The Outdoor Kitchen: A Room To Invest In

Article by Erin Renwick.

As I write this, I am sitting at the patio table in my sister’s beautiful back garden. Listening carefully, I can hear the low buzz of a million pollinators in the perennial garden, distant laughter and a soft breeze in the branches. In a little while, we’ll turn on the barbecue and grill our fish and vegetables for another long dinner outdoors, one of many this summer.

There is luxury in cooking and eating out of doors for us northerners. It feels exotic, celebratory, and a little bit like we are getting away with something. Victoria designer JC Scott has designed more and more outdoor spaces over the past few years. He explains that, “in BC, outdoor living is a growing field largely due to glass windbreaks and natural gas and electric patio heaters.”

Homeowners can now create and enjoy outdoor kitchens and dining areas that are every bit as comfortable as indoor kitchens. On JC’s advice, the following are four essential elements to consider when you are siting and designing your own outdoor kitchen:

  1. Choose the best location for access to the indoor kitchen, the bathroom, and an area where you already have or will be able to create privacy.
  2. Select the right appliances to suit your menu style and typical number of diners, as well as the type of food you want to cook (crab, pizza, fish, etc.)
  3. Design for year-round cooking comfort by creating shelter from wind and rain.
  4. Use smart kitchen design when you are laying out your counters, cupboards and appliances. Designing and creating an outdoor kitchen can be as simple or as involved as you would like to make it. As JC says, a budget for an outdoor kitchen can be as low as $50 for a grill on sale at the end of season, and as much as $50,000 “if you want the all weather TV, the outdoor fridge, an all season pizza oven and a grill sized for a Tyee salmon.” As with many elements of home and outdoor design, there is a price to suit nearly every budget.

Whether you want to host twenty of your friends for a fine feast of crab and salmon with wine pairings and desserts to die for, or you just want to grill up a few burgers, cooking and eating out of doors is one of life’s true pleasures. And, as JC says, “for dollars invested vs hours of enjoyment it’s hard to find a better home investment in my opinion.”