You probably already enjoy your outdoor living space on the warm days of spring and summer, but what about when it turns cool? Installing an outdoor fireplace can extend the time you can enjoy the outdoors by months. Building an outdoor fireplace yourself can be tricky, but it can be done. Soon, you'll be enjoying a roaring fire in your own back yard.
Choosing a Location
Choosing the location of your fireplace is the first and most important step. Pick an area that is easily accessible, and close to your back door if possible. If you make your outdoor fireplace a chore to get to, you won't use it.
For safety purposes, choose an area that is not too close to your home or other buildings, and free of trees or other vegetation. Also, orient your fireplace so that it faces away from the usual direction of the wind. This will increase comfort and make it easier to light a fire.
Building Your Fireplace
Before you begin building, choose the look of your finished fireplace. Brick, stone, tile and stucco are all excellent options for fireplace veneers.
Your fireplace must be supported all the way to the ground. This means pouring a concrete footer, about 12 inches thick, and building a base with cinder blocks and mortar. Reinforce your footer with rebar, as all that stone and brick will get heavy, and you don't want your base to crack and ruin your beautiful work.
Once the cinder block base is built, build your firebox. This part needs another concrete slab, about 4 inches thick. You can cover this slab with fireproof stone or brick, or just leave it, as it will eventually get covered with ash and soot. The walls of the firebox must be made of fireproof brick or stone as well.
Build a chimney out of cinderblocks, and make sure it is tall enough to remove the smoke from the area. Put a stone or metal chimney cap on it to keep embers from rising out of the chimney.
Build the rest of the fireplace to fit your needs. The best and cheapest way to do this is to build it out of cinder block or cement block and cover it with a veneer of stone or brick.
After you have your structure built, cover the whole thing with the veneer of your choosing. Use the correct mortar or tile quickset for your material, so that your fireplace looks good for years.