Outdoor kitchens: chef’s outdoor

06.23 — Open Air Culture

Practical and cosy, the major conviviality place that, depending on the chosen configurations and design, conveys a customised style in hospitality. We are talking about the kitchen, or even better, the outdoor kitchen.

The space commonly known as the house core, is today reinventing itself with design versions, fully open air and full optional, having nothing to envy the more sophisticated indoor versions. So not the traditional garden barbecue: the new outdoor kitchens offer a polished design, cutting-edge technology and high-resistant materials enhancing the functionality of gardens, terraces and verandas at any time of the year.

1. Outdoor kitchens

Elegant and spacious outdoor kitchen area enhanced by pergola Opera

Creating an outdoor kitchen means not only designing a simple piece of furniture with a cooktop, but rather a fully-integrated space enhancing the outdoor space as a whole, through well-finished and coherent furniture choices, specifically conceived for the open-air life.
Today, modular architectures and monobloc models stand out among the new trends in outdoor kitchens that fascinate with their essential style, able to naturally blend with both modern and classical sites. Versatile structures in design and dimensions, conceived to perfectly adapt to the available space.

Exactly as it happens for the home kitchen, wide surfaces and open spaces need linear and island compositions, with shelving at the base of the cooktops, where to place kitchen utensils and dishware. On the contrary, if the surface area is small or wall-mounted, a great suggestion to optimise the space is to prefer the outdoor kitchens with interlocking furniture, exploiting at best the verticality by using suspended furniture.

The choice of finishes is very important since they have to blend with the outdoor atmosphere. The outdoor kitchens are designed with materials resistant to weather elements and temperature leaps, allowing a completely open-air installation. However, practicality doesn’t mean renouncing to a refined design that, for this season, prefers textured solutions inspired by nature, such as stone, marble, granite and corten, to combine with classics such as cement, wood and resins. To prolong the beauty and the performance of these materials, a great solution is to place the outdoor kitchen under pergolas or porches, giving a better protection, comfort and more possibilities of use.

But how to compose the perfect kitchen? Whether your dream is a big chef’s counter or a small and functional corner, the starting elements are the same: worktop, cooktop and kitchen sink.

1.1 The cooktop

The setting-up of any outdoor kitchen is strictly connected to the culinary preparations that you would like to make and the number of guests you plan to welcome.
For a perfect banquet, efficient cooktops can’t be missed whether with one single burner or with over six cooking hobs, all fully customisable. Beware of the materials. Since they are outside, the burners have to be simple in terms of cleaning and maintenance, and high-resistant to bad weather and scratches; a perfect task, for example, for the stainless steel.
If you are instead looking for a discreet alternative, the induction cooktops offer a surface with polished lines and the technology of the digital LCD sensors to adjust its functions.

In the most modern and full-equipped outdoor kitchens, there is no lack of smart and low consumption electrical appliances such as electrical ovens, microwaves and plates, that are blended into the furniture with a compact and essential effect.
The outdoor brickwork kitchenette is a classic, since it evolves its classical brick frame towards cement linear solutions, to meet the new open-air furniture tastes. Together with burners, these models may often include a wood oven or and elegant barbecue with hood.

1.2 The barbecue

Outdoor kitchen with barbecue under pergola Opera

The barbecue has been for a while the symbol of the outdoor kitchen, that today evolves with advanced and design solutions, earning its deserved place in the most refined outdoor spaces.
The integration of the barbecue in the core modules of the outdoor kitchen is very trendy. We do not talk about the recent gas or pellet models, equipped with plates, grilles and steel lids, but also of the traditional “pits”, that are the charcoal-fuelled barbecue pits, allowing indirect cooking and smoking. Among the favourite ones, those made of steel or ceramic, to choose in the diameter or colour, suitable for the “grill corner”.

For those who prefer the direct cooking technique instead, still on the grill, the option number one is offered by the brickwork outdoor kitchens with barbecue. With or without chimney, these structures are easily usable, versatile and absolutely resistant; to be declined in the style most suited to your dehors.

1.3 The worktop

Practical kitchen top under the pergola Opera

Minimal, resistant, simple to clean and able to optimize the space. Here are the main features of the perfect worktop for the outdoor kitchen. In the open-air places that’s exactly the counter surface that suffers more the aggression of the climate factors; the choice of finishes is fundamental, not only to adapt to the furniture, but also to guarantee a great and long lasting performance.

The stainless steel is an evergreen for elegance and practicality: with its technical and contemporary feature, this material fits in design outdoor kitchens, guaranteeing an easy hygienisation of the worktop.
For a still modern effect, but with a touch of refinement, there’s the refined polished concrete that offers an industrial allure, proposed – in a different interpretation – also by the worktops made of dark stone and slate.

Quartz and resin stand out for being classy and original; nevertheless, it’s better to use them in partially open spaces and therefore sheltered by porches, verandas or pergolas. These worktops are very bright, polished and essential: the perfect bond for those who want to furnish the outdoors of a light-coloured house or a seaside home.

Granite, stone and bricks are an ideal choice for those who love the traditional style, as is wood, – specifically treated for the outdoors – that is absolutely versatile: warm and cozy in rustic outdoor kitchens, noble and dynamic if used in contemporary shapes.

In the end, for those who love brilliant solutions, you can design customised worktops through mosaic and ceramic, creating colours and drawings fully customised, for a touch of colour – even contrasting – a must in modern kitchens.

1.4 Kitchen sinks and fittings

When we talk about kitchen sink and fittings, the new design solutions combine perfectly functionality and design. That’s the case of the outdoor kitchens, equipped with wide and deep sinks, particularly convenient for the preparation of dishes, as well as for the washing of the biggest dishware. Very trendy models of the same finish as the worktop, give immediately a seamless sophisticated effect.

Even when the space is not much, the same solution may be applied to smaller sinks. In both cases, it’s very important to choose the correct sink, by selecting the most coherent solutions for shapes, colours and finishes. Beautiful and practical are the mixer taps with hidden showers that make the washing phase faster and guarantee the best aesthetics.
As regards the hidden elements, another trick may be choosing washbasins that, on need, may be hidden by a sliding countertop, designed to increase the space and protect the kitchen sink and fittings when not used.

2. Stone made outdoor kitchens

Having a garden or a wide terrace is the first requirement to realize a very comfortable stone made outdoor kitchen.
In harmony with the architecture of the house, these models need some more care during the design phase, since they have fixed frames that are more difficult to implement or renovate over time, but with the benefit, – on the other time – to offer the best resistance requiring not so much maintenance.

The installation site, the design and the configurations have therefore being taken into consideration, bewaring of creating cohesive outdoor spaces perfectly blending with the architecture of the stone made outdoor kitchen.
In this phase, a great advice is to use the areas sheltered by porches or verandas, or provide for the installation of pergolas and awnings to benefit from a sheltered space, under which connect and make kitchen, dining and living room coexist.

Once defined the installation site, it’s time to design: the most complete models provide for large worktops ad cooktops, as well as the latest generation appliances such as gas ovens, but also frigdes, wine cellars and dishwashers. All rigorously built-in to be better protected by weather agents and having a tidy and linear style.

Be careful not to make the mistake to combine stone made frames to rustic outdoor kitchens only. If made of stones, bricks or the cotto tile, these are going to guarantee a traditional charm; nevertheless, if built in cement or with minimal and geometrical configurations, the result of the stone made outdoor kitchen will be modern, refined and impactful.

For the simplest structures or if you have enough manual skills, you can arrange yourself for the installation, , by building up a true DIY stone made kitchen; if not, it’s better to rely on a professional or to choose for a stone made prefabricated kitchen ready to be placed in the terrace or garden and equipped with the correct optional elements and appliances.

3. Modern outdoor kitchens

Connect bioclimatic pergola houses a modern outdoor kitchen

One of the absolute trends of the last seasons is modular kitchens, which – exactly as for home furniture – are easily replaceable or reconfigurable.
These custom-made and modern kitchens are inspired by the most cutting-edge indoor island models and can be fixed on wall or be freely set up in the middle of any outdoor space, offering whatever you need within just a few meters, for a greatest functionality.

When it comes to high-design outdoor kitchens, the only limit is creativity: state-of-the-art structures featuring clean lines and essential furnishing accessories, mainly made of metal and steel. Worktops are always equipped with cooking hobs and sink, whilst at their base, modern outdoor kitchens also combine cupboards and compartments for storing dishware to small or big appliances.

Yet what about measures? That is not a problem even though the available space is limited, since these innovative kitchens can be custom made by combining multiple modules to create your own ideal configuration. Wide range then on space-saving solutions such as sliding top systems uncovering burners and sink at need, thus transforming the worktop into a practical counter for dining or sipping a cocktail.
Indeed, among high-design outdoor kitchens the buzzword is “recessed”: each element is concealed inside a single and minimal block making the outdoor space an authentic sculpture.
Handles let space to push-open drawers and cabinets, cooktops level off by using induction plates whereas colours recall timeless nuances: white and anthracite grey are the most sought-after ones.

4. Garden kitchens

Opera pergola with garden kitchen makes the most of outdoor spaces

What if the kitchen is completely immersed in greenery? Today this is all the range thanks to self-supporting structures, proved to withstand the most unfavourable weather conditions. The latest new masonry outdoor kitchens indeed can be placed within evocative spaces in the open air, with rather maximum freedom.
Although the installation can be carried out almost everywhere, the garden kitchen space must be equipped with the necessary running water, gas and electricity connection. Furthermore, when cooking outdoors, it is good to have a flat surface, sufficiently far away from plants and even better if equipped with screening against sun and rain.

Integrating a garden kitchen within partially open spaces is often the most practical solution. In absence of verandas or porches, bioclimatic pergolas offer an advanced and refined solution.
Pratic products are fully custom-designed, from dimension up to modular covers and can be installed on any type of ground by means of the compensating platform solving any slope or unevenness for a perfect flat installation surface on which to place your own garden kitchen. Accessories such as lighting, power sockets, drop-down awnings and outer glass walls allow the space to be used all year long, also after the sundown. For a truly immersive atmosphere, you might opt for colours inspired by nature nuances as well as for mirror-glass windows reflecting the landscape, which once closed allow the garden kitchen to completely vanish into the landscape.

5. Patio kitchens

The convenience of an outdoor kitchen is undeniable, even when it is small in size and has basic equipment, since preparing one’s favourite recipes outdoors preserves the main house from lingering fumes and odours: a true comfort in any season.
This is why a small patio kitchen is a simple solution yet offering greatest advantages. The ideal room: an open environment in summer and protected during winter months thanks to sliding glass doors, it can be easily aired out once you have finished cooking and serves as a shelter from vagaries of weather.

Patio kitchens do not necessarily need complex configurations: hobs, worktop and sink are enough to meet the needs of almost any recipe. On the other side, in case of wider surfaces, the installation of an oven or additional appliances can be envisaged.
However, it is the design of the kitchen environment itself that makes the very real difference, to be realised with elegant and smart solutions.

Wall-mounted pergolas completed with outer glass walls, to be opened or closed at need, embody the new concept of veranda featuring a modern and easy-to-install structure. The ones of Pratic fit elegantly into any sort of building, thanks to their essential aesthetic and customizable colours. Moreover, the covering with adjustable sunshade blades guarantees an extra ventilation of the patio kitchen, therefore preventing overheating and fumes from lingering inside the pergola.

6. Outdoor kitchens for terraces

Furnished terrace with kitchen in the shade of the bioclimatic pergola Brera P

Living in an apartment does not imply renouncing to a dinner in the open air but rather having the perfect location to have it while overlooking the city skyline.
Rules remain the same: the larger the surface is, the more various the terrace kitchens to choose from are. From minimal options up to modular and full-optional structures on large rooftops, the kitchen is always combined with a dining and living room pleasantly shaded from a pergola, where to spend time with family or welcome guests during good weather.
Moreover, if the balcony allows it, a masonry outdoor kitchen might be set up onto the terrace, obviously matching the aesthetics of the flat and more generally of the building.

Balconies are not far behind and can flaunt their potentiality by installing a few small modules, matching a simple yet neat set of table and chairs.
Here, the solar shading system can really make the difference in terms of usability and comfort of the terrace kitchen. By overhead sheltered environments, drop-down awnings allow adjusting shade and privacy according to your preferences. On the other side, in case of an open-top balcony, extendable arm awnings provide for a wide shaded area while protecting the room underneath from light rain.
Pratic’s awning collection has been conceived to suit any context in terms of installation and aesthetic. Our awnings stand out for their refined aluminium box concealing the cloth once closed, thus lighting up the room underneath throughout integrated Led stripes. A smart solution to enjoy your own terrace kitchen in the evening too.

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