Cob Ovens and Benches

Outdoor Kitchens

Information about Construction, Design and Courses

Outdoor kitchens have become more and more popular in the last years because the create a social space in a natural environment and get people back into their gardens and invite them to spend time in nature. An outdoor social space like a kitchen is a great means to connect the people of a neighborhood and the community since the build-process and later use of an outdoor social space creates a sense of togetherness.

Theses outdoor spaces are great for community gatherings, pizza parties and reunions. In Permaculture communities, outdoor kitchens are common and often built as a semi-outdoor space and addition to a tiny house and in relative location to the kitchen garden. It also provides more space and cooking space when you’re hosting larger groups.DSC_0891

We build outdoor kitchens out of natural and local materials, as well as recycled materials. We do use materials with higher embodied energy, like cement, only when necessary. The design of the outdoor kitchen is in tune with the natural environment and the client’s preferences. We build Cob Ovens and Barrel Ovens for baking purposes, fuel-efficient Rocket Stoves for cooking, that can be for single pots and multiple pots, as well as griddles for frying. Cob benches and light wall systems like wattle-and-daub can be added to create a semi-outdoor and sheltered social space. Outdoor kitchens create a great space for gatherings and community building in a natural environment. Food has always brought people together and building and cooking will create an even tighter sense of community!

1.    Cob Ovens

Cob Ovens are dome-shaped baking ovens, which are heated by building a fire inside the oven, over the same area that becomes your baking space. The fire heats up the inside wall of the oven which is made of the dense materials clay and sand. This thermal mass layer absorbs the heat of the fire and retains it for many hours after the fire was taken out. Cob ovens are ideal for baking pizzas, cakes and cookies, quiches and bread and whatever you choose! They act as a wonderful community gathering space and help to bring people together, be outside and in nature and enjoy the delicious and homemade food.

The beauty of this type of oven is that it is simple to build and you can use local and natural materials. A cob oven has multiple phases in its construction, phases that serve as great micro examples for much larger and all-encompassing natural building principles. These concepts placed in a small project are fun for children and adults alike to learn and understand, and they feel an incredible sense of accomplishment when the project is completed and ready for use!

Cob Ovens do need good protection from weather, especially in temperate and humid tropical climates. It is important to plan in a roof or build under a sheltered space.

2.   Cob Benches

 An ornamental outdoor bench is a very attractive addition to a garden design, a backyard or a community space. The bench can be as big or as small as desired, curvaceous and complex or simple and temporary. It can be for one person or two, straight or curved, with or without a back.

The bench can be built directly on the ground, but a low foundation of brick, rock and cement will speed up the process and give it longer life. Benches need weather protection, or they will erode in the rain and be cold and soggy to sit on. I recommend a dry site, preferable under a long eave or on a porch. If necessary, a special roof can be built, though on very dry sites, a water resistant finish of linseed oil and beeswax stucco might be enough.

Sculpted details are a beautiful decorative element to a cob bench. They are sculpted before the finish coat goes on. These details are open to the creativity of the artist. The following photos are to be used to inspire your own cob creations.

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