We've always wanted an outdoor kitchen

I’m a huge fan of cooking. I’ve always loved hosting parties, gathering the family around and, on the rare occasion we have sunshine, I'll BBQ. Not surprisingly, the amazing summer we have had this year has meant BBQ's have become an almost daily occurrence and I’m in my element. But our new house has a pretty empty garden - we just have a small BBQ on the deck with the dining table - not ideal for cooking anything more than a few sausages. 

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We built the picnic dining table a few weeks after moving in (it seats 18 people!) and it completely changed the way we were using the garden, so an outdoor kitchen to go with it quickly became top of the weekend project list. As Ewan is so busy with the rest of the house, I decided this was going to be my challenge (maybe with a little help!).

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Clearing the hedge

There's a massive hedge stretching the full depth of the garden which is about 3m wide and doesn't look too great, so we decided that would make a good spot for the kitchen area. It took 2 days to clear out all the brambles (which were MASSIVE) and the bulk of the hedge. Stupidly I did this on the hottest day of the year.

Because I was just working on this in the evenings and at weekends, it was a few days before I managed to get the turf up ready for the hardcore. We had created quite a lot of rubble during the early part of the garage conversion work so I spent a few hours shifting that to the back garden and smashing it up - my first time using a sledgehammer and it was bloody difficult!

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Designing the kitchen

As with all our projects, I had a Pinterest board on the go for garden kitchen inspiration, and knew I wanted it to be pretty simple. The basic plan was a square patio with a bar/counter and a food prep area that could take a hot pan straight from the grill. The BBQ would tuck in the corner and the whole thing would be covered with a pergola-type structure with lights. 

Inspiration Image from Pinterest

Inspiration Image from Pinterest

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My quick scrap-of-paper sketches

My quick scrap-of-paper sketches

Building the Kitchen

It didn't take long for the slabs to go down and the bar structure to go up - Ewan mixed mortar and I laid the patio so we made a pretty quick team. To keep costs down I planned to use leftover tiles from old interiors projects, although we did have to do a little top-up shop to make sure we had enough. We also had a bit of leftover worktop that will do for summer and we’ll replace it in the winter when we have more time to shop around for something we like. I might experiment with a poured concrete slab - we’ll see how much patience we have when we’ve been building flat out for 6 months! We’ll share photos with you soon.

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