Take your alfresco dining to the next level and bring the taste of an authentic Italian pizzeria to your home with a gourmet wood-fired oven
Enjoy cooking up a storm at your place? Turn up the heat and do it all outdoors with your own wood-fired oven. Popular for cooking pizzas, these cool cookers can also be used to barbecue, roast, grill, smoke and even bake bread. And you don't have to build your oven from scratch, as you can buy kits that have done most of the hard work for you. All you really need to do is assemble, render and get cooking. To turn the oven into a real statement piece, build a feature wall around it, complete with firewood bay and an ethanol burner - cooking outdoors will feel so cosy!
Start with a slab
- A well-made concrete platform is the ideal base for any backyard structure. For this feature wall, mark out a rough L-shaped area of slab (ours was 3.4 x 0.5m with a 1.4 x 1.4m square attached at back of left-hand end). Excavate so the finished slab will sit just above adjacent surfaces, removing any roots. Fill any depressions with road base and compact.
- Cut 90 x 45mm timber and screw together to create formwork, ensure all fixings are on the outside, as later you will have to strip this formwork and remove.
- Level and position formwork carefully, because once the slab is poured it cannot be moved. Mix concrete and pour into formwork, spreading it into corners. Keep adding until concrete is 10mm above formwork. Screed concrete, using the excess to fill hollows as you go. Tap formwork with a hammer to release trapped air bubbles and fill any voids that appear. Once surface water evaporates, trowel smooth. Keep concrete wet for at least a week.Oven in a kit
The Amalfi DIY BBQ Pizza Oven Kit comes with everything you need to build your own wood-fired pizza oven - you just need to provide a concrete slab for it to sit on. Available from the special orders counter at Bunnings Warehouse for $999. For more information, contact Mediterranean Woodfired Ovens on 1300 883 909, or visit woodfiredovens.com.au
Gather your supplies
390 x 190 x 190mm besser blocks
190 x 190 x 190mm besser blocks
390 x 190 x 50mm besser block cappings
1000 x 100mm arch bars (4)
Amalfi DIY BBQ Pizza Oven Kit
Classique ethanol table fireplace
Check with your local council before laying slab or building wall.
- Step 1: Mix 4 parts sand and 1 part cement, then slowly add water until mixture is stiff. Starting with left front-corner block, place a bed of mortar on concrete slab, position 390 x 190 block on top and tap
into place for a 10mm thick mortar joint. Check for level.
- Step 2: At opposite end of 3.4m edge, bed a second block in the same way, but with short-face facing out. Check it’s level with first block. Stretch stringline between front edges of these blocks.
- Step 3: Run bed of mortar for front and back edges of blocks between corner blocks. Lay an intermediate block, applying mortar to block ends. Gently tap top and sides to bed in place, using stringline as a guide. Repeat for length of wall.
- Step 4: Lay a second course, staggering the joints by starting with a full block face out on right-hand corner. Stop for firewood storage opening 3 blocks from right-hand side. Leave pizza oven end at this stage. Add a third and fourth course, leaving a 2-block opening 190mm from end for ethanol fireplace. This can be done with 390 x 190 blocks at end and 190 x 190 blocks between openings. Check for levels and plumb as you go. Bed 2 block cappings into burner opening. Lay 2 arch bars across opening, check for level and lay bed of mortar for next course.
- Step 5: Lay 3 full blocks over burner opening, bedding them to blocks and arch bars with mortar and ensuring ends are flush. Tap into place and check for level.
- Step 6: Bed two 390mm block caps to the first course as the base for the 800mm-wide firewood stack opening.
- Step 7: To make platform for pizza oven, lay 4 courses around square end of slab in stretcher bond pattern, leaving a 600mm opening on 1 side for more firewood storage. Measure and cut Hebel panels to fit. Use mortar to bed on top of base. Check it’s level.
- Step 8: Build pizza oven according to manufacturer’s instructions or visit woodfiredovens.com.au for full video.
- Step 9: Use angle grinder to cut and slice blocks to fit around front of pizza oven and maintain levels of mortar joints each side of firewood opening. At 1400mm, lay 2 arch bars across opening.
- Step 10: Install flue and cut blocks to fit around it. Secure with mortar. Build up wall to finished height of 1800mm and cap top.
- Step 11: Nail plastic render corners to each corner with clouts.
- Step 12: Add a cup of oxide to 20kg acrylic render and mix until smooth. Use a plasterer’s trowel to apply render to all surfaces, then smooth with straightedge.
- Step 13: Once nearly dry, rub with sponge trowel. Allow to dry thoroughly. To use, allow oven to heat up for an hour, then push fire to back and you are ready to go!
You’ll also need
Brickie’s sand; cement; wheelbarrow; pointed trowel; rubber mallet; spirit level; stringline; 12-inch angle grinder; plastic render corners; clout nails; dust mask; protective eyewear; red oxide dry powder; drill with paint mixer attachment; 20kg Dunlop Multipurpose Acrylic Render; plasterer’s trowel; bucket; hammer; straightedge; sponge trowel