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How to Build a Barbecue

by Guest on Jul 21, 2010

An old-fashioned brick barbecue transforms your back garden into an open-air kitchen. Friends and family can enjoy countless hours of fresh air while meals cook on the range. Simple bricklaying techniques can be used to adorn your garden with an attractive and functional brick barbecue. So if you’re a fan of do-it-yourself home improvement projects, here are some instructions on how to build a BBQ.

Don't forget the supplies

It is important to have all of the necessary supplies before beginning the project; without proper preparation, your focus will be disrupted by numerous trips to the shop. So this is what you'll need before starting your build:

  • An ample supply of bricks
  • Hand trowel
  • Mortar
  • Garden hose or another source of water
  • Hand tamper
  • Metal grill with a cover
  • Levelling tool
  • Scrap wood
  • Concrete mix
  • A few concrete reinforcement bars
  • Bolster chisel
  • Hammer

Location, location, location

Consider available sunlight when planning where to build your BBQ. Evaluate whether you prefer sunshine or shade when you're cooking meals outside. If you are more likely to use your BBQ in the afternoon, you might want to consider where the sun is shining at that time.

Other weather conditions also affect outdoor cooking. If chaotic winds persist, place your barbecue behind a large wall. For example, the exterior wall of your home might block winds at certain angles.

Give yourself ample space for your build. Most brick barbecues contain extended surfaces for the placement of cooking equipment. Additionally, you might want to surround your barbecue with a patio for tables and chairs. If you make room for future additions, the next home improvement project will be much easier.

Building the base

The size of your base obviously conforms to the final dimensions of the build. It would be wise to calculate measurements based on the size of the coal pan on the bottom of your metal grill. This will be the centrepiece of the barbecue. You might choose to temporarily lay bricks around this central location to help determine the appropriate size of the base. From this point, decide how broadly you want to extend the sides of the barbecue.

If you are unsure, a popular size for a base is around 1.2 square metres. Use your shovel to dig a 100mm deep hole for the installation of the base. With your hand tamper, pack in the dirt at the bottom of the hole. This will help level the foundation below your build. Place thin wooden boards along the sides of the hole. Allow them to extend above the surface by a few millimetres.

After your hole is prepared, fill half of the base with concrete. Place concrete reinforcement bars across the hole before filling the rest of the base. Once the concrete has been poured, allow sufficient time for it to dry.

Building the barbecue

Determine the perimeter of the build before you start to lay the bricks. You can draw out the area by placing a row of bricks without mortar. Consider any tabletop extensions that might be included on the sides of the cooking area. Also, lay out bricks to support the metal grill.

After defining the shape of your barbecue, remove the bricks and replace them with mortar. Moisten the bricks with a garden hose before laying them. Place the bricks on top of the mortar carefully; tap them with the hand trowel to ensure that they are firmly seated in the paste. If you need to use half-sized bricks to fit the design, cut them into smaller pieces using a hammer and a bolster chisel. 

Once the first course of bricks is placed, check the structure with the level. Place mortar on top of the bricks and repeat these steps until the desired height is reached.

Once the walls are tall enough to accommodate the placement of the metal grill, lay sideways bricks in the course below the grill to act as a seat. Two bricks on each side should be sufficient. Once the frame is complete, install the metal grill and its cover. Create and seat the tabletop extensions using mortar or brick. 

After completing the build, brush off excess mortar and brick dust. Allow your new barbecue to dry before cooking your first meal.


With patience and a plan, anyone can build a brick barbecue for the back garden. Follow these steps and soon your friends and family will be enjoying an outdoor feast on a warm afternoon.

If you need some bbq accessories or simply don't have the time to build a barbecue, the Dobbies.com have a wide barbecue range online.

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