Outdoor Dining Inspiration: Making Entertaining This Summer a Joy
After a glorious spout of warm weather in the UK, it is starting to feel as though summer is just around the corner. However, for many people, summer plans will be different this year. Rather than dreaming of holidays overseas, gatherings at home will be the focus, and at the heart of these plans will be our gardens.
In this journal, we explore all things outdoor dining. We dive into the choices for outdoor dining, from outdoor kitchens and bars to relaxed and informal areas to socialise. We also share a selection of incredible outdoor dining areas to inspire your project, curated from our own portfolio and the work of some of the talented interior designers that we admire.
CREATING YOUR PERFECT OUTDOOR DINING SPACE
At Extreme, many of the projects that we work on involve newly built homes or significant renovations and extensions for which landscaping is a key component of the project. Creating an idyllic outdoor dining space requires a combination of space planning and aesthetics, paired with an in-depth knowledge of horticulture, so hiring an experienced landscape designer will be invaluable. However, we’ve outlined some of the core components of creating an outdoor dining space to get you started.
The starting point when designing an outdoor dining area will often focus on where your new area will be positioned within your garden and what type of space you require. You may wish to locate an outdoor kitchen directly outside the kitchen in your main house, with the ability to connect the interior and exterior spaces through bi-fold doors. Or, you may wish to create an entirely separate outdoor kitchen and dining area at the other end of your garden to maximise the evening sun.
The location will heavily influence your fixtures and fittings, for instance, if your outdoor space is quite a distance from your main house you may require additional refrigeration and washing up facilities.
As your outdoor area will be exposed to the elements, materials must be chosen based on their weather-resistant properties. Whether your space is open-air or beneath a shade canopy will determine just how hardwearing your materials will need to be. Timber, stainless steel, stone and brick are the most commonly used materials for their durability credentials, with the latter two being the most resilient.
Outdoor kitchens can be as simple as a BBQ placed beside your outdoor dining area. However, many of our clients opt for fully built-in outdoor kitchens with all the comforts of the kitchen in your home. An outdoor kitchen equipped with sink, refrigeration and cooking appliances provides a complete outdoor dining solution. Rather than moving back and forth to the main house, an outdoor kitchen gives you everything you need in one place and chefs can remain part of the action when entertaining guests.
Appliances are an important element of designing your outdoor kitchen or bar and there are many options available. Considering how you will use the space, how many people you will cater for and your cooking preferences will inform your decision. Below we cover the main outdoor kitchen appliances.
The grill is the most important outdoor kitchen appliance. Grills vary in size and features and your choice will be guided by your personal expectations and preference. If you are a keen cook, you might consider a grill with additional features such as digital controls, temperature display capabilities for each burner, timers and temperature probes. If you entertain large numbers of guests, a larger grill will be essential to prepare food for everyone.
There’s nothing quite like creating an authentic pizza cooking experience at home. Pizzas can be a great option for catering for large parties of guests, simply prepare the pizzas ahead and store them in the outdoor fridge ready to cook in the oven on the day.
A refrigerator keeps your beverages, desserts and cold appetisers cool on a warm summer’s day. These refrigerator drawers from Sub-Zero and Wolf can be installed in any room of your home or in your garden. The minimalist design comes in stainless steel or, for a more custom aesthetic, you can choose to furnish the drawers with a material to match the rest of your outdoor kitchen cabinetry.
Warming drawers are a must-have item for many of our clients in their main kitchen. Being able to keep your cooked meals at the right temperature, moistness or crispness until they are ready to be served simplifies your cooking experience when entertaining and ensures that your guests always enjoy a warm meal. Warming drawers are a perfect addition to an outdoor kitchen and can be especially useful when entertaining during the chillier summer evenings we have in the UK.
While not the most glamorous feature, waste bins are incredibly important. By incorporating built-in bins, your beautifully designed outdoor space won’t be interrupted by an undesirable rubbish bin. We always recommend including divided bins to separate food waste, general waste and recycling.
If your hosting style is more about canapes and drinks than seated dinners, a bar may be the perfect addition to your garden. You could create a truly outdoor bar to enjoy drinks in the sunshine or an outbuilding that connects to your garden, offering the flexibility to host parties in all weathers. In our Surrey project, property developers Park Lane Developments created a poolside garden building complete with a bespoke bar by Extreme. In good weather, the doors can be opened to create a seamless transition between the indoor bar and the stunning poolside lounging area.
We hope that this article has inspired you with ideas for your own outdoor dining space.
At Extreme, we can help you to create a kitchen that seamlessly connects with your garden or an outdoor kitchen that facilitates effortless entertaining outside. To find out more information, contact your local studio.