DIY Outdoor Fireplace A few months ago, VGF published a report about Outdoor Fireplaces.
But, it merely gleamed the surface. Since then, we’ve received plenty of requests about how exactly to put one together. So, this report may be short and to the point. But, it will give you exactly what you need to put together an outdoor fireplace of your own.
Location The first thing as always is to choose the perfect location. And as always, I’m going to encourage you to walk outside and get a feel for where you would want it. Just like walking around and getting a feel for where you would like to place inside fireplaces throughout your home, you should look around your yard and imagine it in several different places. Putting together a brick patio with an outdoor fireplace attached is actually a favorite for many people. You can build a brick patio rather easily and attaching a fireplace made of the same material simply needs a little practice in the brick and mortar area. Of course, the design and the materials are entirely up to you if you want to get creative. However, this report is going to cover a simple outdoor fireplace you can install on your deck. It’s the easiest to put together, which means I can teach you the basics and you can take it from there. But, the design is very nice and you just might want to build this exact one for yourself.
Materials White brick goes well with natural stained wood. I have built plenty of outdoor fireplaces with white brick and they’ve each come out looking great. So, find yourself some inexpensive white brick and start from there. Of course, you can simply go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and purchase your bricks. But, I have found that it’s best to drive around a new housing development to see if you can find materials that you can use. You would be surprised how easy it is to find what you need and get it cheap or free. In fact, I have a friend who likes to charge people for hauling. He gets the materials he wants and he gets paid to haul it away. I could never do that myself. But, he does it all the time and it works quite well for him. Anyway if the dimensions for a brick are 2 ¼ inches high by 3 ¾ inches wide by 8 inches long, then you can easily figure out how many bricks you’ll need. The dimensions of this particular fireplace design are going to be 18 inches high by 24 inches deep and 30 inches wide. But, you don’t simply start doing the math yet. You’ll have more bricks than you need. The center of the fireplace is going to be hollow. So, you’ll need to do a little more calculating than that. * “Deep” in this case means from the front of the fireplace to the back of it. Don’t get it confused with the height of the project or any other dimension.
The base of your fireplace only needs to be one brick layer. So, you’ll need a base that is 3 bricks deep by 8 bricks wide, or 24 bricks. Then, you build three walls consisting of two sides and a back. The two sides will be the same dimensions which will be 3 bricks deep by 8 bricks high. The thing is that you’ll start from the base and that means you’ll only go 7 bricks high, or 21 bricks per side. The back will require 6 additional bricks wide by 7 additional bricks high. So, 42 additional bricks will make 108 bricks in all. But, you might want a few extra in case you feel like creating an interesting roof or if you want to build any other additions to it. You won’t need to add anything to it. But again, the design is up to you and you should be as creative as you want to be. You really only need a trowel, a bucket and some concrete at this point. Some people would want to go hog wild, but those are the tools that you will absolutely need to have. If you work fast enough and you keep stirring your concrete, you won’t need a concrete vibrator. If you can use your trowel effectively, you have no need for a line stretcher, joint raker or anything else for that matter. It’s just up to you and how well you can pay attention to detail and keep your work clean. Mix your concrete in the bucket with the water mixed to the right density. Place a brick at the corner where your outdoor fireplace will sit and begin placing bricks one by one. Scoop concrete out of the bucket with your trowel and place it between your bricks. Once you have your first two bricks in place, scrape excess concrete from between the bricks and throw it back in the bucket. Grab another brick. Place concrete where your next brick will go and put the brick in place. Scrape the excess concrete and you are on a roll.
You’ll need a base that is 8 bricks wide by 3 bricks deep placed length wise. But, here’s where you’ll need to step up your masonry skills a bit. Going one layer at a time, you’ll want to place a brick on top of each brick forming the outer edge of your base, except for in the front unless you want a protective layer. Add six bricks to the original 108 we calculated earlier and form yourself a protective layer in the front. Then, continue with the rest of my instructions. Most masons will tell you to offset the bricks so that it creates a stronger structure. And I would admit that is best if you are building a house. But for this fireplace, we can stack bricks directly on top of other bricks and create an interesting square design. If we offset the bricks, it would make us have to build a double layer of brick for the walls. Either that or have a jagged edge which won’t look good at all. So if that’s what you want, do the proper calculations and add additional bricks to your design to compensate for the extra layer of brick you will need. In this case, you won’t need those additional bricks. Simply place concrete on top of your first brick, put your first second-layer brick in place and scrape away the additional concrete. Then, carry on in those same steps to complete the second layer, the third layer and the fourth. When you reach the eighth layer, you have finished your structure. You should have a structure that is 18 inches high by 24 inches deep by 30 inches wide. Now all you need is a Ventless Gel Fireplace insert to finish the project.
Simply open the box, place the heavy duty steel fireplace log grate into your fireplace opening, set the 5 realistic fireplace logs onto the grate, fill the hidden gel fuel trough with up to 3 cans of fireplace gel fuel, and light a fire! Less than one day’s worth of work and you’re enjoying an outside fireplace on your deck for the autumn months and the years ahead.