A few years back, tired of spending that precious pre-dinner hour inside cooking, I decided to set up an outdoor kitchen in the garden for the summer months. I’ve mentioned it here and here before because I think everyone should have one. It is a joy to have and to use. The outdoor kitchen allows us to act as if we are camping, but we still get to sleep in real beds and go inside if it starts to rain. It is rustic, I’ll admit. I’d even go as far as to say it is basic, but it works for us.
Usually at the beginning of summer I make some changes to the outdoor area and this year I’ve teamed up with Laura Ashley to update our look. I’m so happy with our kitchen that I have put together a list of what you need to create your own one very easily.
The Basic Set Up
To really make use of your outdoor kitchen, you’ll need a water supply, some storage space and electricity. For us that translates into the outside tap, upcycling an old cupboard into a kitchen unit and installing a socket on an external wall. Once you have that, you are well on your way to realising the dream of a garden kitchen. A sink is handy too, so if you can get hold of a simple one to attach to the wall below the outside tap, I’d advise you go with that. Our one is very similar to this one:
Utensils & Equipment
When it comes to equipping your kitchen, it really is all about budget and personal taste. Good quality camping gear is a great addition to an outdoor kitchen but, to be honest, cast-offs from the house are much cheaper and a cup of tea tastes just as good out of an ugly mug as from a fancy camping cup. The advantages of tin, enamel or melamine cups and dishes are that they don’t break easily and they wash well. There are really pretty designs on the market that would make your rustic outdoor kitchen gorgeous as well as practical.
Speaking of pretty, adding accessories such as cushions, a tea towel set or tealights gives you the flexibility to update the look of your kitchen from season to season. Thanks to my collaboration with Laura Ashley I have florals as the theme to my kitchen this summer, as you can see in my seat cushions and nasturtium mugs. We’ve also added a basket of rugs for impromptu picnics or keeping snug on chilly evenings or for use when Autumn comes.
Whichever electronic devices you choose to add to your kitchen is entirey up to you. Depending on your lifestyle and how you want to use your new outdoor facilities you might just want to add a kettle. Or you could choose to go the whole hog and use a hob, radio and coffee machine. Our standard set up is to house a kettle and a plug-in one-ring hob outside permanently, taking the toaster, waffle iron or sandwich toaster out with us as needed.
Keeping The Bugs Away
In order to keep our outdoor kitchen insect-free, we keep all our staples – coffee, tea, sugar – in screw tip jars. Airtight storage is very important. We haven’t got an outdoor fridge (yet!) so we just bring out milk, butter, eggs and so on as and when we plan to use them. As with life indoors, the best way to avoid insect or rodent infestations is to keep the place clean. Using a bin and giving everything a wipe down with warm, soapy water should help keep your kitchen free from unwanted guests.
[Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. [Many thanks to Laura Ashley for providing us with accessories to style our outdorr kitchen this summer season]