How to Build an Outdoor Pizza Oven

There’s nothing like a fresh, homemade pizza straight out of a wood-burning brick pizza oven: crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, with a deliciously smoky flavour. An outdoor pizza oven is also great for entertaining, whether it is part of a larger outdoor kitchen or a stand-alone feature.

Difficulty level : 
Duration : 
1 week

Before You Start

This DIY project provides step-by-step instructions for building a dome-shaped backyard pizza oven with space for firewood storage, made from brick and retaining wall block. It has a 3’ x 3’ base and a 36” oven. For a smaller or larger oven, simply scale the base size up or down.

Choose the Right Location

  • 1.1Take the time to pick a good location for the pizza oven. The ideal spot will have plenty of clearance on all sides and sit away from any combustible materials. It should also be easily accessible.
  • 1.2Check that the installation surface is sturdy and level. If not, it will require the construction of a foundation.
  • 1.3The pizza oven should be installed at least 3’ away from the house for safety, so take the necessary measurements to find a suitable starting point.
Pizza oven – choosing the right location

Split the Blocks

  • 2.1Use a speed square to mark the blocks for cutting.
  • 2.2Using an angle grinder, score the blocks to a depth of 1/4” on each side.
  • 2.3Finish splitting the blocks using a chisel.

Safety First

Always wear eye protection, hearing protection, gloves, and a respirator/dust mask when working with a grinder.

Lay the Base

  • 3.1Lay down the first row of blocks to make the base of the oven, ensuring that it is square and level before continuing to build.
  • 3.2Apply two parallel strips of landscape adhesive to the middle of the blocks and start building upwards.
  • 3.3For greater structural integrity, arrange the blocks with the joints staggered.
  • 3.4After laying the second row, check for level and plumb, and make any necessary adjustments by tapping the blocks with a rubber mallet.
  • 3.5Continue adding rows until the desired height is reached, checking the level and plumb after each one.
Laying the base (patio blocks)
Adding construction adhesive
Completing the pizza oven base

Cap the Oven Base

  • 4.1Apply landscape adhesive to the top row of the base.
  • 4.2Position the capstone in place on top of the blocks.
Applying construction adhesive to the base
Setting the capstone

Lay the Bricks

  • 5.1Lay the first row of clay bricks along three sides of the capstone’s perimeter to outline the dome shape.
  • 5.2Set a layer of fire bricks within the perimeter of the clay bricks for the oven’s floor.
  • 5.3After establishing a brick layout, mix high-heat mortar by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • 5.4Apply the mortar to the fire bricks in a thin layer using a brick trowel.
  • 5.5Make any necessary cuts to the bricks using an angle grinder.
  • 5.6Allow the mortar to set for 24 hours.
Laying the pizza oven floor
Apply the mortar

Pro Tip

Easily clean up any mortar drips or spills with a damp sponge.

Lay the pattern any way you like. We used a traditional herringbone pattern for this oven.

Build the Oven Dome Support

  • 6.1Mark the size of the brick oven floor on a ¾” sheet of plywood (27” for this project). Mark the centre point as well.
  • 6.2Draw the radius of the dome on the plywood and hammer a nail at the centre point. Attach one end of a string to the nail and the other end to a pencil. Measure from the centre point to the desired arc height and adjust the string length accordingly.
  • 6.3Starting from the height of the arc, move the pencil from left to right to draw out the arc shape.
  • 6.4Cut out the arc-shaped mould for the oven opening using a jigsaw. Be sure to wear all the proper safety equipment.
  • 6.5Repeat the steps above to cut a second arc mould for the back of the oven.
  • 6.6Attach the arcs with 2” x 4” plywood pieces cut to size to form the mould.
  • 6.7Bend and attach lauan over the top of the mould for a solid surface to help shape the brick around it.
Drawing arc on plywood
Cutting the arc mould using a jigsaw
Attaching the mould arcs
Attaching the lauan

Pro Tip

Use a drill to create multiple holes in the mould facing. This will aid with the removal process later on.

Build the Brick Dome

  • 7.1Mix the mortar for the bricks according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It should be slightly thicker than the mortar used for the fire bricks.
  • 7.2Use a brick trowel to apply the mortar along one side and along the face of the clay brick.
  • 7.3Start laying the bricks on top of the clay bricks that were placed earlier, staggering the joints. They may need to be cut to size to accommodate the design.
  • 7.4Fill the mortar joints using a tuck pointer. The tuck pointer can also be used to pump up the brick level for better support and a neater appearance.
  • 7.5Roll the bricks while building up to fit the dome shape, varying the mortar line from thick to thin.
  • 7.6Leave an 8” x 8” square at the top of the dome for the chimney.
  • 7.7Use the same clay bricks to build the chimney about four rows high, making sure to check the level.
  • 7.8Let the mortar dry completely.
Filling oven joint with mortar
Leaving space for the chimney
Building the chimney

Remove the Dome Support

  • 8.1When the mortar is dry, put on a pair of work gloves and eye protection and begin removing the mould.
  • 8.2Remove the screws on the mould facing using a drill.
  • 8.3Remove the 2” x 4” bracing using a pry bar.
  • 8.4Remove the remainder of the mould using an oscillating multitool.
  • 8.5Clean out any mortar and dust from the oven floor.
  • 8.6Fire up the pizza oven!
Letting the mortar dry
Removing the front of the mould
Removing the rest of the mould
Firing up the pizza oven

Pro Tip

For those who aren’t quite ready to tackle a DIY project of this size, Lowe’s carries a great selection of pre-built outdoor pizza ovens. These versatile appliances can also be used to roast vegetables, bake bread, and smoke or slow-cook meats.

Outdoor Oven Margherita Pizza Recipe

The only way to make an authentic Neapolitan Margherita cheese pizza is in a wood-fired oven. Break in the new oven with this delicious recipe.


  • Raw pizza dough
  • 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 8 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese balls
  • Cornmeal
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil


  1. Let pizza dough come to room temperature.
  2. Roll out dough on a surface sprinkled with cornmeal and make sure not to flip.
  3. Empty tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands.
  4. Use a coarse grater to shred the mozzarella balls.
  5. Sprinkle mozzarella on pizza crust in a thick layer.
  6. Scoop tomato sauce onto pizza in large dollops a few inches apart.
  7. Transfer pizza to the oven and bake for 2­–3 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven, drizzle with olive oil, and add the basil leaves.
  9. Rest for 5 minutes, then cut and serve!
Outdoor wood-fired oven Margherita pizza