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How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Entertainment Area

by Andra Hopulele
4 min. read

Autumn might be right around the corner, but finding new ways to spend more time outside has never been as important as it is right now. And what better way to spend some time with friends and family than toasting marshmallows over the fire, talking and having a drink?

This is why an outdoor kitchen or small entertainment area in the backyard could make all the difference. Outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas can easily turn your garden into a functional space, as well as combine cooking and socializing with friends for the ultimate summer (and then autumn) experience. So if you’re looking to go beyond the typical BBQ grill and patio chairs, here’s how you can create the perfect setup for you and your friends.

Pick the Right Spot

Ideally, your outdoor kitchen and entertainment area shouldn’t be located too far from your house, so that you can have access to electricity and running water. This will also allow you to make a quick dash inside for any last-minute items you might need, but also give your guests easy access to facilities such as the bathroom. If your garden already has amenities such as a pool or a kids’ play area, setting up your outdoor kitchen close by is a good call.

Work with the Space You Have

Outdoor kitchens are very versatile and customizable, so even if you don’t have a lot of space in your garden, there are ways you can make it work. Large backyards can accommodate a sprawl of countertops, appliances, cabinets, fridges, and a dining area that could put a restaurant to shame. For smaller gardens, a circular design for prepping, cooking and dishing-up will work just as well, and you can even create a counter space with high stools for a cozy dining area. Also, make sure that your setup doesn’t isolate you from the party, and go for one that allows you to socialize with the guests as you cook.

Designate Areas

Your outdoor kitchen should be designed with the same flow and functionality as your indoor one. To avoid any unnecessary back-and-forth, designate your areas in advance, and set up your appliances accordingly.

Prep Space

This should include a counter for preparing the ingredients, a sink, a fridge, as well as prepping utensils, such as knives and chopping boards. If you use the fridge in the prep space for storing items such as raw meat, it’s best to have a separate fridge for drinks.

Cooking Area

Place your cooking area in the middle, so that you can easily move between the prepping and serving spaces. This is where you should install your cooking appliances, as well as all the accessories that go with the job, from tongs and spatulas, to heat-proof gloves, maybe even a chef’s hat.

Plate-up Space

Ideally, this should be placed close to the cooking area, so that you and your guests can have easy access to the food as soon as it’s done. Use this space for storing plates and cutlery, and if the space allows it, you can have a designated counter for dishing-up, complete with trays where the food is kept, or a warming drawer.

Lounge and Entertainment Zone

Although your cooking area can act as a focal point, especially when your guests are hungry, your outdoor entertainment area should come with a separate spot for dining and relaxation. What you set here depends entirely on your budget and imagination. Apart from tables and chairs, you can include an outdoor cinema system, a minibar, a lounging area with recliner chairs, and even a fire pit.

Selecting the Right Appliances

The appeal of an outdoor kitchen isn’t just the fact that you can cook outside, but rather, the fact that you can cook dishes that aren’t suitable for cooking indoors. So when picking cooking appliances, think outside the four walls. A barbecue setup or a stainless steel grill are always a great choice, or if you really want to impress, why not go for a wood-fired pizza oven? Having a fridge on site for drinks and ingredients is a must, as well as a spacious sink. In fact, you can go the extra mile and install a minibar, complete with a beer keg and tap system.

Finding Fantastic Furniture

When it comes to furniture, it all depends on you and your guests’ personality. Are you the type to keep it simple with some bean bags and picnic blankets, or do you want to recreate al fresco dining in all its splendor? Whichever you go for, remember that functionality and durability are key features for your outdoor furniture.

Prepare for Rain and Shine

Just because you’re the perfect host doesn’t mean that wind and rain should be welcome at your dinner party. Weatherproofing your outdoor kitchen and entertainment area should also make its way on your to-do list, and it’s not as difficult to implement as you’d think. A pergola or retractable canopy will see you covered against rain and sun, as well as extend the lifetime of this exciting addition to your backyard.

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