How we Built Our Outdoor Fireplace on our Patio Porch

A few years ago we built a fireplace on our porch overlooking the lake. We are not experts by any means, but over the years, we have gained the confidence to tackle projects by actually just jumping in with both feet! We have also learned how to be resourceful by 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.

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 rock. The after picture encompasses other porch projects such as wrapping the cedar posts (to become white columns) and adding old barn wood on our ceiling. Our patio porch is still a work in progress. Our next step is to add flooring.

And here is a before and after picture after we tiled our porch.

The before picture below is after we renovated and added an addition to our lake house. The after picture encompasses other porch projects such as wrapping the cedar posts (to become white columns) and adding old barn wood on our ceiling.

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
    • Our next project will be tiling the porch floor.

So, here is our fireplace story . . .

Materials:

    • pickaxe
    • 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 scratch coat, sticking stones, and piping between stone 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 partially dry
Our patio before the fireplace and before we covered the block with rock

Hardworking Neal dug a foundation for our outdoor fireplace.

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

Then we build the frame – – basically building a box with an opening for the actual firebox. We covered it with plywood. Notice that there are wood pieces at the bottom to eventually hold the firebox. Then we wrapped it with Tyvek Home Wrap. Neal removed some of the ceiling so he could add electrical. He ran power and cable through the ceiling and through the inside of the fireplace from the top to add power and cable outlets to the front. In the picture below, you can see that we added a mantel. This was a cedar beam that was originally part of our lake house before we renovated. 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! Here you can see the electrical boxes. This picture also shows where we wrapped the entire structure in felt paper. You can start to see it take shape. We then wrapped the entire structure metal lathing. We cut several pieces and used special screws to secure the lathing. It was essential that the screws went into studs. This lovely (note the sarcasm) is proof that I helped too! Neal then spread mortar to create a scratch coat for the rock to adhere to. 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 shows the completed mortar scratch coat. Notice below that we covered the mantel with cellophane to keep it clean (working with mortar is messy). You can also see Neal’s wiring in the electrical boxes. Also, notice that we inserted the firebox. We did this prior to adding the scratch coat.

Then it was finally time to add the rock. This is not real stone, but manufactured stone. We really like it because it is more cost-effective than real stone and yet it looks like real stone. We used Hermitage simulated stone from Jenkins Brick in Alabama and buff mortar. We have this stone on the bottom of the exterior of our house and also on our inside living room fireplace.

In the picture below, we wanted to add 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. Also, notice that we added the gas logs.

I was the mortar stirrer. Oh, joy! We used corner pieces, which are specifically designed “L shape” for the corners. We wanted to vary the pattern on the corners and throughout; it was like putting a puzzle together. Also, notice on the floor of the porch that 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. Here is another look. Here is a close-up 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 . . . Now it is time to add mortar between the stones when I was at work. ?My talented Neal did this! He used a mortar bag (as if icing a large cake) and squeezed mortar between every rock. Doesn’t it look great! Here is the backside after Neal added mortar between each rock. Voila! We finished it just in time to enjoy it with our family at Christmas! Here is another picture in spring when we installed a television and after we wrapped the columns, added old barn wood to the ceiling, and added crown molding. We enjoy this space year-round with family and friends as we talk, laugh, and make memories! Here is another closeup, after we tiled the floor, added a brick edging around our porch, and finished the columns. This is our patio porch today. Below is another picture at night. We love to cozy up by the fireplace in the evenings. Based on 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.

Other Related Blog Posts:

Click HERE to learn how we totally transformed our Porch.

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!

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Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.

76 thoughts on “How we Built Our Outdoor Fireplace on our Patio Porch”

  1. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. 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

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

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

    1. 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?

      1. Lenzi,

        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.

        Suzanne

  3. I havе to thank youu for ttһe efforts you have
    put in penning this website. I’m hoping to see thе same high-grade blog pposts by you later on as well.
    In trutһ, yoᥙr creative writing abilities hаs inspired me to get my very own blog now 😉

    1. 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!
      Suzanne

    1. Mark,

      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.

      Suzanne

    1. 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!

      Suzanne

  4. 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!

  5. I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my site ?

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

      Suzanne

  7. 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

    1. 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!
      Suzanne

  8. 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!

    1. Lynn,
      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!

      Suzanne

  9. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read content from other authors and use a little something from other websites.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

      Suzanne

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

    1. 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.

      Suzanne

  12. 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!!!

    1. 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 LifewithNealandSuz.gmail.com

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      Suzanne

  13. 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?

    1. 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!

      Suzanne

  14. 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!!

    1. Amanda,

      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!

      Suzanne

  15. 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!

    1. 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.

      Suzanne

  16. 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?

    1. 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!

      Suzanne

  17. 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!

    1. 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!

      Suzanne

  18. 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

    1. Kevin,

      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!

      Suzanne

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