How to Make an Outdoor Grill That Looks Like It's Built-In


Many grilling enthusiasts dream of having a built-in outdoor grill. A grill surround will give you the look of a built-in grill with the flexibility of a portable grill. A grill surround is a brick wall that effectively hides your portable grill. This allows you to swap out an old grill for a newer model if you want to upgrade and also gives you the flexibility to take your grill next door to a neighbor's barbecue if you so desire.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk
  • Bricks
  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Drill
  • Mortar mixer drill attachment
  • Jointer trowel or pry bar
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Place your portable grill in the location where you want to build your grill surround. Choose a location on a concrete walkway or patio, away from trees and other overhanging structures.

  • Draw a straight chalk line on the ground along the two sides of the grill and in front of it. The chalk line should be set at least 1 inch away from the exterior of the grill. This line marks the interior edge of the grill surround. If the lid of the grill is a flip-top, then open the lid before you draw the line so that the lid is taken into account with the width of the grill.

  • Lay down a row of bricks along the chalk lines to determine the placement of the first course of bricks. Leave a 1/2-inch gap between each brick. Once you've determined the placement of the bricks in the first course, remove the bricks and set them aside.

  • Mix a batch of mortar, according to the instructions on the package. The mortar should be the consistency of thin peanut butter. Use a drill equipped with a mortar mixer attachment to mix the mortar in a 5-gallon bucket.

  • Use a trowel to spread mortar on the ground along the chalk line. Start at one end of the line and spread enough mortar for about three bricks. There should be enough mortar that it will ooze out of the sides of the brick when you place it onto the mortar. Set the first brick into the mortar and press it in place.

  • Spread approximately 3/4-inch of mortar over the side of the brick that will be facing the next brick in the course. Set the next brick into place and press it down and into the mortar on the side. Let the mortar seep out over the sides of the brick. Lay the first course of bricks in this way.

  • Scrape off the excess mortar that oozed out over the bricks with a pry bar, jointer trowel or the trowel that you used. If you're using a jointer trowel, use the curved part of the jointer to create curved channels in the joints.

  • Build the next courses of bricks in the same fashion as the first course and scrape off excess mortar once each course is finished. Stagger the placement of the bricks from one course to the next. Build up the brick surround until it is to the desired height, just above the top of the grill.

  • Use a chisel to break bricks in half as needed. Score a line all the way around the brick with the chisel where you need to make the break. Then hammer the chisel into the brick along the scored line until the brick breaks on the line.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spray the bricks down with water the night before you begin to build. This will prevent the bricks from absorbing too much moisture from the mortar.
  • If desired, top the grill surround with a layer of stone caps just slightly larger than the bricks themselves so the edges of the caps hang over the outer edge of the bricks. Use mortar to hold the stone caps in place, just like the bricks themselves.

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