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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
For many people, grilling is a way of life. Some outdoor cooking enthusiasts love to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner while standing outside in the fresh air. Grilling is also an excellent social occasion, cooking a meal while standing around the grill with family and friends.
There’s no need to purchase an expensive store-bought model, as it’s easy to build your own DIY grill station. There are many options for designing your ideal unit, so you can indulge your creative side and come up with a station that is uniquely yours.
You can build a DIY grill station by following these hints and tips.
1. Determine Your Grill Type
The first step is to decide what type of grill you want. Many people opt for a charcoal grill because it infuses meals with smoky flavors that you can’t achieve with other fuel sources.
However, if you value convenience, an electric grill is a great choice. There is less mess as there are no coals that produce ash, and these grills start quickly at the push of a button. One downside of using an electric grill is that it needs a power outlet to operate, which limits your options for where you can place your DIY grill station.
An alternative is to use a gas grill. If you use a portable gas tank, you can place your grill station anywhere in your backyard. You won’t get the same smoky aromas as you would with a charcoal grill, but gas models are easy to operate and relatively economical.
2. Select and Measure Your Space
Before designing your DIY grill station, you need to measure your backyard space. You may want to design a smaller station if you use your yard for other activities. Find a space in your backyard that you and your family rarely use to place your grill.
You also need to consider what time of day you like to grill, and determine the sun’s position at that time. If you like to grill your meals in the early evening, you might want to find a shady spot in your backyard to avoid grilling over a flame directly under the sun.
The next step is to consider what gadgets you want on your DIY grill station. You’ll need more space if you also plan on installing a seating area so guests can eat their meals around the grill. However, if you only need room for a side tray to keep plates and cooking utensils, you won’t need as much extra space surrounding the main grilling area.
When designing your DIY grill station, it’s a good idea to include a fuel storage space. A small cupboard is ideal for keeping charcoal dry or a gas tank away from the sun’s heat. Storing your fuel sources within the grilling station setup also means you don’t have to carry heavy bags of charcoal or metal gas tanks across your backyard when you need more fuel.
Before you decide on your grill station site within your backyard, it’s crucial to ensure no power supplies are running beneath the surface. You can ask a certified inspector to confirm it is safe to install a grill station at your chosen location.
Once you’ve chosen the area, you should measure it precisely to ensure your grill fits your backyard perfectly. If you want to have a seating area, make sure you have enough space to access the grill without needing to barge through your guests. Leave a small pathway that gives you easy access to your house, in case you forget an essential spice or need to grab some more hamburger buns.
3. Install the Foundation
You don’t need to build a permanent structure using bricks, but this method can be safer than using wood. Pallet planks make a solid foundation, but you need to be cautious because when fat and oils drip from the grill, they could leak down to the wood and start a fire.
To avoid this risk, you can dig a rectangular shape several inches into the ground. Then, apply a thin concrete layer to create a flat base and place some bricks on top of the covering when it is dry. Using a sand-based filler material is an excellent way to fill in the gaps between the bricks.
If you are using a non-permanent wooden base, you are unlikely to need a planning certificate. However, a more permanent brick foundation may require permission from your HOA. It’s best to err on the side of caution and ask if you need authorization from your HOA or local government before installing any new structure.
4. DIY Grill Station Design
You can be creative when designing your DIY grill station. One stylish idea is to use large rectangular stones to surround your grill for a beautiful cottage-style look. You can also place a marble tabletop on a counter and cut a hole in the middle. Place a grill in the gap and keep your utensils and side dishes on the marble top surface.
If you’d like a more modern design, you can use sleek black plastic boards to surround your grill. Grillmasters who plan on hosting parties around their new grill station can install a solid wooden or brick wall behind the grill. You can create a grill station and bar combo by attaching optics and shelving to hold bottles and glasses.
If you can connect a water supply to your DIY grill station, this is an excellent opportunity to add a sink beside your grill. There is no need to leave your grill to wash dishes or rinse meats and vegetables because you have all you need adjacent to your grill.
Build a Unique DIY Grill Station
You can combine different types of materials such as stone, brick, glass, and wood, gradually building the grill station of your dreams. Because you can add more materials at any time, this can be a fun project you can enjoy for years to come.
It’s sure to be an attractive feature in your backyard. Don’t be surprised if you inspire your friends to create their own stunning outdoor DIY grill station.