Firepit

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A firepit is a backyard focal point and gathering spot. The one featured here is constructed around a metal liner, which will keep the fire pit walls from overheating and cracking if cooled suddenly by rain or a bucket of water. The liner here is a section of 36-inch-diameter corrugated culvert pipe. Check local codes for stipulations on pit area size. Many codes require a 20-foot-diameter pit area.

 

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Overview

A firepit is a backyard focal point and gathering spot. The one featured here is constructed around a metal liner, which will keep the fire pit walls from overheating and cracking if cooled suddenly by rain or a bucket of water. The liner here is a section of 36-inch-diameter corrugated culvert pipe. Check local codes for stipulations on pit area size. Many codes require a 20-foot-diameter pit area.
Ashlar wall stones add character to the fire pit walls, but you can use any type of stone, including cast concrete retaining wall blocks. You’ll want to prep the base for the seating area as you dig the firepit to be sure both rest on the same level plane.

Some pointers to consider when using your firepit include: 1) Make sure there are no bans or restrictions in effect; 2) Evaluate wind conditions and avoid building a fire if winds are heavy and/or blowing toward your home; 3) Keep shovels, sand, water, and a fire extinguisher nearby; 4) Extinguish fire with water and never leave the firepit unattended.

Complete Guide to Backyard Recreation Projects: 978-1-58923-518-2

What You'll Need

Tools:

Wheelbarrow
Spade
Level
Garden rake
Plate vibrator
Eye and ear protection
Work gloves

Materials:

Landscape paint
String and stakes
Metal pipe
Landscape edging
Metal firepit liner
Compactable gravel
Top-dressing rock (trap rock)
Wall stones

 

Step 1

Cross Section/Plan View

Shown in the image to the right, is both a plan view of the firepit and a cross section.


Step 2

How to Build a Firepit

Outline the location for your firepit and the firepit safety area by drawing concentric circles with landscape paint using a string and stake for guidance.


Step 3

How to Build a Firepit

Remove a 4"-deep layer of sod and dirt in the firepit and safety areas (the depth of the excavation depends on what materials you’re installing in the safety zone.)


Step 4

How to Build a Firepit

Dig a 4"-deep trench for the perimeter stones that will ring the pit liner.


Step 5

How to Build a Firepit

Fill the trench for the perimeter stones with compactable gravel and tamp thoroughly. Then scatter gravel to within 21/2" of the paver edging top throughout the project area. It is not necessary to tamp this layer at this time.


Step 6

How to Build a Firepit

Place your metal fire ring so it is level on the gravel layer and centered around the center pipe.


Step 7

How to Build a Firepit

Arrange the first course of wall blocks around the fire ring. Keep gaps even and check with a level, adding or removing gravel as needed.


Step 8

How to Build a Firepit

Install the second course of retaining wall block, taking care to evenly stagger the vertical joints on the first and second courses. Add the remaining courses.


Step 9

How to Build a Firepit

Compact the gravel in the seating/safety area using a rental plate vibrator.


Step 10

How to Build a Firepit

Place and compact a layer of top-dressing rock in the seating/safety area to complete the firepit.


 
 

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