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How to make a barbecue pit in your garden

23rd April 2018 Print

Summer’s nearly here and it’s time to start making the most of the nice weather with some al fresco dining. But why not put a twist on the standard barbecue by creating a barbecue pit?

Discover how you can build a safe and efficient barbecue pit in your garden for all your summer parties in 2018 by checking out this guide… 

1. What you need

Before you start building, collect all the equipment and tools you need for your barbecue pit:

- Bricks

- Carpenter’s square

- Cinder blocks

- Dry mortar

- Gravel

- Grill top

- Hand tamper

- Measuring tape

- Metal braces

- Metal cylinder or can (if you’re building a metal pit)

- Paving slabs

- Shovel

- Spirit level

- Trowel

- Water

2. Plan and prepare

If you thought there was only one style of barbecue pit you can create yourself, you’re wrong. Check out this handy guide from DIY Cozy Home to help you find the design for you and don’t forget to consider your budget. You don’t want a half-finished pit just because you realised during the project that you couldn’t afford all the materials.

Now, ask yourself where you’re going to build your barbecue pit. For convenience, you should be aiming to place it close to your dining room or kitchen, so that you only need to walk small distances with food and utensils once it’s time to grill. Logistically, you should aim for your pit to be at least 15 feet square (3 feet x 5 feet).

Of course, safety is paramount when it comes to barbecues — particularly in small spaces, like a normal garden. 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 been 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 require you to read up on important safety rules and advice, too. Refrain from ever enclosing your barbecue pit, such as by putting a tent or cabin around it. 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.

3. Create sturdy foundations 

Obviously, the foundations are the first part of the construction process to complete in order to create a fully functioning barbecue pit. After all, the barbecue itself is going to be of substantial weight and will require good foundations to support it.

Start by digging a hole (eight inches in depth), then, clear any stones and use your hand tamper to compact the soil at the bottom of the trench. Next, pour a layer of gravel into the trench that is around two to three inches deep and 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.

4. Start on the base

Once you’re happy with the foundation, it’s time for the base. To build 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.

Now, grab your spirit level to ensure they’re perfect and use your carpenter’s square to check the corners of your pit. After, spread 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.

5. The final step

This step differs in difficulty, depending on the type of barbecue pit you’re creating. 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.

Alternatively, a brick barbecue pit requires you to follow the below procedure: 

1. Apply more mortar and continue to build additional layers of bricks until you reach the optimum height. 

2. Place bricks in the corners first and work outwards.

3. Keep using your spirit level and your carpenter’s square throughout this process. 

4. At the penultimate layer of bricks, insert metal braces into the mortar so that they face inwards before applying the bricks.

5. Leave overnight to set.

6. The next morning, place the grill top onto the metal braces.

If you’re constructing a gas-powered barbecue pit, attach the hoses for the gas supply and seek expert advice to ensure that the gas transfer is operating properly. Remember, gas taps must be switched off before you change a gas cylinder and you must only carry out this task in an open-air environment.

Your barbecue pit is complete! Now, simply wait for a nice day and fire up the grill to start enjoying outdoor dining.

This article was created by Flogas, one of the UK’s top suppliers of LNG and LPG storage tanks.