fire pit

Outdoor Fire Pit

Summer is coming to a close and the weather will be cooling down. Cool weather is no reason to completely stop enjoying the outdoors though. Instead of kicking back relaxing by the pool on a hot summer day with sun shades and a cold drink many people will be transitioning to huddling about a toasty backyard fire with beanie caps and some cocoa. Get in on the action and take some time to read these tips on how to build a fire pit that will provide years of enjoyment.

Tip 1: Find a suitable location for your fire pit. Having a place to gather around the fire is all well and good but can be disastrous if you don’t put some thought into it. The last thing you want to happen is to end up setting some trees on fire or scorching the fence between you and your neighbor’s house. That being said, don’t build your fire pit directly under low hanging trees. This will decrease the chances that rising embers accidentally set them ablaze. Also, be sure to leave a suitable buffer around your fire pit. This will ensure that any winds that happen to pick up and whip the flames about won’t end up catching nearby items on fire. Your local fire marshal or fire department would be a good place to inquire about local policies regarding fire pit locations. There may be specific guidelines in our community concerning size and proximity to other structures.

fire pit location
Tip 2: Choose an above or below-ground design. With pre-built fire pits that sit above ground being so common these days, many people might not consider the fact that if they decide to build one themselves that they have to option to recess it into the ground and that both styles have their merits. An above ground design is easily noticed and it is less likely that someone might accidentally step into it if not paying attention. Also, when performing basic maintenance, such as removing unwanted debris, it would be easier to accomplish without having to reach down into a hole in the ground. However, don’t get the impression that an in-ground design is the “pits” (pun intended). The visual effect of flames shooting up from the ground is quite impressive and will be sure to wow your guests. Additionally, the fire will be less susceptible to winds and will, therefore, be easier to contain.

Tip 3: Ensure proper drainage. Whether you decide to go with an above ground or in-ground design, proper drainage is key to making sure your fire pit is usable when you need it and that it lasts. After a rainstorm, the last thing you want is for your fire pit to be full of standing water for days on end. Consider adding a short steel drain pipe to the floor of your fire pit. Try to install it at a slight angle to promote the runoff of water. In addition to the drain pipe, consider some sort of cover that can aid in keeping water and any other unwanted debris out.

Tip 4: Choose appropriate building materials. This might seem obvious to some but not everyone takes this into consideration. Remember that you are basically building a container for fire so build it out of something that is fire-resistant! Concrete, cement or stone is typically a good choice, you should stay away from metal or wood unless it is well insulated from the fire or only used for cosmetic purposes. For example, if your fire pit is enclosed by a brick wall 4-ft thick, then it would probably be fine to wrap the outer wall in aluminum for an aesthetic touch. The distance between the fire and the metal would keep it from getting too hot to touch.

Tip 5: Consider seating. Chances are that you won’t be sitting at the fire by yourself, you’ll be enjoying quality time with friends and family! That being said, be sure to consider the number of guests you will have around the fire as it will impact the size of the pit you should build. If the pit is too small, your guests would have to sit relatively far from the fire in order to fit everyone around it which would result in less heat felt. Build your pit too large and a small get together would be spaced out too far around the fire to enjoy quiet conversation.

fire pit

Tip 6: Ask Ask Ask! As you set out to tackle this job and make your way to the local hardware store, don’t be afraid to ask store employees if they have any tips on how to build a fire pit. They have likely fielded several inquiries on the topic and have learned a few things along the way. Use the knowledge of those around you.

Be sure to plan out your job to minimize frustration and maximize satisfaction with your end result. Taking care to consider the tips above will ensure you end up with a fire pit that both you and your guests will enjoy for many years.

Thank you for reading our article.  If you have other great tips, please submit them here.


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