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Backyard Kitchens

Mon 5th Jul 2021

Weekend barbecues have gone up a notch in the past decade, with the good ol' sausage and bread making way for more exotic fare from homemade pizzas to succulent roasts.

Outdoor entertainers have packed away the one-burner barbecue and are creating cooking spaces that will rival any kitchen - but there are some things to keep in mind when setting up the area.


To make those delicious crispy pizzas, you're going to need a brick oven installed. The more traditional ovens are made from scratch using the assistance of a bricklayer, but they also can be pre purchased from barbecue and hardware stores.

The Country Fire Service recommends pizza ovens be installed 4 metres away from flammable materials, including above the oven, so that any embers that may escape do not cause a fire. Also consider if the chosen location will lead to drifting smoke irritating your family and guests; and if children may have easy access to hot surfaces.

Meanwhile, it is handy to have a wood pile relatively close by so that the oven can be continuously fired easily, and a flat surface nearby to put the pizzas on before and after cooking.


There's not much that can't be cooked on a barbecue so having a built-in bench, barbecue and fridge all in one spot will make preparation a lot easier. It also enables residents to mingle with their guests while they are preparing and cooking food. Choose cabinetry materials that will stand up to outdoor weather conditions, even if they are not located directly in the path of rain, dirt and wind. 

Consider locating the structure closer to the house than away from it, particularly if you want to plumb in a sink or connect a fridge to a powerpoint. Cabinetmakers, plumbers and electricians will be good tradespeople to seek advice from. Just remember to locate the barbecue and the fridge apart so heating and cooling appliances do not interfere with each other.


You don't need to be in the great outdoors to cook up a campfire feast, just outdoors. A fire pit will toast everything from sandwiches to marshmallows, as well as cook or heat dampers, stews, potatoes and corn.

The NRMA says fire pits should be located at least three metres away from structures or combustible surfaces and on a solid, level surface made of gravel or stone. It also says getting a builder to install it will ensure it meets local building codes and may make it easier to get council approvals.

Check with the state environmental and local government authorities about what can be burned and when, as there may be different rules in different areas as well as different seasons.


Save the esky for picnics and set up the outdoor kitchen properly for beverages. If you don't want a built-in area for a barbecue, a fridge and sink combination still can be installed on their own. Also forget crowding around an old wine barrel and the like by installing an outdoor bar, either pub-style with a serving area or floating so people can congregate around it.

By Cara Jenkin