Now if you have rolling acres of land around your home, your options for placing your outdoor pizza oven are fairly endless. In reality, though, most of us are working with slightly more humble outdoor areas. This can throw up some real safety considerations about how close you want your oven to any substantial structures like your home, shed, or fencing.
If you are starting to plan your pizza oven, let us guide you through some of the key points to consider when thinking about where to put it and why it is so important to have a good clear area around it. We will throw in some of our top safety tips to make sure all your oven is responsible for is good memories and some fantastic pizza.
A well-maintained and constructed outdoor pizza oven should be a safe means of outdoor cooking. However, these ovens can generate a tremendous amount of heat. Therefore, for reasons of safety they should be at least 3 to 5 feet from combustible materials like fencing.
Where Should an Outdoor Pizza Oven be Placed?
The first thing to think about is what type of outdoor pizza oven you are intending to install.
Metal, Removable Outdoor Pizza Ovens
These days you can get fully assembled metal pizza ovens that can sit atop your existing outdoor grill or barbeque. These are generally smaller and will only cook one pizza at a time.
Needless to say, the planning and positioning for a movable pizza oven like this are minimal. The main consideration is ensuring it is not in a position where lots of guests may be passing by and could bump it as it is not permanently fixed like other models. As the structure is metal it can get incredibly hot, so the same level of care is needed as required when handling a barbeque or grill.
Brick Built, Stone, and Concrete Fixed Outdoor Pizza Ovens
A lot more thought is required for the positioning of a permanent fixed outdoor pizza oven. For the true pizza connoisseur, these mimic the traditional wood-fired or coal-burning models seen throughout the homeplace of pizza, Italy. There is the option to have this type of pizza oven powered by gas. However, this variation would require the installation of their own dedicated line.
Fixed models require much larger space clearance around them due to the higher heat that can be reached when cooking. A wood-fired model is recommended to have a chimney or flue to funnel away smoke but the heat and smoke coming from the outlet can be intense. This means checking to ensure there are no overhanging trees or canopies which could be damaged or worse catch alight.
A gas model will not require a full chimney like a wood-fired oven, but it does need a good amount of ventilation all around in order to let carbon monoxide, which is generated during the burning process, dissipate. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal so needs to be taken seriously. This is why it is always advised not to use gazebos with side panels around your pizza oven unless they are suitably large enough to allow airflow, and high enough or fitted with a chimney opening.
You may already have a dining or patio area where you envisage serving up and it would make sense to have your oven nearby for ease but not so close that your guests may feel overwhelmed by smoke, cooking smells, or heat.
Once you are satisfied and have picked your preferred type of pizza oven, it is a good idea to think about how and when you will use your new outdoor cooking toy. If you live in a sunny part of the world and envisage afternoon and evening cooking it would be wise to consider placing it in a shaded area as cooking in a hot pizza oven in the blazing, direct summer sun is not an enjoyable experience.
How Much Clearance does a Pizza Oven Need?
Specific guidance on clearance and positioning can vary from country to country and even State to State. More is outlined below in regard to legislation but having pulled together the general fire safety advice from fire departments in both the United Kingdom and the United States, it appears that the general consensus is your oven should be a minimum of 3′ to 5′ on all sides from any combustible material.
This includes not just fencing but any outdoor storage sheds, washing lines, trees/shrubbery, or kids’ play equipment. Most people may choose to be even more safety conscious when thinking of the distance between your pizza oven and your main house structure and it is suggested that up to 10′ from any house windows and doors is a good idea. It is also advised that you position the opening of your oven facing away from your home where possible. This is to avoid smoke or embers floating toward your home.
Outdoor Pizza Oven Regulations
For more detailed advice about permits or approval required to construct an outdoor pizza oven, you can check out our complimentary article “Do I Need Planning Permission for a Pizza Oven? Who Do I Ask?”
The main reason for any regulations and guidance relates to avoiding any unwelcome impact on your neighbors or local area. This is in relation to the visual aspect of your pizza oven and if it is likely to generate unwelcome heat, noise, or smoke that may affect others enjoying the areas near your yard.
Whether you choose gas, wood, or coal burning for your fixed pizza oven, some advice remains universal. In respect of your neighbors, it is wise not to position your oven too close to property boundary lines or against public areas like sidewalks and public parks.
Where possible it is encouraged that your pizza oven and any structure you build to house it should not be visible beyond your yard or be considered overly imposing within the area you live.
Pizza Oven Safety Advice: Our Top Tips
A properly built, well-positioned, and responsibly maintained outdoor pizza oven can be a great addition to your yard, not to mention a surefire way to make your home the go-to spot for friends and family. But only if you take some sensible precautions to maintain the safety of both you and your guests.
The good news is out top safety tips are fairly common sense and are unlikely to distract from the joy of outdoor rustic pizza making.
Don’t Leave your Pizza Oven Unattended While Cooking
Pizza ovens can reach staggering temperatures, it is important to monitor this and adjust the fuel to prevent any explosions. As with any hot cooking tool, it is important to ensure any children or pets are never left unattended in the vicinity.
Ensure it is Stable and Properly Installed
For movable pizza ovens, it is key to ensure you are using them on a stable and appropriate surface. They can get incredibly hot when cooking and no one wants the risk of it tumbling and injuring someone. Equally, if you choose a fixed option, make sure it is properly installed and robust before use. Sticking to the above advice around ventilation and clearance from combustible items is key.
Always Think Fire Safety
Any open flame is potentially hazardous and should always be treated with respect. Ensuring you wear oven gloves when handling hot parts and using appropriate cooking tools for your oven can avoid burns. Some people choose to keep a fire extinguisher suitable to the type of fuel they burn as an extra precaution.
Keep your Pizza Oven Well Maintained
Pizza ovens that remain outdoors are exposed to the elements; this can cause damage. It is recommended to inspect your oven before every use, checking for any cracks, damage, or wear that could worsen under the extreme heat generated by the oven.
Just like coal-fired or gas-powered grills, when used sensibly outdoor pizza ovens should be safe and not be a source of injury or burns.