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.



Skill
Beginner
Time
One Day

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. 
  1. 1

    Choose the Right Location

  2. Steps:

  3. 1.1
    Take 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.
  4. 1.2

    Check that the installation surface is sturdy and level. If not, it will require the construction of a foundation.

  5. 1.3
    The 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.
  1. 2

    Split the Blocks

  2. Steps:

  3. 2.1
    Use a speed square to mark the blocks for cutting.
  4. 2.2

    Using an angle grinder, score the blocks to a depth of 1/4” on each side.

  5. 2.3
    Finish splitting the blocks using a chisel.
  1. 3

    Lay the Base

  2. Steps:

  3. 3.1
    Lay down the first row of blocks to make the base of the oven, ensuring that it is square and level before continuing to build.
  4. 3.2
    Apply two parallel strips of landscape adhesive to the middle of the blocks and start building upwards.
  5. 3.3
    For greater structural integrity, arrange the blocks with the joints staggered.
  6. 3.4

    After laying the second row, check for level and plumb, and make any necessary adjustments by tapping the blocks with a rubber mallet.

  7. 3.5
    Continue adding rows until the desired height is reached, checking the level and plumb after each one.
  1. 4

    Cap the Oven Base

  2. Steps:

  3. 4.1
    Apply landscape adhesive to the top row of the base.
  4. 4.2

    Position the capstone in place on top of the blocks.

  1. 5

    Lay the Bricks

  2. Steps:

  3. 5.1
    Lay the first row of clay bricks along three sides of the capstone’s perimeter to outline the dome shape.
  4. 5.2
    Set a layer of fire bricks within the perimeter of the clay bricks for the oven’s floor.
  5. 5.3

    After establishing a brick layout, mix high-heat mortar by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

  6. 5.4
    Apply the mortar to the fire bricks in a thin layer using a brick trowel.
  7. 5.5
    Make any necessary cuts to the bricks using an angle grinder.
  8. 5.6

    Allow the mortar to set for 24 hours.

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.

  1. 6

    Build the Oven Dome Support

  2. Steps:

  3. 6.1
    Mark the size of the brick oven floor on a ¾” sheet of plywood (27” for this project). Mark the centre point as well.
  4. 6.2

    Draw 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.

  5. 6.3
    Starting from the height of the arc, move the pencil from left to right to draw out the arc shape.
  6. 6.4
    Cut out the arc-shaped mould for the oven opening using a jigsaw. Be sure to wear all the proper safety equipment.
  7. 6.5
    Repeat the steps above to cut a second arc mould for the back of the oven.
  8. 6.6
    Attach the arcs with 2” x 4” plywood pieces cut to size to form the mould.
  9. 6.7
    Bend and attach lauan over the top of the mould for a solid surface to help shape the brick around it.

Pro Tip

Use a drill to create multiple holes in the mould facing. This will aid with the removal process later on.
  1. 7

    Build the Brick Dome

  2. Steps:

  3. 7.1
    Mix the mortar for the bricks according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It should be slightly thicker than the mortar used for the fire bricks.
  4. 7.2
    Use a brick trowel to apply the mortar along one side and along the face of the clay brick.
  5. 7.3
    Start 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.
  6. 7.4
    Fill 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. 7.5
    Roll the bricks while building up to fit the dome shape, varying the mortar line from thick to thin.
  8. 7.6
    Leave an 8” x 8” square at the top of the dome for the chimney.
  9. 7.7
    Use the same clay bricks to build the chimney about four rows high, making sure to check the level.
  10. 7.8
    Let the mortar dry completely.
  1. 8

    Remove the Dome Support

  2. Steps:

  3. 8.1
    When the mortar is dry, put on a pair of work gloves and eye protection and begin removing the mould.
  4. 8.2
    Remove the screws on the mould facing using a drill.
  5. 8.3
    Remove the 2” x 4” bracing using a pry bar.
  6. 8.4
    Remove the remainder of the mould using an oscillating multitool.
  7. 8.5
    Clean out any mortar and dust from the oven floor.
  8. 8.6
    Fire 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.
  1. 9

    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.

    Ingredients

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

  2. Steps:

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