February 9, 2021

The Outdoor Life At Home - Build An Alfresco Kitchen

One of the great glories of sunny weather is the opportunity it offers you to enjoy the outdoors at their finest. For many people the optimum way of doing this is to take themselves out into the garden to enjoy a barbecue. Tasty snacks cooked up on a grill to be enjoyed in an alfresco setting: what could be more wonderful?


Well, what if we were to take the excellent idea of cooking food over coals in your back garden and make it bigger and grander? Instead of a single grill, what about an entire kitchen? For an increasing number of people, the joys of an alfresco kitchen are becoming very clear, and it means that - weather permitting - they can have that barbecue vibe whenever they want, and without the risk of uneven cooking that comes with a charcoal grill.

How do you start with an alfresco kitchen?
What you are going to do with the kitchen depends very much on the amount of space you have available to you. If you have a small garden, any kitchen is going to need to do a maximum of work in a minimum of space; you might be able to have a fridge and a cooker in the space and little else. In a larger garden, it will depend on what’s already out there and where it is positioned - the more space you can use, the more freedom you have with choosing your kitchen.

In terms of positioning, be aware that it’s better to have your kitchen closer to the house simply from a point of view of access to the mains electricity. Some homes might offer more freedom on this front than others, but it is worth consulting a professional electrician service to find out what your options are for power points outdoors. Depending on how often you plan to use the space, you’ll also need to consider what kind of room you have for storage - if you only use it to entertain, there’s not a whole lot of point putting much fresh produce in an alfresco kitchen, so you won’t need so much space.


What points do I need to consider?
The essential consideration with an outdoor kitchen is its exposure to the elements. Even if you live in a tropical paradise, you will need to bear in mind that the many long days of sun are interrupted by occasional bursts of rain, and that there is an unhappy relationship between water and electricity. Think for a moment about your outdoor space. Which area offers the best shelter if you were suddenly caught in a downpour and don’t want to go back into the house? This might be the best spot for the kitchen, but it doesn’t stop with that point.

You can’t rely on the weather to play ball, so you should be looking at a structure that keeps all of the electrics and furniture protected should there be a shower. A pergola is one example of such a protective space, although you might choose to build out further and turn t into a barn structure - deep, but open-fronted, with doors that can be closed should the worst come to the worst.


How do I dissuade visitors?
You may be thinking that building an outdoor kitchen is all about attracting visitors, and you’d have a point, but what we’re talking about here is a different kind of visitor. Local wildlife will always be keen to find the easiest source of food, and if you have an open structure that houses plenty of delicious options, then you’re going to be a target for those creatures. What this means is that you need to keep all food under lock and key if it’s being stored outside. You also need to be particularly scrupulous when it comes to cleaning up after yourself when you’ve used the outdoor kitchen. Anything from ants to raccoons and even larger creatures can be attracted by the smell of dropped food, and they can cause a lot of damage.

The possibility of placing humane traps outside is an option, if you receive a lot of this kind of visitor, but prevention is better than cure - so be careful to give these creatures as little encouragement as possible. The placing of exterior cameras and even a sliding door that completely closes the kitchen can be beneficial choices, if the layout allows for this.

An outdoor kitchen can be a wonderful way to enjoy those sunny afternoons and evenings - as long as you get the practical elements sorted out.

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