We all know the weather can be ‘a little’ unpredictable – and depending what state you’re in it can be ‘a lot’ unpredictable. So grilling under a gazebo can be a good option if you’re eating outside and you want to stay dry and out of the wind. But is this safe?
Grill gazebos are specifically designed to be safe for grilling. Both fixed and portable fabric types are made of fireproof materials, are open at all four sides, and have special vents built in above the grill area. They are also secured firmly to the ground for added safety.
In this blog post we’re going to consider how you put a grill gazebo together, how to secure them to the ground, and how far from the house they should be. We’ll also look at the special features of a grill gazebo and assess how this makes them safer.
How Do You Put a Grill Gazebo Together?
Assembling a gazebo can be a great way to spend your weekend. Make sure you have plenty of time, the right tools, and if you’ve purchased a hardtop model, a second person to help.
Hopefully by this stage, you’ve found the right place in your yard to position your grill gazebo (and we’ll look at how to choose the best spot shortly). The best surfaces for a grill are hard ones, like stone or pavers; and unless you don’t mind your gazebo tilting, find a level spot.
Most models come with manufacturers’ instructions, and following these should make sure your gazebo is perfectly put together.
Our top tips for installing any gazebo are:
- Read all the instructions before you start, A to Z, so you know what to expect
- If you do this, you’ll know in advance what tools and assistance you’ll need
- Make sure all the parts you need are included by laying everything out
- If you are building a hardtop, assemble the roof on the ground first, then make sure you have plenty of help to raise it. This is actually easier than assembling the top at height
- Choose a day with good weather – then you can reward yourselves with a delicious grilled meal afterwards
How Do You Secure a Grill Gazebo?
How you secure your gazebo depends on the type of structure and the surface it will stand on. For the best results, we suggest a hardtop structure on a hard base. Heat can damage your lawn or decking, so pavers, concrete or stone make good bases for your outdoor kitchen.
Your gazebo should come with stakes or anchors to fix it firmly to the ground. These go into the ground then the posts are fixed to them. Make sure you have decided your location (and also that this is a long-term decision) as you’ll need to drill into a solid surface to fix your gazebo.
Drill down into the concrete where the leg needs to be attached, vacuum out the hole to make sure it’s free from debris, then place a wedge anchor in the hole. Tap it into place with a hammer. Remove the wedge anchor nut and place the leg over it. Thread a washer over the wedge anchor bolt, and tighten the nut until the wedge is engaged.
Repeat for every leg. For extra safety, spray the exposed surface of the nut with an anti-corrosion treatment.
Pavers aren’t such an easy surface as concrete, however you can follow the same steps outlined above for an extra-secure base.Alternatively, drive the stakes into the ground between the pavers, and use extra ropes in windy weather. A handy hack (provided you don’t get severe winds through your yard) is to set the posts in concrete, by using planters.
For a very secure and attractive fixing into pavers, you can use concrete footers. These are concrete blocks which have a bracket attached to them, and are sunk into the ground. The posts attach to the brackets, under the pavers, which then cover the foundations. Safe and invisible.
As ever, check the manufacturers’ guidelines, and if in doubt, drop them a line to double check. It is definitely worth getting everything right at this stage, then you can enjoy year-round grilling in sheltered comfort.
How Far Should Your Grill Gazebo & Grill Be From The House?
We’ve heard a few different suggestions for this, but the general consensus seems to be to put up your grill gazebo at least ten feet from your house. As well as the safety aspect, this will prevent smoke and smells wafting into your home.
Ideally, you want a flat, open spot away from your home, outbuildings and any trees. Consider any impact on your neighbors, too, as they don’t want a yard full of smoke.
Other things to consider when choosing a site for your grill gazebo can be sunlight: does it get the right amount, without being too shaded or too bright on sunny days? Is the site exposed or sheltered? Are there any overhanging trees that could get in the way? Don’t forget that a good-quality gazebo will last for years, so the trees may grow up around it.
Does it enhance or spoil the view from your house windows? Most gazebos are extremely attractive structures, but you might not want it to block the view of a favorite tree or flower bed. Is the route from the house to the gazebo straightforward? You don’t want to be carrying cooking equipment and food up and down steps, especially at night.
Is it Safe To Grill Under a Gazebo?
Yes, it can be safe to grill under a gazebo; however, this totally depends on the type of gazebo you own. As well as smoke, smells and spraying fat, the two main dangers from undercover grilling are fire and carbon monoxide fumes. So, if you want to grill inside a gazebo, you must make sure that you’re safe from these major issues.
Some materials feel naturally more fire-resistant than others, and I don’t think any of us would feel happy cooking under a conventional canvas awning. As well as the fire risk, the heat from the grill can scorch or warp canvas and wooden gazebos, and also cause discoloration. And we haven’t even started on the damage done by flying fat!
The typical gazebo, with its open-sided structure, will allow enough draught through to prevent dangerous fumes from building up. However, smoke wafting up to the roof can be uncomfortable and compromise visibility if it doesn’t have an easy escape route.
The answer? If you plan on grilling or barbecuing all-year-round, and would prefer to do this under cover, you need a special grill gazebo. These clever canopies are made from robust materials and have ventilating roofs – and some even come with hooks and shelves, all ready for the outdoor chef.
How Does a Grill Gazebo Differ From a Normal One?
The best thing about a grill gazebo (OK, apart from the safety features, which we’ll come onto in a moment) is that it’s designed for this exact purpose. It’s a specially designed outdoor kitchen, created for the keen barbecue and grill cook.
The main thing, of course, is making sure that the structure is flame-proof. A metal hardtop gazebo is a great choice, and there are also flame-resistant fabric models. However, even a flame-resistant fabric can pick up cooking smells, so we prefer a hardtop model for this reason.
Then, there’s ventilation. The best designs have two-tier roofs that vent upwards, like a chimney. The smoke will naturally rise, so it’s preferable to funnel it out through the tops rather than the sides (although open sides provide a good air flow that prevents fumes building up).
As we mentioned earlier, grill gazebos can come with all sorts of great additional features for the chef, such as hooks for your BBQ tools, and even shelves for your sauces and seasoning. Other things to look out for include hooks for lanterns (perfect for evening cooking), bug nets to keep out unwanted diners, and plenty of space for the chef and their assistants (well, friends) to move about.
Grilling outside in changeable weather need not be an issue if you have a grill gazebo. They’re specially designed with ceiling vents to take all the smoke out of the cooking area, and are made of fire resistant materials should any hot fat or flames spit up from the BBQ.
While fabric grill gazebos are safe to use for a BBQ with family and friends, especially if secured to the ground firmly – we recommend more permanent fixed structures such as the design shown in plan above. That way you can ensure almost complete safety for your outdoor gazebo grilling.