7 basics of an outdoor fire pit
There are few things cozier on cool autumn nights than a
in the backyard. Very different from the small deck furnaces
that have become popular in recent years, a fire pit is usually
much larger and more dramatic. If a fire pit is the perfect
addition to your backyard, check out these building basics.
Building an outdoor fire pit
Before you begin, check your local building codes and
ordinances. Some codes require that a fire pit be built a minimum
distance from any structure, or built to certain specifications. If
there are any codes to be met or permits to be obtained, get it
done before you start work.
Ready to begin? Here's how:
- Using custom-cut bricks or a cast-concrete alternative, lay out
where your fire pit should go. A thick steel ring should line the
interior of the pit to help contain the heat and flames. Set the
steel ring in the center and build up the bricks around it. Then,
carefully mark the area just outside the bricks with a thin line of
- Move the bricks and ring out of the way to start digging a
trench. Using the spray paint as a guide, dig a straight trench
about 12 inches deep and wide enough to hold the row of blocks.
When that is done, dig out about six inches of soil from the center
and level out the ground inside the fire pit.
- Fill the trench with six inches of drainage gravel, pressing it
down as you go to create a firm and level surface for the
- Place the blocks in the ring, making sure they are perfectly
level. Press them tightly together around the pit. You might have
to tap the last one in place with a mallet.
- Lay the second row of bricks. Use masonry adhesive to hold the
second row tightly to the first row. Line up the bricks over the
seams of the first row, making sure they fit as tightly as the
- Fill the pit with six inches of gravel, and then start with the
third and fourth rows. After the fourth row is done, work the steel
liner into the pit. Fill any gaps between the liner and the bricks
with a handful of drainage gravel.
- Cap the bricks with one final layer. If you are using natural
stone to cap the fire pit, use plenty of mortar to hold them in
place. Wait at least two days before lighting your first fire.
Not sure you can handle the project on your own? Call a local contractor to help
you create your fire pit.
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