Do you often look out the window and get the feeling that your yard or outdoor living area could look so much better than it does right now? Well, you are right, it can! The truth of the matter is remodeling your outdoor living space does not have to be expensive. Besides, you can do it in phases.
Adding a fire pit is the first part of that much-coveted transformation. If you love to work with your hands and love a good challenge, you can build a fire pit in your backyard at a relatively economical cost.
Alternatively, if you are not cut out for DIY projects and can’t make out the difference between a mattock and a shovel, buying a turnkey fire pit may be the way to go. That means buying a ready-made fire pit with barely any installation required and you are instantly ready to start enjoying your fire and an improved yard.
If you have some semblance of building or affinity for DIY projects, then you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that building a fire pit from scratch is not all that difficult. It can be done in several easy steps as outlined below.
DIY Fire Pit Building
Step 1: Pick a spot
Identify a preferred spot in the backyard. Wherever you choose in the yard, it should be away from any obtrusive structures such as trees or a section of the house building. Placing the fire pit at least 10 feet from the house is a safe enough distance. Ensure that there are no tree branches hanging overhead of the fire pit.
Step 2: What material do you need?
You will need simple tools for digging and shoveling soil.
- Machete or slasher- for clearing bushed and tall grass
- Fork- for digging the select areas
- Shovel- for scooping soil from the area
- Trowel – for working the cement mix
- Mallet – this will help you gently hammer the bricks into alignment
- Adhesive or mortar- for brick joinery
- Bricks- enough bricks to create several layers
- Gravel: This will help with water drainage in your fire pit
Step 3: Determine shape and size
Determine the size and shape of your fire pit. A round shape is a good choice that’s easy to work with and is most traditional. Clear the area of grass or shrub with a machete or slasher. You can use the bricks to help you mark where they will terminate at the edge of the circle.
After marking the circle, dig out a 6” hole the size of the circle you just marked. You can use the fork or equivalent tool for digging. The shovel should help you scoop the soil from the hole with ease.
Step 4: Create drainage for when it rains
Once you have cleared the dug-up soil from the 6” hole, fill it with gravel so that the gravel is flush with the brim of the hole and with the rest of the ground. This is particularly important because it gives your fire pit a drainage area during the rainy season.
Step 5: Bricklaying
Start laying the ring of bricks. You can use masonry adhesive or mortar. The mallet will help you tap the bricks into place for better alignment. For reinforced structural strength and beauty, lay each layer of bricks in a way that the joints are staggered from the previous layer.
Three rows of brick should give adequate height and depth. You can opt to use a metal ring for a seamless finish and added aesthetic on the brim of your fire pit.
This is a simple, yet effective way to build yourself a fire pit in your backyard. When lighting the fire, start with kindling material such as paper, small twigs to get the fire going then add slightly bigger splinters of wood and eventually logs as the fire takes.
These building steps given above are for a wood-fueled fire pit. Building a gas-powered fire pit requires technical skill and safety levels that are best left to a certified professional gas fire pit builder.
Buying a Ready-made Fire Pit
While building projects are fun for some, it is not as feasible for most simply because they lack the time and/or the expertise to accomplish such a project. Simple as it appears above, building a fire pit can be a daunting task for most and therefore it’s best to purchase a high-quality ready-made option that saves you time and lets you get it right the very first time without a fuss.
When you choose to buy, you will be spoilt for choice as high-quality fire pits come in a wide range of styles, finishes, and fuel types. The upside of buying a ready-made unit is that there is little to no assembly required. You get the unit home, simple installation if any, and you start using it right away. You will never have to worry about the following;
- How the finished product will look
- Whether the burner temperature will affect the materials used and end up with cracks and spalls
- There is zero room for building error saving you time and money
- Safety issues
- You are certain of warranty on parts from the manufacturer in case of a mechanical glitch
- If it is a gas-fuelled fire pit, you are certain that the unit has been crafted by a certified gas fitter to the highest safety standards
Winning Either Way
Whether you have built it yourself or you have bought a fire pit, what you can be sure of is that your backyard will look more inviting. Add a bench or several chairs and all of a sudden the drab look in your yard disappears and is replaced with a spot that family and friends naturally gravitate to.
For safety reasons, we recommend that DIY fire pit projects be restricted to wood-fueled fire pits. When it comes to gas-powered fire pits, it is safe to either buy a ready-made unit or solicit the help of a certified gas technician to give you hand in the project.