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How to Build an Outdoor Fire Pit

How to Build an Outdoor Fire Pit
 

A warm fire can turn any backyard into a go-to destination for family and friends. Whether you love entertaining or just want a cozy way to take in cool evening sunsets, an outdoor fire pit can be easily customized to fit your space and your budget. With just a few supplies and some common household tools, you'll be hosting bonfires at your place in no time.

 

What You'll Need:
 

  • Concrete bricks or landscaping stones - There are many sizes, shapes and styles of landscaping bricks available. Choose a cut and color that matches your existing outdoor decor to create a cohesive look. The shape of the stones can also affect the overall shape of the pit. Rectangular bricks are ideal for square pits, while more common semi-circular bricks will create a rounded exterior wall.

  • Sand, gravel or pebbles - This will be used to help create a base for your fire pit. Since some of the foundation may be visible after you've completed the project, it's smart to consider the appearance and texture and choose a material that complements the bricks you've chosen.

  • Shovel - Unless you're building the fire pit on a pre-existing concrete or stone foundation, you'll need a shovel to remove grass, dirt and debris before laying the foundation.

  • Masonry adhesive - Masonry adhesive will help stabilize individual components as you add layers of brick to the wall of the pit.

  • Rubber mallet - This optional tool can help ensure that the bricks are secured firmly in place without damaging the surface.

  • Metal fire pit ring or fire bowl - A specialized fire pit ring or bowl will help contain the fire within the pit and prevent embers from escaping.

Backyard Fire Pit

Step 1: Get Informed

Before you begin planning your firepit, be sure to check local guidelines and regulations. Many municipalities monitor the use of personal fire pits and a permit may be required. If you're already aware of regional fire pit codes and your plans involve digging, avoid disrupting buried utility wires, piping or cables by calling 811 for more information.
 

Step 2: Choose a Location

Choosing the right location for your new firepit is important not just for looks but for safety as well. A general rule of thumb for the placement of a firepit is to have it situated at least 10 feet away from any nearby objects, including man-made structures and trees.
 

Step 3: Measure the Area

The fastest and most accurate way to measure the area of your new fire pit is to lay down a mock layer of stone. If you're working with a fire ring or fire bowl, start by placing the object in the center and lining up a full set of bricks around it. Then simply mark the radius by making divots using a shovel or draw a circle using a can of landscaping spray paint.
 

Pebble Foundation for Fire Pit

Step 4: Set the Foundation

Instead of building your fire pit on top of grass that will eventually dry out and may become a fire hazard, dig and remove 4 to 6 inches of grass and soil inside the perimeter you marked in step 3. Not only will this make your fire pit safer, but it can also increase the stability. After you've removed the grass and soil from the pit area, add a layer of sand, gravel or pebbles before moving on to the next step.
 

Step 5: Build the Wall

If you're working with a fire ring, place it back in the center of the pit area on top of the new gravel, stones or pebbles. Begin adding the first layer of bricks around the ring or line up the bricks with edge of the trench and be sure to include masonry adhesive between each one.

As you build upwards, check that the each piece is flush with the others and be sure to stagger the seams of the bricks between each layer. More adhesive can be added between the layers for enhanced stability. If you have a rubber mallet on hand, use it to tap each brick into place while you work.
 

Step 6: Add the Finishing Touches

Once the wall is complete, add an additional layer of gravel, stones or pebbles to the interior area and place a fire screen on top of the bowl or ring.  Give the adhesive enough time to dry completely. Once it is, you're ready for your first bonfire.