Constructing your own barbecue pit for your garden

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Posted on: 15 August 2018 by Dawn Richard

Being in the peak of summer, no doubt there will be garden parties and BBQs being hosted by many homes across Britain. But why settle with the standard BBQ, when you could build your very own permanent barbecue pit?

Believe it or not, barbecue pits are relatively simple to build and could help you put your own twist to the standard barbecue. Together, with Flogas, a leading gas bottle supplier, we give you this step-by-step guide on how to build a safe and efficient BBQ pit for your garden.
 
The Tools and Equipment that you’ll need
 
The list below of everything you need to build a BBQ 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
Where to build your BBQ pit
 
Planning on where to build your BBQ pit is an important part of the process. Firstly, you will need to consider the style of BBQ pit that you would like to construct as there are several styles to choose from. Check out this handy guide from DIY Cozy Home to help you find a design that’s right 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.
 
Once you’ve decided on the style, you will then need to choose a relevant spot in your garden to build it. We recommend that you aim to build it close to your kitchen or dining room, so that you only need to walk small distances with utensils and food 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).
 
Safety should always be a priority, when you start your preparations. 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. The pit 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.
 
For gas BBQ pits, there are important safety rules and advice that you will need be aware of. 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.
 
Laying your foundations
 
The foundations come first when you first start constructing your BBQ pit. The barbecue itself is going to be a substantial weight and will require good foundations to support it.
 
Begin by digging an 8-inch hole in your garden, wherever you want the barbecue pit to be. Once you have the right size, 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.
 
Constructing the base of your BBQ pit
 
Once you’ve built the foundations, you will then need to build the base. Start by 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.
 
Use your carpenter’s square and spirit level to check for evenness and corners of your pit. Then, 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.
 
Finishing touches.
 
Depending on the style that you’ve gone for, this step may differ. If you’ve decided on a metal pit, then all that’s going to be required is for you to install the metal cylinder or you can over the layer of bricks you’ve put in place and fit the grill top over the furnace.
 
Building a brick barbecue pit? Follow the below procedure: 
 
  • Using more mortar, carry on building additional layers of bricks until you reach the optimum height. 
  • Put bricks in the corners first and work outwards.
  • Keep using your spirit level and your carpenter’s square throughout this process.
  • Reached the penultimate layer of bricks? Then stop and insert metal braces into the mortar so that they face inwards before applying the bricks.
  • Allow to set overnight.
  • Place the grill top onto the metal braces.
 
If you’ve decided to construct a gas-powered pit then, attach the hoses for the gas supply and seek an expert that will consult on checking 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.
 
Once you’ve checked around your creation and are happy that it’s sturdy, celebrate the fact you’ve built a barbecue pit from scratch and get ready for a nice day to start enjoying outdoor dining!
 

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