How to Build an In-Ground Fire Pit

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Sitting outside in the evening with your feet propped up in front of an open crackling fire is a relaxing way to end the day. Friends and family will be drawn to sit with you lending time for great conversation and friendship building. Although you can buy a ready made fire pit out of a catalog, building your own is an engaging project, and it will save you money. You can do it yourself or have a few friends over and do it in half the time.

Things You'll Need

  • String
  • Stakes
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Mortar
  • Decorative stone
  • Grate or grille
  • Measure out how wide you want your fire pit to be. Cut a piece of string half that width plus two inches for tying and tie stakes to either end. Place one stake in the middle and scrape the ground with the other going around in an even circle.

  • Dig down about 12 inches and remove dirt from the base of the intended fire pit. Dig a eight inch wide hole below the rest of the fire pit about twelve inches deep and fill with gravel. This will allow rainwater to drain instead of collecting in your pit.

  • Add about four inches of gravel to the base of the intended fire pit and then four inches of sand on top, keeping it as level as possible. Put down your first outside layer of decorative stone or whatever you have available, keeping the inside area hollow. Fill in any remaining area around the outside with gravel.

  • Spread a one-inch bed of mortar on the decorative stone and layer the second layer of stone evenly using a level as necessary and keeping the circle even. Stack another two layers of decorative stone using a mortar bed each time to hold them in place. Scrape off any excess as you go, keeping a clean inner edge. Allow to dry overnight. Add a grate if wanted or place a large grill rack over the top for grilling.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can get much more creative with stone depending on your skill level
  • Don't use water soaked rocks - they might crack or burst with heat.

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