December 26, 2008

20 Steps to Build a Friggin' Awesome Fire Pit

While I was at la finca I was able to do anything that took my interest.

I realized that the property overlooked amazing mountains and valleys. The sunsets are magnificent. What better than to build a giant fire pit for visitors to enjoy?

Here's what you will need:
Cement trowel

Several big buckets
Piece of string
Sturdy shovel
Work gloves
Long flat stick (6' works well)

For a water drain at the bottom for wet climates:
Old paint can
Large and small stones. Flat tiles.
Large nail

Helpful items:
Sledge hammer

My strategy:

I am building on a very windy area. My pit will be two layers of brick totaling 20" under the ground with two more layers 20" above the ground in order to prevent strong winds from putting out the fire, carrying embers toward the house, and otherwise creating an ashy, smoky mess.

I am building in a very wet area. My pit will appear to be 20" deep, but will have a false bottom. I will dig an inverted cone below to create a drain. I will fill it with rocks, use the paint can as a drain, and cement over the rocks.

Here's how it works:

1. Spend four hours on the internet researching construction methods. (You can skip this bit. I did it for you.)

2. Figure out how to mix cement. I did test pads of variations of sand and cement. It failed miserably. I strongly recommend asking the guy who works at the supply store that you're buying the cement from.

3. Carefully choose your site. Verify that it is at least 12' away from any buildings or combustible structures. I also considered the wind direction and which windows in the house the pit could be seen from.

4. Clean the entire area of weeds, rocks, shrubs, etc. Level the entire site. Use the 6' stick to verify there are no large variances in the level of the ground.

5. Decide how large you would like your fire pit to be. Lay out the bricks in the same shape and diameter as you would like to place the bricks underground. The diameter should be at least 12" larger than the size of the base of the fire so the fire can breathe.

6. Pound in 6-8 stakes around the outside of the bricks. These will be your guides as you dig.

7. Start digging!

8. When you think you are at your desired depth, pause and set your bricks in the hole. Here I've placed my first layer in. I later stacked the second layer on top of it and verified the entire circle was level and flush with the ground.

If you are placing a drain in, read steps 9 - 12.

9. If you are building a drain, dig the inverted cone. Check out the picture: Start digging well into the center of your circle so you have a sturdy base to lay your bricks on. We don't want to dig out the middle and have the shelf holding the bricks collapse.

10. Dig the hole at least 6" deeper than your paint can. You will need your paint can to be above the bottom of the pit and several inches below the shelf where your bricks are placed.

11. Fill the pit with large stones.

12. Cut the bottom off. This will be the bottom of the drain. Poke large holes in the top of the can. The idea: The water will filter through the holes. The ashes will largely be retained. You can easily scoop ash off the cement surface when your pit becomes full (from friggin' awesome bonfires.)

13. Place the can in the hole. Check out the wood stick: The paint can rests on some rocks about 4" below the level of the shelf.

14. Cover with flat tiles which grade toward the paint can drain.

15. Carefully lay cement over the entire sloped floor of tiles and pebbles. Be certain the can is below the surface of the cement. Let dry for at least one day.

All -

16. Lay your bricks back in the hole. (See photo 8) Be sure the circle is even. This will be your guide.

17. Remove bricks one by one. Lay cement underneath each brick. Wiggle the brick to settle into the cement. This will create a much more stable base for your brick. Fill the triangular space between the bricks as you go along.

18. After each level of brick, back fill with dirt.

19. Clean the extra cement gunk oozing out between the bricks.

20. Looking awesome! I finished here for lack of time. I placed the next two layers above ground without cementing them in as a temporary solution.


fire pit do it yourself how to build a fire pit construct cement dig shovel brick back yard backyard s'mores bonfire fire open fire landscape night ambiance beautify resale improve increase project at home easy to build dig fast simple quick family enjoy in-ground underground build fire pit fire pit table bonfire fire pit design fire ring fire pit construction, fire pit ring, bonfire construction, build-your-own, build your own, do it yourself instructions directions guide, brick fire pit construction, home depot construction, lowes construction, patio fire pit, fire pit bricks, fire pit bbq, fire pit b-b-q, fire pit barbecue, fire pit rocks, wood fire pit, diy fire pit, fire pit landscaping, backyard fire pits,

No comments:

Post a Comment