How to Build Your Own Fire Pit – Part 1
Growing up, I always enjoyed it when we had a fire pit in our yard. It gave us the freedom to sit around the campfire whenever we wanted. So logically, this was a high priority project that I wanted to work on soon after we moved into our first house.
Research – This was a project that I really wanted to go well. I wanted to make something that would be practical, cheap, and look nice so I needed to research my options. At first, it was a little overwelming. I had no idea that there were so many different ways to make a fire pit. There was everything from placing some rocks in a circle to elaborate ones created by professional landscapers. Eventually, I grouped fire pits into three categories to choose from: Natural, Metal, and Stone.
Natural – Depending upon how you do it, this may be the most basic way to make a fire pit. Dig a shallow hole, and line it with large logs, stones or bricks that you have lying around. When I was younger, the first fire pit I ever made was similar to this concept. I dug a hole, lined it with cement blocks and then placed rocks around the edge. Although it was extremely cheap to make, it wasn’t the best looking. The stones varied from size and shape and often times weeds and grass would grow between them. It did last for quite some time (it may actually still be there today) but some of the concrete blocks had cracked and the rocks didn’t always stay in place. Nevertheless, it was simple, cheap, and a good fire pit to make for my first try.
*Note: When using rocks to line your fire pit, do not use rocks from rivers or streams. These may have water trapped inside them which causes the rock to explode when heated at high temperatures.
Metal – Unless you, or someone you know is skilled in metalwork, a metal fire pit is usually bought. For this project we had initially considered purchasing a metal fire pit, but we ended up going a different route instead. There are a lot of really good metal fire pits that you can buy. Some are homemade, like the bottom of a propane tank or the wheel rim of a truck. Others are meant to be installed in the ground, like the heavy ones you might see at state parks. And over the last several years outdoor fireplaces that you can place on your porch or driveway have been increasingly popular. My brother recently purchased one of these and was quite happy with the result. They work well due to their portability and low maintenance. Depending on what kind you decide to buy, for a good one you will probably end up spending $100 – $200.
Stone – A stone fire pit is usually put together with bricks or landscaping stones. If you hire someone to build a fire pit, more than likely, it is going to be a stone one. But this is a do-it-yourself entry so we aren’t looking to hire anyone to build this for us. Stone is what we decided to use for our fire pit. It looks nice, it’s sturdy, and it was cheaper than I had expected. If you plan to build one of these yourself, make sure you leave a good half day open to get it done (assuming you have already purchased all of the materials you need). If you plan to use cement for the base or for securing the blocks, then I would plan at least a full day of work.
Part two of this project will go over the step by step details of how we went about putting together our stone fire pit. We hope you enjoy it!