An outdoor fire pit provides a focal point in a back yard and adds drama to the surrounding area. Whether hosting a card game, cookout, family dinner or party, homeowners will find that a fire pit allows them to entertain guests comfortably outdoors even on the coldest of nights. You and your guests can snuggle up around the fire roasting marshmallows, or place a metal grate over it and enjoy homemade barbecue.
Decorative Fire Pit Table
Many modern fire pits feature a table-like rim around the edges or are built into decorative tables that serve a dual purpose, allowing people to cook food over the grate and place their crockery on the edges. Often sold as a part of a patio furniture set, decorative fire pit tables come in a variety of materials including slate, tiled mosaic, river rock, bronze and copper, allowing homeowners to choose one that blends with the surrounding outdoor decor.
Stone Fire Pit
A stone or camp fire pit is a traditional fire pit made by digging a shallow round trench over the selected spot of non-flammable gravel, sand or soil, and surrounding it with bricks, stones or rocks to prevent contained logs from rolling out. Although not attractive, this fire pit is inexpensive and adds rustic charm to the area, adding to the ambiance on a cold night. Stack wide stones over one another to create columns that support a metal grate if you want to cook dinner under the stars. They are temporary and easy to remove.
Permanent Block Fire Pit
Use blocks to create a temporary or permanent fire pit in your back yard. A temporary block fire pit is similar to a stone fire pit, only with cinder blocks or bricks surrounding the edges. A permanent in-ground structure requires more elbow grease, but will serve you for many years. Use cast concrete blocks molded to resemble stones with flat tops and bases that make them easier to stack. Place blocks over the desired spot to form a circle as wide as you want the fire pit. Remove the blocks and dig a 1-foot-deep circular trench. Dig another 6 inches around the edges of the circular trench, as wide as a block, and spread a layer of drainage gravel over the base. Lay a row of blocks over the gravel adjacent to one another. Apply masonry adhesive over the blocks with a caulking gun before firmly placing subsequent rows of blocks over them until you have reached the desired height. Pour gravel inside.
A chiminea fire pit is structure with a bulbous base, a door that holds the fire and a long, chimney-like neck. These come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs and materials including traditional clay, modern cast aluminum, iron and copper. While some feature "legs" made of the same material as the body, others have decorative metal stands that hold them.
- Photo Credit camping fire image by sumos from Fotolia.com
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