Now that summer is starting to creep up on us, the scent of barbecues has been filling the warm evening air as people begin to move their cooking and dining outdoors.
As a result of the ever growing trend for entertaining at home and wining and dining our guests, we are also seeing a trend towards bringing interior elements outside, essentially extending the living, and ultimately the entertaining space, into the garden. This new found penchant for outdoor living spaces also extends to the kitchen with outdoor kitchens and bars becoming ever popular. Once the preserve of the super-rich, outdoor kitchens are now considered a little added luxury extension to the living spaces of homeowners.
As outdoor entertaining has increased, so has the range and extent of outdoor cooking equipment as people begin to experiment with outdoor cooking, going beyond sausages and burgers and buying smokers and outdoor ovens for slow cooking. Last year saw sales of the designer Big Green Egg ceramic charcoal cooker rocket.
Also with advances in surface technology, worktops are no longer an issue, with Dekton demonstrating high resistance to UV rays, low water absorption and great colour stability in outdoor kitchens. It was even chosen as the worktop for the outdoor kitchen at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
The range of outdoor kitchen equipment is vastly increasing, from a simple built in gas barbecue to fully working kitchens with with integrated grills, ovens, sinks and fridges. At the very top end of the market, outdoor entertaining areas are now becoming standard with the recently completed Beau House Brummel Penthouse in St James offering an outdoor kitchen, bar with wine chiller, fridge and barbecue alongside a dining area, living area with outdoor fire and TV all complete with underfloor heating.
However, further down the scale, the new modestly priced Olympic Park Chobham Manor maisonettes also come with outdoor sinks, work surfaces and electric sockets. Even John Lewis have said last month that they are ‘selling 47 per cent more garden furniture than this time last year and 79 per cent more barbecues’, proving that the trend for alfresco eating and entertaining is increasing across all areas of the market.
Seen as a way of extending the living space, outdoor spaces are also getting zoned into dedicated living, dining and cooking areas. Above you can see each area has been sectioned off, including a cover over the dining and cooking areas, as if they were rooms in themselves.
Even in the smallest homes and gardens, extending out like this is a great way of increasing the usable footprint of your living space and can make the best use of the space through outdoor kitchen cupboard storage.
As this trend continues we can see more outdoor kitchens, with appliances and finishes that match their indoor counterparts and we’re eagerly awaiting our first outdoor kitchen design!