These early days of August would, in a typical year, shout in near-sonorous heat waves the last hurrah of summer—a time for beach vacations, back-to-school shopping and barbecues in the shade (or whatever it is we did for fun in what seems like eons ago).
Now, our gatherings have given way to quieter affairs, with months stuck at home lending us all a little perspective on the beauty of taking a walk around our own backyards. For those lucky enough, it also means an opportunity to take advantage of an outdoor kitchen—a small change of scenery that becomes something of an exotic getaway in these current times, where a plate of small bites can be passed before a leap into a pool, a shade can be drawn against the setting sun, and a wine spritzer can store safely in a waist-high fridge.
But there’s more to the outdoor kitchen magic than a simple collection of covered appliances.
“One thing you look at when designing an outdoor kitchen is its orientation,” says architect Lionel F. Bailey. “We try to orient outdoor living areas so that they’re not facing due west, which would make the heat of sunset just burst full force into the space. Instead we aim for north or east, and if that’s not possible, we’ll sometimes put opera valance blinds on either side of the fireplace, which can be opened up to let the breeze blow through.”