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Outdoor Kitchens: A New Trend for Entertaining at Home?


Outdoor living and alfresco entertaining are becoming an integral part of our home life in the UK. With the advent of outdoor kitchen ideas, the line between indoor and outdoor spaces is blurring, leading to a fresh trend: the outdoor kitchen. In the heart of this transition is the expertise of an Architectural Designer, who shapes your dream into reality.

Introduction to Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens provide an exceptional extension to your living space, letting you enjoy cooking, dining, and entertaining amidst nature. Equipped with outdoor kitchen appliances like an outdoor kitchen grill or burner and handy outdoor kitchen cabinets, these spaces make alfresco dining an everyday luxury.

While some outdoor kitchen models offer off-the-shelf solutions, the unique advantage of designing a bespoke outdoor kitchen with an Architectural Designer is the opportunity to personalise every aspect. Your outdoor kitchen can mirror your indoor style, from an outdoor kitchen island that echoes your indoor kitchen’s marble counter to matching outdoor kitchen backsplash tiles. Alternatively, you can create an entirely different vibe for your outdoor kitchen and bar area.

Building Your Outdoor Kitchen

Before diving into your outdoor kitchen plans, it’s worth considering a few key questions. Is a built-in outdoor kitchen worth it? Can you build your own DIY outdoor kitchen? What is the best surface for an outdoor kitchen? Our expert team can guide you through these questions and many others, making sure your project matches your vision, budget, and lifestyle.

A robust outdoor kitchen build should balance style and functionality. Use sturdy, weather-resistant materials for your outdoor kitchen cabinets and surfaces. Stainless steel, concrete, and stone are excellent options for countertops. Brick outdoor kitchens offer a rustic charm, whereas aluminium outdoor kitchen structures provide a modern, sleek aesthetic. Whether you’re thinking of an outdoor kitchen against the house or a standalone structure, an Architectural Designer can advise you on the most practical and appealing solutions.

Cost is another factor that homeowners often worry about. The average cost of an outdoor kitchen varies widely based on size, materials, appliances, and design complexity. Although it’s an investment, remember that it can significantly enhance your property’s value and your quality of life. There are cheaper alternatives too, like outdoor kitchen kits, which are affordable and straightforward to install. However, these might not provide the same level of durability, functionality, and aesthetic appeal as a professionally designed and built outdoor kitchen.

Planning permission is not typically required for outdoor kitchens unless they involve significant structural changes. However, it’s always wise to consult with an Architectural Designer who is experienced in gaining planning permission to ensure compliance with all local building regulations.

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Kitchen

Your outdoor kitchen is more than just a cooking area. It can become a focal point of social gatherings, with an outdoor kitchen and bar serving drinks and an outdoor kitchen and fireplace creating a cosy ambience. If you have a swimming pool, blending outdoor kitchen and pool ideas can create a fabulous entertainment space.

Moreover, your outdoor kitchen can be utilised throughout the year. Protecting it in winter may involve winterising pipes, covering appliances and furniture, and securing the area against harsh weather conditions. Opting for an outdoor kitchen with a roof can help shield your kitchen from the elements, ensuring it lasts longer.

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Considering the Design Elements of Your Outdoor Kitchen

When it comes to an outdoor kitchen design, there are numerous considerations to bear in mind. From building an outdoor kitchen and bar to setting up a comfortable dining area, your Architectural Designer will help you achieve an alfresco kitchen that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

For example, an outdoor kitchen island serves as a versatile centrepiece. It provides extra countertop space for food preparation, can house additional appliances, and even offers a casual dining area. Think of the island as the heart of your outdoor kitchen – a place where guests can gather while you cook.

Adequate storage is another critical component. Durable outdoor kitchen cabinets keep your utensils, dishes, and ingredients in order while protecting them from the elements. And, a well-planned outdoor kitchen sink is essential for your clean-up needs.

Remember to include ample lighting in your outdoor kitchen plans. The right lighting can create an inviting atmosphere and ensure safety when cooking after dark.

Building Your Outdoor Kitchen: Material Choices and Durability

Choosing the right materials is vital for the longevity of your outdoor kitchen. Whether it’s the surface for your outdoor kitchen or the finish for your cabinets, the materials should withstand the local weather conditions and suit your aesthetic preferences.

Concrete, granite, and soapstone are excellent options for outdoor kitchen surfaces due to their durability and resistance to heat and stains. On the other hand, for outdoor kitchen cabinets and structures, stainless steel, teak, and even brick make for robust and stylish options.

Your outdoor kitchen will undoubtedly be exposed to the elements, but with regular maintenance and the right design decisions, it can last for years to come. This is where the expertise of an Architectural Designer is invaluable, not only in advising on the best materials but also on practical aspects like suitable outdoor kitchen appliances, effective drainage systems, and smart ways to protect your outdoor kitchen in the winter.

Compliance with Building Regulations

Although an outdoor kitchen might not need planning permission in most cases, you must ensure it adheres to building regulations, especially if it involves gas, electric, or water installations. A failure to comply could lead to legal complications and potentially even require the removal of your outdoor kitchen.

Our Architectural Designers can guide you through the maze of building regulations, ensuring that your outdoor kitchen not only enhances your lifestyle but also adds value to your property. Whether it’s a full house extension, a loft conversions, or adding an outdoor kitchen, we are here to help you realise your home improvement dreams.

Stay tuned for the final part of this blog series, where we’ll talk about incorporating unique features in your outdoor kitchen and offer some innovative outdoor kitchen ideas to inspire you.

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We’ve discussed the basics of outdoor kitchens and delved into the specifics of design and building regulations. Now, we’re going to explore the various elements that can make your outdoor kitchen truly exceptional.

Exploring Unique Features for Your Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen can be so much more than a grill and a counter. Today, outdoor kitchen ideas are virtually limitless, from installing a brick pizza oven to having an outdoor kitchen with fireplace, there are many ways to enhance your alfresco dining experience.

Incorporating an outdoor kitchen and pool into your plans, for instance, can create a resort-like atmosphere in your backyard. You can serve up meals poolside, making it perfect for summer parties.

A BBQ or an outdoor kitchen grill is a must-have feature. It brings the joy of flame-grilled foods to your alfresco cooking, perfect for summer barbecues or even roasting marshmallows on a chilly evening. An outdoor kitchen bbq can range from a simple freestanding model to an elaborate built-in grill that complements your outdoor kitchen decor.

Moreover, adding a bar to your outdoor kitchen creates a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Outdoor kitchen bar ideas could include anything from a simple countertop with a cooler to a fully stocked bar with a fridge, sink, and even a draft beer system.

Making the Investment in an Outdoor Kitchen

As we’ve established, building an outdoor kitchen is a significant investment. But is a built-in outdoor kitchen worth it? The answer is a resounding yes. It extends your living space, enhances your lifestyle, and increases the value of your property.

A bespoke outdoor kitchen can cater to your specific needs and budget. You can start with an affordable DIY outdoor kitchen kit or opt for a high-end setup with top-of-the-line outdoor kitchen appliances. Companies like IKEA offer modular outdoor kitchen units that you can customise according to your needs, making it a versatile option if you’re looking to build an outdoor kitchen.

While a ready-made outdoor kitchen kit can be quicker and cheaper, a custom-designed outdoor kitchen offers flexibility and uniqueness, fitting seamlessly with your existing architecture and landscape. For instance, you could design an outdoor kitchen against house, utilising the wall for mounting cabinets and appliances.


Whether you choose to build your own outdoor kitchen or engage the services of a professional Architectural Designer, one thing is clear: an outdoor kitchen is an excellent addition to any home, providing a unique space for cooking, entertaining, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Our team at Shear Architectural Design is ready to guide you every step of the way, from gaining planning permission to following building regulations, designing and installing your dream outdoor kitchen.

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As always, thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended to provide a general understanding of the subject matter. It is not intended to provide specific advice for any specific circumstances. Always consult with a professional before starting any construction work.

About Shear Architectural Design

Shear Architectural Design is an award winning Architectural Design firm based in Sussex, specialising in residential and commercial projects. Our experienced team is dedicated to creating innovative, sustainable, and functional spaces that meet the unique needs of our clients.

With a focus on collaboration and customer satisfaction, we work closely with you to bring your vision to life, from the initial concept to the final construction. To learn more about our services or to discuss your project, please contact us today.

Working with an Architectural Designer can help you to achieve your goals and ensure that your project is a success. Shear Architectural Design is a reliable and experienced company that can help you with your home renovation, building project or garden project, in Sussex.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today. Our experts are ready to guide you through the entire process, from design and planning to construction and completion.


As part of our comprehensive approach, we offer services to design a house plan tailored to your unique requirements.

Our Architectural Design process involves the creation of detailed Architectural Design drawings, which meticulously capture every aspect of your dream home.

We also navigate the complexities of Building Regulation plans, ensuring that our designs adhere to both building regulations and planning permission guidelines.

By incorporating innovative Architectural ideas and working closely with you to draw a house design that reflects your vision, we strive to make the planning and design process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Our commitment to excellence ensures that you receive a bespoke, high-quality living space that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.


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Our Services

At Shear Architectural Design, we offer a range of services to help you bring your vision to life:

Related Services:

  • Architectural Design Consultation
  • Planning Applications & Appeals
  • Permitted Development Advice
  • 3D Visualisation
  • Building Regulations Applications


We assist with gaining planning permission and building regulations, ensuring that your project meets all necessary requirements.

Contact us today, on 01273 740642 to learn more about how we can help you create the home of your dreams!

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