How to Build a Firepit

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Is there anything more soothing than sitting around a fire on a cool night? Grownups and kids both love the appeal of an open fire. Whether toasting a marshmallow over the flames or just sipping a cup of coffee and watching the dancing flames, a fire pit is guaranteed to make everyone's world a better place. Here's how you can build a fire pit in your own yard and be roasting hot dogs that very same evening.

Things You'll Need

  • Stackable interlocking paving stones (12' x 12')
  • Stake with 2-foot string and a nail
  • Building sand
  • Pea or small aggregate gravel
  • Edger/square tip shovel
  • Rake

Building the Firepit

  • Choose a location for your fire pit that isn't close to trees, building or anything that could catch fire from a spark. A level location is best, but the design can accommodate a slight slope as well. Be sure there aren't any underground wires, cable or pipes in your chosen location.

  • Drive a stake into the ground where you want to put the fire pit. Tie a piece of string to the stake and attach a stick or nail 1 1/2 or 2 feet away from the stake.

  • Scribe a circle all around the stake and mark the line with spray paint or even flour.

  • Remove the sod inside the circle and dig out the hole to a depth of about 1 foot (keep the sides as straight as possible). Then, in the center of your fire pit excavation, dig a hole about 6 or 8 inches square and 12 inches deep

  • Scrape out the bottom of your hole and pour in about 4 inches of pea gravel (fill the hole in the center with the gravel as well). If your fire pit is on a slope you can level the bottom out by adding more pea gravel to one side. The pea gravel will help the fire pit drain and the hole in the center will act as a sump and improve the drainage

  • Add about 3 inches of sand on top of the pea gravel - the sand will help prevent any fire from spreading to roots under your pit.

  • Surround the fire pit with at least two rows of concrete pavers stacked on top of each other. Dry stack the pavers to make it easy to replace any that might break. Don't use adhesive to hold the pavers together, as it will melt and give off fumes that could be toxic.

  • Now just wait for evening, build the first fire in your own fire pit, and then sit back and enjoy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check your local fire codes before building your own fire pit. Some municipalities don't allow open fires.
  • It's a good idea to have a 5-gallon bucket of water handy and your garden hose near by in case of emergency.
  • If you want a more natural look, you can use stones instead of pavers for the edging. Just be sure the stones aren't taken from a pond or stream. Water can get into the stones and when the water turns to steam, the stone could explode and send rock shards flying the air.
  • This fire pit plan hasn't been approved by any fire department or building codes. It is a suggestion of how you could build a workable fire pit on your own property.

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