Landscape expert Matt Leacy gives the lowdown on the growing outdoor kitchen trend - and why its here to stay.
Traditionally, kitchens have been an indoor property feature for most homeowners and investors. Nowadays, however, more and more Australians are looking to maximise their outdoor space for cooking, dining and entertaining – paving the way for an increase in the popularity of outdoor kitchens.
So what is an outdoor kitchen and how can homeowners maximise their value?
Matt Leacy, co-founder and creative director of Landart Landscapes, and president of the LNA Master Landscapes Association, shares his top tips for creating a kitchen outdoors – from what features to include, to how to install for your individual outdoor space and aesthetic.
Expectations are changing
'The outdoor kitchen, in particular, is a feature that is increasingly becoming an expectation rather than a want for homebuyers and homeowners alike. People are starting to say 'yeah, yeah we expect that for sure" whereas in the past they probably would have been happy with a moveable more makeshift BBQ set up barbeque," says Matt.
'I've been advocating the idea for a while now that we should treat our outdoor spaces the same as our indoor spaces in terms of creating different spaces and functional dynamics.
'The same way that you have a kitchen area, dining area casual lounge area and a playroom indoors, you can create equivalent areas outdoors that serve the same purposes and help you unlock the potential of your space.
Look beyond the BBQ
'You can do much more outside food-wise than simply cooking on a barbeque," adds Matt.
'An outdoor kitchen can have cupboards, a fridge, sink and more – or it could be as simple as some cupboard space and a barbeque with a nice servery. If you wanted to do a bit more, you could look at installing a breakfast bar with some stools around it to make it more social and to create a casual space for breakfast, a cup of tea or reading the paper. Add to that a more formal dining area with seating and lounge space and you have the makings of the perfect outdoor living and entertaining space.
'It depends on the size and layout of your outdoor space. If you've got a small courtyard, then you might consider an outdoor kitchen and bench top with stools for dining so you don't have to clog up the space with a dining table as well as a servery. If you have a bigger space, you could have a full blown kitchen with a sink, fridge, wok burner, dishwasher and cupboard space."
Perfect for properties with low air circulation
'For foodies who love to cook, but don't have great airflow throughout their property, it can be a challenge to keep the kitchen from stinking out the rest of the house," says Matt.
'An outdoor kitchen can be the perfect solution for those who love cooking fragrant food without the long term smell – ensuring that everything, from Sunday roasts and barbequed meats to curries, can be cooked outdoors without cooking odors lingering inside for days."