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How To Build An Outdoor Fireplace

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

If you own a large garden, then chances are you use your backyard to hold various parties and social functions, especially during the summer when the weather is warm and your guests can enjoy themselves for hours on end.

These days, garden parties are becoming more and more popular, with legions of homemakers across the country utilizing the space for barbecues and luaus. 

However, this does not mean that garden parties don’t come with their limitations.

After all, gardens can be extremely cold and uncomfortable during the winter season, which means parties and celebrations can only be held outdoors for a limited time during the year.

But how can you combat this and make your garden party-ready during any conditions? Well, that’s where an outdoor fireplace can come in handy. 

Perfect for transforming your garden into a cosy paradise, outdoor fireplaces are a great way to keep your guests warm during the colder months and can be paired with chairs and blankets to create a comfortable environment where you and your guests can enjoy yourselves well into the night.

So if you want to know how you can make your own outdoor fireplace, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we are going to teach you how to build a fireplace, while also outlining the various tools and materials you will need to get the job done.

By following our detailed instructions, you will be able to build your outdoor fireplace in no time, creating a welcoming space that the whole family can enjoy. 

So why not take a look at our how-to guide and start building your own fireplace today! 

What You Will Need

Before we can show you how to build your outdoor fireplace, there are a few things we need to cover first.

In the list below, we have outlined the various tools and materials you will need to properly build your own fireplace: 

Equipment 

Materials 

  • Protective gloves 
  • Tamper 
  • Tape measure 
  • Hammer 
  • Masonry hammer 
  • Concrete trowel 
  • Shovel
  • Spirit level 
  • Circular saw 
  • Square 
  • Hoe 
  • Hacksaw 
  • Mortar pan 
  • Stakes (wood or metal) 
  • 8-inch by 8-inch by 16-inch full concrete cinder blocks (x33) 
  • 8-inch by 8-inch by 8-inch half concrete cinder blocks (x12) 
  • Manufactured veneer stone 
  • Cement backer boards (x6) 
  • 24-inch by 24-inch metal flue caps (x2) 
  • Mortar 
  • 80lb quick-set concrete (x26) 
  • 2 ½ -inch nails 
  • Two by sixes (x2) 
  • 42-inch by 6ft rebar 
  • 1 ½ -inch by 72-inch steel angles (x2) 
  • 42-inch by 32-inch hearth blocks (x6) 
  • Masonry nails 

How To Build An Outdoor Fireplace 

Now that you know what tools you will need, let’s take a look at how you can build your own outdoor fireplace. 

To help aid you in the process, we have outlined what to do in the following steps: 

Step One: Locate Your Outdoor Fireplace 

To begin the building process, you will need to locate the exact area where you want your fireplace to be constructed.

Ideally, outdoor fireplaces should be placed in a location that is easily accessible from the home, but not close enough to risk becoming a safety hazard.

Where you place your outdoor fireplace will vary depending on the codes in your area, however, we recommend situating it at least 20 feet away from the house. 

Note: it is also important to make sure that your chosen location is not situated near a patio and that any water in the area can be directed away from your fireplace. 

Step Two: Clear And Level The Area 

For the next step, you will need to clean your chosen area of any debris, before finally excavating a section in the ground measuring 70 inches by 56 inches.

When you have done this, you will need to use your tamper to flatten and level the soil, before topping the patch with a 2-inch layer of gravel and flattening it out. 

Step Three: Construct The Fireplace Form 

Take your two by sixes and cut them into two 68-inch long sections and two 40-inch long sections. After you have finished this, take your hammer and nails and build the concrete form.

When the form is ready, place it on top of the gravel and use your square to make sure it is perfectly rectangular. Once this is finished, take your rebar and cut it to size. 

Step Four: Pour The Concrete 

For this next step, you will need to mix your quick-set concrete using the hoe and the mixing pan. When the concrete is ready, pour half of the contents into the form and then set the rebar.

To do this, you will need to place the rebar along the perimeter of the form, allowing at least 6-inches of space between the edges. When this has been completed, you can pour the rest of the concrete. 

Note: For the best results, we recommend using a 3/8 - to 1/2 -inch thick rebar. 

Step Five: Cure The Concrete 

After the concrete has been properly poured, you will need to remove the concrete forms within 1-2 days.

When you have done this, the concrete will then need to sufficiently cure to be worked on, this can take a minimum of 4-5 days. However, the concrete will not fully cure for about a month. 

Step Six: Lay The Wood Box 

For this step, you will need to take seven of your full-size cinder clocks and lay them in a U-shape, with three in the back and two on the sides.

When you have done this, lay the two half-size cinder blocks onto the concrete pad. Together, this will form the bottom level in a three-block level box. 

When constructing the second level, you will need to alternate the blocks. This means that the seams from the bottom level will need to straddle the middle of the blocks on the upper level. 

For the third level, you will have to create a duplicate of the first, bottom level you constructed. 

Step Seven: Build The Lintel 

Take your hacksaw and use it to cut the steel angle to 68-inches. After you have done this, you will need to place it across the wood box as a lintel, this will help to support the structure. 

Step Eight: Form The Hearth Blocks 

When everything is ready, use the mortar to secure down the two hearth blocks, which should be placed on top of the wood box. Once this has been completed, seal the seam between the two blocks using the mortar. 

Step Nine: Construct The Fire Box 

For this step, you will need to build the fire box, which is essentially a smaller version of the wood box that will need to be placed on top of the hearth blocks.

To do this, you will need to take two full-size cinder blocks and place them at the back, before placing a single full-size block on each side accompanied by a single half-size block. 

After this has been completed, build another three levels using the same method to create the original wood box. 

Then take your hacksaw and cut the steel angle to 48-inches before placing it across the front of the fire box, this will create a lintel that will provide support for the structure. 

Step Ten: Add The Chimney 

Take the two chimney caps and place them side by side on top of the fire box. 

Step Eleven: Set The Stone 

For the final step, take your cement and lay it across any area of the fireplace that will be topped with veneer stone.

When this has been completed, mortar the board and nail it down using your masonry nails. Then mortar the veneer and place it on top of the cement board. 

Note: although cement board is recommended, you can also complete the process by simply applying the veneer directly to the blocks using the mortar. 


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