6 Steps to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

Susan Foster

Last updated Mar 2, 2024
Susan! The traveler and cheerleader of our team. She always has instant and backup ideas. She is our DIYs and blog specialist.

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There is no doubt how much we love winter. All of us wait all year long for this season. It brings us vacations, festivals, and families together. The only drawback of this season is, the weather limits your outdoor life. 

An outdoor fireplace can be a solution to this phenomenon. The fireplace will deliver you the necessary warmth to sustain the adverse weather. And you can enjoy the festive season outside of your home as well. Moreover, an outdoor fireplace allows you the option of cooking so you can have the year-round benefit from it.

There are many convenient options for outdoor fireplaces that are ready-to-use. Besides that, there is another way to facilitate your outdoors with a fireplace, which is DIY an outdoor fireplace for your landscape. DIY’s are always cost-effective, easy and fun to do. 

That’s why we have formed the exciting DIY idea of making an outdoor fireplace. Let’s start by counting the benefits of an outdoor fireplace. 

Benefits of An Outdoor Fireplace 

  • Gives warmth when you are staying in the second space of your home. Let you enjoy the 
  • Allows you to enjoy an extended outdoor life so you can have more time on your patio or backyard with your loved ones.
  • An outdoor fireplace allows you to cook outdoors. You can organize the best parties if you have an outdoor fireplace. 
  • With a source of warmth, your backyard gets the vibe of liveliness.
  • An outdoor fireplace adds light to your space. 

Where To Start 

Before starting up the DIY process, there are some formalities you have to meet first. 

Local Rules

First of all, check the local codes and guidelines for making a fireplace outdoors. Your outdoor fireplace will use wood as fire fuel. It will make smoke and ashes. Some neighbourhoods may have objections to that. There are also some remarkable safety reasons with a wood-burning fireplace. But by filling up some formalities and maintaining local regulations, you can own an outdoor fireplace easily. So before stepping up for any project, make sure you consult with the concerning authority. 

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Choosing A Right Place

Then the thing that comes before the main process is choosing an appropriate place. Whatever the size of your fireplace is, make sure it is away at least 10 to 20 feet from your main household area. If you have an existing patio or sitting space and it’s at a safe distance, try to select a space around it. Doing that will make the whole set-up complete. In addition, it will save you from investing extra bucks for seating arrangements.

Material tools for building outdoor fireplace

Then, it would be best if you chose a place with good ventilation. Try to choose mostly an open place with enough clearance from trees or branches. However, an open place means a place with the least gathering of any easily combustible object. Here you have to keep balance with the windy weather too. Other than that, choose an even surface for construction. If the place is bumpy or has bushes, then prepare first.

Materials and Tools 

You will need the following materials and tools for DIY an outdoor fireplace

  • Brick/Stone/paver
  • Fireproof bricks
  • Cement caps
  • Stain/ marker
  • Measurement tape
  • Lumber wood
  • Wood saw
  • Leveler
  • Hammer and nails
  • Shovel 
  • Steel frame bar
  • Pea gravel
  • Sand 
  • Masonry glue
  • Hand gloves

Step 1: Preparing The Place

After the selection process and tools arrangement, it’s time to prepare the place for the construction. First, you have to reclean the place after the primary clean up. Remove if there are any objects like tree trunks. Uproot them and make the surrounding place clear. 

Step 2: Taking The Measurement

Now take the measure of expected fireplace dimension on the grounds. Using a measurement tape measures the width and length specification. Take a marker or stain to highlight the measurement. Leaving at least a 1-foot place around all sides is better. Now take the shovel and start to dig around under the measure. Dig at least 6-inch deep. 

Step 3: Making The Wood Frame 

For making your fireplace foundation firm and durable, giving it a sturdy wooden construction frame is a must. For that, choose quality wood lumber. Cut accordingly with the measurement of the fireplace. Make a frame. For that, you can use nails and a hammer where needed. 

Now add up small wood pieces cut into 5 to 6-inch lengths. Nail them vertically into the wooden frame in regular intervals using the hammer. These tiny extensions will stick the wooden frame with the ground strongly. Instead of wood, you can use metal square bars as well.

Step 4: Base of The Foundation 

Here you have to implant the frame into the ground. With a leveller, maintain the evenness of the frame. After successfully levelling the frame, you have to prepare the base of the outdoor fireplace. Take a shovel again and pour gravel into the frame. Level them with a 4-foot level. 

Then take a bag of sand and spread them over the gravel. Fill up each gap and make at least 2-inch thick sand layers. Level it again. This layer will hold the gravels stiffly. Additionally, as it’s an outdoor fireplace, the sand layer will work as natural drainage during rainy seasons.

Step 5: Placing Building Block

Now it’s time to build the final structure of the outdoor fireplace. You can use brick, stone blocks, or thick pavers for this step. Using masonry glue, join them strongly. Follow a layer of building blocks and then add even cement caps over it. The cement cap can be 1-inch thick. You can skip this, but doing so will give you an even surface for ignition. And you will see the benefit of this even layer while cleaning the burning mess. 

After finishing the bottom layer, you start giving shape to your outdoor fireplace. Create a wall on three sides and keep the front part open. This front part will be the opening of your fireplace. While finishing half of the sidewalls, start inclining the fireproof brick against the side walls. 

This fireproof brick will work as the main combustion chamber. Additionally, it will save the main building block from getting direct exposure to high temperatures. As a result, your construction will remain protected and performing for years.

Step 6: Adding Chimney Lid 

By following the design structure afterwards, you will finally have the main structure, the firebox. At this length, you have to cover four sides. And for that, use a steel bar over the opening side vertically. You can use appropriate adhesion here. Then start layering again until the chimenea structure is completed. In between, you can keep a chamber for pizza baking. 

After finishing the total structure, now it’s time to complete it with a chimney lid. You will fit the chimney on the last level of the building block layer. Keep gaps on this last layer for proper venting of smoke and exhaust. You can take the middle brick away or put four blocks on four corners to hold the lid. Leave the whole construction on rest for at least 72 hours before the first ignition.

Now you are all set to fire up your brand new DIY outdoor fireplace. Call your friend to come over, arrange a seat around, take your place and start enjoying the outdoor life of this festive season. 

Maintenance and Safety 

Alongside maintaining the local regulations, you have to keep things in mind for overall safety. While using an outdoor fireplace, provide minimum maintenance for a long user span. 

  • Build your fireplace at least 10 feet away from your domestic area. 
  • Make sure there is no blockage on the top clearance of the fireplace. 
  • Remove possible combustible things around the fire. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand and other safety tools near. 
  • If it’s too windy outside, it’s better to avoid outside fire. 
  • Don’t put green leaves, plastics, rubber etc., into your outdoor fireplace.
  • Try to clean your fireplace after every ignition.
  • If possible, use a PVC cover sheet when your fireplace is not in use.

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