How We Built Our Outdoor Fireplace

August 24, 2016

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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Our backyard underwent a major transformation this summer. We added a sprawling deck to our backyard and furnishings and finally, built an outdoor fireplace as the finishing touch.

How to Build An Outdoor Fireplace | Chris Loves Julia

As a reminder, just a few months ago, the space looked like this:

How to Build An Outdoor Fireplace | Chris Loves Julia

We went between the idea of fire pit vs fireplace, but in the end a fireplace had the architectural elements that a fire pit didn’t offer; the height and the fact that the even when it isn’t being used, it still looks great and intentional especially sold us on the idea. I loved the look of a few board-formed concrete fireplaces I had seen, so with inspiration in hand, we built our own in a week for around $1300. Instead of board-formed concrete, which is a pretty intense process, we used James Hardy siding (a non-combustible cement siding) which gave us a really similar look at a budget-friendly price and is more DIY friendly, too.

Today, on, we’re sharing a detailed step-by-step tutorial of exactly how we made it, with a complete budget breakdown so you can tackle this project yourself! Click here to read how it all went down.

How to Build An Outdoor Fireplace | Chris Loves Julia

To say we have been enjoying our new outdoor space would be the understatement of the year, it’s changed everything and we’re excited the fireplace will allow us to hang out out here through the fall, too.

How to Build An Outdoor Fireplace | Chris Loves Julia

How to Build An Outdoor Fireplace | Chris Loves Julia

Day or night, you can find us out here eating, lounging or chatting. We’ve had a few questions about the durability of the furnishings out here (sources below). Almost everything is weather-rated except the leather pouf that we bring in, and the dining chairs that are holding up great. We have outdoor furniture covers that I mostly try to get on if I see rain coming, but Idaho is a desert climate so we don’t get much rain. It’s also a great idea to spray cushions with this outdoor ScotchGuard and if it comes down to it, all the covers are removable and can be thrown in the wash.

How to Build An Outdoor Fireplace | Chris Loves Julia

It’s so fun working with brands that give us 100% free reign, “What are some projects you guys have coming up? We’d love to get involved!” is a dream to work with, we hope you enjoy the thorough tutorial here and we’re excited to partner with for more projects in the coming months.


Would You Rather: Real Wood vs. Composite DeckingDeck on Deck!Our Finished Deck!Our Outdoor Sofas are Here + What’s Next?First Look: Building Our Outdoor Fireplace


Decking–Trex in Clam Shell color; Area Rug–Rejuvenation; Wood and white outdoor sofas–World Market; Black and white outdoor sofa–Crate&Barrel; Dining Table–Ikea; Striped Umbrella–Home Decorators; Black Tabouret dining chairs–Overstock; White wire dining chairs–Rejuvenation; Concrete planters–Rejuvenation; Leather Pouf–Lulu & Georgia; Black planter–Crate & Barrel; Teak lanterns–Crate & Barrel; String lights–Rejuvenation


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What do you think?

  1. Ross Napier says:

    Hi Chris and Julia, your fireplace looks incredible and very professional. I am in the process of building my own outdoor fireplace using a similar method. I have a couple of questions relating to some vital points.

    Point 1 – Did you use heatproof mortar for the cinderblocks used in the base. I have just laid two layers of cinderblock with regular mortar and now just thought that i should maybe have used heatproof mortar. Thoughts?

    Point 2 – I have not found a fluebox that fits the size of opening i want so i plan to have a local metal sheet supplier cut sheets for all of the inner sides. If at all possible can you please tell what thickness it is and if its not too much of a stretch, what type of material it is?

    Point 3 – How do you find the heat transfer between the fluebox and breeze blocks used in the heat shield? Are you noticing any drastic heat in places where you wouldn’t expect?

  2. Lyn Hindsman says:

    The link for building outdoor fireplace is no longer accessible? Would you please repost it? It would be much appreciated.

  3. Emily says:

    The link no longer works. Is there some other place to find this tutorial?

  4. Arian Krystofik says:

    I love love your outdoor fireplace. My husband and are going to start building a similar one this coming weekend following your plan. The one thing I have a question about is the concrete cinder block base- what is the depth of the cinderblock base? When you go on your link to Paverstone firebox web site it says that the depth of slab should be 3’4″, but in your photo it does not look that deep. Can you tell me how deep the base is?

  5. Bobi says:

    wow you make it look easy and it’s beautifully done

  6. Frances Montalvo says:

    AWESOME space. Great job; very meticulous and balanced. The colors are awesome. I hope you enjoy it for a very long time.

  7. Carrie James says:

    I love this and would like to do something very similar. I can see your first look but cannot locate the link showing materials and step by step. Any chance you could send it to me – I am particularly interested in what you used as the chimney portion. Your DIY site is wonderful. So many great ideas! Thanks.

  8. Mayuko says:

    You did a very good job, it looks nice and you chose a great colour.

  9. Carrie Motley says:

    What white paint did you use for the fireplace? Thanks!

  10. tam says:

    hi. I can’t seem to find that outdoor umbrella. do you remember the name at all? thanks so much

  11. Haley Hepburn says:

    What are you doing with the space behind the fireplace?

    • Julia says:

      There’s only a couple feet of our property there, and it’s a triangle, so we’ll probably just fill it in with plants or gravel.

  12. Tarryn says:

    HI there

    I am having trouble viewing the link with the instructions on how to make it. would love to read it as we are about to do a similar project!

  13. Ashley says:

    Hi Julia! Such a beautiful space!
    Did you use the special blade for the hardie siding, or what did use to cut it down? We are doing a similar project where we are using the hardie board for a ” plank look” as well. I’m just trying to figure out the last bit of tool details. (We are new to the diy world :) Thanks

  14. Abby says:

    How did you do the string lights? Are they held up by a pole that is hidden somewhere in the trees? I would like to do that on our deck, but our deck is open at the opposite corners fromt the house. As in, it looks out into our back yard and there are no trees to attach the lights to or hide the poles. We might be stuck with installing a pole to hook the lights to, but do you have any other suggestions?

    • Julia says:

      One end of our string lights is attached to a hook on our gutters and the other is attached to a branch on a tree with wire. If you don’t have any trees, you may need to install a pole or something.

  15. Dakwerken says:

    That’s really a great idea of making the backyard look more beautiful with a deck and fireplace. Will surely like to have it in my own backyard very soon!!

  16. Lo says:

    Beautiful, beautiful backyard! I keep coming back to it on Instagram just to stare at this space as it feels like being on holiday. I have looked at these outdoor sofas before but can’t get myself to buy them simply because they have a completely straight back – is it actually comfortable to sit on?

  17. I had no idea you DID end up painting the fireplace! That color is so warm and natural, you totally fooled me. Ah-mazing all around. When can we come over?

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