According to companies that sell outdoor recreational products, young couples and families have discovered the “great outdoors” in a big way. RV excursions to national parks, camping out, and evenings spent outside around an open fire are becoming the new “chill pill.”
Staring into the flames has a calming, even mesmerizing effect on the human brain, and some of these outdoorsy folks have decided they would like to have a little bit of the camping life —at least the fire—in their own backyard. This lure of starry skies and warm fires has led to an increase in the popularity of fire pits.
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The 10 Easy Steps for a Smokin’ Backyard Fire Pit
Building a simple fire pit is not as complicated as it might seem. In fact, a few DIY skills, some simple garden tools, and rudimentary construction materials such as firebrick, pavers, brick, or stone for walls are all that are needed to have a backyard fire pit of your own. It takes an afternoon, and in no time at all, everyone will be singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” around a cozy fire pit.
There are thousands of easy-to-execute plans for DIY fire pit construction on the internet, including this one from HGTV.
Here are the tools and materials needed:
- Shovel and level
- Retaining wall: brick or stone (approximately 40 brick)
- A metal fire pit ring
- 7-inch square concrete pavers or fire bricks for the bottom of the pit (approximately 20)
- Pea gravel to fill in the spaces (about 5 cubic feet)
- A bag of all-purpose sand
- Weed killer
- Six bags of river rock
Operation Fire Pit: 10 Steps to Git ‘R Done
1. Plan the Location and Layout
According to HGTV, “before assembling, check the local building codes for any rules and regulations regarding fire pits in your area. Next, choose a flat and level location away from your house and any low-hanging trees or other structures. When purchasing the bricks, ensure the manufacturer has deemed them safe for fire pit usage. A fire pit should be built at least 15 feet from any structure and close to a water source.”
2. Determine the Size
The size of your fire pit will be determined by your metal fire ring, which can be found online and at most hardware stores. HGTV notes, “Place the ring and the retaining-wall blocks on the ground to figure out the size of the fire pit. Mark the outside of the circle with the edge of a shovel.”
3. Dig a Hole
There’s no PIT without a HOLE. So, move the retaining wall blocks out of the way and dig inside the marked hole. Make the hole at least 7 inches deep.
4. Line Hole with Sand
The HGTV plan notes that the next step is to fill the hole with a 1-inch layer of all-purpose sand and tamp it down flat. “You may want to use a level to make sure it's even all the way around.”
5. Add Base Row
Lay the bottom row of fire brick or blocks inside the hole. Place the outside of the block on the very edge of the sand.
6. Place Metal Ring
Place the metal ring on the sand inside the base row of blocks.
7. Insert Bricks into Fire Pit Floor
Lay the pavers or firebrick in the bottom of the fire pit. Cover as much area as possible.
8. Add Pea Gravel and River Rock
Fill the gaps in the fire pit floor with pea gravel. In the newly cleared area, pour river rock evenly around the outside of the fire pit. The addition of the river rock will give the fire pit a nice, finished look and help keep the bottom layer of bricks from shifting.
9. Place Remaining Rows of Blocks
Stack the outer blocks to your desired height. Stagger the seams of each layer.
10. Apply Weed Killer or Natural Variation (Vinegar/Baking Soda)
Spray the weed killer around the circle of the pit to discourage weeds from growing around your new fire pit.
Want Better Quality and Selection of Materials for Your Fire Pit?
If all this sounds like too much work, here’s a “pro tip.” Just check with Acme about gas or propane firepits, many ready for instant installation. Click here for the scoop.
Acme Brick, Tile, & Stone has everything a DIYer needs for building a show-stopping fire pit. The quality, color, and sizes of these bases and retaining walls are far superior to those found in any “big box” retailer.
Here are some outstanding clay pavers. Take a look at the best firebrick for the base of the pit. Check out natural stone retaining walls.
For suggestions on the size, color, and composition of these quality building materials, just click here to contact an Acme Brick, Tile, & Stone expert.