How Do You Build an Outside Fireplace?

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An outdoor fireplace is a wonderful addition to any home. However, building an outdoor fireplace from scratch is best left to professionals. Happily, prefabricated outdoor fireplace kits allow the do-it-yourselfer to safely construct an outdoor fireplace. Outdoor fireplace kits can be found at most home or building supply stores. These kits include everything you need to construct the fireplace itself. However, you must purchase the items needed to construct the fireplace base separately. The kits come in a wide range of styles, prices and difficulty of construction, with the more inexpensive kits being easier to set up and install.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Stakes
  • String
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Pea gravel
  • Sand
  • 4 2-by-4s
  • Cement
  • Prefabricated outdoor fireplace kit

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  1. 1

    Check your city or county ordinances for any permits, codes or restrictions you will need to follow. Contact your utility company and have it check for underground cables and pipes. Check with your homeowners' insurance and see if an outdoor fireplace will cause changes in your homeowners' policy.

  2. 2

    Select the site for your fireplace. It must be a level spot that's a safe distance from your house and other buildings, clear of trees, overhead wires and not sited over underground pipes or cables.

  3. 3

    Decide how big you want your fireplace to be. Mark the boundaries of the fireplace with stakes and string.

  4. 4

    Remove all the grass inside the area you have marked out and dig a 1-foot hole with straight sides. This will be the base for your fireplace.

  5. 5

    Fill the hole with 4 inches of pea gravel. Than cover the gravel with 3 inches of sand.

  6. 6

    Using the 2-by-4s, create a wooden form the same size as the base of your fireplace. Mix the concrete according to package directions and pour into the form until the concrete is level with the top of the hole. Allow the concrete to set according to package directions.

  7. 7

    Follow directions for constructing the prefabricated outdoor fireplace.

Tips and warnings

  • Give the dimensions of your fireplace to your building supply store. The staff can tell you how much pea gravel, sand and cement you will need for the base.
  • If you don't want to mix and pour cement, cement blocks may be substituted.
  • To improve the draft, build the chimney as tall as you can and set the fireplace opening a little lower than the kit directions recommend.
  • Avoid building a metal outdoor fireplace. The metal rusts and does not last as long as brick or other masonry.
  • Place all seating at least 3 feet from the fireplace.
  • If you choose to build an outdoor fireplace on an existing wood deck, make sure the deck can support the weight, and use heat-proof masonry blocks or tiles underneath the fireplace.

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