Build Your Own Backyard Earthen Pizza Oven

by Rachel Laurendeau on October 9, 2012

If you’ve ever eaten a wood-fired pizza, right out of the oven, you know how mouthwateringly delicious it can be. Why depend on the local pizza place for your pizza when you can build your own pizza oven in your backyard with a fairly simple weekend DIY home improvement project?

What it is?

There are a number of variations for this type of oven. We might traditionally think of a pizza oven being made of brick and complicated masonry. However, a simpler approach is to build an earthen oven, also called an earth oven, cob oven or clay oven. These are wood fired ovens made from a mixture of clay, sand and straw.

Even though it’s called a pizza oven, you can use your masonry or earthen oven to bake bread or cookies, roast vegetables, make stews or anything else that you would normally bake in your conventional indoor oven.

Where to place your pizza oven?

When building a pizza oven and choosing it’s location, safety should be your first concern. Check with your local fire department or city official to find out what the local fire regulations are for backyard pizza ovens or fire pits.

When selecting a location in your yard to build your pizza oven, find a spot that is a safe distance from the house, away from overhanging tree branches and other combustible materials. Of course, you don’t want to build it too far out of the way; if it isn’t within convenient proximity to the house or back door, you will likely use it less frequently.

How to build?

There are a number of excellent do-it-yourself instructional videos online as well as step-by-step instructions. I really like the detailed instructions for the constructions of an earthen oven on the Mother Earth News website.

Safety tip: never use river rock in the construction of pizza ovens or fire pits as it can explode from the heat.

Green tip: for the base, use reclaimed brick but make sure they are free of mortar. You can also make your own bricks of clay and sand.

Building a masonry pizza oven might be out of the league of the average home do-it-yourselfer, unless you already have some masonry experience. On the other hand, building an earthen or clay oven is more straightforward and forgiving. Talk to your local stone experts about the supplies that you might need for building the base such as wall stone, gravel, sand or flagstone.

Resources: ecologia and Mother Earth News

Have you built a pizza oven in your yard? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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