By far the most popular home improvement project of the last few years – and a must-have on many buyer’s wish lists – is a kitchen that opens onto the garden in a way that brings the outside in. In winter your cooking space will benefit from the extra light and sense of space, while in spring and summer you can fling open the doors really enjoy a taste of al fresco living. The good news is that you don’t have to build a huge extension or spend a fortune. Here are our top planning tips for opening your kitchen up to the garden in a way that enhances your space year-round.
Select your spot
A door to the garden is a must – but you can be creative about how you introduce one. If you are planning to extend your kitchen then a set of bi-fold doors or sliding glass doors will give you loads of light and a space that can be fully opened up during the warmer months. However if space is tighter then a more modest pair of glass patio doors, or traditional French Windows will also do the job. Replacing an existing door might well be the solution, but think carefully about where a door would best fit the room – and not just your existing layout. Replacing an existing window with double doors could be enough to transform your room, even if it means rejigging the units to accommodate it.
Check your levels
One sneaky design trick to make your space feel more unified is to try to match the floor level inside and out. Recessing the door sill – or the sliding mechanism on a sliding door – will help dissolve the barrier between the two spaces when the door is open. Similarly using similar flooring in both spaces will trick the eye into seeing a seamless single space. For a modern look poured and polished concrete will work well for both areas, while decking the outdoors in the same wood as your interior flooring is good for more traditional spaces.
Plan your furniture
Once you’ve committed to opening up your kitchen to the garden, don’t let your furniture stand in your way. Avoid heavy wall-hung kitchen units near the door which will block light, and if possible try to have base units on one side of the door only for easy circulation. If you have a dining table in the space, or are installing and island unit, think about setting it so it runs towards the doorway, rather than across it. This will not only make the space easier to manoeuvre in but will also create an elegant sightline that leads the eye from the kitchen, out through the door to your garden.
Add smart shutters
Opening your kitchen can be wonderful, but there are times when you might want to retain some privacy, or just shut out wet and windy weather outdoors. This is where shutters make a great dressing for your new door. Full-height door shutters can be created that allow you to control light levels while still enjoying a view. They provide great heat insulation in the winter and can be added in as many panels as you need, covering your door whether it’s standard size or a whole wall’s worth. Find out more about our full-height shutters here.