Building a Fire Pit: The DIY Guide
Posted by: Samuel Hirshfield on July 15, 2013
Nothing beats a backyard bonfire in the middle of summer. Building a fire pit is an easy and fun project which adds a new level of fun and attraction to your backyard. So how do you get started?
Plan and Prepare
Before buying any materials, be sure to check with your Homeowners Association and local fire code to ensure you are allowed to build a fire pit and be aware of any requirements.
The next step is to find a place in your yard, at least 25 feet from your house, and measure out how large you plan on designing the pit. Try hammering a stake into the ground and use a piece of string to measure out the radius of your fire pit. By using spray paint, or another marking material, you can create a perfect circle around the stake! For reference, anywhere from 33 to 42 inches is the average size of a fire pit.
Though there are many ways to build a fire pit, the basic materials needed for the project include: Shovel, Gravel, Sand, Stones, String, Spray Paint, Steel Ring, Mortar, Caulk
Build the Foundation
The first step to your foundation is to dig out your pit anywhere from 16-20 inches deep. For a base, pour about 3-5 inches of gravel followed by 3-5 inches of sand and tamp these layers down. For easy dirt removal, transport, and tamping, rent a Mini-Skid Steer to speed up the process. This bottom layer will provide a strong base for layering stones.
Once your gravel and sand are tamped, it is time to start layering stones. If you plan on using smaller stones for your pit, consider using mortar or caulk to hold the first few layers of stone in place. Larger stones can provide enough natural weight to stay in place. Be sure to insert the steel ring making sure it is adjusted to site evenly with the top of the block wall.
Slowly layer your stones making sure they form a circle and interlock. Apply mortar to lock and seal in gaps. Once you have built the pit to your chosen height, put down a layer of gravel as a base for future fires.
Wait at least two days before lighting your first fire and be sure to check for any loose stones. Whether you decide to make smores, build a bonfire, or simply enjoy a pleasant evening outside, it will be rewarding to know you built your own fire pit!
For rental rates on backhoes, skid steers, and more, go to our website and price out your project!