How to Build a Barbecue Island

What You'll Need
Concrete blocks or tiles
Putty knife

A barbecue island is like having your own outdoor kitchen. This permanent structure is the perfect way to add a personal touch to your backyard or patio, increase its usage by spending quality family time there or hosting social cookouts. Check with local electricity and gas companies before you begin this weekend project to make sure there are no power or gas lines around. Also check with your building authorities or local bodies for any special building permits required because of the possible hazards regarding fires. 

Step 1 – Select Area and Purchase Flooring Material

Select an appropriate area in your backyard or patio. Depending on your choice, you may want to make the island somewhere around a pool if you have one, or on a corner for added privacy. Remember to choose an area that you will enjoy for many years to come because this structure is permanent.

Purchase concrete blocks or slate tiles for the flooring, depending on your taste and what compliments the landscape.

Step 2 – Dig a Trench

Use a shovel to dig a trench the size of the island you want to make, in multiples of the size of the flooring blocks or tiles. Make the trench at least 6 to 8 inches deep, and collect the dirt in a wheelbarrow to dispose off later. 

Step 3 – Lay Blocks

To make the foundation, place the blocks or tiles into the trench, making sure they are in level with the surrounding ground. Add sand under the blocks if they are too deep, and dig out more dirt if they are higher than the ground surface.

Apply grout between gaps in the blocks with a putty knife. Let it settle for twenty minutes before removing the excess off with a wet sponge.

Step 4 – Enclose Foundation Area

To build a traditional fire pit, enclose the entire foundation area by putting a row of blocks over it and going all around.

Place fire bricks inside the row of blocks carefully. Mix water and sand in a wheelbarrow until it is the consistency of ice cream and cover it over the bricks and all the gaps between them.

Step 5 – Enclose Back and Sides

To enclose the back and sides of the pit, place concrete blocks 40 to 50 inches high, leaving the front open. Make sure the blocks are placed securely over one another and do not wobble.

Step 6 – Mount Barbecue Grates

Stack three concrete blocks high on each side of the pit on top of which you can securely mount the barbecue grates, with the ease of removing them regularly to clean them.

Make a fire with charcoal, place the barbecue over the grates and enjoy a good cookout on your barbecue island. 

An alternative to this is to make a foundation and install a readymade charcoal or gas powered barbecue grill over it. These are available in home department stores in easy to install kits. Make sure you have a gas connection outside for a gas-powered grill. Simply insert the line into the connection nozzle and unscrew it for the gas to flow.