Have you already made the most of the hotter weather to take your cooking outside and have a barbecue? You will be able to make the experience so much easier if you were to make a permanent barbecue pit in your garden.
Here, Flogas, which can help you with the LPG gas tank installation process for providing efficient power to your BBQs, has put together a step-by-step guide for improving your garden with its very own barbecue pit…
The items you’ll need for the job
To build your barbecue pit, you’ll need the following:
- Carpenter’s square
- Cinder blocks
- Dry mortar
- Grill top
- Hand tamper
- Measuring tape
- Metal braces
- Metal cylinder or can (if you’re building a metal pit)
- Paving slabs
- Spirit level
Plan the work
Refrain from going straight into building your barbecue pit without first planning the work. Start by having a think about just what type of barbecue pit you want for your garden. You’ll be surprised how many varieties there are — with this handy guide from DIY Cozy Home helping you find the one that will be perfect for you and the space you are working with. Don’t forget to also consider your budget, as you don’t want a half-finished pit just because you realised during the project that you couldn’t afford all the materials.
Now you know the barbecue pit you want, the next step will be finding the perfect location in your garden to construct it. For convenience, you should be aiming to place it close to your dining room or kitchen so you only need to walk small distances with food and utensils once it’s time to grill on your barbecue. Logistically, you should aim for your pit to be at least 15 feet square (3 feet x 5 feet).
Safety must be considered when picking a location too. Avoid building it in a place where it’s likely that smoke is going to blow straight into either your home or one of your neighbour’s properties. It should be placed away from any overhanging trees, buildings and fences which are at risk of being damaged from the smoke or catching fire. If your home’s outdoor space is vulnerable to high winds, aim to build the pit close to a brick or concrete wall which will work to break the force of the wind.
Gas-powered barbecues have their unique safety considerations as well. Refrain from ever making your barbecue pit an enclosed space, such as by putting a tent or cabin around it — with this being the case whether the barbecue is lit or smouldering. Be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning once a gas-powered barbecue pit is constructed too. You should stop using a barbecue pit immediately if you begin suffering from a loss of breath, dizziness, headaches or nausea and seek advice from a specialist builder before operating the barbecue again.
Working on the foundations of your barbecue pit
You should be ready to start building your barbecue pit at this point. The first thing that will need to be focused on is the foundations. After all, the barbecue itself is going to be of substantial weight and will require good foundations to support it.
A pit should be dug that is a minimum of eight inches deep to begin with, with all loose stones and soil cleared out of the hole created using a shovel. Your hand tamper should also be used to compact the soil that is at the bottom of the trench and to create a level playing field.
In the trench, pour a layer of gravel that is approximately two to three inches deep. Level this off, again using your hand tamper. You will then want to mix your dry mortar with some water and spread a two-inch layer of the mixture on top of the gravel. Level this mixture out using a trowel, though do this quickly as mortar tends to dry-off at a rapid rate.
Building the base of your barbecue pit
The next big step is to create your barbecue pit’s base. To do this, start placing cinder blocks around the edges of the mortar. A small hole should remain to drain water and any gaps between the blocks can easily be filled using wet mortar. Just be sure to keep removing any excess mortar while remembering that mortar dries off quickly.
Check that each cinder block is even once they are in place using your spirit level. Time should also be taken at this point to check all the corners with the aid of your carpenter’s square. After you’re happy with this construction, spread some more wet mortar on top of the cinder blocks and start placing bricks in a side-by-side format on top of them. By using a double layer of bricks, you will instantly strengthen the entire pit. Once again, don’t waste time removing any excess mortar to avoid problems once it’s been given time to dry.
Applying the finishing touches to your barbecue pit
Depending on the type of barbecue pit you’ve chosen, the finishing touches can either be quite complex or rather straightforward. If you have decided to go for a metal pit, then all that’s going to be required is for you to install the metal cylinder or can over the layer of bricks you’ve put in place and fit the grill top over the furnace.
Have your heart set on bring a brick barbecue pit into your garden? Then this is the method that you should be working towards:
- Apply more mortar and continue to build additional layers of bricks until you reach the height that you’re happy with.
- Work on each layer by placing bricks in the corners first and work out from these points.
- Once a layer is complete, make sure that you are using your spirit level to ensure the structure is remaining level and your carpenter’s square to check the layout of the corners.
- When you reach the penultimate layer of bricks, be sure to insert metal braces into the mortar so that they face inward before applying the bricks (these braces will be essential for holding the grill top in place).
- Leave the pit overnight so that the mortar can set entirely and then place the grill top onto the metal braces the next day.
- If building a gas-powered barbecue pit, attach the hoses which will supply gas from its supply and seek expert advice to ensure that the gas transfer is operating properly. (As a side note, gas taps must be switched off before you ever change a gas cylinder. Also, only carry out this process in an open-air environment.)