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    Build Yourself A Barbecue – Part 3

    You may or may not want to use the next layer of bricks for your charcoal tray, depending on your height and what feels comfortable for you.  The tray is usually placed between five and eight bricks high.  Wherever you do decide to place it, build up to this height using the same method as before.  For the section the tray will rest on, you want to turn the bricks along the edges side-on to create a ledge for the tray.  Create a flush edge by using a half brick at the outer edge.  After another three or four layers add another layer of side-on bricks to support the grill tray.

    To give a more professional finish on the exterior of the barbecue, take a length of hosepipe and draw it along each of the joints.  Create a neat edge by adding a final course of brick setts around the main barbecue section then, when this is finished, check all the levels again.  Finally cement the paving slab on top of the other section if you have built this.

    There it is, your finished barbecue.  Now all you have to do is invite some friends over and get cooking.

    Build Yourself A Barbecue – Part 1

    Summer is finally here, and although there hasn’t been much sun to accompany it so far, it is surely just round the corner, so what better than to build a barbecue in anticipation. Here is our DIY guide to building a barbecue.

    Things you will need: – Barbecue grill set, bricks, brick setts, sand, cement, spirit level, shovel, trowel, small length of hosepipe, paving slab (optional).

    The first thing to do is pick an appropriate space for your barbecue.  It needs to be in an open space, so as not to set fire to anything when using it, and it needs to be relatively level.

    Next you want to think about the design.  This will depend on the barbecue set you have, and if you want additional workspace.  Using the cooking tray from the set as a guide, lay out the first level of bricks around the tray into a square n shape, with the opening of the n where you will be standing to cook.  Additionally if you want the extra workspace, you can create a second n connecting to it of the same size, so that the pattern more resembles an m.  Try to keep as many bricks whole as possible to reduce the need to cut the bricks.

    Come back soon to see how to finish off your barbecue…

    Build Yourself A Barbecue – Part 2

    Mix five parts sand to one part cement, adding enough water to get a stiff consistency.  Check the level of the site before spreading the first layer of mortar, compensating for any changes by adding more mortar.  Use the spirit level to mark the outer edge of the barbecue in the cement.  This provides a straight guideline for laying the first course of bricks.  When the first layer of bricks is laid, check the level again, making sure that the corners are at right angles.

    If you think the structure is not as sturdy as it should be, insert a metal tie into the mortar to join the angles of the walls, especially to the central wall if going for the two part build.  As you build more layers, insert these as often as you need.

    Now start laying the extra layers of bricks, beginning at the corners.  Stagger the vertical joints alternately to the width of a half brick.  Use a spirit level to check that each of the barbecue’s corners is vertically straight.  Check from all angles to ensure the finished structure is square.  When five courses are complete at each corner, use a length of wood and the spirit level to check that the two sides are even.

    Come back soon for the final part…

    How Do (or rather did) You Make the Most of Your Patio In Summer

    The great British summer. The phrase brings up heartwarming images of endless lazy days in sunny glades and picturesque parks or by riverbanks, sipping Pimms or Cider, eating Strawberries and Barbecued food and listening to the cricket on the radio. Or alternatively, sitting inside a grubby caravan, looking solemnly out the window and wishing it would stop raining.

    Stiff upper lip, old chap. Whatever your situation is, you’ll be sure to have a great summer, and regularly enjoy some quality time in the comfort of your own patio, especially if you take some of our advice on board!

    1. Whether your pattern imprinted concrete patio is a huge sprawling affair or fairly compact, you should choose furniture and other accessories to suit – make sure it doesn’t become too crowded. A little feng shui goes a long way, and you need space to breathe.
    2. Make your patio the ultimate place for relaxation – get yourself a comfy sun lounger to chill out and read or enjoy the sun. And a stylish wooden table and chairs set can bring the whole family together beautifully for a meal, a nice chat and a drink, or to play a game together.
    3. Al fresco dining is a lovely way to feed everyone – getting some fresh air really can add to the dining experience. Also, why not cook AND eat outside? Get yourself a mobile BBQ unit or even build a brick BBQ into your patio.
    4. Gardening is a great summer pass time – why not have create some beautiful flower beds around your patio, and spice it up with some hanging baskets, trestles or climbers?
    5. Water! On a hot summers day, get out the paddling pool, the hosepipe and the water pistols. This is one fight that won’t spoil your day!
    6. You should also consider shade carefully – both to get out of really hot sun, and to hold off the rain when the weather adopts a more typically British flavour. A nice big parasol will do the trick nicely, or perhaps a gazebo? A parasol can fit into the centre of many tables, and a gazebo could be put up when you fear the rain, and taken down again afterwards.

    Patio accessories: Our Favourites

    You’ve got your pattern imprinted concrete driveway installed, and it looks great. Your garden now looks like a solid design that hangs together well. The next stage of course is to accessorise your patio, but what do you pick? To help you out, this article lists some of our favourite items.

    Some furniture is always a good idea, and there are many suitable options to choose from, whether you want to sit down for dinner, or lie down for sun. A smaller bistro set is a good idea if you want to sit round and eat but have limited space, or you can go for a larger dining table and chairs. If relaxation is the plan, then there are many fabulously comfortable sun loungers available! Go for an adjustable one with really comfy cushions, and for a real touch of bliss, you might also want to go for a large parasol for some shade, and a mounted ice bucket to keep your bubbly cool. In terms of materials, we’d advise against the old fashioned white plastic set – it may be cheap and hardy, but it sure looks tacky. How about a nice stained wood set, or metal, or a wicker/metal combination with a glass table top?

    If you have money to spend and want a really cool unique look, you should pass by the conventional stock, and go for something really cool, like this Cupid Patio Furniture.

    A BBQ is always a nice idea too, and rather than just having a cheap B & Q unit, why not go for building in a nice brick BBQ unit? Or you could go for a nice gas-powered unit to save on mess, John Lewis have a good example. The really extravagant among you could again step it up a level, and go for something like Alpina’s Mobile Beer Bar.

    Lighting is also a major consideration. Why not go for some cool solar lights, which power up during the day and then give a soothing glow at night? The Garden Lighting Shop has some great ideas.

    All the ideas so far are quite conventional, so as a last step, when you’ve got all the essentials down, why not finish off your patio with a more outlandish feature. A fountain perhaps, or a fire pit, or a Tiki hut? How about a giant ornate statue to give your patio that ancient Incan temple flourish?

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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