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How to Build an Outdoor Stone Fire Pit

by Olivia

Imagine that picture, enjoy hot nights outside and even when it’s chilly. It’s all too easy to head back indoors once the sun goes down and it gets a little chilly. But a sure way of extending the evening outside is to gather around a fire. You can recreate that romantic evening you spent around a fire on holiday in your own home with a outdoor fire pit.

Outdoor fires are so hot right now. Seriously. Human has called the hearth home for the centuries, it’s true, but these days people are going ultra-retro and getting their heat from stone-walled pits set into the earth. And, why not?

On cool summer nights, you can melt marshmallows and nibbles’ mores while you lounge in an Adirondack chair, feet propped up on the rock ledge. So if you really want to light up right, do it in style. Take a few days to build your very own ring of fire.

Think about this, you have a brilliant back yard and you want to spend your spare time with your family and your friends, you must have a stone fire pit which looks nice and you can have fun with your family and friends. You can spend a lot of money in hiring a contractor to build a stone fire pit for you; or you can buy some materials and build it by yourself or with your family, it’s really enjoyable when the stone fire pit is built up.

outdoor fire pit

outdoor fire pit

The popularity of fire pits and the fire effects they produce in the garden is one of fastest growing trends in outdoor design. The allure of sitting around a fire ring has been around since the beginning of mankind. Fire provides warmth, light, a cooking source and, of course relaxation.

A dancing flame has a mesmerizing affect that encourages you to unwind and settle in. The popularity of fire pits, or conversation pits as they are commonly called, has grown rapidly in recent years. Proper design and construction will ensure a safe and enjoyable feature that will last several decades.

It’s not like the wood fire pit, the stone fire pit has sturdy walls of stone that help contain the flames and heat. That’s especially important in the parts of the country where there’s a risk of brush fires. So the first task in building any fire pit is checking local codes on open flames. The pit must be located far from overhanging trees, the house, and any other flammable structure.

It’s not an easy job to make your stone fire pit look pretty, honestly, you need a quite big plan to achieve it. But if you take effort to make it, no matter what it looks like, it will be the most beautiful in your heart.

firepit-annotated-illo

firepit-annotated-illo

Before we start the steps on how to build an outdoor stone fire pit, there are some safety notes you should pay attention to.

The Safety Notes You Should Pay Attention To:

  1. You should check your local safety codes. Some ares need some special paper for any new structures, especially the fire pit. Make sure the stone fire pit you build is legal.
  2. Away from branches. Make sure that the stone fire pit you build is away from low hanging branches and any flammable materials or structures at least 20 feet.
  3. Lined with a thick steel ring. As an added precaution, the fire pit should be lined with a thick steel ring like the ones used for park campfires. These protect the concrete in the blocks from the heat, which can cause them to dry out and break down prematurely.
  4. Sturdy walls of stone. A stone fire pit with sturdy walls of stone that help contain the flames and heat. That’s especially important in the parts of the country where there’s a risk of brush fires. So the first task in building any fire pit is checking local codes on open flames. The pit must be located far from overhanging trees, the house, and any other flammable structure.
  5. Sit low to the ground. A fire pit should sit low to the ground, with walls rising no more than a foot off the ground. But for stability, the base of the wall must be buried below ground in a hole lined with gravel, providing drainage and protecting against frost heaves in winter.

fire-pit-seat-wall-stamped-concrete-salzano-custom-concrete

fire-pit-seat-wall-stamped-concrete-salzano-custom-concrete

Here comes the things you need, first of all, we can’t give you an particular amount for the stone, gravel, mortar mix and fire bricks because it all depends the size of the stone fire pit you build. So, how about making a detailed plan for your stone fire pit, such as the size, the amount of the materials and the location of the stone fire pit. Take measurements to the stone yard on size, shape and location. Palletized stone is the best material to build the stone fire pit. It’s expensive but can save a lot of time because of the common size, shape and quality.

How to Build an Outdoor Stone Fire Pit Step by Step

Now, here comes the steps.

  • Prepare the base. A good base means that we have already succeeded almost a half. First, you should find a proper place for your stone fire pit. It must be away from trees or the overhanging power-lines. Besides, place your stone fire pit away from the nearest building at least 20 feet. Place the stone fire pit on a relatively flat surface, such as grass, dirt or gravel is a suitable base for your stone fire pit. It’s good for drainage in rainy weather. Your stone fire pit will become a bathtub for birds in the rainy season if you build it on a firm concrete. And also it may not last as long as you want. Using a 3-inch cold chisel and a brick hammer, and hammer a piece of rebar directly in the center of the stone fire pit. Then cut a piece of rope to the length of the stone fire pit’s radius. Dry-lay a ring of blocks on the fire pit site, placing them end to end until you have a perfect circle positioned where you want the finished pit to be.

firepit

firepit

  • Mark the pit. Make sure all the joints between the blocks are tight and the front and back edges line up. Using a spade, mark a circle in the ground about an inch outside the perimeter of the ring.

firepit-02

firepit-02

  • Pour footing. First of all, prepare the premixed cement by the instruction of the manufacturer. Spread the cement around the circles at the edge of the area, and leave the center area to allow for drainage. Then not stop adding the cement until it reaches 1-1/2 inches below grade. When it completely submerged at various points around the footer, stop taping the rebar into the wet cement, taping about 2-foot pieces of rebar.

Build an Outdoor 1

Build an Outdoor 1

  • First course of fire brick. Lay the first course of fire brick, place the first block in the ring. Using a 2-foot level, check that it sits level both side to side and front to back. Make sure this first block is perfectly level and positioned correctly in the trench before moving on. Lay another block next to the first one. Butt the sides together tightly and line up the front and back edges. Using the first block as a reference, level the second block side to side and front to back. Lay the rest of the blocks in the trench in this manner until the ring is complete and all the blocks you counted earlier are used. Make sure each block is perfectly leveled and lined up tight with its neighbor before moving on to the next one.

Build an Outdoor 2

Build an Outdoor 2

  • Complete the pit wall. Keep building the wall until the desired height is reached. Using a caulking gun, squeeze a zigzag bead of masonry adhesive across two adjacent blocks. Lay a block on top of the glue-covered pieces, centering it over the seam between the two. Make sure any interlocking parts on the blocks fit together well. Continue until the second course is finished. You can also use the mortar and stone scraps to fill in any gaps between the fire bricks.

Build an Outdoor 3

Build an Outdoor 3

  • Cover both the face stone and fire brick at the top of the stone fire pit wall with a generous layer of mortar. Start putting capstones into the mortar and choosing some flat stones that fit neatly together. Make sure that all stones are as level as possible. Put joints into the space between the capstones and mortar, smoothing it. Use a stiff brush to scrape off the remaining mortar as the mortar is almost cured.

Build an Outdoor 4

Build an Outdoor 4

  • Seating area. Extend a piece of string from the center of the stone fire pit to the outside edge of the desired seating area. Mark the location and then spray the paint on the ground. Excavate a 3-inches-depth seating area. Cut landscape fabric and then fit the top by crushed stone.

Build an Outdoor 5

Build an Outdoor 5

  • After finishing a stone fire pit, I suggest that using black stove to spray the fire brick, so it’s not obvious. You will focus on the bricks and put it where it belongs and your beautiful stone arts you make! You must take a piece of tarp to cover the stone fire pit in order to block your capstones so that it can’t get painted when you’re painting. You can place some big stones or rocks in the base of your outdoor fire pit in order to raise the temperature of the fire and help drainage well. And it also make your stone fire pit more beautiful than before. After all the steps above, the final step is washing your stone fire pit and using a brush or towel to remove dust and dirt that has accumulated.

Build an Outdoor 6

Build an Outdoor 6

The stone fire pit is also very dangerous, that why we must make sure that it’s safe when we finish it. The biggest risk I see is that people often overlook the importance of the height of the flame and weather conditions. Many people tell me they want a “big fire”. They don’t realize that a fire can blow and move out of the fire pit unexpectedly. Most of the time a fire pit is being used for entertaining, and people are relaxing and aren’t mindful of the weather. However, someone’s dress or jacket can easily catch fire if it gets too close to a flame.

Read:How to Put Out a Campfire:What You Need to Know

At my own home, I have a large outdoor fire pit that I enjoy often with family and friends. When in use, the pit is always supervised by a family member, and we all know the safety rules. The flame height is controlled by a manual keyed valve, and we take into consideration the wind and the number and age of our guests when setting the flame height. We never leave the burning flame unattended.

modern-fire-pit

modern-fire-pit

Therefore, we must take it under control. On both commercial and residential projects, I prefer to install a manual keyed gas valve that is match lit rather than an automatic electronic starter. With a manual system, the gas flow is controlled by the use of a brass key set into a valve that governs the amount of gas that flows through the line and regulates the height of the fire. It is the responsibility of the key holder to evaluate current weather conditions and adjust the height of the fire accordingly. The problem with automatic starters is that the flame height is preset and staff may not be trained in how to modify the flames. This is less of a problem if the fire is protected by a glass shield. If you set your fire pit at the industry standard seat height of 16 to 20 inches, then guests are likely to assume that you are inviting them to take a seat by the fire. If this is not your intention or the fire feature is not designed to accommodate seating on the edge, then post “No Seating” signs and make sure guests keep a safe distance.

Assign personnel to monitor the fire feature and set the flames to accommodate current wind conditions. Wind can rise up quickly and force the fire outside the safety zone of the fire feature. If staff is not available to monitor the weather conditions, install auto shutoff valves that quench the fire automatically when wind speeds exceed a predetermined level. Fire features are often constructed with standard concrete masonry units, which contain aggregate that can overheat and explode, causing serious injury. I recommend installing a protective veneer of refractory fire brick grouted with fire clay.

fire-pit

fire-pit

Give your yard vacation destination flair by adding an outdoor fire pit. Whether you choose a basic campfire-style or a modern fire pit that pairs gas flames and fire glass, you’ll discover that lighting a fire transforms any gathering into an event. Backyard fire pit ideas don’t have to be complex to be memorable. A simple fire ring teamed with s’mores has the makings of lifelong memories for your family.

The most amazing backyard stone fire pit in my mind is the fire pit and pool combo.

fire-pit 1

fire-pit 1

If you’re thinking of tackling a large-scale backyard renovation, and you’re lucky enough to have a pool, consider adding a fire pit. This type of setup allows you to seamlessly incorporate the fire pit into your backyard landscape. Additionally, if you’re already undertaking a Reno, you can easily add elements such as gas to your fire pit. This solution works really well in warmer climates where hanging out by the pool is a year-round option.

Whether you’re looking to block out the neighbors, hide an unattractive view or carve out some dedicated space in your backyard, creating privacy can sometimes be a tricky pursuit. And I think the most wonderful method is using the trees and shrubs.

Grass-Outdoor

Grass-Outdoor

Going natural and choosing trees and shrubs is always a great idea for creating a bit of privacy in your outdoor space. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, you’re really only limited by your own budget. Again, it’s a good idea to check in with a nursery or landscaper to see what trees or shrubs might best fit your needs. For older homes, you may find that there are already several trees that you can simply add to fill in. If you have a small balcony, you can use potted trees or shrubs to easily block off your space.

Now your stone fire pit is done eventually. Can you smell that? It’s chicken and beef! It smells good! You see, it’s not difficult to build a stone fire pit, isn’t it? Anything is possible when you determine to achieve it, to let it come true!

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