This Old House: Planning and Ideas

Southern Living: Home and Garden

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Make Your Own Fire Pit in 7 Steps

Creating a DIY fire pit may sound tough to do, but it's actually easier than many people believe. Aside from some digging and lifting heavy object, you can create your own outdoor fireplace within a day. All you have to do is grab a shovel, Quick-Sand, cement stones, and follow these 9 steps to create a place to relax and stay warm for years to come.

1. Check Your Local Laws and Ordinances

Some places have certain requirements for DIY fire pits (diameter, depth, location, etc.) that you'll have to use as guidelines before building one. In some states or municipalities, certain fire pits are considered illegal and carry a hefty fine if you choose to ignore them.

2. Be Nice to Your Neighbors

It's best to notify or ask your friends next door if they'll mind the smoke you'll be producing when burning large amounts of wood (or anything at all).

3. Choosing the Right Location

It's best to pick an open area that not only is far enough away from anything flammable, but also a spot that give you and your family enough room to walk around a DIY fire pit. The best distance is 6 ft from the edge, but you may have to judge according to the size of the pit you wish to make.

4. Start Digging

Once you've determined where and how big you want it, dig a circular hole, at least 6" deep for the wood to sit in while it burns. Some use the rim of a tire tractor for measuring the depth, but it's up to you if wish to use one.

5. Create a Shelf

After you've dug to hole, take some of the left over dirt and make a shelf. You should pack it down tightly so that it's sturdy enough for the Quick-Sand that you'll be using later. This is to create a solid base at the bottom for the wood to sit on when burning.

6. Build a Wall

Using the cement stones of your choice, place them around the edge of your DIY fire pit to create a barrier around the fire inside. It should at least be 1' tall and with 2" between each stone.

7. Cover the Bottom

Mix and pour the Quick-Sand (the kind that dries fast) into the bottom of the pit and smooth it out until it's flat. If you want, create a dip in the middle so you can lay some newspaper down to start fires with.

That's all it takes to make a DIY fire pit. Once the concrete has dried in the bottom, you can use it to make as many fires as you wish. This is also easy to clean up after use. Just grab the garden hose and wash it off after you're done or when it needs to be cleaned out. You can also choose to create outdoor fireplaces in different shapes if you want something that others don't have.

Researching outdoor fireplace kits? Check out for more great information.

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