If you regularly eat in the garden it is well worth building in a barbecue area as an integral part of the patio design. The best place car site a barbecue is a sheltered spot, well away from trees and large shrubs, and close to the kitchen so that it is easy to transport any food and equipment to and fro.

Choice of barbecue depends on how often you will use it, how easily and quickly you want results, how many you will cook for, and whether you have easily accessible storage for the barbecue when it is not in use. For those who prefer heat at the turn of a switch there are wheel-around gas barbecues, or if you are only one or two, and like to take the barbecue with you on day trips a small portable barbecue may be more appropriate.

Built-in designs barbecue is incorporated in the patio design and uses the same materials is much the least obtrusive, can stay in position around the year and can he made to measure your needs exactly. Barbecue boxes that come in a range of sizes are widely available and these can be slotted into a brick- or stone-built frame allowing you to build doe barbecue to your own specification. If you include weatherproof storage space for fuel to one side and a good-sized work- top area for utensils, plates and food, the barbecue will be ready for use whenever you scant it.

Wheel-around gas barbecues if you have the space close by to store a barbecue run on bottled gas this is by far the quickest and simplest to use. Heat arrives almost instantly at the turn of a switch and the lava rocks used give food a similar taste to that of a charcoal barbecue. Another feature is that the beat is easy to control, with several types of adjustable flame

Gas barbecues come in a range of sizes, with a lid that keeps heat in and will also keep the food warm. Many of the designs provide work- tops at either side and storage space below. Weatherproof covers allow you to keep the barbecue outdoors during the summer months, so that it only needs to be stored away during the winter. Gas-powered barbecue woks and griddles are also available, and wheel-around charcoal-burning barbecues are another option.

Portable barbecues are easy to store and transport if you like taking the barbecue with you on day trips. There is a huge range of sizes and designs available from small, briefcase slim styles to bigger and more robust shapes. If you want to use the barbecue regularly at home it is a good idea to build a platform to bring smaller and flatter portable barbecues up to a working height-to avoid bending.