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Thursday, May 11, 2023

The (sort of) Finished DIY Grill Station With Countertops

Some DIY projects are never really finished.

Yesterday's post showed a grill station sans countertops. 

Adding counters makes a huge difference, IMO. We went to Home Depot this afternoon, as I'd mentioned yesterday.

The toppers that I found to use as countertops are extra large pavers, 16 by 24 inches. The pigments and surface texture are variegated throughout each paver to mimic natural stone. The colors range from rust and browns to slate gray. The underside is smooth, if that's the look we had wanted. One paver fit the narrow stack and two pavers, side by side fit the wider stack. These pavers were the only part of the grill station that we had to buy for this project. They cost $10.78 each, for a total project cost of about $35 including tax.

The paver overhangs both in front and back of the stack of concrete blocks. They're so heavy, it took us two people to place each paver. Although nothing is securing the blocks or pavers to each other, I don't think anything is going anywhere unless I physically lift it.

After Kris suggested potted plants in front of the stacks yesterday, I pulled a pot of peppermint from a shady spot on the deck and placed it in front of the wide stack. I'm going for an edible plant theme with the plant groups surrounding the grill station. The peppermint should be very happy in this filtered sunlight spot. 

On top of the wide stack I have plans for 3 pots of culinary herbs, one rosemary, one thyme, and one sage. The "pots" are also following a "food" theme. These are empty #10 cans from this winter's canned tomatoes. In addition to buying the pavers, I also bought 2 of the 3 herbs and a can of indoor/outdoor spray paint in the color Eden.

Before planting in the cans, I needed to prepare them to be pots. I used an old nail and hammer to add 3 drainage holes to the bottoms of each can.

Next I gave each can two coats of spray paint. The color of my pot cans is very close to the green in the outdoor fabric (shower curtain) that I will use to cover some cushions.

Here are the 3 cans, two with herbs placed inside. I'll pick up the sage when I go to Fred Meyer on Saturday. I won't be potting the cans just yet. I like to give painted objects a couple of days to cure before handling them too much.

The white marks on the pavers are scuffing from stacking and moving around of the pavers. The scuffing washed off fairly easily. The close-up of the paver above shows one section that had been wiped off with water and a rag -- scuff marks gone.

The entire grill station project was conceived of a week ago and put together in less than 2 days. It's definitely in the "do-able" category.

There's more to come on this small patio. Stay tuned. . .


  1. Those are perfect toppers to the stacks. Do you go shopping with something like that in mind or did you wander around until you saw them and were inspired? I'm looking forward to more sprucing up of your patio.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      A week ago I had sketched out how I would build this with what I had on the property -- the 24 concrete blocks. I knew I would want a topper that had an overhang on the front edge, at least. So I checked the websites then for both Home Depot and Lowes. That's when I saw the large pavers at Home Depot. So I knew they carried something that would work. I just needed to see and feel its weight in person before making my final decision.

  2. Wow, Lili! Another fabulous frugal solution! We knew someone in the past who spent literally tens of thousands of dollars on a grill area, and "functionally", I think all they had that you don't was a bigger grill space and wider counter. And seriously, how much of your yard space would you want to devote to this? I think this is wonderful, and it makes me happy to think of all the fun you and your family will have with it (without the utensils on the pavers. ) Congratulations, and like Live and Learn, I'm excited to see what else you accomplish! Best, Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Thank you. I know, someone could spend a small fortune building a custom outdoor kitchen. I saw some photos online of lavish grill set-ups. But in all honesty, I'm happier to spend less and have just what I need plus a little extra. You're right, I wouldn't want to devote a larger chunk of the hardscape areas just for grilling foods. I can make this one area work pretty well for our grilling, and for us, this is an upgrade.

  3. Love it! It looks attractive AND functional, and you did it with minimal money spent. I like your spray-painted pots--great idea, and they will tie in with your new cushions.

    1. Thank you, Kris. It was a fun project and very satisfying to complete.
      I like the pots, too. They won't last more than a year or two, but that's okay. I'll be needing to plant the herbs in larger pots or the ground in a year anyway. I'll start over on pots and plants then.

  4. What a great set-up for very little OOP expense! I love the pavers as countertop idea.


    1. Thank you, Cat. The large pavers do work well for countertops. They're thick, weather-proof, and so heavy they won't likely tip or move about. I was especially happy that this project didn't cost very much. This may sound funny or odd, but I will enjoy it even more knowing how little we spent.

  5. That is so clever, and looks so nice. You are very creative.

    1. Hi Diane,
      Thank you. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. And yet, it was so simple (okay, some heavy lifting for a day, but otherwise a simple plan).


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