be helped, but containing the mess outside will make the whole process less stressful.
The Right Materials
With all the technological advances we’ve seen over the past few years, getting the right materials for outdoor countertops, cabinetry and so forth has become much easier, and more affordable. Your local supplier will give you a host of examples for a variety of different budgets (like granite, soapstone or concrete). Just ensure you don’t choose the cheapest option – it’s worth spending more on a durable material than to replace it after a few years.
Cozy Lounge Area
Again, not a necessity for a kitchen, but it’s nice to have a comfy place to sit and enjoy the outdoors. Just like an indoor sofa, it’s worth opting for long-lasting seating, otherwise you will need to replace it much sooner than you prefer.
While this certainly isn’t an essential kitchen item, having a TV outdoors is a luxurious addition to your patio area. It will come in handy during a big sporting event, or to simply watch your favourite show while preparing food.
Heaters and Misters
Having outdoor heating is a great idea. This means you can stay outside longer, enjoying your patio when the sun sets and the temperatures drop. And when it gets too hot? Install misters for those humid days. These conveniences will allow you to use your outdoor space more often and make the most of it.
Adding speakers to your outdoor space is something you won’t regret. If you’re planning a patio renovation, I highly recommend getting speakers installed and choosing ones that can be used via your device. Music can add to any occasion, and there’s nothing better than listening to your favourite song while barbecuing.
When incorporating an outdoor kitchen, consider its proximity to your indoor cooking space. Unless you’re incorporating every appliance and amenity, you’ll need your indoor kitchen at some point, too. Carrying food and drinks back and forth can be made challenging if further away, so try to keep both spaces close together, if possible.