Tips For Designing
Your Backyard Fire Pit
The sun is setting on another perfect summer day. The night is just beginning, but your yard is drenched in darkness. Venturing outside now means pulling on a jacket and busting out the mosquito repellant. It dawns on you as the sun finally sizzles off the horizon that there is an easy way to add light and warmth to your yard, to extend your summer several more hours...
A fire pit! Once the thought occurs, you can't help but imagine yourself surrounded by friends and family, lounging with your favorite drink, serving up s'mores. Suddenly, your yard looks lifeless without it. Building your own fire pit is much easier than most people think. With a good set of tools, a few supplies and a touch of creativity you can change how you celebrate your summer nights and spark some life into your backyard retreat.
Assembling Your Materials
Unless you're planning on redesigning your entire patio with landscaping that includes a fancy built-in fire pit, the building products you need to surround your campfire don't have to cost a small fortune. Essentially, your checklist should include the following basic materials: a non-flammable foundation agent, such as sand or gravel; a selection of stones to construct your walls; and steel lining to protect the stone from deterioration caused by the heat of the flames over time.
A Strong Foundation
If you found a fire pit design you admire, chances are someone didn't just start stacking stones in a circle to get that look. The more attention you pay to your foundation, the easier it will be to give your design a suitable shape. Take time to clear out an area on the lawn with plenty of open vertical space, make sure you're in an area without utility lines crisscrossing below your feet, get out your shovel, and start digging. It isn't necessary to go too deep. Experts recommend a range of 6"-12". Don't feel the need to dig in a perfect circle, either. It's better to mark out an area that will give you room to craft your fire pit. You can always fill the earth back in later.
Sizing It Right
One advantage fire pits have over makeshift campfires is the ability to block the wind and control how the fire burns. Ideally, your walls should rise about 18" off the ground. This height offers a suitable degree of protection while giving you a comfortable seat for relaxing or tending the fire. The diameter or width depends on how big you want your average fire to be, but it typically ranges between 36"-44" when measuring across the inside walls, a distance that will allow you and your guests to talk to anyone in the circle without being forced to shout.
Choosing The Stone
For those who want to get up and running quickly, prefabricated paver blocks are available specifically for fire pits. These blocks are curved to make building your pit simple, and come in a variety of styles to fit your preferences. If you're looking to create something more unique, there are larger stones and small boulders of all kinds, from earthy quartzite to red lava rocks to sandstone slabs. Ensure small or irregular pieces are arranged securely and in a way that will offer protection to those sitting around the flames, and always plan out your foundation before getting creative with the walls.
Beyond The Pit
Getting so involved in designing the pit may leave you wondering what to do when it is finished. Although things like seating can be as simple as pulling over the lawn furniture, tracking down a comfortable bench or just sitting right in the grass, you can also spill over the stone design from your fire pit to create a more cohesive look.
Note: Double check if adding a fire pit to your property is something that needs to be done within the boundaries of local neighborhood regulations, and as a precaution, find out if adding a fire pit to your property is covered under your home insurance policy.
While getting your hands dirty and laying down your stone, take a moment to remember why you began construction. Think about the end result, the countless summer nights you'll get to spend surrounded by friends and family, enjoying the light and warmth of the fire. Find additional ways to complete and enjoy your backyard retreat with products from The Lakeside Collection, from patio accent pieces to comfortable seating and more.
At The Lakeside Collection, Zach enjoys using his abilities as a storyteller, researcher and content creator to deliver a fresh take on subjects both new and familiar, from easy tips to optimize the space in your home to do-it-yourself building projects for your backyard retreat.