First it was the swimming pool, and then it was the hot tub; now the latest garden must-have is the outdoor kitchen.
The discerning al-fresco diner wants not just a gleaming, state-of-the-art built-in barbecue, but also a full range of up-to-the-minute appliances, including fridges, power burners and bar caddies, all to hand in the garden, says Fire Magic, supplier of built-in barbecues and outdoor kitchen equipment.
The company says sales are booming and is reporting business up 440% in 2007.
“These premium products allow customers, architects and specifiers to design fully-equipped outdoor kitchens, says director Craig Ormiston. “There’s no doubt that there’s been a shift to outdoor living here in the UK. We forecast our sales continuing to grow at similar levels as this trend continues”.
Fire Magic built-in barbecues can be set into granite work surfaces, stand-alone islands or specially-designed enclosures. A range of accessories, including stainless steel side burners, drinks caddies, rotisseries and cupboards can be added to create a complete outdoor kitchen.
Dave Garbett uses his top-of-the-range outdoor kitchen to entertain family and friends year-round at his home near West Malling in Kent.
“I love outdoor entertaining and having an outdoor kitchen means our social life definitely revolves around the garden,” he says. “With everything to hand, I don’t even need to pop in and out of the house. I had a hot tub installed a few years ago, but it’s become rather redundant now, as I prefer to spend most of my time outdoors at the grill.”