Build a wood-burning fire pit to maximize use of your backyard, even during the cooler months of the year. The process requires very few materials and it can be done in a matter of hours.
Before building, check with your local government office to ensure that there are no ordinances that restrict construction of an outdoor fire pit.
Step 1 – Call your Local Utility
Call your local utility companies. Most will send out a surveyor who will mark of the locations of any underground lines.
Step 2 – Find the Location
Pick out a location in your backyard where you can build your new fire pit. The outer edge should be at least 10 feet from any foliage or structures that could be ignited by a fire. Make sure that you are not placing the fire pit directly on top of any underground utility lines. If you have a patio, this might be an ideal place for the fire pit..
Step 3 – Mark the Fire pit
Place one stake in the ground at the center of the spot where you want your fire pit to be located. Cut a piece of string equal to the radius of your pit. A good size for a fire pit is about 72 inches, so the string would be 36 inches.
Tie one end to the center stake and the other end to a second stake. Pull the free stake until the string is taut, and then drag it in the ground, carving a circle.
Step 5 – Dig the Fire Pit
Using your shovel, dig out the area that you marked. The hole should be between 4 and 6 inches deep. Make sure that you remove any potentially flammable materials you find when digging, like roots or sticks, as well as objects which may prevent the pit from laying level, stones. Use the shovel to tap the ground until the dirt is even and firm.
Step 6 – Lay Your Stones
Lay the retaining wall stones on the inside of the circle. Make 2 rows with the stones staggered. For a fire pit with a circumference of 72 inches you will need 20 stones. The larger the total circumference, the more stones you will need.
You can optionally add a third row of stones to increase the overall height of the fire pit.
Use your rubber mallet to tap the stone gently into place until they feel firm.
Step 7 - Add the Sand
Place the sand in the center of the circle. Try to make it fairly even on the edges and lower in the center. This will allow the ash and debris to accumulate more in the center.