Setting up an outdoor grill pit and fireplace: A How to guide
The summer grilling season is just around the corner and you will surely want to have outdoor dinner parties. An outdoor grill pit and fireplace is just what you need to really enjoy your summer. You want to know how to set this up yourself so that you can save money and get it done on your own time.
Finding your design is the first thing you need to do. You want to get an idea of what is available so that you can figure out what you have room for. You also want to consider your yard overall. For example, a metal pit is not the most practical if you have a lot of rainwater and sunshine because these can cause corrosion. Metal is best for smoking thick meats though. Now, brick is cheaper, more durable with sun and rainwater and easier to build. You will have to examine your yard and your needs to determine which is best for you.
This is where you will figure out where to place your grill and fireplace. You want to be close to the kitchen so that you can easily pull things in and out as needed. You want to be far enough away, however, to avoid an accidental house fire. Think about winds and other issues that could push the fire and create a safe distance. You also want to keep a safe distance away from shrubs, trees and fences.
You will begin this project by digging a trench. This trench needs to be eight to ten inches deep and three feet by five feet in width. Once this is dug properly, take a hand tamp and level the trench. All stones and loose soil should also be removed.
You will need to grab some gravel and pour it into your newly dug trench. You want about three inches of gravel poured in. Once the gravel is in place, you want to mix water and dry mortar. This should then be placed onto the gravel and take up an additional two inches. Be sure to use a trowel to level this right away as the mortar will start drying quickly.
Where the mortar edges are you will place cinder blocks. Wherever you notice gaps in these you will want to put wet mortar to fill them in. As you notice excess mortar be sure to remove it immediately as it dries quickly and it hard to remove once dry. You will place wet mortar on the cinder blocks as well. Once this is complete, your first layer of bricks should be put down to create the pit base.
If a metal pit is being put in you will place the metal can/cylinder over your pit base of bricks and get it installed. If you are using all bricks, keep going with the bricks until your pit is at the right height for you. This involves placing bricks and securing them with wet mortar. Be sure to clean up all excess mortar right away so that it does not dry and be stuck.
If your pit is metal, look at your metal furnace and put the grill top on it. If your pit is brick, grab the metal grill and insert the braces into the mortar on the highest level of bricks. You will use metal braces to balance the metal grill.
This is where you are going to build your perimeter. You will use bricks to build this regardless of whether or not your pit is brick or metal. You want the perimeter to be two bricks high and secured with wet mortar.
Consider the lighting around the pit because when you are using the grill or fireplace at night, you will need to be able to easily see what you are doing to prevent injury. You also want to make sure that no one trips when walking around this area, and that you can see what you are cooking so that it is cooked properly. If your grill is relatively close to your home then your porch lights will often be enough. You could also consider a floodlight. Some people can also get away with just using some flashlights when necessary.
You want to do a safety check once everything is in place. Clear away any extra brush, overhanging tree branches and other hazards. Once this is done, make sure you are keeping up with it to maintain safety.
Contributor Bio: Richard Dobbins writes about fireplaces and grilling for Northshore Fireplace.