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tedzap 10-30-2011 10:22 AM

design decisions
I've been planning to build an oven for awhile, and various other projects have resulted in me owning a cement mixer and a 2.5hp brick saw (from harbor freight).

My next decision is placement, it strongly affects the time the build will take. I live on the side of a hill and my level land is minimal... think "postage stamp" yard. This is where I would appreciate comments.

There is a spot that I could pour a slab, and build the oven away from everything else. I have a little concern that it would look a little "out of place" at that location, and would start to make my small yard "too crowded".

I could excavate into the bank behind the lower deck and place it back into the bank. This would improve the look of the bank but would require a lot of dirt removal and a retaining wall. This would add a lot of time and cost to the project.

Finally, I can see building it on the existing patio under my upper deck. This 12x24 space already has a 6" slab under it, and could end up being a nice covered outdoor kitchen. The deck is about 12' above the slab.

The questions are:

Most of the ovens I see stand apart in the yard, is this important?

Aesthetically, building it back into the bank would be a great solution... but it would be a lot of work to do that. Can the oven be part of the retaining wall, or is this asking for trouble?

If I built it under the upper deck, I would either have to run the chimney up through the deck or have it bend rearward over the top of the dome so it could then turn vertical outside of the deck. Is this a problem?

Sorry in advance if my descriptions are hard to understand. Thanks in advance for thoughts and ideas!

mickyD 11-01-2011 02:29 AM

Re: design decisions
3 Attachment(s)
Hi tedzap. Some picís would help. I think in regards to having it stand alone is totally up to you and what you find practical. I built mine into a retaining wall and once finished will act as part of the retaining wall. It does stand alone but will form part of an outdoor kitchen in the future that will also be part of the retaining wall. Like you I lacked the space and for me that was aesthetically the best place for it. As long as you have secure footings, rebar and concrete through your block walls and some kind of water proof membrane where the soil is retained I cannot see a problem.

Good luck and enjoy you build.


Faith In Virginia 11-01-2011 08:45 AM

Re: design decisions
What I find is an important consideration is the distance from your kitchen. Mine is out in the yard and whenever I want to cook in the oven there is a lot of stuff to haul back and forth. So keeping it close to the kitchen plays a big part for me.

tedzap 11-01-2011 09:00 AM

Re: design decisions
That is a good point... It makes a difference if I am going to have a complete outdoor kitchen for prep. Right now I lug stuff back and forth to my BGEgg, and it is somewhat of a hassle.

Taking this into consideration reveals another location I hadn't really considered, which is close to the house. There is a large brick wall which the outside face of the main fireplace. I could build next to this, and have access right out the back door of the house.

Obviously the chimney is a concern and it would need to clear the house (like an internal woodstove chimney, something like 2' higher than the roof within 10')... but what are the "rules" on proximity to existing structures?

Faith In Virginia 11-01-2011 09:52 AM

Re: design decisions
Best thing to do is call your local building official. Let him know what you want to do and where to put it. They will be very happy to let you know of any considerations you need to make. Keep in mind you can build this in your kitchen so as long as you follow the local codes you can put it anywhere.

Faith In Virginia 11-01-2011 09:56 AM

Re: design decisions
I would have told you what the regs are here but every county interprets and enforces the regulations different so it's best to check with your local officials. You can ask if they will stop by your place to inspect possible locations you have in mind and what you will need to do to make them happy.

Gary Mots 11-01-2011 10:52 AM

Re: design decisions
Ted, just my opinion, I should think you would want to locate your wfo as close as possible to the existing house kitchen, I'm not one for lugging cooking/baking essentials all across the yard to get to the outdoor cooking area.

tedzap 11-01-2011 11:20 AM

Re: design decisions
The good news is that my yard is small, and if I put it at the same level as the house is will be fairly close to the house kitchen. Can't get too far away whatever I do!

tedzap 12-06-2011 08:08 AM

Re: design decisions
I've gone back and forth about the location, and I have about convinced myself that the best place would be off of my lower deck. Basically I have two decks that lead up to a room above my garage. The lower deck (10x12) is about 3 feet above my yard, and the upper deck (12x24) is about 10 feet above that. I consider the lower deck the "landing deck", and I think that an oven built off of this would look and perform well..

If the oven is accessed from this landing deck, then the base will need to be quite tall, and if I wish to use the area under it for wood storage, I would have to build an intermediate floor. Neither the height nor the middle floor sounds fun.

Here is my question, has anyone built a base using "pier and post" construction methods? I would sink 4 or 6 posts in concrete well below the frost line, and notch a cap around the top. I would probably use 6x6 posts, and then pour a hearth on top.

Any thoughts? this seems like a very simple and economical way to build my tall base.

tedzap 12-06-2011 08:21 AM

Re: design decisions
here is a picture of the landing deck, the oven location would be to the left with the door opening onto the deck.

This shows the relationship of the two decks, there is a wide ramp up to the landing deck, then a 4' ramp going up to the upper deck. The oven would be on this side of the lower deck.

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