Building A Fire Pit
Adding extra outdoor features to your home is not only a great source of enjoyment and family entertainment, done right it will add great value to your home for the small investment. Building your pit yourself means you can be in control of exactly how your fire pit is laid out, whether it's has tiered seating, is paved, below or above ground. Below are the simple steps to building a sunken fire pit.
Before starting to dig, you must spend some time thinking about the ideal location for your pit. You don't want to build your pit too close to your house, or near thick or overhanging trees and shrubs that will easily catch. Choose a spot that you enjoy that's also safe and maintainable.
Basic Ground Level Pit
Assuming you're building a circular pit, knock in a peg with a length string attached. Hold the end of the string in your hand and with a can of dazzle to mark the circle you're going to dig to. Once you've marked out your perimeter, simply dig the hole to your desired depth allowing room for a layer of shingle. Make the center of your pit slightly deeper than the outsides, or dig a deep hole at the bottom for drainage. Take into consideration whether you want the top of your fire to be well above, slightly above, or below ground level and dig your depth accordingly.
Spread a layer of stones over the base, coming right to the edges (don't use stones that have been soaked in water as these can explode). Alternatively you can lay a brick base, but this is a little extra work.
Around the edges, lay a border of bricks or small river stones in heat resistant mortar. Remember, if you are using mortar around the pit, make sure you choose a product that is fire resistant so that it won't quickly crumble or burn causing toxic smoke.
Tiered Fire Pit
Building a tiered pit is a slightly more work, but can be well worth the effort. Before you start digging deep holes, check for water and electrical pipes. Follow the instructions above, simply digging your pit deeper into the ground. From the center peg, mark out an extra perimeter circle for each level you're going to build. Once you've completed the above steps and your pit is in, proceed to pave each tier with bricks (wedge patter recommended), or by setting small stones in mortar. Tiered seating not only looks good, it also provides a cozy, sheltered area.
Now it's time to sit back with a drink and friends, and enjoying the fruits of your labor.