You don’t have to go camping for s’mores and guitar sing-a-longs anymore. Backyard fire pits let anyone experience the warmth and relaxation of a campfire without a hike into the wilderness. Best of all, building a fire pit proves relatively easy. For all the DIY project lovers, follow these four steps to build the perfect fire pit just in time for autumn’s chilly weather and holiday get-togethers.
1. Prep and materials
What you’ll need:
- Spray paint
- Cast concrete wall blocks/stones
- Steep pit ring with tabs
- Metal grate
When designing a fire pit, look for a flat surface about 20 to 25 feet away from your house; you don’t want smoke blowing into overhanging trees or neighbor’s windows.
About 3 feet in diameter works well for a comfortable gathering size. Field stone and landscaping blocks are traditional go-tos, but cast concrete wall blocks now come out ahead, since their flat surfaces ensure easy stacking, with some even interlocking. Still, since they look just like real stone, the cast blocks maintain the fire pit’s whimsy.
2. The foundation
Lay the blocks down and mark around the circle with spray paint. Once removed, dig a line with the tip of your spade in the paint. Next, dig the trench. Make it straight-sided, around 12 inches deep, and then dig 6 inches down in the area inside the trench.
Most importantly, you’ll need to lay 6 inches of drainage gravel into the pit. Make sure what’s laid results in a leveled gravel surface. A hand tamper or shovel should do the trick.
3. Stone layering
This proves one of the slowest processes in fire pit making, and it requires much precision. Each stone being laid, especially the first layer, must be completely level. For the last stone in a sequence, use a mallet to wedge it into place if necessary. For the second layer, try some simple dry-stack for easier repairs down the road, but applying a masonry adhesive also comes highly recommended.
Continue to stack until the trench lines no longer show under the grass then add 6 inches of remaining gravel, and finally, insert the pit ring. Try to set the ring’s top to the stone’s top rim, but as a quick fix, use gravel to fill any gaps.
4. The finishing touches
Before setting the final stone layer, you may want to place a metal grate into the pit. Then, after applying the final layer of stones to the grate lip, the structure is complete. Just like that, your fire pit’s completed, but you might want to clean things up a bit. Brush off lingering debris on the interior rock surfaces with a paintbrush. Then, spray them with high-heat stove paint.
Remember, building a fire pit offers numerous benefits, but most of all, it adds to your outside space and invites you to play and make memories even when it’s cold. Start rubbing some rocks together, or you know, throw in some logs. Remember: don’t set the marshmallows on fire!
Buying a firepit
Of course in saying all of this, there is also the option of buying a firepit that sits above ground, ready to go once you get it. You can see what the options are from us at BuildDirect right here.