We're all aware that one of the effects of the pandemic has resulted in homeowners not only examining their home’s interiors but also very much their exterior living & entertaining space, with a desire for exceptional facilities in the outdoor space. Using outdoor space for entertainment is effective for people living in warm and moderate climates because it can be used nearly all year round. It allows homeowners to move seamlessly from the indoor living room to the outdoor living room. This means more flexibility in how to spend time, entertain, or simply gather with family and friends. It also makes it easier to pack up and move between spaces depending on the whims of the weather. When it comes to additions to the outdoor living space, in a recent poll amongst experts, outdoor kitchens topped the list - 61% responding that an outdoor kitchen is the most popular. Homeowners often use their outdoor living spaces to spend time with friends and family, according to 80% of the experts - 61% also felt that relaxation was high on the list, while 46% felt that it should be a place for kids to play. Since indoor gatherings have been difficult this past year, outdoor gatherings in a garden became many people’s first choice for things to do, especially since April 12th in England. Outdoor kitchens were already becoming popular in the UK, but with a renewed interest in all kinds of outdoor living they gained in popularity with people living in lockdown and spending more time in their gardens with family. A quality outdoor kitchen can offer many different designs and layouts and a wide choice of appliances that can best suit our individual needs or cooking passion to make outside living key to many. Coming in second place with 59% of the votes is a fire pit, which can be a great focal point throughout the whole year. Covered patios and decks are a good choice for many homeowners - they can create shade, space for an outdoor kitchen and a fire pit as well as offering shelter from the UK climate when required. So, in third place is a modern aluminum pergola with rotating roof blades with 41% of experts opting for this facility. But what of those in less temperate climates, such as Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland? This is where a bioclimatic pergola combined with an outdoor kitchen will be the answer for many.
Such a pergola has a roof with rotating blades to keep out the wind and rain but allows the sun to shine through when required. Some even fully retract. They can be equipped with heaters, LED lighting, side panels, bluetooth speakers and much else - allowing you to use your kitchen all year round. If the weather turns colder, 54% of experts say that a good way to stay warm outdoors is to add an outdoor heater to the space. - and quite right, too! 41% have said that adding an outdoor fireplace can be the right way to go. 27% also feel that both covered outdoor living spaces and fire pits are the right answers. Each of these methods can be influenced by the type of space, the amount of room available, and how the space might be used. Many outdoor heaters are portable, so they can make the best use of the space available. And how to choose a quality outdoor kitchen? Low-maintenance, hygienic porcelain work surfaces and sustainable, high functionality and weatherproofing are just some of the hallmarks of outdoor cabinetry today. It's become the de facto gold standard. Style and aesthetics are important to many, so the shape, colour and finish choice should be as wide as possible to integrate with garden surroundings. Look also for a long term warranty against inclement weather conditions.
Make space for a pizza oven, maybe a Green Egg or Kamado grill and an induction hob to replace that old-fashioned side burner. Other sophisticated cooking appliances have been supplementing BBQ grills for many well-equipped outdoor cooking stations in recent years, such as a teppanyaki plate or plancha. All the experts agreed, these new and improved outdoor spaces now go far beyond what comprised an outdoor kitchen in past years. “Years ago, the focus was a built-in grilling station that has now morphed into multiple cooking sources such as pizza ovens, teppanyaki-style griddles, multi-burner grills, power burners for tall stock pots and various types of smokers.” Delivita have a fabulous range of pizza ovens and are ideal for use with an outdoor kitchen. Fixtures and appliances have become more sophisticated too, outdoor sinks such as Italian design company Barazza are beginning to reflect the same multipurpose designs that we see in indoor kitchens and can be used for food preparation as well as essential hygiene. Hot taps like Quooker are available, too. Refrigeration, wine coolers, dishwashers and ice makers are commonly added outdoors, too. Cubic kitchens are unique in that they combine a fridge with an icemaking freezer compartment.
While the pandemic won’t last forever, the realisation it has brought to millions of homeowners of the importance and value of their outdoor spaces will likely endure for quite a while. This trend was already growing before 2020 and seems unlikely to do anything but keep on growing now.