How to build a fire pit

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Completed backyard fire pit built from a kit.

Completed backyard fire pit built from a kit.

A backyard fire pit makes a great gathering place for outdoor entertaining. Kit fire pits, such as the RumbleStone Round Fire Pit kit from Pavestone we made, come with everything you need, including blocks, metal fire bowl, and a mesh fire screen.

To build a fire pit from a kit:

  1. Use a flat shovel to remove the grass and level the dirt in the area you want your fire pit (our kit required a circle 4’ in diameter).
  2. Place the fire screen in the center of the circle to serve as a template for laying the blocks.
  3. Position the first row of blocks in a circle around the screen, in the pattern indicated in the instructions that came with the kit.
  4. Apply construction adhesive to the top of the first layer of blocks.
  5. Position the second layer of blocks on top of the first, with the joints in the blocks overlapping the joints in the layer below.
  6. Continue applying construction adhesive and layers of blocks, overlapping the joints on each row, until the fire pit is complete (our kit was three blocks high).
  7. Place the metal fire bowl on top of the pit.
  8. After the construction adhesive has cured, built a fire in the fire pit and use the mesh fire screen to contain any embers.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript Stone fire pit kits are a popular way to add warmth to your landscape without the time and expense of building a custom pit.

The first step is creating a flat area in the right shape and size. In this case that means a circle four feet in diameter. Remove the grass and level and pack the soil in all directions.

This kit calls for using the provided screen as a template around which the blocks are placed in the prescribed pattern. Even with a template, be sure to pay attention to the number of blocks needed for each row, so that you don’t run out before you reach the top.

Between each row a generous layer of construction adhesive is applied, so that the next row will remain in the proper position. Simply follow this pattern until all the rows are complete. Insert the metal fire bowl and enjoy.

Choose your Spot

Consider where your fire pit would make the most sense. In addition to thinking through backyard flow and aesthetics, consider these few important aspects:

  • Is there anything nearby that can catch fire? A nearby bush, low hanging tree limbs, your house …
  • Will you want furniture around your fire pit? Allow for enough space to furnish appropriately.
  • Are the neighbors going to be annoyed — or annoying?
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Size Matters

Fire-Pit-Group

After you’ve found the perfect spot, determine what size you want your fire pit to be. The smaller the fire pit, the smaller the heat output and seating area for friends to gather. The bigger the pit, the larger the fire needed, as well as the amount of space between friends to converse across. We suggest a fire pit with an outside diameter between four and six feet, depending on the thickness of the wall of your fire pit. For height, think about how tall your furniture will be and shoot for something that is couple of inches shorter. This will allow for both optimal heat and fire viewing enjoyment.

Build It

fire-pit

Follow these steps to build your very own primitive hot spot:

  • Your fire pit should sit on a level ground. Mark out the shape of your fire pit — the outside circumference — on your lawn (you can use a screwdriver and string to measure). Then remove 2-3 inches of the topsoil layer in that area to make room for your base. Stamp down the soil and make sure it is level. Feel free to use proper tools or your hands and feet — get creative.
  • Fill the 2-3 inch void with gravel or sand to create the base on which your fire pit will be built. Stamp down and equally disperse the base material so it is flat and level.
  • Stones: You can go two ways here, depending on how much you want to pay and what you want your fire pit to look like. The easy way means going to your big box hardware store for pre-cut fire pit stones, the other means picking up landscape or field stones from your local landscape supply store (or field). Either source (except the field) can help you pick the right rock for your project.
    • Pre-cut fire pit stones: Take a look at the ready-to-go stones or full kit from Lowe’s. The kit is an easy option, but you can buy the individual stones to reduce costs and increase your creative control. This is a basic but solid option.
    • Landscape/field stones: Working with a knowledgeable landscape staff member, pick out stones of various sizes and patterns. Make sure they are fire-friendly. This option will result in an rustic and natural product, but will likely cost quite a bit more and require thoughtful stacking technique.
    • With either option, consider using a landscape adhesive between stones to keep them in place. Otherwise, let gravity do it’s job.
  • Once the wall of the fire pit is complete, you can leave it as is or add an appropriately sized fire bowl for aesthetics and easy clean-up.

Invite Friends and Family

Bonfire night

Your hands might be bandaged, toes stubbed, and mind tired from setbacks — but you’ve done it. You’ve harnessed the power of fire. Well, almost. Call up your friends and get your family over to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s time to relax and spend some time with your loved ones. At some point in the night, though, when things are dying down and you find a quiet moment besides the fire, think of those that came before you and how they too stared into the flame wondering about the mountains, the moon, and, perhaps, what to build next.

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Do It Yourself: How to Build a Fire Pit

Camping can be a lot of fun, and roughing it will give you a chance to bond with nature and appreciate the wilderness. However, before you go out into the wilderness, one of the basic skills you should have is knowing how to build a fire pit. This fire will be helpful in a number of ways, such as providing you with a means of cooking food, keeping you warm, and in emergency cases, using it as a call for help. If you’re not sure how to go about building a fire on the beach or any sandy areas, read on and learn this valuable skill for the outdoors.

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1. Check the Beach Rules and Regulations

Check on the beach rules and regulations | How To Build A Fire Pit At The Beach Before you get excited about building your bonfire, you should first check with beach authorities to see if fires are permitted. This step seems quite obvious but is sometimes overlooked. Not all beaches allow fire pits for safety for environmental reasons. However, if they’re allowed, go ahead and read on to understand how to build a fire pit.

2. Pick a Spot

Pick a Spot | How To Build A Fire Pit At The Beach Choose a good spot where the wind isn’t blowing too hard, so you can put up the fire without any additional challenges. Also, make sure you’re at least 15 feet away from anything that’s flammable or objects could easily catch fire. You should clear all grass and twigs away from your fire pit area.

3. Trace and Dig

Trace and dig | How To Build A Fire Pit At The Beach Trace your fire pit — about two to three feet should be a good start for a regular fire, but you can trace wider if you want a bigger fire. Once satisfied with the size, begin digging. Dig about a foot hole into the sand.

4. Gather Your Materials

Gather your materials | How To Build A Fire Pit At The Beach Gather some driftwood or larger wood for your fire. Collect rocks as well to create a circle around your fire pit. If you see any paper that’s littered around the beach, collect it for burning later on.

5. Make a Fire Starter

You can start a fire more easily if you make a fire starter. Just gather beeswax, mineral spirits, and sawdust. Combine and melt the materials together. While this step is optional, it makes a fire easier to start.

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6. Start Your Fire

Start your fire | How To Build A Fire Pit At The Beach If you choose to do away with a fire starter, or you simply do not have the materials to make one, start with paper. Put in little twigs or shavings on the paper and then light it. You can start adding the larger pieces of woods once the fire gets bigger. Fan the fire carefully at the beginning to help it get bigger more quickly.

7. Clean Up

Clean up | How To Build A Fire Pit At The Beach It’s very important to clean up after all the fun. Be responsible and make sure your fire is put out correctly and all trash is thrown away.

For more information on how to build a fire pit, check out this video from Darbin Orvar:

Starting a bonfire can be a lot of work, but once it’s started, it’s lots of fun for everyone. It’s also a good idea to take note of these natural fire starters. Just remember to act responsibly, put out the fire, clean up after you’ve finished.

How To Build A Fire Pit At The Beach

Do you have any tips for building a fire pit at the beach? Let us know in the comments!

Up Next: Gearing Up For Summer: Can Your Bug Out Bag Take The Heat?

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Comments

comments

homemade backyard fire pitPreparation

There are first a few things you must do before you get started. For starters you need to make sure you have all the tools and materials handy before you start working on your fire pit. According to a number of estimates, these items should cost you no more than $200. Here are those materials:• Gravel• Sand

• 52 retaining wall blocks

Optional items include a steel ring to line the inside of the pit and a metal grate to cover the top of the pit once it is built.

…Stack More Stone

Continue laying the blocks in a circle until the fire pit reaches your desired height. Depending on the size of your fire pit, it should take approximately 10-15 stones for each layer all the way around.

If you plan on cooking over the fire pit it probably will be a good idea to buy a metal grate to cover the fire pit, that way if someone accidentally drops a hot dog or marshmallow over the fire it can still be grabbed and eaten.

There are numerous other fire pit designs that are more complex and ornate that can be found for free online.

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