Ever since the UK saw a boom in the use barbecues in the 1950s, we have loved to prepare and eat food al fresco, particularly when entertaining family and friends. We’re becoming increasingly adventurous in our barbecue tastes and the latest trends show increases in slow-cooking, charcoal grilling, and sous-vide style food preparation. Plant-based options are growing in popularity and the gourmet burger remains pride of place on the British barbecue menu.
While we love to embrace the outdoor life, we don’t have the climate of Australia, so we need the reassurance that we can take cover when necessary. If you love cooking and eating outdoors, you might have wished that you had the facilities on hand without having to run back and forth between the house and the patio. But if you’re the cook, there’s no need to miss out on the all the fun! Have you thought about creating your very own outdoor kitchen in a garden building with all the bells and whistles or an indoor equivalent? Below we explore the logistics of setting up a dedicated kitchen in your garden and take a look at the latest trends for cooking and eating at home.
The concept of outdoor living has really taken off since we re-evaluated how we enjoy our homes during the pandemic. There are countless examples of homeowners extending their properties with conservatories, extensions, and loft conversions, and making maximum use of outdoor space has become more imperative as we embrace innovation and master the art of ergonomics. Adding an outdoor kitchen certainly increases the appeal and functionality of your garden, helping you to combine the joys of cooking with the beauty of nature.
Planning and design
Take some time to evaluate how to make the space work best for you and design it with care. If you’re going to install electricity and plumbing, you will have more scope to position the garden building on any part of your plot. Check the regulations for planning permission as you may need if you plan to carry out activities that you would usually enjoy in your home. Make sure that you can comply with all the regulations where you are before making any commitments.
You will always need to ensure that you build your summerhouse on a solid, level base so be sure to get the necessary groundwork right before you start to build. Think about how much space you need and how large or small your garden building will need to be. In the Scotts range, our summerhouse models start at 2m and go up to 4.4m and we can always create a larger space on a bespoke project, like The Grand that we designed especially for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Make the workflow smooth by designing a kitchen in discrete zoned areas for preparation, cooking and dining. Think about the number of appliances and the type of equipment you would like to install in your outdoor kitchen and leave plenty of space for the chef and the guests to dine in comfort in case of a change in the weather.
Consider the options for work surfaces and cupboards and select finishes that reflect the overall aesthetic of your home. Choose flooring, countertops, and splashbacks that create a visually cohesive and attractive space. Here are some examples of kitchen finishes that complement Scotts’ summerhouse models.
- Add a solid wood worktop and Shaker style kitchen cabinets to our 3.6m Burghley summerhouse supplied with decorative leaded glass windows and a cedar shingle roof with a Duck Egg paint finish.
- A Newhaven corner summerhouse would look stylish with a natural quartz composite work surface, coupled with high gloss cabinets in lime and white, and an Aubergine exterior paint finish.
- Create the contemporary outdoor kitchen of your dreams in a Slate-coloured 4.4m Sun Ray Garden Room with sleek concrete or stainless sides worktops and grey or charcoal cupboards.
Appliances and essential equipment
Choosing the right kit and equipment will add to your enjoyment of your garden room kitchen so do your research with care.
- Grill or barbecue
Check out this review of the best barbecues and decide whether you are going to invest over £1,600 in a Big Green Egg large ceramic grill, a Weber classic kettle or a Berghoff portable BBQ for just £129. Any cooking equipment that creates a flame will need to be set up and used in the area outside your garden building for safety reasons.
- Air fryer
If you plan to install electric power, why not branch out and select an air fryer? Ideal Home has done the legwork for you and recommends the Instant Vortex Air Fryer for just £99.99.
Good Housekeeping has identified this Russell Hobbs retro-style compact microwave as one of its best buys, available for £94 at Amazon.
Have some fun with this Husky Rubiks Cube Mini Fridge for £199.99 which has capacity to hold 40 drinks cans.
Think about ventilation as you will need a means of eliminating smoke and cooking odours from your outdoor kitchen. Cooker hoods and extractor fans are available in a range of designs to complement your style template.
Make sure you have plenty of storage so that you can keep pots and pans, drinkware, crockery, and cutlery on hand in your summerhouse kitchen. Scotts offers modular seating that doubles up as integral storage and you can add an attractive bay shelf feature that usefully extends your inside space.
Ideally, you should include waterproof furniture that can be taken outside when the weather is fine and set up on the patio or deck area outside your summerhouse kitchen to give the chef some breathing space! Make sure your dining sets, bar stools or sofas have enough seating for all your frequent guests and add inflatable or stacking footstools for the youngest members of the family.
Infrastructure and utilities
If you plan to install mains electricity, always consult a professional electrician to determine the requirements for your garden building kitchen as these will vary depending on the number and power capacity of your appliances. Gas-powered appliances will require a suitable line or access to propane in a portable cylinder. Always consult the safety instructions and follow these to the letter.
Lighting enables you to use your garden room kitchen well into the evenings in spring and autumn when there’s less natural light available. You might need a single spotlight for the cook, but more subtle LED lighting can create a relaxing ambience. Scotts offer a solar lighting package that can power a table and a floor lamp as one of its optional extra additions.
Weather protection and maintenance
While you may dream of endless dry days and warm evenings, we have all experienced the vagaries of the British summertime. It is essential that your garden building kitchen is weatherproof all year round so be sure to choose a solidly made and carefully crafted structure. Scotts summerhouses are all made from Red Grandis, a sustainable hardwood which retains its condition for years, especially as it is delivered with a luxurious spray paint finish in one of eleven colours. The roof needs to be watertight to avoid damage you your appliances and kitchen finishes. Scotts is a timber-roofing specialist, and its summerhouse roof structures are made from stress-graded timber with a breathable underlay for a watertight seal.
Protect your garden building from the sun’s strongest rays in the peak summer season with the addition of a parasol or awning and add blinds to the windows to maintain a steady temperature for meal preparation. Flooring should be durable and non-slip in case of cooking spills. Scotts offer a natural woven flooring option which is waterproof and easy to clean.
Keep your summerhouse kitchen in great condition with regular cleaning and maintenance and you will find that you have created a fabulous home-from-home that extends your living and entertaining space for years ahead.
The top five benefits of a garden room kitchen:
- Creates a luxury feature at your property that will impress your guests and could increase the saleability and value of your property.
- Enables the chef to remain at the centre of the fun rather than beavering away invisibly indoors.
- Provides extra space for all your cooking essentials and greater capacity for larger scale entertaining when you need it.
- Delivers a high-functioning and useful additional space for your home.
Our team at Scotts has built bespoke summerhouse models from scratch for many clients and the layout and style is only limited by your imagination. We’d love to hear about your kitchen garden building plans and will be on hand to guide you through the process from start to perfect finish.
Contact us via our website and we look forward to hearing from you.