Spending summer nights around a fire pit with family and friends cooking hotdogs and making s’mores is a delightful way to enjoy the outdoors. And it’s actually pretty easy to build your own fire pit compared to other digging projects. Many fire pit designs won’t necessitate you digging at all, but if you decide to dig one on your own, make sure you call Texas811 first. Here are a few simple DIY fire pit tips.
1. Plan the Design
There are many options to choose from, including above or below ground, stylized stones or traditional red brick—be as creative as possible! Just plan for your design to be at least 25 feet away from your house or nearby trees. Check your city’s building code to ensure your design complies with local regulations.
2. Build the Foundation
Building the foundation for a an in-ground fire pit requires careful planning. Drive a rebar stake into the ground at the center of where you want to place your fire pit. Make a circumference around the hole and attach a string, measured to half of your circumference, to the stake, so you can use spray paint to mark a circle around the stake. Here is where you will begin to dig outwards to build the foundation of the fire pit. You will need to dig a depth of about 6 inches, ensuring there is 12 inches from your spray paint to the outside of the fire pit. After you dig, mix water with concrete and lay the concrete upon which to place your stones or bricks. The concrete will need to start about 1.5 inches below ground.
3. Build Outer Wall
After the foundation has been set, it’s time to lay the stones or bricks. Mix the mortar and shovel about 2 inches on top of the concrete base. Ensure you are working in small sections. If you use natural stones, mix the size and color. When necessary, use a chipping hammer to shape the stones. As the first few levels of stones begin to take shape along the outside edge of the fire pit, begin to lay fire bricks to form the inner wall of the structure.
4. Build Inner Wall
As you are leveling each brick, fill the gaps with wet mortar, scraping away the excess using a jointer. Continue to raise both the bricks (against the inside circle) and the stones (against the outside circle), filling in any gaps in between with stones and mortar as the wall grows. Capstones are what you place on top of the bricks and/or stones to provide a smooth surface for your fire pit.
After everything has been assembled and there is no more wet concrete or mortar, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your fire pit. Using a standard paintbrush, begin to removed any loose debris from the mortar. Spray paint the inside of your fire pit black to give it a finished look, or choose a color that goes with your theme. Fill the pit level with a layer of river rocks or crushed stones.
Once you have completed your DIY fire pit, all that’s left to do is call up your friends and family and enjoy summer nights by the fire!