Use these step-by-step instructions to build a rustic outdoor oven

Sunset  – February 3, 2009 | Updated May 21, 2020

You don’t have to be a highly competent DIY YouTube star to accomplish this DIY garden project. Our backyard adobe oven is modeled after mud-brick ovens used around the world, from the Southwest to Mexico, Italy, and France.

Building it takes about two days of grubby work, but the reward: wonderfully rustic pizzas, roasts, vegetables, and crusty loaves of bread from your own backyard.

Materials You’ll Need

You’ll find most of the materials you need at a home center or building supply yard, except for the cardboard barrel, often used by movers. (You cut it in half lengthwise and use it to form the oven’s curving top.).

  • 14 concrete building blocks (8 by 8 by 16)
  • 14 concrete cap blocks (8 by 2 by 16)
  • 68 firebricks (2 ½ by 4 ½ by 9)
  • One 28- to 30-gallon cardboard barrel
  • One empty 1-quart can
  • 6-foot square of 6-inch wire mesh (used to reinforce concrete driveways)
  • 10 feet of 30-inch-wide chicken wire
  • 4 feet of rough-sawed redwood 2-by-4
  • 2 feet of redwood 1-by-3
  • 16 1 ½-inch deck screws
  • 3 feet of 6-inch-wide aluminum flashing
  • Eight large wheelbarrow loads of adobe soil (heavy clay garden soil)
  • Three bags Portland cement
  • 1-foot square of ¼-inch galvanized wire mesh
  • Exterior latex paint
  • Optional: 24 precast 1- by 2-foot concrete steppingstones
  • You’ll also need a tape measure, hacksaw, pencil, circular saw with masonry bit, wire cutters, saber saw, drill, screwdriver, large wheelbarrow, hoe, shovel, sturdy rubber gloves, sponge, small piece of scrap lumber or plywood, old towels, and plastic tarp.

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