Building A Fire Pit From The Ground Up

Building a fire pit is a simple project that can transform your backyard into a wilderness oasis. You'll be roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in no time, while providing your family and friends with memories that will last a lifetime.

Building A Fire Pit From The Ground Up

A fire pit can be as simple as a hole scraped in the ground and surrounded by rocks, but for safety and a finished look, follow these building tips:

  • Safety first. As you decide on a location, look around your backyard. You're looking for a level spot that is well away from structures, overhanging trees and other flammable objects. The perfect fire pit location will also be out of the way of foot traffic and close to a water source if possible.
  • Fire pit dimensions. A good-sized fire pit should be about 3' or 4' in diameter and be surrounded by a stone wall 1' to 1-1/2' high. The pit itself should extend about 6" to 1' below the surface.
  • It's all material. You'll need ¾" drainage gravel, concrete landscape wall stones and a roll of galvanized steel sheeting.
  • Layout your stones. Arrange a ring of landscaping stones on the ground where you want your fire pit to be. Smaller stones will allow you to make a tighter circle. Make sure there are no gaps between the stones and then mark the outer edge of the circle with a flat shovel.
  • Get digging. Remove the sod inside the circle and then dig down to create a level bottom 6" to 12".
  • Lay a base. Pour a 3" layer of gravel and tamp it level.
  • Place your stones. Place the first course of stones, making sure they fit tightly and are level.
  • Build your wall. Continue to add landscaping stones, using construction adhesive between courses. Build the wall so that is 12" to 18" above the original surface.
  • Add a firewall. Cut a length of galvanized sheet to match the inner diameter of the fire pit. The steel will help to protect the landscaping stones from excess heat.
  • Add more gravel. Insert the steel sheet and then add gravel to bring the inner surface of the fire pit up to the original level of the ground. The extra gravel will help to hold the steel firewall in place.
  • Finishing up. The top of the landscaping stone wall can be capped with decorative stone or thin pavers held in place with construction adhesive. Now, put in some wood, pull up a chair and get working on those s'mores!
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