Kitchens on the outside

PUBLISHED 24 NOV 2019   

As summer approaches, the outdoors are calling - and what better way to relax in the warm weather than in your very own outdoor kitchen?

Outdoor eating, also known as al fresco dining, has always been popular in parts of the world like France and Italy. Recently, however, the trend has spread around the world - and South Africans are starting to want a bite of the outdoor kitchen action too.

The style of the outdoor kitchen varies from the traditional braai area built out of bricks and a firepit to an enclosed modern and streamlined unit with sleek storage compartments.

Going all out with a portable kitchen is another option. Bespoke and natural with a compact workbench or à la MasterChef style with a mobile cuisine that has it all – storage, gas stovetop, sink and grill. 

Perhaps you live in an apartment and don’t have a garden, but you do have rooftop space which you can convert into a rooftop kitchen. However you choose to take it outdoors, if you’re keen on renovating your open-air space to make it fully kitchen-ready, here’s what you need to know.

The elements of a great outdoor kitchen

Cooking outside isn’t that different from 
cooking inside. It’s just a lot more open.

You’ll need the same winning combination, of fridge, stove and sink that you use in your regular kitchen - but since you’ll be outside, your appliances and fittings will need to be protected from the elements.

  • If your outdoor kitchen is open-air (i.e. has no roof), you’ll need to install a waterproof grill and sink area and make sure your fridge is covered.
  • You can also opt for a retractable awning or gazebo that will let you enjoy the sun on clear days and shield you, your guests, your furniture and appliances on rainy ones.
  • If you’re planning to braai in your outdoor kitchen, it’s essential that the space has proper ventilation - even if you’re using a gas braai.

Do I need permission to build a kitchen outdoors?

While building regulations differ between municipalities, it’s usually not necessary to apply for permission to build an extension - unless it has a roof.

If you’d like to get your kitchen up and running before December, you may want to forego a roof and install an awning or other movable cover for weather protection.

Benefits that go beyond the braai

Outdoor dining is a great experience to share with friends and family and really brings people together - and an outdoor kitchen can boost the value of your home too.

For a relatively small investment, you can make your Cape Town home instantly more desirable to prospective buyers.


If you’d like to sell your home, or are considering a residential property purchase in the Cape Town area, contact us today. The Cape Realty team is on hand to assist you. 

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