We’ve been asked a lot about how to make and maintain a backyard fire pit. And this post today is about it, including a four-step guide to build a fire pit easily, some maintenance tips, and an extra note that anyone should do before making one.
How To Make A Backyard Fire Pit
What You Will Need
- Masonry adhesive
- Rubber mallet
- Concrete patio pavers
- Mattock, shovel, and other digging tools
- Colored spray paint
- Metal fire pit ring (optional)
Find the right spot in your backyard to build a fire pit
It should be at least 10’ away from obstructions, such as fences, trees, and building structures. Make sure that there’s no stringing light, branches, or anything hung above the fire pit.
Sketch the pit
Clean the surface where you intend to build a fire pit.
Place a metal ring on the ground, then use stones to form a circle around it.
Once you’ve got the desired stone circle, take out a few stones to create room between them so that you can easily paint a circle in which the stone exterior would hit.
Next, take out the other ones and finish the painted circle.
Dig out a 6” deep hole
Use any digging tool you have at hand (mattock or shovel) to dig a 6” deep hole based on the sketch. This task might be quick or time-taking to finish based on the terrain of your area. If the soil is full of big rocks and the grass has strong roots, it might be a bit more challenging.
Remember to wear gloves to protect your hands.
Pour gravel into the pit
To increase the drainage level of the pit, especially during rainy days, it is recommended to add a gravel layer on the bottom.
Pour them into the pit until this layer is 6” in depth.
Make the fire pit
The most ideal height of a fire pit is 12” to 14” from the base to the top of the walls. This height is also perfect for a person seated on an 18” tall chair to prop their feet on it.
In this case, a fire pit constructed of three rows of concrete landscaping stones is enough.
Started with the first row.
You can place a metal ring in the center of the gravel circle to arrange the stones more easily. It’s okay if you do not have one; just place the stones around the gravel circle edge and stamp them using a rubber mallet until they’re level with others.
When fitting the second row, make sure the middle of each stone is on the end joints of the first row. To keep the stones in place, use some masonry adhesive on their bottom.
Again, use a rubber mallet to stamp them. Same with the final row.
Your fire pit can stress if being used during cold weather, which leads to cracking. If you’re living in a cold region, either build your pit on a reinforced concrete base or extend its base to the frost line to reduce the cracking risks.
How To Maintain A Fire Pit
What To Burn
Using accelerants might discolor your fire pit while burning pressure-treated wood or trash cause damages on its surfaces. Greenwood isn’t recommended, either.
Instead, you should choose sticks, yard-picked leaves, broken pallets, or dry, split wood to start a fire.
Avoid Pouring Water On An Active Fire
Although it is recommended to have a water bucket at hand for emergencies, you should avoid pouring water on an active fire because this results in sudden temperature shifts, leading to damages and cracks on the pit.
Remove Ash Frequently
Ashes are acidic. If left in your fire pit for too long, they might ruin the interior.
Therefore, remove them one day after using your fire pit. Wear gloves for extra protection and be careful when scooping ashes since embers can smolder very long after you subside the fire.
Store them in a metal bucket with a lid and can be used for feeding plants.
Clean Your Fire Pit Frequently
To remove residue buildup, mix water with muriatic acid in a ratio of 9:1. Apply this mixture onto the pit’s interior. Scrub it and rinse with clean water. Let it air dry for 48-72 hours before use.
If you usually use the fire pit for cooking outdoors, remember to clean food residue, juices, and grease from the cooking surfaces and grates to keep them from potential exacerbating deterioration.
Use A Cover
Covering your fire pit when not in use is a simple yet effective way to extend its lifespan.
You can use an ornate cover or a simple vinyl one, depending on your budget and preference. But make sure that it can protect your fire pit completely.
Before making a pit, always check if you’re living in a community with CC&Rs regarding the governing body, HOA, or the use of your property. Also, make sure that there are no relevant restrictions or regulations.
And, this is everything about how to make and maintain a backyard fire pit. Thanks for reading!