|Our fire pit|
As a child, I enjoyed camp fires during family camping trips. Back then, a camp fire meant roasting hot dogs, marshmallows and HOBO pies. During my late-teen and early twenties, camp fires were standard fare at field parties or football game pep rallies. It was not until I met my husband that I ever thought of actually owning a fire pit, let alone building my own. I've owned three types through the years. Most recently, we built our own inground fire pit. Keep reading to learn more and pick up a few tips if you decide to build your own fire pit as well.
An Outdoor Fireplace: When our kids were young, we signed a one-year lease on a tiny, rustic cabin in the GA mountains. It served as our weekend getaway - a place to introduce our kids to nature, the seasons, and the joys of the outdoors. This is when we purchased our first fire pit - a portable outdoor fireplace:
|We used a portable outdoor fireplace in front of our cabin.|
Semi-Portable Fire Pit: When we moved to the coast, we bought an outdoor fire pit for our backyard. Sometimes called an outdoor fire bowl, the outdoor fire pit kept flames contained, but had a much more open feeling. The circumference of our fire bowl was much larger than the smaller fireplace we used previously, which meant more people could gather around and enjoy the ambiance.
|Backyard fire bowl in Savannah|
Inground Fire Pit: When we moved back to north GA, we were happy to learn that our new backyard had an area already defined for a fire pit - the previous owners used the are for their chiminea.
|Area defined for a Fire Pit|
How to build a Backyard Fire Pit:
There are several online tutorials for building above-ground and inground fire pits. We reviewed several to be sure we did not miss anything important. I'll give you the highlights here:
- Determine fire pit location: Our backyard already had a designated area, away from the house, where the previous homeowners used their chiminea. We knew this would be our fire pit location, so we simply trimmed the surrounding trees to ensure that no open flame or sparks would reach low-hanging branches. We opted to place the fire pit at opposite end of the designated area as well - for better flow.
- Determine fire pit dimensions: When we retired our SAV fire pit, we kept the cover and grate for future use. We used the cover to determine the size of our inground fire pit. My husband dry fit some rocks to make sure the dimensions were what we wanted, and to determine which rocks would be the top layer:
|Dry fit rocks around re purposed fire pit cover.|
- Prepare the Ground: We dug down approximately one foot into the ground. Then, we placed a layer of gravel and the old fire pit's grate to provide proper drainage.
|Dig at least 12-inches into the ground.|
- Set the Rocks: We were aiming for a naturalized look. We opted to leave the rocks as is - all covered in GA clay - and set them using Quickcrete. The ground slopes slightly at the site of the fire pit, so we built up the far side by one or two rows to make the top appear even. And, we ensured that the entire structure was level.
|Build up height and maintain level.|
|Starting a fire with kindling and pine cones.|
|Inaugural fire - Perfect!|
|Firewood and kindling collected from the yard|