How to build an outdoor fireplace for year-long entertaining

October 1, 2022

Bringing the indoors out is an exterior design trend for a reason. A backyard that feels like a living space is a backyard you’ll use. And, since the pandemic began, having outdoor space to enjoy with friends and family has become an even more coveted feature. To continue hosting in an inviting outdoor space all year round, install a DIY fireplace to keep you warm on fall and winter evenings.

Here’s what you need to know for this project:

1. Check local building rules and regulations

First things first, confirm what you’re allowed to build on your property according to local and regional building codes and bylaws. Some towns might have no restrictions, while others might put a limit on height or weight. To prevent danger and avoid hassle, it’s important to follow the rules that are in place.

2. Decide on the type of fireplace

Some people insist on a wood-burning outdoor fireplace, while others are perfectly happy with a gas-burning or electric one. Which one you choose will affect your design plans and materials. For a gas burning or electric insert, you must select the specific model ahead of other build or design decisions since the firebox size and specifications will affect the next steps for your fireplace build.

3. Choose the design and style

Whether redoing your entire yard, or adding this one special feature, put some thought into style. Do you prefer a modern outdoor fireplace with sleek clean lines or are you after a more rustic look? Consider the shape of fireplace you want; decide how tall it will be; think about colour palettes in your yard in different seasons; choose materials and textures that you love. Stone is a popular choice for backyard fireplaces since it aligns with many design styles, is fireproof, and contrasts beautifully with flickering flames.

4. Create a strong foundation

Once you have chosen your firebox and your overall design is in place, it’s time to get building. Because a fireplace can be quite heavy, you may need to create a solid footing before you build anything else. Dig this foundation below your local frost line and ensure the hole is level before adding any supports and pouring concrete. The size of footing you need will depend on the dimensions of the fireplace, the materials you’re using and where it’s being put.

5. Build the bones of your fireplace

How you frame out your fireplace will depend on the type of fireplace you choose. With a separate firebox insert you can build a straightforward wooden or steel frame in the shape you want. Many fireplaces then require concrete sheeting and mortar to adhere to a finished surface. But with Fusion Stone you can simply use plywood or OSB. Since this will be an outdoor feature, you’ll add a proper code-approved moisture barrier as well.

6. Add a beautiful finish

Once it’s framed and covered, you can create the full, cohesive appearance by installing a beautiful finishing material like stone on your fireplace. When you choose Fusion Stone, you can get a gorgeous stone look simply by using the stainless-steel screws and starter strips that come with the product, rather than applying stone with mortar. This is how to save time and cut down on mess when you build an outdoor fireplace. The easy-to-use system is also non-combustible and non-flammable, exceeding Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) and CSA standards.

Fusion Stone looks just like full-bed, natural stone options – but is lighter and easier to install. With a lifetime guarantee and no maintenance required, you’ll enjoy sharing your new outdoor fireplace for decades to come.

To find out more about using Fusion Stone, check out our installation guides and FAQ answers.