A backyard fire pit might conjure up images of lakeside lodges and indulgent summer relaxation. But such enjoyment doesn't have to be out of reach. Though premade fire pits are available for purchase, they are often costly. Instead, do-it-yourself enthusiasts have found creative ways to build their own, and the popularity of gathering around a backyard fire has spread.
Building a fire pit adds to the appeal of the backyard by creating a focal point and offering a perfect place for company to gather. By providing warmth at night, the fire pit allows you to stretch outdoor entertaining well into fall and even winter. The fire pit also offers a place to cook, and both s'more and Dutch oven enthusiasts can enjoy camp-out treats from home.
Homemade fire pits range from simple piles of stone around a dug-out hole to more involved, permanent structures built with several layers of stone and reinforced with mortar. Others use bricks or cinder blocks to achieve a similar effect.
Some homeowners have created backyard fire pits using found or discarded objects. One of the most popular items for building a fire pit is a tractor tire rim, which is the perfect shape for a fire pit when laid on its side.
Another homemade fire pit design uses a piece of galvanized pipe buried slightly in the ground and surrounded by interlocking bricks to improve the appearance. And some creative cookers have designed outdoor fire pits that are partially covered by a grill to make cooking over the fire even easier.
How to Make One
The easiest way to make a fire pit is to use stones to build a temporary fire pit. You'll need a large backyard to make sure there are no flammable materials nearby. Dig a slight depression in the ground the width that you want your fire pit to be. Then surround the circle with large rocks, stacking the rocks in several layers if possible. This will help prevent fire from spreading. Add wood to the center of the circle and start your fire.
Before you start building, select a location that is far from any flammable materials, including buildings or low-hanging branches. Make sure the pit won't be located above any underground pipes or wires, either.
Allow plenty of room for the fire pit, and remember that it will generate heat beyond its circumference. Clear grass and other small flammable material from the area around the fire pit before you start construction.
Many cities and counties have laws regulating the construction and use of backyard fire pits. Some require permits, while others ban fire pits during wildfire season or year-round. Check with your local fire department to learn what the local laws are before constructing your fire pit.
- Photo Credit Louis Waweru (GNU Free Documentation License)
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