Fire pit DIY in 4 steps for safe campfire fun at home
It’s amazing how something like sitting around a fire can bring people together and get them talking. Add hot dogs, smores, or food cooking in heavy duty tin foil and you’ve got a party!
With just a little bit of skill, and a dose of enthusiasm building a fire-pit in your own garden is quite simple really. It’s a DIY project the whole family can get involved in too.
Step – 1 Planning
Choose the dimensions of the fire-pit you want to build and decide where you would like it. Make sure it is a good distance away from any structures or overhanging trees.
Once you have chosen the spot, look around it to see if it is suitable for people to sit around. You need to make sure there is enough space for people to sit further away if the fire gets too hot, and closer if they want to benefit from the warmth.
Think about whether you will be doing any activities around your fire-pit such as fire poi or dancing and make sure there is enough space for those activities too, as well as space for laying down blankets and cushions if you want to picnic next to the fire and eat under the stars.
Step 2 – Marking out the pit
The best fire-pits are circular, as it allows the best spread of warmth. Mark the center of the fire-pit using a wooden pole or stake and then tie a string the length of the radius you would like the pit to have from the centre.
So if you want the pit to be metre across, then use a string that is 500mm long.
Tie the other end of the string to another stick with a pointed end that will be able to mark the edge of the fire-pit. Pull the string taut and walk around the stick to mark out the circle.
Step 3 – Dig and build
Dig out the entire hole about 15 centimetres deep to remove any flammable materials under the pit including roots and left over grass or plant debris. You will need to place stones all around the dugout hole’s perimeter.
You can use bricks or stones. Some home improvement stores will have suggestions of stones, bricks or even fire baked slates which are designed for this type of thing.
You need to build a high enough wall around the pit so that it keeps the pit safe from people stumbling into the fire, or the flames jumping over the edge of the pit and starting a fire in your garden.
You can leave gaps in the wall to allow air flow, if your fire-pit is wide enough though, there should be sufficient ventilation from above the fire-pit.
If you do choose to put ventilation spaces into the wall, make sure they aren’t too big and the wall above them is secure and not likely to fall when the rocks shift as they heat up.
If you want to secure the brickwork with cement, speak to the staff at your home improvement supplier to make sure you use the correct mix of cement for a structure that will be holding it.
Step 4 – Stone base
You don’t want a fire burning into the ground under your fire-pit, so fill the pit with layers of sand or gravel, followed by a row of stones to keep the fire lifted off the soil beneath.
This will also prevent moisture from the soil beneath the area where you have built your fire pit making the fire pit soaked when it rains, as the gravel and stones will promote drainage and prevent your fire-pit from turning into a garden pond.