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Six Steps To A Simple Outdoor Kitchen

For several years now we have had an outdoor kitchen in the garden for the summer months. I’ve mentioned it once or twice here before. It is such a pleasure to be able to cook outdoors when the weather is good, even when we haven’t time for a barbecue.

For years I used to lust after the fabulous-looking summer kitchens I’d see on the pages of the French interiors magazines I bought whenever I popped across the border to do the groceries. From sleek poolside kitchens bathed in sun to rustic, makeshift ones set under lean-tos of exposed, worn red brick, I loved them all.

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Once we had our own house and garden, I longed for summer to arrive so that I could create my own version of a makeshift outdoor kitchen in the wooden lean-to at the back of our house. Set halfway down the garden and right beside our raised vegetable bed, our kitchen has been up and running each summer we’ve lived here. It is slightly different  each year and it is basic, there is no doubt about that, but it ideal for us.

Whether we are entertaining  – we usually kick off the summer garden season with The Bavarian’s birthday in May – or I am in the garden with the children and fancy a cup of tea without having to abandon them, it can all be done from our simple summer kitchen.

I’m so happy with ours that I have put together a list of what you need to create your own one very easily.

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The Essentials – electricity, water and a bit of storage space are really all you need to begin with setting up your outdoor kitchen.

We use an old stand alone, lockable cupboard as the basis of our kitchen.It is the perfect size for storing everything we need and the top is ideal as a work surface. We’ve placed it opposite the outdoor tap, making washing veg, filling the kettle or rinsing cups so easy – no need to pop indoors at all.

Luckily for us the previous owners of our house set the garden up well with electric sockets. We have one just above the cupboard, just as you would have in your regular kitchen, above the work top.

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Utensils – allocate some crockery and cutlery to your outdoor kitchen to save you having to bring everything outdoors with you every time you want to use your garden kitchen.

We use mugs we have no particular attachment to, since the chances of them getting broken are higher outdoors. Our camping plates and plastic beakers live in the outdoor kitchen too. There are some fab melamine designs on the market these days that would make your kitchen really pretty while remaining practial.

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Accessories – I like to pick a colour each year and work around that with my accessories for the outdoor kitchen. Last year it was red, this year it is blue. Tea towels, paper napkins, a vase and storage jars, etc. are the accessories I use in my kitchen.

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Electronic devices – the household devices you’ll need in your kitchen depend on your lifestyle and what you eat and drink.

We have an old kettle and a plug-in one-ring hob out there permanently. That way, we can make tea and coffee and we can boil or fry food on the hob if we are not using the barbecue. Sometimes I’ll bring out the toaster or the waffle iron.

We don’t have a fridge in our outdoor kitchen, but I would like to have one there eventually, especially since we get temperatures of up to 40°C here in summer.

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Storage – setting up your kitchen beautifully only to find it infested with insects a few days later takes all the good out of the project. That’s why airtight storage is so important. I use jam jars to store teabags, sugar, coffee, etc. This year I gave the jars a little makeover by spraypainting the lids blue, an idea inspired by this blog post.

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Cleaning up  – Keeping your kitchen clean is the best way to avoid attracting insects. We have a garden sink below our oudoor tap. Next to it we’ve hung an Ikea kitchen tidy with the bits and bobs we need for cleaning the kitchen and hands – cloths, a pot scrub, washing up liquid and anti bac hand soap. With everything to hand, keeping the kitchen clean and bug-free is simple.

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How do you organise your summer entertaining and outdoor eating? Do you have an oudoor kitchen or does your kitchen open straight out onto a deck or patio?

Linking up to #BloggerClubUK and #HomeEtc

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31 thoughts on “Six Steps To A Simple Outdoor Kitchen

  1. My family and I were talking, not even an hour ago about setting up an outdoor kitchen! This confirmed that we’re going to go ahead and do it! You make it sound so reasonable.

  2. Hi Fionnuala. So much thought has gone into this, I’m impressed. I’d never really heard of the concept of outdoor kitchen. We have a shed as of last summer and the BBQ sits outside of it. Shed is water tight and has electricity so we could use that. Thanks for sharing #homeetc

  3. What a lovely concept, tho I’m not sure whether this would work too well with the Irish weather!! I suppose our kitchen/living space opens out onto a patio, so when barbecuing we can set everything out that we need. It would be fun to have an outdoor kitchen for lazy weekend breakfasts or evening entertaining x

    1. There are steps up to our door (we only have a main door, rather than back, front and side doors) so bringing things in and out to the patio is a nuisance. The outdoors one is fun and simple and saves a lot of bother. A bit like camping really.

  4. I LOVE this idea!! Although I reckon your weather is probably a lot better than ours and lends itself to outdoor dining! We were talking quite recently about creating a kitchen workspace outside but it wouldn’t have running water or electricity!! Yours is very posh!! 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up pet #HomeEtc

    1. Germans like to have everything over-engineered! 😉 Generally our Summers are hot but very humid. We actually get quite a bit of rain in Summer, but the outdoor kitchen is under a little shelter, so we can even use it if the heavens open suddenly, as happens a lot lately.

  5. What a fab outdoor kitchen, such a great idea for summer. We have the traditional BBQ and its in a little courtyard right outside the back door which leads from the kitchen. We do have a Beach Hut though with a one burner where we cook up soup or hot dogs & boil the kettle for a nice cuppa. #HomeEtc

  6. Ah, I’ve been lusting after this kind of thing for a few years now! I blame Pinterest 🙂 You make it sound so straightforward though I reckon we could do it – we already have electricity out there, so it’s not too much of a stretch for the rest of it! I’m now daydreaming about cooking steak in our outdoor kitchen, while sipping on a nice glass of red wine… #BloggerClubUK

    1. Definitely straightforward Katy. Give it a go. It is so nice to have. We had sizzing beef and peppers straight from our one ring cooker out in the carden this evening. No mess in the real kitchen and a lovely evening spent in the garden, cooking and eating.

  7. Oh this is such a lovely idea! So simple too. I love the idea of having one of these at my allotment, it would be great for when we take the kids there for the day. #HomeEtc

  8. What a fab idea, I love it. I don’t think it would work here in the UK, we don’t get enough good weather to make it worthwhile, but if I lived somewhere hot I would definitely be doing this
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Debbie

  9. Love it and SO practical too – saves going into the kitchen all the time! Love this. I used to like watching Jamie Oliver’s series when he cooked outdoors. Lovely xx

    Thanks for sharing. Jess xx #HomeEtc

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