Shelley Hugh-Jones is a professional garden designer based near Wandsworth Common, working on projects both small and large, urban and country. Each project is unique. Shelley aims to create gardens that are in context and have a cohesive transition from the interior to exterior creating one unified space.
a: 39 Ravenslea Rd London SW12 8SL
Creating the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen
There is something about cooking outside that feels wonderfully estranged from everyday life. The outdoor cool air and greenery surrounding you whilst toasting burgers on the grill transports you away normal indoor kitchen setting and creates a refreshing ambiance. Garden expert, Shelley Hugh-Jones, shares her tips for creating the perfect outdoor kitchen:
Choosing the perfect Location to create your outdoor kitchen
When planning your outdoor kitchen, consider the available space in the garden and the proximity to your indoor kitchen’s location. Consider how accessible your indoor fridge will be from the outdoor cooker. You might not want to hike through a cross-country trail every time you want to cook!
However, in contrast to having your garden close to the fridge, you may also want to tuck your kitchen away from the rest of the garden. You can achieve both options by creating planting beds or divisions/screening in the garden to create zones for the outdoor kitchen and dining area.
Do you want to cook and dine in the shade or in the sun? Another problem to consider is prevailing winds. This is especially if using wood or charcoal fired BBQ’s. Also consider your neighbour if the gardens especially if living in a terraced house. It is entirely up to you, but make sure you consider the practically of the location carefully.
When designing the layout consider how to position the prep and landing worktop space. Depending on whether you are right or left handed, try to ensure that the most space is on the correct side if space is limited.
You may also want to think about some outdoor storage, such as shelving. Like your kitchen, shelving or cupboards could be installed below the worktop. This can create space for storing gas bottles, BBQ accessories or even logs if your cooker requires them. Fridge, sink, drawers and adjacent seating can all be added as part of an island unit. This could be designed bespoke or companies such as WWOO sell modular concrete kitchens with shelving and worktops plus accessories.
Creating the perfect OuTdoor Cooking SPACE
Finally, decide which cooking appliance to incorporate into your outdoor kitchen. You can choose from a varied selection, such as Mains Gas, Bottled Gas, charcoal or a green Egg. The Big Green Egg is very popular at the moment, and many clients have a both a gas BBQ and a green egg. Side burners, rotisseries and even pizza ovens are fun alternative options.
The elements and order of application of your cooking station will need to be carefully considered before installing. If you have chosen mains gas, the gas feed or conduits needs to be put in place before the patio, so this would be something additional to consider. This also applies to running water if a sink is required.
The materials will need to sit well with the style of the kitchen. Remember to also take into consideration which room leads onto the garden, usually the kitchen. Repeat materials across this space where possible. To tie the kitchen in with the rest of the garden, perhaps integrate planters for herbs into the workspace.
Kitchens constructed from blockwork can be rendered or clad in timber such as cedar or can be painted softwood. I have just finished one painted black so that it recedes rather than becoming the main event. Concrete kitchens can also be constructed using timber shuttering to leave a textured surface or polished concrete is another option.
Lastly, the budget is an important consideration. Creating a simple outdoor kitchen is easy as well. Rather than changing to an integrated BBQ, build a unit around it and create simple worktop space.
To contact Shelley, visit her expert page here.
Featured image credit: Shelley Hugh-Jones design, built by Garden Builders.