A stone fire pit in your yard is a relaxing place to roast hotdogs while you sing or tell stories with family and friends. You can build your own fire pit with some planning, hard work and the right materials.
Check with your local fire department or building inspector for ordinances with regulations on open burning. There are communities that prohibit open burning. You may be required to apply for a building permit. Your building inspector should be able to help you.
If you are allowed to build an open fire pit, select the proper location in your yard. It should be 20 to 25 feet away from your house and other buildings, trees, plants, and anything else that could catch fire from a spark. You need a relatively flat surface. Grass, dirt or gravel are ideal bases that provide good drainage when it rains.
To build a stone fire pit, you need the following materials and equipment:
- Strings and levels for layout
- Pea gravel
- Rocks, fieldstone or cement pavers
- Steel band or fire bricks
- Concrete or stone rocks
Plan the size of your pit. Leave space for people to move around and sit on chairs. After you have selected the site, make a circle in the ground by using a string tied to a stake at the center of your defined spot. Mark the circle’s perimeter with a steel fire ring or fire bricks. Lay a row of blocks or stones around the steel fire ring. Dig inside the circle. Remove the stones and fire ring when you are finished. This will be your pit.
The pit should be around six inches deep, and the boundary area one foot deep. This serves as a kind of moat where you set the blocks or stones. Make sure that the bottom of the pit and the boundary circle are level.
Load six inches of gravel into your moat and set the first row of blocks or stones. Line your fire pit with a steel fire ring or fire bricks up to the ground level. Then place six inches of gravel in your pit and tamp it down.
Continue laying the blocks around your pit up to the height of your fire ring, or 8-10 inches above the ground. Surround your fire pit with at least three or four rows of concrete or stone rocks of your choice.
Allow a day or two for your concrete and adhesives to dry before your first barbeque party. Always have a garden hose with a sprayer or a bucket of water close by in case of an emergency.