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How to Build an Outdoor Fire Pit

Posted in Outdoor Fireplaces over 9 years ago, 0 replies

A lot of people dream about spending hours in front of a crackling fire where they can roast marshmallows and hot dogs. Of course, they are going to need a fire pit if they want to make this a reality. This doesn’t have to be one of those expensive new contraptions with the fancy stones that take many hours of hard work in order to build. Instead, you can easily build a traditional outdoor fire pit from free rocks and stones that you have collected. To make this type of low cost, very enjoyable outdoor fire pit, you will need to take the following steps:

Step 1. Choose a place for your backyard fire pit that is at least 10 feet away from any trees or buildings. This is important because open fires can produce sparks that will travel up to several feet in the breeze. Make sure that the area also has good drainage so that you don’t have a soggy fire pit. You will also want to make sure that there aren’t any underground wires or pipes too. The ideal area is one that has both natural and artificial seating, is easily accessible and comfortable.

Step 2. Once you know exactly where you want your outdoor fire pit to be located, take a string and attach it to a small stake in order to mark the area that will be the center of your fire pit. Now pull this string out so that it will reach the outside perimeter of your fire pit. Remember that this piece of string should be half as long as the width of your pit. Place a stick here to mark the edges of your fire pit. You can also mark this with spray paint.

Step 3. Remove all of the grass that lies within this area. You will want to dig down 10 to 12 inches. Make sure that you cut straight walls and a level bottom.

Step 4. Add three or four inches of gravel to the bottom of your pit to help with drainage and prevent your fire from spreading to any roots that may run beneath your pit. Cover this with one or two inches of sand.

Step 5. Gather together some large rocks that are similar to one another. You will want to use these for your fire pit’s wall. Keep in mind that even though round rocks may be attractive, they will be harder to fit together and thus there will be gaps left between them. For this reason, you will want to choose rocks that are more rectangular in shape and that have flat sides.

Step 6. Line the outside edge of your fire pit with rocks. Make sure to push these into the sand and rest one of their sides against the soil that is located around the perimeter of your fire pit. This will help to stabilize them. It is also important to keep your rocks as close together as possible. In order to do this, you will want to fill in any small gaps with your smaller rocks. Take your time with this step because your firewall will need a firm wall.

Step 7. This final step is optional but you should know that you can add a layer of small rocks to the bottom of your fire pit. Doing so will help your fire pit be able to retain its heat, which can be very helpful if you plan to do any cooking with your fire pit. However, if you only want to be able to enjoy the fire and occasionally toast some marshmallows, you can skip this step.
Photo of Tony.