Cool, crisp fall nights are perfect for gathering around a backyard fire pit with your friends and family. Add in a bag of marshmallows and you have the recipe for a lovely evening. While elaborate (and expensive) fire pits are what are typically featured in glossy magazines, s’mores and memories can just as easily be made around a simple, but still attractive, backyard fire pit. Before you begin, it is important to consider permanent vs portable, wood or gas, the design of the fire pit and where to set it up.
Steve Chepurny, a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and president of Beechwood Landscape Architecture in New Jersey, details how to build a fire pit in six steps.
What you need:
- Fire-rated mortar
- Fire-rated brick
- Decorative stone or brick
- 12-inch galvanized steel pipe
- Cinder block (approximately 75-90 blocks depending on the size)
- Dig a hole 42 inches deep in the shape of your fire pit design and lay 6 inches of gravel.
- Prepare the cement according to the package directions and pour concrete footing 10 inches thick with a small hole open in the center for drainage. Let the cement set for 24 hours.
- Create the frame structure using cinder block and build it 18 inches above the top of the ground. Put stone or brick on the outside of the fire pit according to the directions of the material selected.
- Fill the inside of the fire pit with gravel up to 20 inches from the top of the fire pit.
- Pour a concrete floor following the package directions leaving a hole in the center. Place a galvanized pipe in the hole for drainage and cover the top with a cap.
- Cover the floor and side of the fire pit with fire rate brick using fire-rated mortar.
Once it is dry, you are ready to invite your friends over and get the marshmallows ready for a memorable fall evening.
Since fire can damage property and injure people, be sure that you keep safety at the top of mind during every step of the building process. And no matter what design you pick or color stone you use, it is important that children are supervised very closely whenever a fire is in the fire pit and that the path around the fireplace is clear to prevent tripping. A little bit of precaution can keep your family safe and spending time together around the fire pit for years to come.