Archive for the ‘BBQs / Outdoor Settings / Outside Heaters’ Category

Image courtesy of Michelle Kenna

Have you got clothes strung all over your house?  Crazy idea, but perhaps it is time to put up a clothes line?

There are plenty of different clothes lines available, so first you need to determine if you want to go old school hills hoist or one that folds out from your building.  But assuming you know you need one, and it was always a matter of time, these are the things that you should know.

Choosing the best spot for your line

In order to maximise sunlight ensure your washing line faces north or south.  You also need to make sure that if it is a hoist line that you have enough space around the central point, or if it is a fold out that the wall is both wide enough and free of obstructions.

Washing lines are usually available in a range of sizes, so whatever the amount of space you have, you should be able to find something to suit your needs.  There are two main types of washing line, the hoist washing line and the fold out washing line.  Whichever type you purchase, the washing line will come with instructions which should be followed.  The following information is simply to give you and idea of what is involved.

Hoist installation

A hoist washing line is like the one in the picture above.  Modern versions usually allow the arms to be folded down in order to reduce the amount of space they take up when not in use, however you will always have the central pole.  Select the site for your pole and then ensure that you have enough room around it, free of obstructions like trees or fences that clothes might catch on.

To insert a hoist line you will need to plan on digging a hole, and filling it with concrete to secure your central pole position.  You will need a spirit level to ensure the pole is straight.

Wall installation

With a wall installation unit, the washing line in most cases will attach to the back of your house.  You need to ensure that you have enough space to fit the washing line and that you are not trying to put the bolts in near the ends of the brick (for example corners or window frames).  Going to close to the edge could cause that corner of brick to break off.

All the pieces required to assemble the unit are usually supplied with the washing line.  Measure about 50cm above your height and mark on the wall.  You will need a masonry drill to drill into your brick work and a spirit level to ensure that your line is straight. Measure twice to avoid mistakes.

Check out the DIY Bargain Bin Outdoor Settings for all of your outdoor needs.

Image from Paul Miller Custom Pools

An alternative option to buying a barbeque is to create your own “built-in” barbeque to fit the needs and design of the space that you have.  The advantage of a custom built barbeque is that you have the ability to create something that truly suits the style and design of your home.  In addition the barbeque area can, if it is well thought out become a selling feature of you home in its own right.

This is Australia, who doesn’t enjoy a backyard barbeque in summer?

Because the barbeque will become a permanent part of your garden it is worth taking your time and doing your homework before you begin.

1.  The Design – First  you need to determine the design and function of your barbeque.  Where will it sit in your garden? How much space will it need? How do you want to use it?

Then when you have answered these questions it is time to consider how long you want it to be? will it be straight or have a right angle curve? how much bench space do you want/need?  How high off the ground should it be (especially if you have little children)?

Determine all your dimensions and draw a few little sketches.  It is worth doing a few searches on the internet to see what you like and what you do not like.

2. Materials – Looking at the internet will also help you determine the type of materials to use.  Most built-in barbeques will use brick because it is cost effective, easy to get and there is a wide choice available. Another option is to use a cheap brick and then render, which is also popular.  Other options include sandstone, stone and bushrock.

3. Storage – With your sketches drawn, the size of the hot plate and bench space determined, it is worth considering the storage space you want.  You will most likely need to store your gas bottle, brushes, cleaning products and some cooking products such as oil etc.

4. Location – Although you may have an idea where to locate your new barbeque it is worth also considering these questions, is it close to your back door, as you will need to bring food in and out?  Can you still mingle with your guests while you cook, i.e. is there enough space around it to entertain?  Does the location offer you some shade and protection from the elements?  Is the surrounding area clear from danger?  Do you plan to use the barbeque at night? If so you will need to plan for appropriate lighting.

5. Approval – In Australia it is worth checking with your local council before you commence purchasing your materials or building your barbeque.  They may also be able to offer you additional advice and information.

For all your home barbeque material needs, check out the DIY Bargain Bin Bricks, Blocks and Pavers section and DIY Bargain Bin BBQs, Outdoor Settings and Outside Heaters.

Image provided courtesy of Mark Daniel

It is a pretty crappy job, and to be honest who wants to clean a barbeque straight after they have devoured half a dozen snags and a bit of juicy steak.  The truth is though the sooner you get to the job, the easier it will be, so if you do put it off in favour of a cold beer and watching the afternoon session of cricket, do not put it off till the next time you cook, otherwise you may find that your BBQ has become home to an infestation of cockroaches.

After each use

Dig out your wire brush and follow our simple steps to cleaning your BBQ:

  • Allow your grill to cool so that it is not hot but still warm.
  • Disconnect the gas if you haven’t already done so.
  • Using your wire brush, remove any food by scrubbing the grate.
  • If you do this after your BBQ has completely cooled you may need some warm water to assist.
  • When clean wipe with canola oil to remove any remaining grit and to protect the surface.

In about 10 minutes you are done and your BBQ will be ready to go next time you are needing to use it.  Cover it to protect it even further.

A yearly dose of TLC

Each year you will need to give your BBQ a bit more Tender Loving Care to ensure it continues to function properly.  Gas burners may get blocked or dirty.  You can generally tell because the colour of your flame will be orange or red.

  • First read your instruction manual for any particular cleaning hints. Remember these are general instructions only!
  • If your BBQ has an option, turn it to ‘clean’ this will heat up your grill and turn a lot of any grit or muck to charcoal.  If you do not have this option turn on your BBQ and heat it up before cleaning.
  • Remove all the parts to the BBQ after first ensuring that the gas is disconnected.  Give all parts that can be removed a good clean in lightly soapy warm water.
  • Remove any large soot or clumps by hand then give all the inside a good but gentle scrape with a wire brush.  Keep an eye open for any rust.
  • Remove any small soot or bits that have fallen while you were scrapping. Then wash down with warm soapy water.
  • Check your gas tubes to ensure there are no cracks.  Ensure that all burner holes are clear by poking them with wire and clean any tubes with a pipe cleaner.  Alternatively you can force water through them, then let them air dry before replacing.
  • Check for leaks and cracks in the gas tubes, a good way to do this is to spray the tubes with soapy water.  If you see any little bubbles it is likely that there is a leak and you should immediately replace the part.
  • If you are cleaning a stainless steel grill cleaning when cool, and ensure that you go with the grain of the stainless steel.

Now your BBQ should be clean and ready for another year of outdoor entertainment. Of course, you may decide that your BBQ is not worth cleaning, if so be sure to check out the DIY Bargain Bin BBQs, Outdoor Settings and Outdoor Heaters section for a bargain on your new BBQ.