If you haven’t already outfitted your backyard to welcome visitors, now is the time to add the best yard feature: a fire pit. Most fire pits involve quite a bit of hard labour, including buying bricks or cement blocks, mixing up concrete, or digging out an area for the stones to sit. And while that might be a fun long-term project, there’s an easier way to get the same safe, strong structure in your backyard without becoming a licensed contractor.
Follow your local fire codes
Before you begin, you want to make sure you’re following your local fire codes when it comes to fire pits on your property. Standard fire regulations include setting up your bonfire or fire pit at least 7.6 m from your home, shed, or backyard structures and at least ten feet from your property line and your neighbours. The fire cannot rise higher than three feet and must be tended to at all times. To be sure you’re meeting your local fire code requirements, make a quick phone call to your local fire department for more detailed information on what’s allowed in your area.
How much does a fire pit cost?
Hardware stores sell preset kits with easy-to-follow setups. A kit comes complete with a metal fire ring and concrete stones, and on average should run you about $US229 ($294) and $US532 ($682) for fancier limestone options. That’s pretty pricey, but no additional purchases are necessary.
Other options require planning, patience, and buying all of the materials yourself, but will save you a chunk of change. DIY fire pits can be made for under a hundred bucks with similarly easy-to-follow steps, although you’ll need a little muscle to stack the cement or bricks yourself.
How to set up your own backyard fire pit
First, let’s set the area: Measure out the radius of the fire pit in your desired location, then tie a string the length of the circle’s radius to a dowel in the centre of the circle. Attach a spray paint can to the string to meet the radius with the nozzle, and spray a complete circle. Now you’ve got the parameters of your fire pit.
If your fire pit is located on a cement patio, lay down the fire pit walls and line the bottom with fire blocks as a protectant from the heat and flames. For fire pits on soil or grass, dig out the fire pit circle about two inches down and fill with a gravel base, then wet it, pat it down, and repeat.
Then, start laying your first layer of brick in the designated circle. You can use paver stones which are common for fire pits and cost about $US1.98 ($3) each. You’ll also need a solid steel fire ring as the inner protectant circle for your fire pit, which currently costs about $US80 ($103) on Amazon.
Use the metal ring to double check you’re maintaining the correct circle size, then add cement adhesive as you stack the next brick layers on top. (A tube of cement adhesive will run you about six bucks on Amazon). Be sure to fill the pit with lava rocks to handle and contain the fire, which should run you about another six dollars at a hardware store. You can watch Lowe’s instruction video for a visual guide to building your fire pit, and then enjoy being outdoors at night with your friends again, maybe with fancy drinks.