How to Build an Outdoor Pizza Oven – A Couple Options

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Last Updated on July 28, 2021
Jim Bob

Jim Bob

A long-time contributor to Seriously Smoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.

how to build an outdoor pizza oven

Building a pizza oven in your backyard may seem like a time intensive, and expensive process. However, the reality is, if you don’t mind putting in a bit of effort, and are willing to do the work yourself, building an outdoor pizza oven isn’t that expensive or time intensive. 

So, if you’re ready to build your own pizza oven, and are looking for how to start, we offer this article, and our advice on how to build the perfect outdoor pizza oven.

1. Before Starting, a Few Things to Consider

Before you run out and buy all the things you need to build your own pizza oven, there are a few thoughts that you should consider.

Know the local regulations – Before you run out and spend some cash on materials, do make sure that your community allows for wood fired pizza ovens. This will save you a huge headache and a waste of money before you ever get started.
How much space do you have – If you’ve got a large backyard, the sky’s the limit when it comes to size. However, if your space is small, you may want to consider building a compact, one-pizza sized oven. Or even an oven that can be moved around.
Know your skill level – Be honest with yourself. If you aren’t the most skilled at building things, consider a kit or a smaller pizza oven. If you’ve done lots of DIY projects and you’re feeling comfortable with masonry and construction, don’t be afraid to build from scratch.
Tools and materials – You will need some basic tools for building your pizza oven, and this list may grow if you are doing more complex construction techniques. The basics include a mallet, level, trowels, fire bricks, fire clay or mortar, a fire blanket, concrete and cinder blocks.
Cost – Size and cost go hand in hand. The bigger the oven the more you’ll spend. If you want to keep costs down, look for reclaimed materials. Also, keep in mind that kits can be more pricey than building from scratch.

2. The Kit

We do think it is important to put this out there, because using a kit can be handy if you are new to the DIY project. It is also a great option if you aren’t feeling really comfortable about the engineering and construction of a dome. 

Kits come in a range of options. Some will give you everything you need to build your own pizza oven. These are great starter DIY options. Also, these tend to be smaller in size so they are a nice option for smaller spaces. 

Other kits will give you the dome and chimney for your pizza oven, so your work is limited to building a base and covering the dome in a way that suits your personal preference or matches your existing outdoor features. Cost is a thing with kits. They will increase your price, but they do decrease the difficulty.

3. The Best Spot for a Pizza Oven

Before you start building, do consider the space where you’re going to put your pizza oven. There are a few things that you do need to consider.

Level ground – If you don’t have a level space for your pizza oven, you’ll need to level the ground for a sturdy base.
Protection from the wind – It seems obvious, but don’t place your pizza oven in a part of your yard that is exposed to winds. You’ll want to keep your pizza oven lit, and wind and fire don’t go hand in hand.
No flammable materials – Don’t put your pizza oven too close to your garage or shed where you might be storing gasoline or propane tanks. This can create a big disaster.

4. The Basic Step by Step

cooking material

So now that we’ve given you some basic information, it’s time for our step-by-step process. Keep in mind, this is just the basics. If you’re ready to build, there are tons of more detailed directions available on the internet.

Step 1 – Build the base

The base of your pizza oven is the foundation. Start by digging a hole or leveling the ground in the location where you want your pizza oven. Pour a cement slab, and level. Walls for the base are easily constructed using cinder blocks, cement slabs or flagstone.

Step 2 – Build the Counter-top 

You’ll need to build a base or counter for the oven to be constructed on. This step can be accomplished by setting a layer of basic red brick or even creating a concrete countertop. Also, make sure that you create an outline of the oven, and leave room for the floor materials.

Do make sure that you add a layer of insulation between the countertop and base. This will keep the counter from getting too hot. Good materials are sawdust, or even a layer of wine bottles.

Step 3 – Add the oven floor

When your countertop is set and dry, you can build the floor of your oven. Use fire bricks to create the floor. These bricks are made to withstand the high heat of wood fire.

Step 4 – Build the dome

This is the challenging part, and many people utilize an oven frame or dome kit for this step. However, if you want to build your own you’ll need clay and sand. You’ll use a form or sand coated in newspaper for creating the dome, and then coat the form with a 10 cm thick layer of your clay/sand mixture. This mixture will need to dry thoroughly before any other steps can be taken.

Step 5 – Dry and empty

Once the first layer is dry (this should take a few days at least, but we think it’s best to wait a week) you can remove the form or sand and add another layer of the clay for added thickness. If you didn’t create a door in the previous step, this is the time you will cut the door in the dome.

Step 6 – Finish and Façade

Add a layer of straw over the dome and then another layer of the clay sand mixture. This layer should be an additional 10 cm. Your final layer can be thinner, or you can cover with stucco, brick or stone for a decorative look.

Jim Bob

Jim Bob

FINAL THOUGHTS

A pizza oven is a great way to learn some basic masonry skills and will make your outdoor entertaining a little more fun. Remember, these are the basics for building your own pizza oven. 

If you’re ready to start construction, do your research and be prepared for a fun learning experience that will result in a pizza oven that perfectly fits your needs.

READ MORE: Guide on using pizza oven and things you can cook on a pizza oven.