Easy DIY Fire Pit
A backyard fire pit can transform a nice fall evening into a spectacular fall evening. A well-built fire pit will help you make the most of it. But it does not have to cost you much. In fact, one of the easiest DIY projects you can build yourself using fill dirt is a backyard fire pit. You do not even need to be especially handy to make one. You just need follow these easy steps:
1. Check your local ordinances regarding fire pits. Be sure that your fire pit complies with applicable ordinances. They usually cover such matters as size, placement, and use in certain weather conditions.
2. Plan the site of your fire pit. Make sure the location of your fire pit will comply with applicable ordinances. Also, make sure you site the fire pit in an open area at least ten feet away from any buildings, trees, shrubbery, fences, or any other flammable object. Do not put it under low hanging tree branches, bird feeders, vines, decks, or roofing. Finally, consider the direction of the prevailing wind and choose a site that will minimize the amount of smoke and ash blowing into an area you want to protect, such as a swimming pool or patio.
3. Acquire a metal fire ring. You can find one at a big box hardware store. You can also use a length of galvanized steel tubing or conduit with a diameter no larger than the size permitted by your applicable ordinances. The metal ring will protect the concrete blocks from drying out and breaking down. Place the ring or tube on the ground where you want to locate the fire pit. Use the pointed end of a pickaxe or spray paint to mark the outline of the ring on the ground.
4. Dig a hole. With your shovel, dig a hole as wide around as the ring plus a couple of inches. Make the hole about ten inches deep, or deep enough to allow at least of a third of the metal ring to be above the surface. Make the bottom of the hole as level as you can, but it need not be perfect. A fire pit should have walls rising no more than one foot off the ground.
5. Fill the bottom inch or two of the hole with fill dirt, crushed stone, or sand. The fill material should contain no organic materials that could cause the fire pit to settle over time and become unstable. Spray water into the hole to pack the fill and make it level. Let it dry, and then do it again.
6. Place the metal ring or conduit into the hole. Center the ring in the hole. Completely backfill the space between the ring and the hole wall with fill dirt. Add another inch of fill dirt into the center of the pit to further stabilize the metal fire ring. Spray the backfill and the center with water to pack the fill. If necessary, add more fill to level up any low spots.
7. Acquire trapezoidal shaped concrete landscaping blocks and construction adhesive. Select trapezoidal shaped blocks for your fire pit wall. Their shape will allow you to butt them up close together in a circle around your metal ring. Most concrete blocks are about 4 inches high. Depending on the size of the blocks you use, bout ten of them will make a circle with an inner diameter of about 30 inches. Place the blocks around the metal ring as tightly as you can. Use a level to make sure each block is completely level. Use fill dirt to raise a side of a block, and a rubber mallet to tap a high side down.
8. Build additional layers of the fire pit wall. Once the first circle of blocks is level, brush the dust and debris off of the surface of the first circle. Now you are ready to add the next layer of the wall. Spread a modest amount of adhesive on the bottom of another block. You want to avoid having it squeezing out from between the blocks because it can be difficult to clean up. Place the block on top of a joint between two blocks in the first layer, staggering the joints in brick-laying style. If any block is wiggling and unstable, add more adhesive and adjust it until it is stable. Repeat the process with more blocks until the second layer is complete. Then build another circle of blocks until the fire pit wall is slightly taller than the metal fire ring. Let dry for 24 hours.
9. Use fill dirt to pack the area around the fire pit. Put some fill dirt around the bottom layer of blocks and water it to pack it down well.
10. Fill the pit with several inches of gravel. Placing gravel inside the pit will help to further stabilize the fire pit. Do not use river rock in lieu of gravel as it can explode under the heat stress.
Contact a Fill Dirt Contractor For More Information
Before you start work on your fire pit or any other building project, be sure to contact a reliable fill dirt contractor for information about your needs for fill dirt, sand, or gravel. Get the benefit of the contractor’s expertise. It can save you a lot of time and money.