The humble barbie just got a lot more sophisticated

Long summers, ice cold beers and plenty of sausages is all we usually need to enjoy the outdoors, but times are changing, and Australia is facing an outdoor dining revolution. Today more and more suburban Australians are investing in the pinnacle of home entertaining – turning your kitchen into a spectacular outdoor living space.

Sales and marketing manager at Sydney Outdoor Kitchens, John McGran, says outdoor kitchens allow you to utilise so much more of your home and take advantage of Australia’s climate.

“When you’re entertaining you can turn what can be a chore for some people into part of the celebration,” McGran says.

“The beauty of an outdoor kitchen is that you have all of your utensils right with you. The fridge is filled with drinks and salads, the cabinets take care of the cutlery and plates and people can hover around the barbeque. Outdoor kitchens keep everyone together.”

Outdoor kitchens are also changing the way we entertain and cook. In the past the barbeque was something left off to the side, but by making the barbeque the centre of your outdoor experience and surrounding it with the luxury look of a kitchen, everybody gets involved during meal preparation.

Keeping your kitchen stylish

Outdoor kitchens can be very comprehensive and include a barbeque, sink, cabinets and a fridge. McGran says many people extend beyond this and include everything from a dishwasher and fireplace to a TV and teppanyaki bar.

“People want to make the most of their outdoor kitchen so it is not unusual for the kitchen to extend to an outdoor lounge as people want to experience everything that an outdoor lifestyle has to offer,” McGran says.

“The latest trends are granite or caesar-style stone bench tops, and glass cupboards have taken off. We have also seena gradual move to the more traditional European charcoal barbeque.

Owner of Kastell Kitchens, Maria Monteverde, says you should have a wish list of what you would like to include in your outdoor kitchen.

“The choices are now becoming endless for appliances that can be used outdoors. A fridge to keep the drinks cold, storage for crockery and utensils and of course provision for a hooded BBQ or tepanyaki plate,” Monteverde says.

Planning your outdoor kitchen

There are many things to consider while planning an outdoor kitchen and there are experienced designers available for help.

What do you need to consider before building an outdoor kitchen? Monteverde says you need to ask yourself: “How big is the family? What is the average number of people coming to your barbeques? How much dining space is sufficient? And, how much paved and deck area will be enough?”

Style wise, outdoor kitchens will usually complement the architectural style of your home. If you have a contemporary home, a more minimalist look is recommended. If you have a federation style home, some of the cabinetry and tabletops should match the flavour by using timber and heritage colours.

Balancing the budget

When planning your outdoor kitchen you have to think of your budget. Expect to spend around $20,000 on an outdoor kitchen with a fridge, sink, teppanyaki bar and cabinets, not including floor tiling. However, an all-inclusive package can go up to $40,000 depending on how much you are going to use it. This will determine how much you want to spend.

While it may not be a necessity quite yet, an outdoor kitchen is undoubtedly a game-changer for your entertaining options. It adds just that little bit more luxury and relaxation to your lifestyle.