How to build a backyard barbeque island

Written by judi light hopson
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How to build a backyard barbeque island
Grilling is easier with an island nearby for counter space. (Barbecue grilling mushroom and chicken wings image by Crisps85 from Fotolia.com)

By constructing a barbecue island, you create space for placing cooking utensils and food when grilling or entertaining in the backyard. An island can provide storage space as well as counter top space. You can build the island out of many different types of materials or recycled materials. The grill or a gas hob stove can fit into the island design, or the island can simply be placed near your present grill. By creating a cooking area that functions well, you will probably do more backyard entertaining.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Measuring tools
  • Aluminium for framework
  • Stainless steel nuts and bolts
  • Metal cutting tools and saws
  • Various sizes of stainless steel screws
  • Brick or stone
  • Mortar mix
  • Trowel
  • Porcelain ceramic tiles
  • Plywood
  • Counter top sheet metal
  • Metal hardware drawer slides/fittings
  • Pre-made metal drawers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Sketch a barbecue island that fits the space on a concrete patio surface. Allow a minimum of four feet in length, two feet in width and 36 to 38 inches in height. Design the island to fit well with an existing grill or construct it to fit a new grill that will be part of the island design. Sketch the framework to be constructed of aluminium versus wood, since wood can catch fire. Allow for interior shelves spaced 8 inches apart on the front side. Keep the back open in one section to place gas tanks for the grill.

  2. 2

    Have the framework cut at a metal shop to prevent ragged edges, unless you have expert metal cutting tools, shears and saws. Purchase a barbecue island kit online as an alternative. Use stainless steel nuts and bolts to assemble it. Build the bottom perimeter with four inches of recessed kick space (toe space) in the front. Construct a backsplash 12 inches high on the top counter area, so you can install hanging hooks for utensils or a shelf area to hold additional items.

  3. 3

    Cover the sides and back of the exterior of the cabinetry with fire bricks or stone. Work in small sections of approximately four feet each day to keep mortar mix from drying out. Take a class at a local home improvement store on laying bricks or stone before you begin work. Use exterior quality sheets of stainless steel if you prefer the look of a metal covering on the island. Avoid using any type of plywood or wood products, since radiant heat can build up near a grilling area which can char wood and make it combustible.

  4. 4

    Install an area on the counter top approximately 24 inches-by-24 inches covered in porcelain ceramic tiles for resting hot items off the grill. Secure a sheet of 1/2-inch plywood under this space for tile grout to adhere. Use dark-coloured tiles and dark-tinted grout to allow for hiding the impact of eventual weathering and stains from cooking. Cover the rest of the island counter space with small sheets of aluminium panels or fireproof materials.

  5. 5

    Cover sides, back and front sections between stone and brick areas with wire mesh, exterior-grade tile materials, or quilted metal suitable for restaurant kitchens. Use metal strips to hide any seams or ragged areas and caulk with products suitable for adhering to metal surfaces.

Tips and warnings

  • Install one or two drawers, if you want to store cooking utensils. If you can locate them, use heavy-duty metal drawers (made of stainless steel) you have recycled from another cabinet or building project. Otherwise, purchase metal drawers from an outdoor kitchen supply store.
  • Allow space in the height of the cabinet for attaching rollers or casters, if you want to move it around on your deck or patio. In this case, you will need to forego constructing any of it from brick or stone. Use metal instead. Figure the height of rollers or casters into the design, so the counter top will be level (or close to level) with another cooking or grilling area.
  • Never make the bottom or back areas of the island completely weather tight. Allow space for small amounts of gas fuel to escape from gas grill tanks. In fact, having a sliding door area to push open during cooking is always a good idea to ventilate the island area properly.

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