As homeowners’ enthusiasm for open-plan living extends to
the outdoors, we are seeing a surge in the popularity of dedicated alfresco cooking
spaces. While the outdoor kitchen was once synonymous with luxury homes, it’s
becoming the new must-have lifestyle addition across the mid-range of the
But while this space is called a ‘kitchen’ it differs from a
regular indoor kitchens in a multitude of ways. By necessity, outdoor kitchens
are often tucked into one edge of a deck or patio adjoining the living areas of
the home, although they are sometimes installed within stand-alone cabanas.
Despite the limited space inclusions can range from barbecues and specialist
hotplates right through to a plumbed sink, fridge and sometimes even
dishwashers. From a functional point of view the outdoor kitchen must facilitate
the efficient and safe preparation and serving of food plus offer adequate seating
and dining. That’s quite a big ask.
Another complication is that while clients might be very
specific regarding their functional requirements for the indoor kitchen,
they’re often unsure of how the outdoor kitchen will be used and unable to provide
the detail that’s necessary to creating a layout that’s well-matched to their
That means you need to be the expert and guide your client based
on your own knowledge of how the space should ideally function. A great
reference point is HIA’s Outdoor Kitchen Checklist, a comprehensive resource
developed by industry professionals in response to the growing demand for
outdoor cooking facilities.