An outdoor kitchen provides endless opportunity for entertaining, dining al fresco, enjoying a beautiful garden or lovely weather, and simply relaxing. If you’ve achieved that outdoor kitchen dream but are looking to dress up the scene a bit more, consider these landscaping ideas. As well as offering significant utilitarian advantages, they’ll help you set an ideal culinary scene any time of the year.
Make a Roof
No matter where you live, roofs just make sense. In rainy or coastal areas, they help protect your cupboards, furniture and appliances from the elements so that they’ll last longer. In dry, sunny areas, they provide welcome shade and an anchoring point for awnings or swaying curtains. Luckily, it’s easy to make a simple roof yourself by installing panels across an arbor. If you need to for rainy areas, get help sloping the roof and installing drainpipes, and be sure to cover it with tarpaper or another water-resistant material.
Add More Seating
This is one of the easiest and best ways to make an outdoor kitchen cozy and inviting. You can either use scattered chairs, sofas or sectionals, or even throw some chaise loungers into the mix for a super-relaxed atmosphere. Side and end tables make nice accessories for setting down drinks and plates.
Plant Walkable Greenery
Since outdoor kitchens tend to be high-traffic areas, you want sturdy pathways leading to and from. This can either take the form of a stretch of greenery, or slate or stone paths with green growing in between. Unfortunately, while everyone loves a good lawn, sometimes shade, climate or other factors prevent you from growing a healthy stretch of turf. Instead of lamenting that fact, look for alternatives, such as steppable plants.
Light It Up
In addition to needing lighting if you’re going to cook and entertain at night, outdoor lights are a lovely way to add charm to your outdoor kitchen. Hardwiring overhead or wall lighting can lend the feel of an actual room, while stringing up fairy lights and large Chinese lanterns offers a more laid-back, casual aesthetic. If you go the fixture route, talk to your electrician about ensuring the space is properly protected from the elements.
Bring Floors Outdoors
Flooring is a beautiful way to give your outdoor kitchen a room-like feel without breaking the bank. Think about it: Everyone loves the look of a wooden-planked dance floor or a beautiful stretch of slate. For weekend warriors, this one’s a gimme, because it is relatively easy to level and prepare an outdoor space without a lot of prior experience. If you really don’t feel up to the task, however, contract with a professional to get the job done. Want to decorate outside the box?
Grow Your Privacy
Walls always make an outdoor kitchen feel a little homier and more private. Instead of just replicating a standard kitchen, however, why not give yours a genuine outdoor feel with living walls? Create a tight-knit hedge with plants such as juniper, boxwood or holly. Bamboo works well and grows quickly, though you have to watch out, as many species are very invasive. You can also train vines up trellises and over arbors. Plants that flower in the spring or summer put on a seasonal display that many find particularly appealing. Go for trumpet honeysuckle, clematis or mandevilla for showy blooms.
Outdoor kitchens are lovely ways to extend your living space into the great outdoors, so this spring, take the opportunity to spruce yours up with one of these landscaping projects. Before you know it, and without breaking the bank or your back, you’ll be cooking and dining in the kitchen of your dreams.