Many a good time is enjoyed around a roaring fire. Roasting marshmallows, barbecuing chicken or simply watching the mesmerizing flames light up the night – a fire pit is the perfect way to extend your backyard time well into the evening.
You have a few different options when it comes to outdoor fire pits. You can purchase a fire pit, as they are available in a nice variety of styles and designs. Copper, cast iron, portable, permanent – the choice is yours!
Or, if you’re looking for a permanent, wood-burning fire pit, then building one may just be your best bet. They are both inexpensive and fairly easy to build, making it the ideal do-it-yourself project.
The following tips will guide you when building your outdoor fire pit:
1. Choose an open, level location that is not close to trees, shrubbery, brush, houses or anything else that may catch on fire from a stray spark or ember. Try to use a level location, although a slightly unlevel one may also be used. Your excavation may simply need to be adjusted to deal with the unlevel area.
2. Check with your local municipality regarding fire pits. Also, check with your local utility companies for the existence of any underground wires or cables before you begin excavating. Many cities or townships have “one call” numbers which allow you to call out an inspector who will mark the lines for you.
3. After your location has been determined, you’ll want to mark the outline for your fire pit. An easy way to make a perfect circle is to drive a stake into the ground. Attach a string (about one to one and a half feet long, depending on the desired circumference of your fire pit) and attach a nail to the end of the string. Extend the string and bring it completely around the stake. Mark the point at which the nail hits the ground with landscaping paint.
4. After your circle is marked, remove the sod and dig a hole about one foot deep. Dig an additional one foot in the center of the circle (about 6 to 8 inches square).
5. Pour about 4 inches of pea gravel into the excavated fire pit. Pea gravel facilitates water drainage.
6. Add 4 inches of sand, over top of the pea gravel. Sand helps prevent the fire from spreading to any nearby tree roots which are underneath the ground.
7. Surround your fire pit with at least two rows of cinder blocks, concrete pavers, stones or bricks. Never use adhesives, as this could release a toxic gas when heated.
8. Stack your wood and enjoy your fire!
Some important tips to remember when using your fire pit include: