Cooking Outside Needn’t Be Restricted To Summer Months. Set Your Outdoor Kitchen Up For Success All Year Round With Our Build Guide

Like most Kiwis we relish the outdoors, grabbing as much outside time as we can to kick-back, relax and whip-up a bite to eat. Ever so idyllic – but often derailed  – by the famously unpredictable NZ weather! We’ve all been there – protecting the BBQ from a summer side-wind or running for cover from a sudden thunderstorm. But the fun doesn’t have to stop when the temperature drops. Set up your outdoor space for year-round success by designing the perfect alfresco outdoor kitchen. 

What To Consider When Designing & Building An Outdoor Kitchen

1. Pick a Location & Suitable Structure: Agreeing on where your outdoor kitchen will be go is the first logical step as it often dictates what features it can be fitted out with. The options for locations are endless, including:

  • Being attached to your home as a natural, flowing extension
  • Next to an outdoor pool to keep the snacks and drinks flowing all summer long
  • As a free-standing structure, taking advantage of a beautiful scenery or grabbing some added privacy away from your neighbours

As we know, the weather can be unpredictable at best so it’s important to consider when you want to use your outdoor kitchen. If the answer is all year round then shelter is a key consideration. Covering a pre-existing deck or patio can be a cost effect way to bring the outdoors in.

Some options include:

  • Conservatory: A suitable shelter for appliances that burn cleaner fuels such as gas. However ventilation may prove a problem due to the space being relatively enclosed.
  • Pergola: Excellent in sunny weather by providing copious amounts of shade and ventilation. However, pergolas do not always offer the best shelter from wind and rain
  • Canopy Awning: A true all-rounder when it comes to structure and location flexibility. A fully retractable roof means ventilation that facilitates more aromatic cooking styles like smoking meats or barbecuing. Retractable outdoor curtains / blinds protect against side winds and rain whilst allowing for added airflow and temperature control. Different canopy styles (free-standing, lean-to, Sharma arch etc.) allow your outdoor kitchen to be completely independent or fixed to your current home. Our PVC stops 99% of harmful UV rays meaning you can cook without being fried!
fresco-shades-dayal-canopy-awning

2. Appliances: Setting up your outside kitchen can open up a whole host of new cooking appliances that may not fit in your conventional kitchen! If you are looking to BBQ or indulge in a Chinese hotpot, a gas supply for a hotplate is required. When used frequently, a mains supply obviously provides cost and reliability advantages vs. bottled propane, but check with your local council if you need approval before getting a registered expert to fit it.

Appliances that utilize natural fuel supplies, such as charcoal BBQs, smokers or traditional pizza ovens provide a really authentic, earthy experience but it is important to consider their respective fire hazard when selecting your location and outside kitchen structure. For authentic Asian cuisine, whether onion bhaji or spring rolls, a deep fat fryer fryer can be safely built into the outdoor kitchen.

3. Preparation Space: Counter tops can be the most costly part of your outdoor kitchen, especially if you choose more expensive materials (think polished marble). However you don’t need to go over the top whilst retaining quality, durability and style.

  • Concrete: Extremely durable, cost effective and vogue, however they can fade when exposed to the elements so are best suited when fitted under cover.
  • Granite: A solid choice when looking for a durable counter top that is both fade and stain resistant
  • Wood: Naturally porous so will require regular treatment, such as varnish or other weather-resistant coatings.
  • Soapstone: Sturdy, durable, stain resistant AND a bacteria resistant! What is not to love? Well it’s price tag!
  • Stainless Steel: Rust-resistance so ideal for both covered and uncovered kitchens. Just remember they get hot when exposed to direct sunlight!

4. Seating: Depending on space you may wish to incorporate seating into the outdoor kitchen for a fully covered, alfresco experience. This can be budget friendly, such as fold away chairs or alternatively more luxurious, such as a breakfast bar or dining set. Again, choosing between an enclosed, semi-enclosed or open structure will determine the seating option that will best deal with the environment.

Outdoor Room
outdoor tv room covered by a fresco awning
covered outdoor fire place

4. Seating: Depending on space you may wish to incorporate seating into the outdoor kitchen for a fully covered, alfresco experience. This can be budget friendly, such as fold away chairs or alternatively more luxurious, such as a breakfast bar or dining set. Again, choosing between an enclosed, semi-enclosed or open structure will determine the seating option that will best deal with the environment.

5. Storage: Whether you are going for fully-kitted units or stand-alone cabinets storage is important to make sure the kitchen is fully-functional and independent from your main home. Ensuring these are secure to keep food and knives safe is important – especially if you have children.

You May Be Interested In: Dayal Canopy Case Study

fresco-canopy-led-strip-light
6. Set The Mood With Lighting

Don’t let night time end the good times by fitting lighting to your outdoor kitchen. Perfect for creating a welcoming ambiance, lighting provides the perception of warmth that makes the space welcoming in the colder months. Advances in LED technology means they lead the way when it comes to energy efficiency, durability and colour range. Fresco Shades retractable roof awnings provide fully in-built LED lighting to ensure complete reliability, 24/7, all year round.

7. Temperature Control: Whether keeping cool or cranking up the heat, you have plenty of options at your disposal when thinking about keeping you and your guests comfortable. Retractable blinds or outdoor curtains provide flexibility to add and remove walls as seasons change, keeping a steady airflow that comes in handy if embarking on aromatic cooking. For heating your outdoor space, a LPG patio heater is relatively cost effective if used infrequently, but a mains supplied gas or electric heater is a more cost efficient longer-term solution. For a more rootsy and arguably environmentally friendly option why not choose a traditional fireplace, fire pit or chiminea? After all it can help dispose of any unwanted timber!

Related Post: 5 Practical Tips For Heating Your Outdoor Space This Winter

8. Don’t Forget A Cold One… Nothing beats a chilled glass of wine or beer on a summer’s night (or any night come to think of it!). The cheaper, classic option is the bar fridge, a welcome oasis on a scorching summer’s day that doubles up as perfect storage for that steak (especially if you opt for that poolside kitchen/ bar). Alternatively if you are a craft beer connoisseur fitting draught taps is a must. Granted there will likely be a higher set-up cost, but ideally this is off-set by sourcing cheaper kegs from your local brewery (and supporting local businesses can’t be bad).

9. … Or Washing Up! – Unless you want to lug all your dirty dishes and pans back to the house it makes sense to sort out a water supply and sink. We recommend fitting a dishwasher if you are entertaining large groups on a regular basis (if water supply and budget allows).

Final Thoughts

Crafting your outdoor kitchen can be a mammoth project! Choosing the right outdoor structure is pivotal. After all – it determines all other features, including appliances, counter tops and temperature control. Think about the kitchen location, what you will be cooking, when and how regularly. The NZ weather elements can be varied and sometimes wild! Fresco Shades canopy awnings provide flexibility for a variety of cooking styles and outdoor kitchen designs. Get in touch for a free quote and turn that alfresco kitchen dream into a reality.