Kitchen Design Making The Most Of The Great Outdoors

4th August 2017

Welcome to the great British summer, where one day it can be blazing hot sunshine, the next a torrential downpour!

While we had the hottest June day on record for 40 years, it was quickly followed by weeks of uncertain weather and grey skies. So, if your bespoke kitchen project includes a plan for lovely bi-fold doors that open up fully to your garden, what can you do to make the most of indoor-outdoor living whatever our British summer delivers?


Anyone who has planned a barbecue knows that the unpredictability of the weather can sometimes turn a hot event into a damp squib, so preparing for every eventuality is the smart thing to do. One alternative to an outdoor grill is to include a domino barbecue or grill into your kitchen design. Available from well-known brands such as Wolf, Siemens, Miele and Smeg, these dinky 30cm hobs, placed next to your main hob, or paired with other dominos, are a great solution if you’re a big fan of barbecues. Lava coals sitting below an electric grill help to give your food the authentic taste of delicately charred and basted meat and fish, without you having to worry about the rain. Site one on an island that faces out to the garden for an outdoor experience without your best mate having to hold up a brolly while you frantically turn burgers and sausages.


A floor that flows from indoors into the garden is a great way to give the impression that the inside and out are seamlessly joined. Go for tiles of the same hue to keep the look cohesive from kitchen to garden or you could even opt for a material such as Dekton (from the makers of Silesone work surfaces) as it is durable enough to use outside as well as in. When buying your doors, it’s also a good idea to consider how they might affect the flow from outside to in. A step or raised channel for the doors to slide in could look less than aesthetically pleasing, and create a trip hazard if you have children and animals running in and out all day. Look for doors where the channel can be set into the floor to create one continuous level.


An ingenious, yet fiendishly simple, way to help you make the most of summer days is to plan a seating area or dining table close to the doorway when you’re designing your kitchen. That way, not only can you can enjoy the sunshine along with a tipple of your choice (and possibly a cake) without getting burnt but, you’ll be sheltered if it starts to drizzle. A table next to the garden is also great for parties, as you can place everything there for people to help themselves without even giving a thought to swarms of insects or changeable weather forcing you to grab everything and bring it inside.


This season, there are plenty of fabulous china and melamine designs to add some fun and a taste of sunshine to your summer dining. A favourite at the moment is the Global trend that celebrates the colour and designs of far-flung lands. House of Fraser’s melamine Villa Vista range is a fabulous fiesta of rich jewel shades and patterns perfect for a party and Matthew Williamson’s range for Debenhams includes a platter with a totally tropical pineapple design. If you prefer something a little more ‘country home’ than ‘another country’ then try Laura Ashley’s elegant Living Wall range featuring delicate country garden foliage patterns. Placing storage close to your bi-fold doors or French windows will mean you have a place to keep everything to hand without having to go into the kitchen every time you want a plate, glass or fork.


Lighting is always a key issue when designing a kitchen but if you’ve got an open-plan multi-functional space that reaches out into the garden then as well as lighting for inside the kitchen, it’s also wise to think about it for outdoors. As the nights start to draw in – I’m not kidding, we’ve already had the longest day of the year, it’s all downhill to winter from now on – it’s ever more important. Spots or pendants over tables close to doors will help to illuminate outside to some degree but why not combine that with some outdoor lighting that softly illuminates the garden, too? Avoid brash spotlights fixed to the wall, they can look a bit like prison search lights! Instead, go for lights set into decking – similar to kick-plate spots – or solar powered stake lights or bunting lights. The colourful solar party string lights from Lakeland not only say ‘celebration’ loud and clear, they’ll also switch themselves on when dusk falls, meaning you won’t have to get up to turn them on as the summer light fades. If you fancy something a bit more organic then hurricane lamps are perfect. The candles inside these large glass vessels provide a gently, flickering light but still stay lit, even if there’s a breeze, hence the name! Although, let’s hope for no hurricanes this summer, eh?

Ready to start planning your perfect kitchen? Our designers are on hand to help. Call 0800 289 6938 to speak with an expert, visit them in your closest Harvey Jones showroom, or request a complimentary design consultation here.