What could be better than a backyard fire pit during Fall? It gives you a fun place to hang out with your loved ones and a focal point for any outdoor party. You can even use one to cook marshmallows and hot dogs with your friends.
If you invest in a good metal grate, the fire pit lets you make savory and sweet dishes, too. Though you might think that it takes time and money to build a fire pit, you can actually build a basic one in just an afternoon with very little investment. Keep reading to learn how!
“There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home."– Rosalynn Carter
Choose Your Location
When you decide to build your own fire pit, you need to start with the right location. You want to make sure that the pit is far enough away from your home that smoke won't get inside but not so far away that you can't reach your garden hose during an emergency.
It's often helpful to choose a central location that provides easy access and use.
Make sure that you check with your city or county as many have ordinances, too. You may find that you need a permit to build one or that the pit must be a specific distance from any structures such as your home or garage.
Pick the Right Materials
One of the nice things about a DIY fire pit is that you can pick the materials that you want based on which ones fit the style of your home and work with your yard.
- You might go with the same simple concrete blocks that you used to build a retaining wall in your backyard.
- Bricks that match your driveway can be a good option too.
- Pavers also work nicely and come in many designs and colors.
- Natural stone is another good option.
You can easily pick up any of these materials from a local home improvement store and go back if you need any more.
Excavate the Ground
Before you build a single layer of your fire pit, you need to excavate the ground. It's helpful to use a trowel to outline the shape and size of the pit. Most fire pits are between 34 inches and 44 inches across, which gives you lots of room.
Once you have the outline drawn out, carefully remove the top eight inches of soil from the ground. Many find that they need to remove a few extra layers to compensate for slopes and uneven areas in their yards. You can then use a tamping tool to smooth the ground.
Stack Your Materials
No matter which materials you choose, lay down a thin layer of sand on top of the tamped ground. You need a minimum of two inches of soil, which will keep the heat from the fire away from your grass.
- Place your stone, brick or paver around the outline you created and give it a solid tap with a rubber hammer. This ensures that it sits evenly and won't move when you light a fire.
- You'll work your way around the pit to place one layer of your building materials on the ground. Once this layer is in place, you can add another layer.
- Building adhesives such as construction glue and mortar will lock the heat inside and keep the fire from spreading.
- You can add as many layers as you want to your fire pit construction based on the height that you want.
Look for Gaps
When building a stone fire pit, make sure that you look for any gaps. Gaps can cause problems as they allow heat to escape and can let bits of burning paper and flames reach your grass and outdoor furniture.
You may notice some gaps in between layers because your materials aren't flush or around the bottom of the pit. Mortar is a good material to use to clog and cover those gaps.
Some types of materials will work well with sand or gravel. You can scatter the gravel across the surface and let it slowly drift down and fill in those gaps.
Add a Bottom Layer
Adding a bottom or final layer is the last step your fire pit needs. You can use ordinary gravel or go with something a little different such as lava rocks or crushed natural stone.
Scatter a thin layer of this material inside the fire pit and slowly add more until you reach a height of four inches. You may want to tamp down the material or make sure that it's even before adding a small amount to the outside of the pit.
If you need help with the concrete for your fire pit, ask free quotes from professional concrete workers in your area today!