Reader Project: Massive Backyard Stone Fireplace

David Peyton built this fireplace from 15 tons of assorted masonry: concrete, stone, block and firebrick. But there’s no mortar to glue it all together.

David Peyton built this massive fireplace from 15 tons of assorted masonry: concrete, stone, concrete block and firebrick. But there’s no mortar to glue it all together. Instead, the stone is “dry-stacked,” with all the stones locking together like a giant, three-dimensional puzzle. David says the trial-and-error process of finding the right fit is “kind of tedious, but kind of fun.” To form the arch above the firebox, David took a tip from ancient builders and assembled the arch stones over a temporary wooden form. The openings for the firewood niches are spanned by long stones on the outside. Inside the niches, David used arched steel window wells.

“I was a little scared that it wouldn’t turn out right. It’s not the kind of thing you can just toss out and start over.” — David Peyton

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dry-stacked stone fireplacePhoto: Courtesy of David Peyton