Summer is approaching fast, and we all know what that means – it's time for more time outdoors, tank tops, shorts, the beach, barbecues, and bon fires. Summer is also the perfect time to do some do it yourself outdoor activities. And what better way to welcome the summer than to build your very own fire pit?
We here at homify are passionate about DIY projects and helping you do them right. That is why we have created this Ideabook – to show you exactly how to design and build your very own fire pit! After going through these steps, you will be ready to welcome friends and family to your home for late night cook outs and bonding around the fire time before you know it.
Before you start on the fire pit project, you have to design it first. You need to figure out the type of fire pit you are going to build so that you can purchase the necessary materials, such as stone or brick, steel for the lining, and gravel. If you are not sure where to find the right inspiration, check out these fire pits!
Once you have picked your perfect design, sketch it out. Don't worry if it's not the perfect sketch. What is important is that you are able to draw a rough design and jot down the correct measurements, as these measurements will be the foundation of your project. Write down the circumference and diameter if you're building a circular fire pit, or just the overall area it will take up if you choose a different shape, such as a square.
Another important thing to consider is that fire pits are strictly governed by local building codes. Some codes require fire pits to be encircled by a border of sand or gravel, while others don't. So before you decide to add one to your backyard, familiarize yourself with the code in your area.
Next, you want to measure the exact location of where your fire pit will go. As safety is of high importance, you want to make sure your fire pit is not situated near anything that could catch fire accidentally. Depending on how large the fire pit is and how large the border of it is, you want to place it away from large bushes or trees. This fire pit here, for example, has a large border and a seemingly small area inside where the fire burns. That means placing this fire pit in close proximity to the vegetation does not pose as big of a threat, as there is more space between the burning wood and the leaves.
You also want to strategically place the pit in an aesthetically pleasing area, or in a convenient area. You don't want to sit around the fire in a place in your yard that has little to see. Although you will be spending most of your time gathered around the embers chatting with your friends, you do want to place it in a nice spot with a good view. Or, place it in a spot that's convenient for you, such as near your terrace. That way, when you're roasting weenies or marshmallows, you don't have to go very far to restock your supplies.
Now that you've sketched it out and found the perfect place, it's time to dig out the pit! Find the spot in your yard where you're placing your pit. Mark the border with some small stones for now, just so you can visualize where it will be spatially. In the middle of this area, pound a rebar stake into the ground and then mark the circumference of the circle (if that's the style you chose).
Attach a string to the stake that is half the length of the circumference. Pull the string taught and walk around the stake in a circular motion with some spray paint in hand to mark it. For safety's sake, we suggest you have a pit that is at least 1.5 metres in diameter. And now we dig! To create a base for the pit and gravel, dig a hole at least 15 centimetres deep. Then use the same method as above to mark an inner circle. This inner circle will be the edge of the fire pit wall.
There are a few different kinds of fire pits available on the market, but the cheapest one to build is a fire pit with concrete or brick walls. To make the concrete, mix the powder with water until it reaches a consistency similar to peanut butter.
Lay the wet concrete in between the two circles you have created so that it is level to the ground. You want to leave the centre area free of concrete to allow for drainage. Build up the concrete until it is about 4 centimetres below ground level, and then press rebars into the concrete for reinforcement. After that, smooth the surface with a trowel and let it dry for 24 hours.
After the foundation has set, it's time to lay the stones. Mix some mortar and shovel about 5 centimetres of it on top of the concrete base. Work in small sections and lay your stones on the mortar. If you are using natural stone, mix the sizes and colors of the stones. You can even choose stone faces that are slightly more attractive and match with the slight curve of your outline.
If you need to, use a chipping hammer to shape the stones. As the first few levels of stones begin to take shape along the outside edge of the fire pit, begin to lay fire bricks to form the inner wall of the structure.
With the basic structure complete, you are now able to focus on the finishing touches. Using a regular old paintbrush, brush the exterior of the stones so that you can remove any loose debris. Then, gently spray it with a garden hose to remove any leftover mortar. If you want to give the fire bricks on the inside of the structure a uniform finish, you can spray paint the bricks black using a high-heat stove paint. Fill the pit with a base layer of small rocks and stones. Then, fill the centre with wood and you're ready to use it!
If you enjoyed this DIY project, be sure to check out this Ideabook on how to make home textiles!