coffee and fire

Create an inviting fire pit area in your backyard. The Step-By-Step Guide To Building a Backyard Fire Pit.

With just a few materials and a free afternoon, you can make an inviting fire pit area in your backyard.

A fire pit in your backyard is great for hanging out. You might think that it’ll be a pain to make one on your own, or you might think that you’ll need an extra set of hands. The reality is that making a fire pit is easier than it seems.

If you want to make your own fire pit quickly, check out our step-by-step guide below.

Call Utility Companies

Before you even start thinking about building a backyard fire pit of your own, call your local utility companies. You’ll need to ask them for the locations of buried utility lines. You’ll be digging, so you don’t want to damage any utility lines. If you do damage any lines, you’ll be left with hefty fees.

In addition, have a look to the fire pit code in your area. Most local governments need fire pits to be at least 25 feet away from any structure or tree.

Plan Your Fire Pit Design

Besides warming up a cold and breezy night, fire pits are visually pleasing and great landscaping features.

Ideally, you’ll want your fire pit on a flat and level area. As mentioned earlier, you’re going to want to check your local fire pit code to make sure you aren’t violating any rules. Some areas need your fire pit to be circled by a border of gravel or sand.

Mark Your Fire Pit

By now, you should already know exactly where your fire pit is going to be. Now, mark the area where you want to place your fire pit. You can do this using chalk or some rocks. You can even use spray paint for some easy marking. If you want to be more accurate with your marking, you can bend some hardboard strips to circle out the fire pit’s diameter.

Build the Foundation

If you’ve been following along, you should already have marked out a distinct circumference for your fire pit. Within the circumference, dig the space out to a depth of around 6 inches. Then, mark an inner circle around 12 inches in from the outer circle. This inner circle will serve as the edge of the fire pit wall.

Now, set a foundation for the stones to sit on. Mix concrete with water until the consistency looks creamy like peanut butter. Then, lay the wet concrete down between the two marked circles and ensure it is level to the ground.

Be sure to leave the center area free of any concrete. This allows for proper drainage. Build up the concrete until it reaches around one to a one-half inch below ground level. Press rebar into the concrete to reinforce it. Finally, smooth out the surface using a trowel and let it sit for around 24 hours.

Build the Outer Wall

Now that you’ve set the foundation and let it dry, it’s time to lay the stones. Mix mortar and then shove around two inches of it atop the concrete base. Working section by section, lay the rocks on the mortar.

If you’ve opted to use natural stone, mix the rocks’ sizes and colors for variety. If needed, use a chipping hammer to smooth out individual rocks.

You should now begin to see the first few levels of stones take shape. It’s time to lay fire bricks to form the inner wall of the structure.

Build Inner Fire Brick Wall

Level the bricks and fill any gaps with wet mortar. If you’re left with excess mortar, scrape it away. Remember to measure both the outside and inside edges of the wall to maintain the wall’s circular form.

Keep raising both bricks and stones, filling in any gaps that you find. Staggering the seams of the bricks and stones makes the structure more stable and gives it a more rugged look. Use a jointer to remove extra mortar from between the stones.

To finish your fire pit basics, lay a cap of pre-selected flat fieldstones atop the wall.

Add around one inch of mortar and lay the stones, making sure the tops create a flat surface along the circumference’s entirety.

Read further on the next page.

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