Backyard kitchens have become the most popular outdoor living and landscape trend in recent years. One of the most exciting and useful things you can add to an outdoor kitchen is a pizza oven. In fact, it could easily be the focal point of your patio dining and cooking area.  A pizza oven can, of course, cook more than pizza, but you will want to make sure it is sized, designed and located correctly. Here are a few considerations as you plan for a pizza oven.

Pizza Oven Size

It is generally best to opt for the largest size pizza oven your budget can handle, as long as you have adequate space for it. You will find you use your oven more often than you thought, and the extra space for cooking is nice to have. Your outdoor pizza oven can also be used to roast vegetables, poultry or fish – maybe even several dishes at once.

A 36” to 40” oven is a nice large size for residential use. A 24” oven is probably the minimum size you want. It will serve many purposes, but is not going to handle multiple dishes unless they are small. For one large pizza or dish at a time, a 24” oven is fine. Many people buy a small pizza oven only to wish, later, that they had ordered a larger one. Keep in mind, it does not cost much more to operate a larger oven.

Locating Your Pizza Oven

Though outdoor pizza ovens are safe to operate, you probably don’t want one right next to the house. It will look better some distance away and as part of a carefully designed outdoor space. Work with a landscape designer to find the best location; outdoor ovens easily fit with both formal and casual design styles.

Tall shrubs or small trees should not be right next to the oven or overhanging the chimney. You will need some adjacent prep space and storage space as part of the overall oven design and layout. Also, leave adequate space between your outdoor dining table and the oven. You don’t want guests to back up into the oven when they are getting up from the table!

outdoor-pizza-ovenPizza Oven Installation Tips

While patios and outdoor surfaces are designed to drain, the foundation for your pizza oven should be completely level. The foundation should be on a compacted, well-drained subgrade. Drainage problems and unstable soils can cause the oven to settle unevenly over time. Likewise, surface drainage should be away from the oven, not toward it. Though there are a number of prefabricated pizza oven kits, if you have any doubt about your ability to construct the oven, hire a landscape and outdoor kitchen expert.

Pizza Oven Maintenance

While not quite care free, outdoor ovens do not require a lot of maintenance. Most pizza ovens do need an initial seasoning or break-in period. Your pizza oven supplier can you give you the details for your specific model. You will want to regularly sweep out ash and debris and wipe down the surfaces with a biodegradable kitchen cleaner. Always wait until the oven has cooled down before you clean it.

Whether you choose a do-it-yourself prefabricated kit or a custom designed and built pizza oven, it will be one of the best and most enjoyable investments you make for your backyard landscape.