A beginner’s guide to creating your own outdoor kitchen

Article by Homes to Love

NZ Flower and Garden Show 2017 exhibitors share their expert tips on how to create the perfect outdoor kitchen for summer


A beginner’s guide to creating your own outdoor kitchen

Nothing says summertime quite like cooking outside and dining al fresco. Firing up the barbie on a warm summer night is somewhat of a Kiwi past time but these days people are kicking things up a gear from the humble BBQ and blurring the lines between kitchen and garden. Whether it’s a basic bench or fully kitted out space with a fridge and built-in stove, the outdoor kitchen is a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

“There’s a lot of desire for outdoor kitchens,” says landscape designer Ben Freeman. “That’s a trend that’s been around for a while but it is still really quite strong and we think it will continue.”

Ben and his wife Katie Costain, run successful garden business Billygoat Landscape Architecture and know a thing or two about outdoor living and garden trends.

They recently landscaped their own home complete with edible garden and sunny patio that doubles as an extra entertaining area. “For a small house, outdoor entertaining areas were a must, with a few different locations that can best make use of the environment and weather,” says Ben.


The design duo are now taking their personal and professional expertise to the NZ Flower and Garden show from November 29th to December 3rd at Auckland’s The Trusts Arena to showcase an outdoor kitchen and dining space which Katie describes as an “entertainer’s delight”.

“It encompasses an outdoor kitchen and multiple living spaces, at varying heights, which can be used simultaneously or individually. The design features sweeping ribbons of planting which contrast with the geometric hardscape elements like the deck, patio and fire-pit area,” she explains.


Ben and Katie’s exhibit concept

Ben and Katie’s design is sure to appeal to anyone who needs some inspiration for their own summer spot and to help you get started they’ve rounded up their top tips on how to create your own outdoor kitchen for summer entertaining.

Ben and Katie’s beginner’s guide to an outdoor kitchen:

+ It’s the bench space that really needs to be worked at. There are a lot of outdoor components that you might put into your outdoor kitchen like a pizza oven or inbuilt barbecue, even sinks. And sometimes people underestimate the amount of bench space you would need, just like in an indoor kitchen.

Your outdoor kitchen needs to be functional, just like your regular kitchen; you don’t want to be racing around from one side of your kitchen to the other.

With outdoor cooking and entertaining a lot of preparation is still done indoors so have your outdoor kitchen in close proximity to your indoor kitchen.

The dining space needs to be included within the kitchen space to really bring your space together.

Don’t plant anything too close to your pizza oven or barbecue – you don’t want to create a fire hazard.

With your plantings, where possible include edibles and herbs – there’s something really nice about just being able to lean over and pick some mint or herbs. It also helps round out the design and create that feeling of being amongst the food as well. That ties into that connection with the land as well.

Do consider what’s above the outdoor kitchen. If you want to include citrus trees you want to be aware of anything that might fall onto your bench space.


The New Zealand Flower and Garden Show will be on at Auckland’s The Trusts Arena from November 29th to December 3rd:

Organisers are expecting over 70,000 visitors. With over 100 exhibitions from local and international designers as well as expert talks, the show is sure to offer something for everyone.

One of the most anticipated exhibitions will be transported all the way from Middle-earth; a life-sized, 10m x 10m Hobbit Hole. Designed by the Hobbiton Movie Set team, visitors will be able to peer over a picket fence and into another world with winding country paths and hedgerows, which fill the land of The Shire.

NZ Flower & Garden Show tickets are on sale fromTicketek. Pricing starts at $28 + booking fee and children under the age of 12 are free.

For more information visit download the event app “NZFGS” from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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