How to Setup a BBQ Area in a Small Backyard

Published On: May 10, 20200 Comments on How to Setup a BBQ Area in a Small BackyardTags: , Last Updated: February 11, 20244.9 min read

Having a small backyard is a curse and a blessing at the same time. On the one hand, it’s easy to maintain and make it look nice even on a budget. On the other hand, your main constraint is the real estate, the space you have to work with. Setting up a barbecue grill in a small backyard is a challenge.

How to Setup a BBQ Area in a Small Backyard

The smaller the yard, the bigger the challenge, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You can, you just need to be careful.

Plan Well – Consider Everything You Need for the BBQ

Planning is probably the most important step in this “small backyard” project. Many people underestimate it, only to fail down the road. While some of the below mentioned things might not be required, depending on the type of the BBQ grill, they might be the warning sign you missed. There are a lot of websites out there with tips that help make small yard planning easier. Top Yard Design or Houzz, for example, will have sections dedicated to making your life easier when it comes to that.

  • Charcoal box/ Gas cylinder – that grill runs on something. Whether it’s charcoal or gas, make sure you plan for this one. It’s always best to have them close to the grill. Do it wrong, and you might spend more time walking to and from the grill than actually barbecuing.
  • Enough space for all BBQ utensils – efficiency is key, but the whole grilling process needs to be pleasant and enjoyable. Plan for some space for all those BBQ utensils you have or want to have close to the grill.
  • Space for a garbage can – at first glance, it doesn’t seem vital, but don’t have one near you, and you will always have a messy BBQ grill.

These might seem silly, but remember, you have a small backyard. Size is relative, but we assume you have a really small backyard.

Position at Least 10 feet from Your Home

Setting up BBQ in a small backyard is an even bigger challenge from a security standpoint. There’s flame, and then there are materials that can easily catch fire, not a good combination. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to have the grill at least 10 feet away from your home, or any other objects/materials that can catch fire.

In your case, this is luxury, probably. DO NOT COMPROMISE security. A few extra inches from the fence, another couple of inches from the wall, and you should be in a better shape. Having a buffer zone is essential in a worst-case scenario. Some sand, or some rocks should do the trick. Since every backyard is different, you might require a special solution. Always ask the “if” question and consider a back-up plan.



Setup a Guard for any Hanging Trees

If somebody has told you in the past, that you have a cozy backyard, it’s probably because of plants, hanging trees or you have a crammed backyard. While you can put most of the stuff away, the trees are there to stay. It wouldn’t make sense to take any drastic measures, just because you want to setup a BBQ grill.

A net is usually enough to put the hanging branches at safe distance. Not only will this make the BBQ experience safer, but it will be easier to keep it clean. As much as we like trees and nature, there’s a lot of stuff that falls down, and the last place you want it falling is on the grill. It can ruin a good piece of steak! This is why most grills you will come across come with a roof or a cover, such as a gazebo. It’s things like this that can make a difference in the long run. However, there are some plants that don’t catch fire easily.

Do the Measuring, Twice!

Measure twice, cut once, but we think you should measure as many times as you think it takes to get the job done properly. It will spare you from a headache down the road. Also, remember to consider the aforementioned, seemingly unimportant tips. The size of the grill is important, but when you’re doing the measuring, make sure you plan ahead for the safety aspects, and to have at least some comfort in the area. At the end of the day, the BBQ area should be:

  • Safe
  • Functional
  • Comfortable
  • Aesthetically pleasing 

Feel free to improvise! That’s the beauty of exterior designing. You have a different taste, and what looks beautiful! After all, you and your family will spend the most time in the BBQ area.

Get a BBQ Grill That’s Compact

Last, but by all means not least is the size of the BBQ grill. Clearly, it can’t be too big. However, this also means that it won’t be that expensive. Since you’re dealing with a limited space, a gas BBQ grill makes more sense if you consider maintenance and what it runs on.

How to Setup a BBQ Area in a Small Backyard - compact grill

Then again, if it’s a charcoal BBQ you want, we can’t blame you. We also prefer it! If, however, it’s a fully custom grill, take note of everything we mentioned so far. As long as it doesn’t take too much “real estate”, there’s nothing to worry about.

Sitting Area

The only thing we didn’t discuss so far is the sitting area. Then again, it doesn’t really fit the BBQ area. It’s not like you can’t sit on your patio or inside. As long as the grill is running, it’s safe and you’re enjoying while you’re grilling the food, our job is done!


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