Outdoor countertop ideas to finish your alfresco kitchen to perfection

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  • In the warmer months, there are few things we enjoy as much as cooking and eating outdoors. One element of the room that you may not have considered much yet is ideas for outdoor countertops.

    There is a huge trend right now for outdoor kitchen ideas, but the focus tends to be on layout, cooking equipment or furniture. Surfaces work hard, as a place to prepare food, rest utensils or hot pans and as a basis for everything you need in the room.

    With your garden kitchen, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start looking for your countertops. ‘Find a good place among your garden ideas where you have enough space,’ advises Hege Lundh, Marketing & Business Development Director, Lundhs Real Stone. »The outdoor kitchen should not be fully exposed to sunlight and, if possible, find the least windy area. Also, make sure to plan accordingly for any access to water or electricity as this will play a major role in the planning. ‘

    Once these are all settled, it’s time to think about your surfaces.

    Outdoor countertop ideas

    With ideas for outdoor countertops, the material, finish and color will have a huge impact on everything else you add, so be sure to choose carefully …

    1. Choose a metallic design

    Image credit: Future PLC / Mark Scott

    Stainless steel is a popular choice for kitchens – and not just indoors. Give your outdoor kitchen or garden barids a modern twist by using steel on your countertops. It looks good, adds a cool, sleek element, plus it’s nice low maintenance needs.

    Part of the reason why steel is so often used in kitchens is that it is durable and naturally antibacterial, which is just as useful when you take it outside. One thing to keep in mind is that it gets hot in the sun, so it is not the best option if you do not have shade to work with.

    2. Choose natural stone

    Close-up of outdoor stone countertop in front of wooden fence

    Image credit: Lundhs

    ‘When it comes to material and in particular the choice of table top for an outdoor kitchen, the weather and climate are the most important,’ says Hege from Lundhs Real Stone. ‘Make sure you choose materials that can withstand changes in temperatures, exposure to the sun’s UV rays and also to moisture from rain and moisture.’

    ‘Aesthetically, it will always work well to choose a surface that will shine in sunlight. The crystals in natural stone capture the light beautifully and provide the perfect choice of outdoor surface. Natural stone is used for the elements and is therefore ideal for outdoor use. From colder temperatures and humidity to high heat and UV rays, it can withstand it all and differentiate it from other materials. ‘

    Add texture with slate

    White pizza oven with slate table top in front of yellow trellis

    Image Credit: Future PLC / Tim Young

    Show off natural waves and beautiful imperfections by choosing a rough and rustic piece of slate. The top stays smooth while the edges will add the extra visual interest. In addition, it is naturally resistant to heat, so great if you work with hot pans or have a fire nearby.

    It’s not the nicest – or easiest – material to cut things on, so be sure to work with cutting boards when cooking. Also, be sure to seal your slate as it can otherwise easily scratch and stain. Both of these need to be remembered when you get stuck in learning how to clean a BBQ at a surface like this.

    4. Create an industrial look with concrete

    Outdoor kitchen with Big Green Egg and tile splashback

    Image credit: Future PLC / Joanna Henderson

    Concrete has a moment in all areas of design. The versatile material can be poured into virtually any shape so you can create the layout you need. This is also ideal if you are working on small garden ideas and need to stick to more petite dimensions. As a bonus, keep in mind that you can get concrete in just about any color, so you can get lost if gray is not your thing.

    If you choose concrete, be sure to seal it properly when installing and reseal regularly to prevent cracks and stains.

    5. Add interest with bluestone

    Close-up of wooden cutting board on black stone work surface

    Image credit: Oxenwood

    ‘Belgian wind can be used indoors and outdoors; its low porosity makes it resistant to frost and pollution, ‘says Charlie Alexander, owner, Oxenwood Furniture. ‘The blast is a natural stone and contains fossils and white / gray crystals and veins that run through the stone. The amount and size of the fossils, crystals and veins will vary from piece to piece and are an inherent property of the stone. Superficial micro-scratches are normal and will over time contribute to the patina of the stone. ‘

    ‘In its natural state (so not sealed), the wind will temporarily feel if it comes in contact with some food and drink. If the blast stone is located outside, these marks will go over a relatively short period of time due to the cleansing effect of the sun and rain. Sealed or unsealed, we recommend that spills be wiped off in time (especially vinegar, lemon juice and ketchup). Abrasive or acidic cleaners and dishwashing detergents should be avoided as cleaners. ‘

    6. Look for simple plates

    Outdoor pizza oven and tile counter top

    Image Credit: Future PLC / Claire Lloyd-Davies

    Tile tops are worth considering for outdoor countertop ideas, just as they are for your patio flooring ideas. This is the best solution if you want to make a statement with your surfaces, as tiles of course come in all sorts of colors, patterns and finishes.

    Porcelain is the best material for using tiles outdoors as it is non-porous and heat resistant. However, tiles can crack at cold temperatures, so you need to consider whether you will need the necessary maintenance.

    7. Traditionally go with wood

    Wooden tiki bar in the garden

    Image Credit: Future PLC / Simon Whitmore

    We use wood in our garden furniture ideas for good reason. It is naturally strong, can withstand virtually all kinds of temperatures and can be dyed to match your style. In addition, some woods are even resistant to insects and mold.

    That said, it is a needy material and requires some maintenance to stay in tip-top condition. An alternative is to choose a wood effect tile so that you get the look without so much maintenance.

    8. Enhance the light with a clear white

    White wall, fence and table top in the garden with barbecue

    Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles

    If you are looking for stone tiles, consider choosing a light color like a white. This will help throw light around and make your garden and outdoor kitchen feel brighter than it is, even on the dullest days. In addition, it is one of the classic tricks on how to make a small garden look bigger.

    Make life a little easier for yourself and choose one with natural imperfections in the color so that you do not get annoyed by any stains that may occur.

    9. Build in the sink with the same material

    Outdoor kitchen with stone table top and sink

    Image credit: Lundhs

    When you think of your outdoor countertop ideas, think outside the box. Or rather into it. For a smart and seamless look, cover your ideas for outdoor washing in the same material.

    Note that this of course only works with non-porous materials, so stick to natural stone for your pool area!

    10. Paint wood to add color

    Garden shed bar in wood with bundling and two bar stools

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Inject a splash of color into your outdoor space with more than just bright flowers. Cover your wooden table top with a weather-resistant exterior paint to make it a prominent feature. Budget garden ideas can really be as simple as that! Either go for a bold, contrasting color or choose a complementary shade for a tonal effect.

    What material can be used for outdoor countertops?

    A variety of materials can be used for outdoor countertop ideas. Some of the most popular are natural stone, tile and concrete. Wood is another, more traditional option, but requires more maintenance than the heavier choices. Steel can also be considered, but it tends to get hot in the sun. In terms of which stones work best, you can look at granite, soapstone and marble for natural choices.

    Manufactured materials, such as recycled glass or quartz, can sometimes be used, but they are not all suitable for outdoor use, so be sure to check with your supplier before making the investment.

    What is the most durable outdoor countertop?

    ‘The key to a long-lasting outdoor surface is something that will withstand the test of time against the elements,’ says Hege from Lundhs Real Stone. ‘The properties you need to look for are a material that has low porosity, low absorption and a resistance to UV. Choose a material that is easy to clean and maintenance-free. ‘

    ‘An all-natural stone will be accustomed to the weather and notoriously requires very little maintenance – a simple wipe with a damp cloth will suffice!’

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