How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

Outdoor porch fireplace with lit fire, made with gray stone, with cedar beam mantel, and TV

Gaining Confidence to Build Our Outdoor Fireplace

A few years ago we built an outdoor fireplace on our porch overlooking the lake. Candidly, we are not experts by any means, but over the years, we have gained the confidence to tackle projects by just jumping in with both feet!  Our approach is breaking down projects step-by-step and just figuring it out by researching. Let’s just say that we have watched a lot of YouTube videos and use a “learn as we go” approach.

The picture below is a before and after picture of our lakeside porch. The “before picture” is prior to us renovating and adding an addition to our lake house, which, included adding a double window and covering the block wall with simulated stone. Consequently, the “after picture” encompasses other porch projects such as wrapping the cedar posts (to become white columns), installing old barn wood on the ceiling, and tiling the floor.

We have broken down our “Porch Project” into several phases:

  • Adding the apron and wrapping the columns on the porch;
  • Covering the ceiling with old barn wood;
  • Adding crown molding; and
  • Tiling the floor

Hence, here is our fireplace story . . .


  • pick axe
  • shovel
  • concrete (for base)
  • ladder
  • lumber to build the frame
  • hammer
  • heavy-duty nail gun and nails
  • measuring tape
  • miter saw (for building frame)
  • plywood
  • Tyvek HomeWrap and grip-rite (plastic round cap roofing nails) to hold Tyvek in place
  • mantel (we used cedar)
  • electrical boxes and electrical wire (or an electrician)
  • felt paper
  • metal lathing screws
  • mortar mix for creating a scratch coat, sticking stones, and piping between stones Note: We used a different color (Savannah Ivory) for piping between the stones.
  • trowel
  • bin to mix mortar
  • hoe to stir mortar
  • Firebox
  • Gas logs
  • Simulated stone (flat pieces and corner pieces)
  • Brick
  • Plywood scrap to use as a mortarboard
  • Mortar piping bag
  • Brush to wipe the mortar joints after they partially dry

The Foundation for our Outdoor Fireplace

Hardworking Neal dug a foundation for our outdoor fireplace.

We built a frame for the concrete and poured it several inches deep. So, one side is thicker than the other because it is on an incline.

Framing the Fireplace

Next, we built the frame. In essence, we built a box with an opening for the actual firebox.

We covered it with plywood. Also, notice the 2x4s at the bottom on which the firebox will rest.

Next, we wrapped it with Tyvek Home Wrap.

Installing Electrical, Cable and Mantel

In addition, we removed some of the ceiling so he could add electrical. Thus, we ran power and cable through the ceiling and through the inside of the fireplace from the top to add power and cable outlets on the front of the fireplace. In the picture below, you can see the electrical boxes.

Next, we added a mantel. Consequently, this cedar beam was originally part of our lake house before we renovated it. We sanded it and installed it. From the inside of the fireplace structure, Neal added a few very large carriage bolts to attach the mantel; he wanted it to be secure . . . for many generations!

Wrapping with Felt and Metal Lathing

Next, we wrapped the entire structure in felt paper. You can start to see it take shape.

Next, we wrapped the entire structure with metal lathing. We cut several pieces and used special screws to secure the lathing. It was essential that the screws went into the studs.

I helped too!

Spreading Mortar and Creating Scratch Coat

Neal spread mortar over the metal lathing.

Moments later, I came behind Neal with a mortar trowel to create the ridges/lines in the mortar. This creates texture on the wall, which helps the rock adhere.

Here is the tool we used to apply the mortar and create a scratch coat.

Below is the completed mortar scratch coat. Notice below that we covered the mantel with cellophane to keep it clean (working with mortar is messy). As a result of good planning, you can also see Neal’s wiring in the electrical boxes.

Inserting the Firebox

We inserted the firebox.

Installing Simulated Stone and Brick

Thankfully, it was finally time to add the stone! We did not use real stone but instead used manufactured (simulated) stone. It is more cost-effective than real stone and yet it looks like real stone. We used Hermitage simulated stone and Savannah ivory mortar. This stone is also on the bottom of the exterior of our house and also on our inside living room fireplace.

In the picture below, we show how we added soldier bricks to match the top of our windows. Neal added this horizontal piece of wood and two 2/4 wood braces to support the bricks as the mortar dried. Now it was time to add the gas logs.

I was the mortar stirrer. Oh, joy!

Notice the corner pieces, which are specifically designed in an “L shape”. We wanted to vary the pattern on the corners and throughout; it was like putting a puzzle together. Prior to installing the stone, we laid out several stones; this helped us put our “puzzle” together.

We finished sticking all the stones and were pleased with the random look.

And from the backside. I like how some stones are horizontal and some are vertical. (Also notice that the fireplace fits perfectly under our inside fireplace).

And one more look of the back . . .

One more picture…

Adding Mortar Between Stones

The next step is to add mortar between the stones. Neal used a mortar bag (as if icing a large cake) and squeezed mortar between every rock.

Here is the backside after Neal added mortar between each rock.

Our Outdoor Fireplace Dimensions

62″ WIDE X 42″ DEEP X 9′ TALL

Our Finished Outdoor Fireplace

Thankfully, it turned out great! It is functional and beautiful! The picture below is before we tiled the floor.

Voila! What a relief that finished just in time to enjoy our outdoor fireplace with our family at Christmas!

The following spring, we installed a television after we wrapped the columns, added old barn wood to the ceiling, added crown molding, and tiled the floor. We enjoy this space year-round with family and friends as we talk, laugh, and make memories!

We love to cozy up by the fireplace in the evenings.

The Gas Line

In response to several questions from readers about the gas line, I have added additional pictures to show where it is installed. We hired a professional to install the gas line.

The picture below shows the gas line through the side of the firebox and connected to the gas logs.

Click HERE to learn how we completely transformed our Porch.

Don’t forget to Pin How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace for future reference.

Pinterest Pin How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

Undoubtedly, there is never an end to our projects, so subscribe to our blog and stay up-to-date about life with Neal and Suzanne! We will share our learning, including our failures and mistakes with our followers!

Let us know what you think or if you have any questions by commenting below. Happy DIYing!


  1. Jennifer on 09/08/2018 at 2:13 PM

    WOW! This is a neat fireplace! It looks like a professional built it!

    • Suzanne on 09/08/2018 at 2:16 PM

      Thanks, Jennifer! We learned a lot through this process! Thanks for reading this blog post!

    • Jeff turner on 04/25/2021 at 6:10 AM

      What about your flue? How did you route it from your fireboxup through your roof?

      • Suzanne on 04/25/2021 at 10:18 AM

        We used a ventless insert from Home Depot so we did not need a flue. I added the link for you.

        I hope this helps!


  2. LeeAnn on 09/22/2018 at 2:36 PM

    Any advice on adding stone to an inside fireplace? We are looking into doing this above our gas logs in our home. What would you recommend first? Where did you get the wood piece for the mantle?

    • Suzanne on 09/23/2018 at 11:18 AM

      Hey LeeAnn! Thanks again for reading my blog! First, you will need to remove the facing (wood trim, mantel, drywall, etc.) around your interior fireplace and of course prepare the surface for stone. For our inside fireplace (see post here) we installed sheets of Durock cement board. That is basically like a sheet of drywall, but made for use in showers, kitchens, etc. It is more durable and can handle the moisture of the mortar. However, it is always better to have a scratch coat for the stone to stick to (like we did on out outside fireplace) by adding metal lathing over the Durock cement board. Remember to add the scratch coat (mortar) over the lathing, let it dry for several days and then add the stones (buttering each stone to stick to the scratch coat). We are working on our patio (more stone work) and will be sharing this soon. It also includes more “how to” information on stonework. Good luck on all your projects!

      Our mantel is an old cedar beam column that we removed when demolishing our original carport. You can find odd stuff like this at salvage yards. One of our favorites is Southern Accents in Cullman, AL. We also find things like this on Craigslist or eBay. Neal loves hunting online for odd treasures like this. As a side note, he found our wood flooring (heart pine) on Craigslist. Someone was selling old beams from a yard factory in Columbus, GA. We ❤️ reusing old things! We love this history and warmth it gives to our home!

      • LeeAnn on 09/25/2018 at 12:03 AM

        Thanks for the advice Suzanne! I can’t wait to get started! Too bad everyone doesn’t have a “Neal!” You got a good one! ?- LeeAnn

        • Suzanne on 09/25/2018 at 6:43 PM

          Neal is a keeper! Good luck to you on your project!

  3. Sylvia N. on 10/27/2018 at 11:08 AM

    This looks like professional built this! I wish I was this brave. ?

  4. Sarah on 11/02/2018 at 11:38 AM


  5. Katrina on 11/02/2018 at 11:40 AM

    So beautiful!

  6. Ralph on 11/02/2018 at 12:04 PM

    Come build this at my house! No way I am brave enough to build this bad boy.

  7. George Clopper on 11/02/2018 at 4:53 PM

    Good looking stone. It is hard to find simulated stone that looks like real stone, but what you used looks like real stone.

  8. Cathy Phillips on 11/02/2018 at 7:00 PM

    I enjoy reading your blog. You and your Neil do good work. I am inspired.

    • Suzanne on 11/02/2018 at 9:55 PM

      Thanks for your kind words. Neal is a trooper to tolerate my long list of projects. Good luck with your projects!

  9. Sannygeway on 12/07/2018 at 9:04 AM

    Make a more new posts please 🙂

  10. Sannygeway on 12/11/2018 at 9:24 PM

    Nice posts! 🙂

    • Lenzi on 03/24/2019 at 7:06 PM

      Hi, my husband and I just stumbled upon your post after looking for some inspiration for our similar outdoor patio. This has us thinking we could do it! Would you mind me asking a ballpark figure of what you spent building the fireplace?

      • Suzanne on 03/24/2019 at 7:11 PM


        We built this a few years ago (before I had a blog), but we think we spent about $2,000 on our outdoor fireplace. The stone was the biggest expense and we had leftover stone we have used for other projects. I hope this helps. Thanks for reading my blog. Let me know if you have any other questions.


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  12. Ronda on 01/04/2019 at 7:14 PM

    I would like to know what kind of insert did you use and is it vented??

    • Suzanne on 01/04/2019 at 7:45 PM

      Hey Ronda,
      Thanks for your question. The insert was from Home Depot; here is the link. It is ventless.

      Thanks so much for reading my blog!
      Let me know if you have any more questions.
      Happy New Year!

  13. Mark Maler on 01/12/2019 at 5:33 AM

    Great job on the fireplace.

    Where did you end up putting the propane tank to fuel the fireplace?

    • Suzanne on 01/12/2019 at 8:02 AM


      Thanks for the affirmation! It was hard work, but we are pleased with the result.

      We do have a propane tank because we live in a rural area; our tank is on the other side of our house (hidden to some degree by our shed). We had a professional connect our fireplace to our existing system/tank. I hope that helps. Thanks for your question.


  14. angela venn on 03/03/2019 at 11:15 AM

    Great job! what is the name of the stone ?

    • Suzanne on 03/03/2019 at 11:59 AM

      Thanks, Angela!

      The name of the stone is Hermitage from Horizon Stone. We purchased it from Jenkins Brick in Alabama. The mortar is buff.

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  15. April M Estoch on 03/10/2019 at 6:11 PM

    Looks amazing! we are going to be starting this project at our home soon. We love the firebox with the herringbone brick pattern inside. Do you have a link where we can order this? Thanks!

    • Suzanne on 03/11/2019 at 11:41 PM

      Thanks so much for your affirming comments about our outdoor fireplace. We purchased the firebox at Home Depot. Here is the link. Happy Building!

  16. Florene on 04/07/2019 at 9:39 AM

    I spent a lot of time to locate something like this

  17. Brigida on 04/18/2019 at 11:59 AM

    I enjoy the article

  18. Regan on 04/18/2019 at 1:34 PM

    Thanks for the wonderful article

    • Suzanne on 04/18/2019 at 7:16 PM

      Thank you so much!

  19. DMC5 on 04/24/2019 at 10:33 PM

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  21. Amy on 05/08/2019 at 6:18 AM

    Thanks for the terrific article

  22. Charli on 05/16/2019 at 1:18 AM

    Thanks to the wonderful manual

  23. Julie on 06/13/2019 at 6:53 AM

    You created a wonderful outdoor living space. Could you share the dimensions of your porch? Our family is getting to creat our outdoor space and wanting estimates of other projects we like to ensure building the right size porch.

    • Suzanne on 06/26/2019 at 8:29 PM

      Hey Julie,
      Our porch is approximately 12′ by 26′. Good luck to you and your family as you create your outdoor space!

  24. Doretha on 06/27/2019 at 3:14 AM

    WOW! Really… really liked the contentThank you so much!

  25. Amanda on 07/04/2019 at 5:51 PM

    I love this! Is the space screened in or do you have removable windows?

    • Suzanne on 07/05/2019 at 11:54 AM

      Hey Amanda,
      Thanks for reading my blog.

      Our porch is open on three sides. It is not screened in and we don’t have any removable windows. However, we have talked about adding outside curtains at some point. Our porch (and entire house) is a work in progress.

      Thanks again for reading our blog.


  26. Michelle on 07/16/2019 at 11:39 AM

    Great job, love the look. Is the stone the same as on the side of your house. I love the house stone, do you know the name of it and the color of the grout? Thanks

    • Suzanne on 07/16/2019 at 8:52 PM

      Hey Michelle,
      Yes, the stone we used on our fireplace is the same stone we used on our house. We used Savannah Ivory mortar between the stones.
      Thanks for reading our blog!

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  29. Lynn Cunningham on 01/14/2020 at 11:26 AM

    Love what you did! We are getting ready to do something similar. Would you mind giving me the dimensions of your patio area? Beautiful work!

    • Suzanne on 01/16/2020 at 10:42 PM

      Thanks so much for your affirming words about our patio. Our patio is 12 x 26 feet. It took us a while (several phases) to complete our patio project, but it was worth the effort! Here is the link to the entire project.

      Thanks again for reading our blog!


      • Matt on 07/28/2020 at 6:16 PM

        Hi, how tall is your ceiling?

        • Suzanne on 07/29/2020 at 8:24 AM

          Our porch ceiling is 9 feet. I hope that helps!
          Let me know if you have any other questions.

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  32. Delfina Hastings on 03/27/2020 at 2:09 AM

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  34. alanyae on 05/29/2020 at 9:55 AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about build outdoor fireplace.

  35. Donna mcdowell on 06/13/2020 at 5:44 PM

    Love this we are planning something similar. Quick question did you run electrical wires down the inside of your columns and make outlets? I noticed that you had a lamp next to a column.

    • Suzanne on 06/13/2020 at 7:39 PM

      Hey Donna,

      Yes, we did run electrical wire through the ceiling and then down the inside of our columns to make the outlets.

      Let me know if you have any additional questions.


  36. Erika on 10/24/2020 at 9:02 AM

    Great work! I guess the chimney would have to be vented to put a wood burning fireplace. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Suzanne on 10/24/2020 at 1:37 PM

      Hey Erika,

      Yes, a wood burning fireplace would need to be vented. We have only built this gas fireplace. For us, the gas works great because we can turn it on and off and there is no mess. My daughter and son-in-law just had a wood burning outdoor fireplace built. They hired a professional to build it. You have to be sure a wood burning fireplace is build correctly. Sorry, we don’t have any expertise or experience on that one.

      Thanks for reading my blog.


  37. Laurie on 11/08/2020 at 9:15 AM

    Can you share the size of your porch? Ours is 12’ x 30’, would love to do something like this, y’all did an amazing job!!!

    • Suzanne on 11/08/2020 at 1:31 PM

      Hey Laurie,

      Thanks for your kind words about our porch. We love it! Our porch is 12 x 26 so your porch is even bigger. Please share your progress with me. My email is

      Thanks for reading my blog!


  38. Sandy Moore on 11/09/2020 at 11:57 PM

    Beautiful! Looks so cozy and inviting. Very nice job.

    • Suzanne on 11/10/2020 at 12:57 PM


      Thanks so much for your affirming words. We really enjoy it!

      Thanks for reading my blog.


  39. Cheryl on 01/12/2021 at 11:57 PM

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful fireplace build and such great detail. I can really appreciate that. I was wondering however, your photo of the backside looks like another fireplace chimney was above the new one. How did you guys tie them in together?

    • Suzanne on 01/13/2021 at 6:57 PM

      Hey Cheryl,

      Great question! Yes, our porch fireplace is directly under our living room fireplace. We built it so that the simulated stone is recessed under the white band at the top of the porch fireplace (at the bottom of our living room fireplace). We actually measured and built the frame of our outdoor fireplace so that the simulated stone (the average width of a stone) would fit perfectly under the white band.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  40. Amanda on 01/14/2021 at 3:13 PM

    I must tell you I LOVE this project!! You have done an absolutely amazing job with your porch! The before and after photos are stunning!
    We are building a covered back patio with fireplace and I just keep returning to your pictures for inspiration. I love your fireplace and stone walls and wood ceiling best of all.
    Thank you for sharing!!

    • Suzanne on 01/14/2021 at 6:05 PM


      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on our porch. It thrills us that our pictures have served as inspiration for you.

      Please share pictures of your project. We love to celebrate with others.

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  41. Amanda on 01/14/2021 at 3:23 PM

    In addition to my awe of your projects, I’d love your input on the gas fireplace. We will be doing a natural gas and would like to leave it open like yours. Do you ever cook marshmallows or anything over the flames or use in other ways? Do you ever wish you had a screen or anything? I don’t see the need for one, but since you’ve been enjoying this for years, I’d love your input. Thank you!

    • Suzanne on 01/14/2021 at 6:12 PM

      We have never cooked marshmallows or anything on our gas fireplace but might need to try! We actually have a chainlink screen that came with our fireplace insert but we opted not to install it. Not having a screen for us is not a problem because we don’t have young children around it. We are cautious when sitting by the fireplace with blankets and dog tails. Our dog Daisy likes to sit on the ottoman close to the fireplace and we just make sure her tail is not too close. Please keep up posted on your project.


  42. Christina on 01/20/2021 at 4:04 AM

    The finished project looks amazing! My ? For you is, What did you do to prevent water from getting through your decking and potentially ruining your beautiful barn ceiling?

    • Suzanne on 01/20/2021 at 3:46 PM

      Hey Christina,

      Thank you so much for the kind words about our project. We are pleased with the result.

      Our porch is completely covered by our living room above so there is no chance of water getting through. Our deck actually extends beyond the porch.

      Thanks for reading my blog! Happy DIYing!


  43. Emily on 01/22/2021 at 6:48 PM

    Hi! This is beautiful. My husband and I are looking to do something similar…. Since we have a nice fire pit area already on our patio, we were toying with doing this same stone wall, with a mantel and a tv on our screened in porch … BUT … wondering if we forewent the fireplace if it would be cheaper and easier. (Extending the concrete base seems daunting and hiring a person to send our gas line over….). The whole point is that we want a place to put a tv on our porch and obviously love the look of stone. Do you think the cost and ease would be drastically reduced without the fireplace? or was the stone the biggest cost? Lastly, if we did go forgo the fireplace… any ideas of what to put under the mantel? dare I say and electric faux “wood stove”? I very much appreciate your input! Thanks!

    • Suzanne on 01/23/2021 at 3:52 PM

      Hey Emily,

      Thanks for your kind words about our fireplace. We are pleased with how our entire porch turned out.

      It would be cheaper and easier not to build the fireplace. However, you will still need a framed wall structure to adhere to the stone. It is really just a matter of taste. The simulated stone was not cheap (can’t remember how much it originally cost) and in many instances, you will need to purchase a certain amount of stone depending on the vendor. I suggest looking at Pinterest for some ideas about mounting a TV on a porch. My daughter and son-in-law mounted their porch TV on their house and that works fine.

      Also, you could add stone accents in other areas – – stone columns, an archway, etc. so you still have the texture and look of stone. I would search Pinterest for this too.

      Just a reminder, if you are going to add a TV make sure it is in a covered area. I was not sure if your patio is covered or not.

      Thanks for visiting our blog. Happy DIYing!


  44. Kevin Austermann on 06/25/2021 at 1:55 PM

    Oh my gosh, you guys are talented! We are not. That said, we are looking at hiring someone to do this (or a portion) for us. I think I saw you spent 2k for all the materials.

    Trying to estimate what the labor costs would be. Maybe knowing the hours involved would be a good baseline for us. Can you give me an estimate on the time it took you guys in hours? I appreciate any info to know what we should expect to pay. -Kevin

    • Suzanne on 06/27/2021 at 5:12 AM


      You are so kind! We really enjoy our fireplace. Here is what I can share with you. It did cost us about 2K but that was a few years ago. Supplies (especially lumber) have almost tripled recently so just keep that in mind.

      When we built our fireplace, we were not living here full time. We spent almost every weekend working on this. Granted, we are slower than a contractor, so I would estimate (including clean up after each phase) about 120 hours. That is really a rough estimate.

      Let me know what you decide to do and we always enjoy seeing pictures.

      Thanks for visiting our blog!


  45. Michelle Gray on 01/11/2022 at 11:52 PM

    Your design and combination of materials are so lovely! I love the clean look of the TV above the fireplace without any wires. Was it difficult to mount the tv to the stone? I see how you plugged in your TV and ran wires from behind, but was there no box or other components to hide?

    • Suzanne on 01/12/2022 at 8:20 AM

      Hey Michelle,
      Thanks for your kind words about our fireplace. We absolutely love it! This is where we sit every Friday and Saturday night.
      It was a little tricky to mount the TV. Neal used a heavy-duty (electric versus battery-powered) drill to make the holes for the bolts. He added several bolts (all hidden once the TV was mounted) to give us options on moving the TV higher or lower. We took our time to do this correctly. We have a smart TV so we don’t have a box, just an Amazon stick in the side of the TV. We do have several cords/wires (the part of technology that makes me crazy); however, I used rubber bands and long twist ties (zips ties would work too) to bundle and hide these behind the TV.
      I hope this helps! Thanks for reading my blog.

  46. Shannon on 01/18/2022 at 2:46 PM

    Wow, what a beautiful job you both did! I love it all, and how nice to be able to spend time outside and create wonderful memories.

    • Suzanne on 01/18/2022 at 3:55 PM


      Thank you so much! We really do enjoy our porch/fireplace.

      Thanks for visiting our blog.


  47. Dondra Robinson on 03/02/2022 at 9:05 PM

    Can you tell me about the tile you used? Source?

    • Suzanne on 03/02/2022 at 9:10 PM

      Hey Dondra,
      We used ceramic tile on the floor. We purchased it from Southeastern Salvage.
      I hope this helps.

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