For this month’s blog, we take a closer look at the shelter options available for outdoor kitchens! In these rather strange and unsettling times, CENA Outdoor is still very much open for business. Our craftsmen are working on new outdoor kitchens for our customers and the sales team have been busy carrying out virtual design consultations! As we face a spring and summer confined to our homes, people are preparing to upscale their outdoor spaces.

The last two weeks of March were greeted with some beautiful, sunny weather in the UK. It came at the same time as the start of the nationwide lockdown that’s kept people largely confined to their homes. If you were lucky enough to have a garden, balcony or other private outdoor space that meant quarantine didn’t feel quite so bad. There’s been a rush on seeds, compost and plants as people aim to create an outdoor haven for the weeks ahead. So will we see more sunshine, albeit with cold nights, or more traditional spring weather? April can be a damp month, so we shall have to wait and see!

A surge in interest in outdoor kitchens

It’s no surprise that with an increased focus on home and garden improvements, people are also looking to upscale their outdoor entertaining areas! Outdoor kitchens have been growing in popularity in the UK for several years now, and last summer we were busier than ever with new installations. Upscaling outdoor living areas and being able to cook incredible food outdoors means an outdoor kitchen is in high demand. Alfresco dining has been wildly popular in warmer American states, the Med and Australia for many years, so we’re only really playing catch-up now! Could that be due to the thing that us Brits love to talk about more than anything else – the weather?

When rain stops play

People in Scandinavian countries love to cook outside even throughout their cold and snowy winters, so what makes us so different? Well, rather than crisp days with snow on the ground, winter sun and blue skies, we more often than not get drizzle. Clouds. Rain. Such a British problem, interrupting sporting events, BBQs, garden parties, summer walks and outdoor living. Thankfully our rather damp climate does mean that, when the rain stops and the sun comes out, our gardens and countryside are a riot of green and colour as plants begin to grow. That’s reflected in the saying ‘April showers bring May flowers’ – there’s always a silver lining to negative things!

outdoor kitchen with weather shelter

‘The works’ from CENA Outdoor

At CENA we design and craft a range of beautiful outdoor kitchens, from simple straight-run installations featuring a grill, fridge and sink to those with wood-fired ovens, side burners and induction hobs! People can choose from a custom kitchen or pick and choose the elements they would like to create something truly bespoke. Sometimes we simply install the kitchen and that’s that, other times we are part of a much larger landscaping project. We can work with landscape designers or garden design experts to deliver an outdoor kitchen in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the new garden or take care of the whole project ourselves. Because of the aforementioned tendency of British weather to have a rather capricious change of tack in the middle of a party, it’s a natural step to include some kind of shelter.

outdoor kitchen with shelter options

From garden rooms to sun shades

A shelter of some type means that you can carry on enjoying your outdoor kitchen regardless of what the weather does. It’s not only rain that can be a nuisance – the midday sun in summer can be far too warm for some people to comfortably sit out in without shade. Some of our customers prefer not to have any permanent or semi-permanent structure in place, whereas others do.

There are a lot of options out there including gazebos, garden rooms, arbours with moveable panels, retractable roller shades and awnings, sail-style sun shades. Depending on the kind of shelter you go for, there’s also the chance to include lighting, heat sources, speakers and even screens for an outdoor sound and vision experience! There are a few things to consider if you do decide to include a shelter of some kind – if your home is listed, it’s worth contacting English Heritage. A gazebo or garden room may also mean you need to contact your local planning authority, so make sure you know the rules and regs before you get building!


If you would prefer an expert to help guide you through choosing either the outdoor kitchen that’s best for you or to manage the whole landscaping project, including shelter, get in touch. Our team is perfectly placed to help advise on all the aspects of outdoor kitchen projects, so why not drop us a line?

outdoor kitchen in London