Even if you’re not into camping, a comfortable lounge chair next to a cheery fire is a fun and relaxing place to spend a quiet summer evening with family and friends. Building a fire pit is a great DIY project that anyone can undertake, and you can build an inexpensive version that won’t break the budget.
A fire pit is really just a fancy campfire, and the walls make the structure safe to contain heat and flames against brush fire. Before starting your project, make sure to check your local building code for open flame requirements and recommended distances from flammable structures.
- Consider the prevailing wind direction in your area. Don’t place your fire pit upwind of your patio, deck or a position where smoke may blow into a neighbor’s open window.
- Use a garden hose to lay out the perimeter of your fire pit. It’s a quick and easy way to set up the size of your structure. Next, use a sharp spade to cut the outline into the turf, or use a can of spray paint to trace the line onto the sod.
- Dig out your pit deep enough to allow for a four to six inch base of gravel. This provides adequate drainage for water in inclement weather. You should also dig deep enough to accommodate the first layer of stone or brick, so expansion during freezing weather will not disturb or dislodge the structure from the foundation.
- You can line your fire pit with firebrick that’s capable of withstanding the high temperatures of your flame, or you can use a pre-made fire ring to protect your stone ring from the heat. Standard building pavers, concrete landscape bricks and miscellaneous stones may not stand up to the excessive direct heat and crack.
- If you’re using mortar to build your fire pit, use refractory cement. This product withstands the high temperatures of a fire and comes premixed for convenient application. It has the consistency of peanut butter and is available in buckets that are ready to use in your fire pit project.
A fire pit is a great way to extend the use of your yard or patio early in the spring until late into the fall. It provides a cheerful atmosphere and warmth to keep everyone comfortable on cool evenings, and a fire pit is a project that’s simple and easy-to-do for any skill level. Add a fire pit to your back yard to add charm and appeal, as well as a comfortable and relaxing spot for entertaining.