There have been some remarkable shifts in trend relating to the renovation of domestic properties in the UK. The increasing affordability of once-luxury trappings have enabled households to realise long-held dreams, and expand their home into a much more lavish affair than those of yesteryear; the crowning example of this is the significant uptick in outdoor living spaces. Whether converting old outhouses into home offices, or investing heavily in outdoor furniture for summer socialising, the UK public seem enraptured with making the most of their garden spaces.
This trend is reaching its logical conclusion as more people consider outdoor kitchens, as a more permanent and practical alternative to dragging out the barbecue every summer. Alongside a growing trend of eco-consciousness and sustainability in home design, the outdoor kitchen presents a unique opportunity to device a sustainable, luxury space that caters to all.
The Evolution of Outdoor Kitchens
The outdoor kitchen is not necessarily a recent invention; after all, we’ve been cooking things outdoors for generations, and by now the humble barbecue has become a staple part of our national identity. But as food trends evolve, and continental practices continue to emigrate across into the UK, so too has the scope of the outdoor kitchen.
The runaway popularity of stone-baked pizza has led to the installation of many a pizza oven outside, where the high temperatures necessary run little risk of smoking anyone out. Wok cooking from a little farther afield also benefits from being outdoors, given that only an industrial extraction fan could deal with the oil smoke necessary for that ‘wok hei’ flavour profile. The result, then, is a series of outdoor kitchen designs that run the gamut from rustic to regal.
‘Eco-chic’ is not a new trend either, though it has become much more emergent as the scale of the climate crisis continues to reveal itself. Interior design has reflected and incorporated sustainability messaging over time, with a quintessential style attached to the practice of renovating sustainably.
Recyclable and low-emissions materials are central to this, and often presented in their raw form to echo the unsullied nature of, well, nature. Outdoors-friendly wood materials are a common choice for furnishings and coverage, with raw timber textures adding depth and character as well as a practical edge. Reclaimed stone is also a common feature, whether used in the construction of boundary walls or as the basis for outdoor stools.
An eco-conscious outdoor kitchen needs to be fitted with eco-conscious appliances in order to fulfil its remit. Wood-fired pizza ovens are a common find in designs, and a great ecological option; while there are emissive concerns with related to burning wood, it remains a sustainable alternative to conventional oven systems. Chimineas are another common find, with aesthetic benefits alongside practical baking benefits.