View Full Version : Hot Tub/Outdoor Kitchen/Fire Pit

08-29-2012, 10:24 PM
Just tearing out fencing and trenching for electrical prior to pouring a slab for the new tub and patio. The area isn't huge, but I have enough room for the tub, a plumbed grill and small countertop area, room for a couple of chairs and firepit area. Has anybody done this, or have suggestions? I plan to do 110 elec in the counter area and below for a small "beer fridge". I has a natural gass Weber grill right now and like the brand this thing has been bullet proof over 11 years, but not really seeing much online in built in models from Weber. Any suggestions on where I can get a quality grill to rock around? Don't need side burners, just a good looking durable model. Anything I might be not thinking of? As always, the budget will come into play on further plans but just want to try to get it "right". Firepit plans/ideas, or brands welcome as well please.

08-29-2012, 10:55 PM

i had never heard of them until we bought our current house and it had one already installed. i bought a weber smoker (couldn't pony up for the green egg), but if i ever need another grill it will be an MHP. hard to beat cast iron. i've got a chargrill cast iron gas grill that is at least 30 years old and still in use every time we go to the lake.

our firepit is pretty simple. basically its just a ring about 2 feet high of stacked paving blocks surrounded by paving stones to form a seating area. the inner core of the pit is dirt. by comparison my neighbor used 9 bags of sacrete for the base of his and mortered all his blocks in place. what i've found is that over the years, the intense heat from the fires has led to cracking of some of the blocks. for me its pretty easy to swap out a cracked block. my neighbor would have a tough time. i'd also recommend making sure you have 360 degrees of seating around the firepit. initially our block "decking" only covered about 200 degrees around the pit and there were some nights that you just couldn't get away from the smoke. with a full 360 degrees and movable benches, its easy to move around depending on the wind.

08-29-2012, 11:04 PM
Thanks for the link. My firepit will be gas as well, so smoke shouldn't be an issue.

08-29-2012, 11:06 PM
Will post a photo of ours later today (your night). Us Aussies are big on our BBQ's and outdoor entertaining. We have a wood fired pizza oven, bbq, fridge,sink etc. Great area that we use a lot!

08-29-2012, 11:09 PM
if you go with the MHP, make sure you get the reversible grates. one side is great for searing meats and the other side basically give you a flat surface for small stuff like vegetables or shrimp. mine has 3 grates so you can use some for searing and have the small stuff on the other side.

good call on the gas fire pit. i've had to learn some creative (not so bright) ways to jump start a fire.

08-30-2012, 01:00 AM
I have gas grill and gas firepit. Make sure you determine what gas flow requirements are needed for each as if you are going any distance, you will need 1 1/2" or 2" pipe so you dont have too much flow loss due to small piping. Since gas pressure is very low ( " water column which is just a couple of lbs pressure at most) standard 1" piping wont work if you are running any appreciable distance. There are charts online that will help you determine the proper pipe size needed based on cfm requirements and existing pressure.

08-30-2012, 09:56 AM
Really good point on the gas piping. I have the gas close now and the diameter is determined as it is through the home wall to the grills current location, but could backtrack if needed. I'm not running much further and wouldn't think I will operate the grill at the same time as the pit, but also need to keep the pipe size in mind when buying pit burner. Gas is very low pressure, but funny how I just thought it was a given I had what I need, but I will check it out. Thanks, Rossterman

08-30-2012, 10:35 AM
When we trenched for a permanent gas grill install, we ran three pipes. First was PVC by plumber for gas (and our code here is to wrap metal wire around that pipe so it will show up years later when you check before digging). Electricians ran a conduit for 120v AC. I had them run an extra conduit with access points each side that I've used for stereo and network cabling.

08-30-2012, 03:39 PM
Funny, all these suggestions of what you guys have done, but no pics. Where are the pics?!:D I'm not sure what kind of budget you're looking at, but there was a fire pit where the flame appeared to come up through the water I saw on Yard Crashers or some show like that. DIY network and HGTV have some pretty good stuff on their sight if you need some ideas.

08-31-2012, 03:32 PM
Funny, all these suggestions of what you guys have done, but no pics. Where are the pics?!:D I'm not sure what kind of budget you're looking at, but there was a fire pit where the flame appeared to come up through the water I saw on Yard Crashers or some show like that. DIY network and HGTV have some pretty good stuff on their sight if you need some ideas.
Here is mine I built.....need to look around for the pictures of the fire pit.

08-31-2012, 03:57 PM
Here's the Zen Firepit I built. There's a large burner buried under the sand that's connected to a propane tank. When the propane is on, it flows up through the sand to reach the surface. If you create designs in the sand, those depressions are where the propane first mixes with the oxygen in the air and combusts, so the flames appear in those depressions. You can use a rake to change the designs in the sand. Depending on the flow rate of the propane, the flames will actually dance and race around the lines in the sand.


The flame bursts are little impurities in the sand burning off. This was the first time I'd used it after winter, so some debris managed to get mixed in.

Total cost for this was about $175-200, as I recall.


08-31-2012, 04:14 PM
Gonna need some build details on that dude

08-31-2012, 06:39 PM
It's pretty straight forward. I used a steel water trough as the main container. The burner is 3/8" aluminum tube coiled around the bottom of the trough. Imagine concentric ovals.
The general idea is to end up with something like this:

I used a 1/16" drill bit to drill holes all along the tubing, spaced about 2.5" apart. The holes are drilled in such a way that they're on the lower side of the tubing when it's secured to the floor of the trough. This helps keep sand out of the holes when you fill the pit.

The tubing is held in place using 'fixing clamps' screwed down with sheet metal screws. One end of the tubing was capped/pinched off, the other end was passed through a small hole drilled in the bottom of the tank. That attaches to a manifold/regulator with a valve on it, so you can control the flow of propane. That is also the attachment point for your main propane hose.
Once the tubing is positioned and secured in the trough, black garden cloth is placed over the tubing and 8-10 inches of sand is added over that. (I think my sand is about 5" below the lip of the trough.) The garden cloth helps keep sand grains from plugging the gas holes in the tube.
The last part of the trough assembly is to drill a hole and mount a ball valve. This serves as a propane drain, so you can drain out the excess propane when you're done. It also prevents rain water from filling your firepit.

On the exterior of the tank, I attached corrugated tin to act as a windbreak.

I did this about 5 years ago and wasn't concerned with documenting the build, but it's really a straightforward build, if you can visualize it.
The simplist explanation is you've got a propane line going under a container of sand. Propane fills up the container, displacing the air. When the propane level reaches the level of the sand, it can mix with oxygen in the air and be ignited.

I can try to take a few pictures, but filled with sand, it probably weighs about 300 lbs, so they won't be really good angles.
Feel free to ask questions, I'll do the best I can to help anyone who wants to try to build one.

Another imagine illustrating the basic concept.

09-01-2012, 03:14 PM
Awesome. Just a couple questions. How do you light it? How hot does the trough get? I'd like to make a little smaller one for my dock (its concrete) depending on how hot the metal gets. Thanks

09-01-2012, 06:04 PM
Bought burner on the Internet for a fairly reasonable price. Suggest stainless so it will be the only one you buy. Also placed it eith the holes down so water wouldn't get inside it when it rained. Has worked flawlessly for 7 years


09-01-2012, 06:15 PM
We did this in the back corner of our pool area. Its not really an outdoor kitchen, but more of a grill area, place to put out food, fridge, and hang out. We didn't want to create a bar area, but sometimes I regret that. No sink either. I didn't want to spend the $ to plumb a drain for one so far out in the yard.
I prefer fireplace over pit, because of how much smoke you get with a pit. The fireplace is stubbed with gas (since I ran it all the way around for the grill) for lighting purposes and in case there is a burn ban here in TX and I can't burn wood.
I highly recommend running ample power and putting in a conduit back to the house in case you want to do a CAT5 or Cable out there. I have attached a few pix. The last shows a TV in the up position that I mounted on the back side of the counter in a homemade box with a lid. I used a remote controlled lift kit from tvliftkit.com and it comes up like on MTV Cribs. We spend TONS of time out here. I put a DVR cable box and stereo in the "box" mounted behind the counter too so that we could crank the sound bar (not shown) when we have lots of people or if we are watching a movie from the hot tub. Poor babies complained they could not adequately hear the movies while the tub was bubbling. Awesome problem to have... but of course the sound bar was the perfect solution. Let me know if you want to know more about my project.
Final advice I have if you can figure it out is an outdoor showerhead. It is definately something that people don't think to do, and it is a game changer. I mounted one on the back side of the fireplace for people to rinse off before and/or after the pool/hottub. Its crude and reminds me of Cape Cod. Cold water only tapped in from the sprinkler system... and no drain. It just runs off into a trap rock french drain and the area is accessible via stepping stones. Its my favorite shower "in" the house?!

09-01-2012, 07:23 PM
Sorry I took so long, our internet was slowed from reaching our limit for the month. We put in a wood fired pizza oven with our outdoor kitchen. The blinds are essential for where we are out on farm and reasonably open. At least if the weather comes in bad we can keep entertaining. We did a lot of the work ourselves. Paving,stone wall,electrical,plumbing,painting etc. Couple of photos of our entertainment room thrown in as well. Paving needs a damn good clean, only had a party here a week ago and I have been lazy. :)

09-01-2012, 10:48 PM
@73blue- I light it with either a long match/fire stick or I'll light a votive candle, place it on the sand and slowly turn the propane on. (It takes a while for the propane to filter up through the sand- probably about a minute for my 4ft x 1.5ft trough with 7-8 inches of sand.) Once it lights, I use BBQ tongs to remove the candle. As far as heat, it puts out a fair amount, but since it's got the corrugated wind break, most of the heat goes straight up. The metal does get hot enough to burn skin, but down at the lower part of the tank/bottom, it's cool/cold. The corrugated wind break channels most of the heat from the fire up, but if you raised the sand level/lowered the wind break, you'd probably get more heat radiating out to the sides, but it'd be more susceptible to wind.