A deck is an excellent place for a gas grill. The deck provides a flat, even surface for the grill. A deck is an excellent place for both cooking and entertaining. But the placement of the gas grill is important for safety and use.
In determining the best gas grill location on your deck, there are a few things to consider: the deck environment, access, and workability. There is not one single location for a deck grill but a balance of competing interest to make your deck grilling experience the most enjoyable.
Gas grills are an excellent choice for decks as they are safer than charcoal around combustible material. A gas grill can be either a natural gas grill, attached to a home gas line never needing to be refilled. Or a portable gas grill powered by propane from a tank. The tank allows the grill to be moved around on the deck. But a propane grill does require regular refilling of the propane tank.
Regardless of what type of gas grill you have, propane or natural gas ventilation is the most crucial consideration for grill placement. That being said, let’s get to tips for gas grill placement of your deck. In no particular order, just things to think about while designing your deck and setting up the grill.
1. Place the grill on the deck for a view
A deck the view is so important. Next to the joy of being outside, your deck is about the view. Don’t block it with a grill. Take a moment to enjoy the view out of your house window, noting the best views and which part of the deck must remain open to enjoy the view. These areas now become your no grill zones. Keep your view, place the barbeque elsewhere to keep your view.
Also, remember the chef working on the grill. Arrange the grill to allow the griller also to enjoy the great outdoors and deck. Set the grill up for between flipping the patties. You can enjoy the scenery.
Sometimes this is setting up the barbeque behind you, out of the way, but still on the deck. Allowing you to enjoy the deck between turning the meat on the grill. With the smoke and grill behind you.
Others prefer to stand behind the barbeque. The idea is when the lid is up, you are focussed on cooking. No need for the view but lower the lid, and the view is back in site. Allowing you to keep an eye on the kids, yard and grill all at the same time.
2. Place the grill on a higher deck
I love multi-tiered decks for grilling. Having the grill on a deck elevated 2’ (0.6m) or so higher than the main deck does two things for your deck.
- The raised deck allows the chef to enjoy the view. Elevating them above the furniture and people below.
- Smoke from the barbeque doesn’t bother your guest on the deck. Being just a few feet higher, it blows over their heads without disturbing them. You can be grilling up a storm while your guests are enjoying the sun and a glass of wine.
3. Locate Grill close to workspace
Grilling is fun, but it is also work. The grill on your deck should be close to a work counter. Something to rest the meat plate on, or tongs. Often portable barbeques will come with small shelves on the sides. But if your cooking is more elaborate than room on these small shelves, being close to a table or counter will be helpful.
Having two counter or shelves on each side of the grill can be helpful when cooking for larger groups. Providing, a cooked and prepping counter area, keeping the raw patties away from the fresh buns. A convenient workspace by the grill, increasing your grilling pleasure.
4. Account for the prevailing breeze over the deck.
The wind will always blow. That’s a fact, but accounting for it minimizes its negative impact. In Calgary, where I live and build decks, the wind is often blowing from the west. The Rockies are a freeway for the Pacific Ocean wind.
Setting the grill on the east side of the deck, in Calgary. The smoke is pushed off the deck, away from those enjoying the sun on the deck. Prevailing winds vary by region and terrain.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t want the smoke being pushed into the house. Set the grill up where the prevailing wind will blow the smoke away from the house, not into it.
5. Use a wind wall to Shelter the Grill on your deck
Placing the grill beside a wind wall is wonderful in sheltering the grill while not trapping the smoke. In a windy location, a wind wall will make the difference between grilling or not. Nobody enjoys standing out in a hurricane and grilling. Incorporating a wind wall to block a constant wind gives you better flame controls and prevents paper plates from blowing around.
Don’t forget. An attached deck comes with a “built in” wind wall, your house. Position the barbeque to take advantage of the shelter provided by the house.
6. Locate the grill close to Storage
The barbeque brush, tongs, meat forks used for grilling, you will want all of it convenient located by the grill. Arrange the grill close to a small storage area. A small cabinet or box with a lid to store your grilling utensils. Nothing complicated but still convenient.
Or place the grill close to a kitchen door. For you can easily step inside and grab the tongs, all while still being close to the grill.
7. Position the grill on your deck close to an electrical plug
Enjoying cooking a rotisserie chicken in the barbeque. Don’t make the mistake of having to run a cord across the deck, creating a tripping hazard. Design the deck with a plug close to the grill. Then you can conveniently roast without a tripping hazard on the deck.
8. Place the grill close to overhead light
Evening grilling is fun. The air cooling after a hot day, enjoying super on the deck with family as the sun dips. But you will need to see what you are doing on the grill. Position the grill close to an overhead light. Bright enough to work by, more than an ambience light.
An overhead light will work better than a wall light wall behind you. Shining on your back, blocking the light, making it hard to gauge the sear marks on the steak on the grill.
9. A deck roof protecting the grill from the rain
Sheltering the grill from the rain allows you to grill even on those raining days. Even in a rainy region. Like Vancouver, where you have more rain days than sun. A roof over a gas grill allows you to grill even on raining days. One of the advantages of a gas grill, you can use it under a deck roof if the sides are open for ventilation. A small roof over the grill allows you to barbeque regardless of the weather.
A small note about grill roofs: ideally, the grill roof should be 8’ (2.4m) or higher. Providing enough room for the smoke to rise out of your face.
But rain doesn’t always fall straight down. A grill roof 8’ (2.4m) high will need to extend past the grill 24” (600mm). A higher roof which is better will need longer eaves. A 9’ (2.7m) roof should overhang the grill 30-36” (760-900mm) to keep it dry in the rain.
10. Position the deck grill for Ventilation
A deck grill under a roof needs to have ventilation. Never enclose a grill on the deck. A cover over a gas grill is fine, but make sure the walls are open enough to allow the air to move the smoke off the deck.
If you want to close in the deck, it will need proper ventilation. Either a vent or open sides to move the air and smoke.
11. Position the grill for shade from the summer heat
The rain is not the only weather to shelter the grill from. Shade from the heat of the sun also can be advantageous. Position the barbeque to be cooled by the shade as you grill.
“Try and place your BBQ in a position where shade covers it for most of the day. Setting up a grill in the shade is one thing but keeping it there is another.”Artisan Stone
A deck pergola is excellent for this. An open pergola roof allows smoke to dissipate while shading the grill. The pergola is also excellent for an overhead light or plug on a post. Improving the grilling experience while enhancing the deck appearance.
12. Keep the gas grill on the deck away from overhead tree branches
Trees around the deck may be great, providing shade while you grill. But make sure that there is at least 10’ (3m) between the top of the grill and the tree branches. Hate to burn those trees while frying your steaks. Besides leaves from the trees don’t make good toppings and increase cleaning.
13. Place the grill close enough to the house to use the house kitchen
Typically, most food prep is done in the kitchen. Position the grill close enough that you can use the kitchen while grilling outside. If the barbeque is so far away from the house that you can’t grab the barbeque sauce without burning the steaks. The grill is too far away from the house.
The added advantage of setting up the grill close to house and kitchen is it will save you money on not needing an outdoor kitchen. A deck kitchen is nice, but expensive. Your deck grill close to your house saves you from having to pay for two kitchens. One in your house and the other one on the deck
14. Locate the grill far enough away from the house
Yes, I just said place the grill close conveniently close to the house, but it also needs a safe distance between the house and the barbeque.
First, the house is combustible, and you don’t want the grill to damage it. In particular, vinyl siding can easily be melted by the heat of the grill. Most grills’ operator manual will provide the required distance between vinyl and the grill. Often varying between 6” (150mm) and 24” (600mm) depending on the grill. Take the time to confirm the grill clearance before firing it up.
Secondly, the grill needs to be far enough away for smoke will not enter the house through open windows. Look to see where the opening windows are in the house are in relation to the deck and grill. Prevailing winds on the deck will play a big part.
15. Consider the Dinning area in relations to the Grill
Grilling is not just for cooking but also for eating. I enjoy my meat hot off the grill. Keeping the deck table close to the grill allows you to serve people right of the grill.
16. Position the grill to allow conversation with guest as you grill
Having a small area beside the grill will allow you and a friend to chat while cooking.
17. Arrange the grill on the deck away from where children play
Grills are hot, and kids will always be distracted. Place the grill in a safe place away from where your children will play. Preventing burns and accidents.
18. Isolate the grill on the deck
Grill bump-outs are a great idea to isolate the grill without removing the grill from the deck area. Extending a small area of the deck to hold the barbeque allows you to fully enjoy the area while having the grill conveniently located off the side of the deck.
The grill on the bump out also minimizes the accidental touching of the grill because three sides are removed from the deck area. Use aluminum railing or material that is not combustible to minimize the required area for the grill on the bump out.
19. Keep the grill away from combustible material
When setting up the grill, check that all combustible material is at a safe distance from the grill. Items to keep in mind are deck railing, house siding and low hanging branches. The manufacturer manual will provide minimum distance. The required distance often varying between the sides and rear. If in doubt, maintain 10 feet (3m) clearance from all combustible material.
20. Consider deck Traffic flow around the grill
Place the grill on the deck as not to impede traffic. Consider traffic flow to the door, stairs, table and chairs. You don’t want to be walking around the grill every time you go outside. Set the barbeque in a convenient but out of the way location on your deck.
Bonus Deck Grilling Tip
Protect your decking from the grill. Heat and grease from the grill can damage the decking. A mat under the grill will protect the decking preventing costly repairs in the future. And if ever the mat becomes too dirty from grease, it can be easily replaced compared to replacing the decking.