A Do-It-Yourself Guide?

As with many home improvement projects, there are several key variables involved with building your own BBQ grill island. In this guide, we won't be able to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, but we will be able to walk through the most relevant details to consider when building an outdoor grill island. It's worth noting, we do offer pre-designed outdoor grill islands, however, most of what we'll focus on here is the customizable options available when designing your own grill island.

You can also contact our team of product specialists to get started. Our experts don’t work on commission, which means their motivation is tied to your satisfaction.

How to Build a Grill Island on a Deck or Patio

Safety Considerations

A deck can often be a great option for your outdoor kitchen. It’s a natural gathering place, a convenient location and a cost-effective option. That being said, you’ll want to take some extra precautions if you’re looking to create an outdoor kitchen in this space.

First, ensure your space complies with the grill manufacturer’s specifications. This includes necessary details like clearances. You’ll also want to check your local fire code, as a permit may be required.

Keep weight in mind, as well. Building materials can make a large difference in the final weight of your setup. Steel or wood framing, cement board versus block or brick and even countertop material can all have a big impact. If weight will be an issue with your deck, consider a pre-built metal grill island. This will afford you the benefits of an outdoor kitchen without the need to completely overhaul your space.

Think of the Big Picture

Will your grill be close to railings? Consider making your grill island dual-purpose by incorporating a bar or overhanging counter on the backside of your installation. Do you have limited space? Ensure your design doesn't compromise your dining space. Sometimes, a smaller kitchen you can enjoy with guests may be a better option than a larger kitchen that disrupts the flow of your outdoor space.

Extra planning considerations shouldn’t be limited to aesthetics, either. Consider access for gas, electricity and water if you’ll be incorporating these elements into your design. Whether you’re working with existing lines or running new ones, you’ll want to know how these will be used. As simple as it sounds, these small details are easy to overlook if you’re not careful.

Additional Considerations

Will your grill island be constructed with wood framing? If so, you’ll need to invest in an insulating grill jacket to ensure a safe installation. You may also want to consider a power vent hood if you’re going to be grilling in a covered area; no one wants to be breathing in a cloud of grease and smoke all night.

Delta Heat DHIJ38 Insulating Jacket, 38-Inch
Fire Magic 36-VH-7 Vent Hood with Fan, 36-Inch

How to Work with a Contractor to Build a Grill Island

When in doubt, work with an expert. Find a contractor with experience who’s familiar with outdoor kitchens. Many contractors will also have CAD capabilities which can be helpful for visualizing the final layout of your space before the building process begins.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s easy to jump to design, finish options and layout, but we recommend starting with the basics first. 

  • How will you get power, gas and water to the grill location? 
  • What local codes will you need to consider? 
  • Will your outdoor kitchen be properly protected from the elements? 

A good contractor will know to take these details into consideration, but it never hurts for you to keep these tips in mind when working with them.

Quick Tips for a Professional Outdoor Kitchen Layout

  • The farther from your indoor kitchen, the more robust your kitchen amenities will need to be.
  • Keep in mind functional zones when planning
    • Hot zone for cooking dry zone for storage and prep
    • Wet zone for cleanup
    • Cold zone for refrigeration and drink service
  • Traffic patterns are important. No one likes a crowded kitchen.

Get Help From Our Experts

Our product specialists can help you design the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. Our team features experts who have worked with customers and contractors alike, and they know the right questions to ask to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an extra level of expertise and service, contact us today. We’re here Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time to assist you.

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