Now that summer is over, outside entertaining is done for the year. But hold on just a second! What if we told you we had a way for you to keep enjoying outdoor entertaining for well into October, even on those chilly nights? Building an outdoor stone fire pit is a great weekend DIY project that is relatively inexpensive. In addition to extending your entertainment calendar, it will also add value to your home!
1. Decide On and Purchase Stone – you will have several options from which to choose, so take some time to discuss the project with the outdoor expert at your local DIY store (hopefully it’s a DIB store!). Purchase enough stone for the project as well as some extra for repairs (just in case there are problems with the project or if stone becomes damaged later and the store no longer offers this particular style).
2. Prepare the Base of the Fire Pit – once you decide on the location of the fire pit, place a piece of rebar in the center of the area and hammer it down into place. Now, cut a piece of rope or string to half the size of the intended pit (3ft for a 6ft pit). Wrap one end of the rope around the rebar and another around a can of paint and then spray the area in a complete circle. This area needs to be excavated for the pit.
3. Mark the Footing – the next step is to mark the footing of the pit. You will need to cut another piece of rope or string the same size as the first piece less the size of the wall. In other words, if you want 1ft wall, the rope should be cut to 2ft based on the measurements above. Repeat the process of marking the area just as you did for the excavation.
4. Pour the Footing – now that the footing has been marked, it is time to pour the concrete. Use the manufacturer’s directions to mix the concrete and then fill the area on the outside circle. Fill the concrete to 1.5″ below the grade. When pouring is completed, put two pieces of rebar on each “side” of the circle and tap them into the cement until they are completely covered.
5. Face Stones and Fire Brick – lay the first course of the facing stones then put a layer of mortar on the inside area of the stones. Once that is done, start laying the first level of fire brick. Place firmly against stone and remove any excess mortar. Continue this process until the first level is completely done. When the first layer of bricking is done, repeat the process until the entire wall is built. If there are any gaps, you can fill them with small stones and mortar.
6. Cap Stones – when the wall is completed, it is time to lay the cap stones. Place a generous amount of mortar atop the wall and then put down the cap stones. Pick stones that fit together neatly (think jigsaw puzzle). Fill in any gaps with small stones and mortar and allow mortar to cure (remove excess mortar before it has completely cured with a wire brush).
7. Paint Fire Brick – once the pit is complete and the mortar has completely cured, spray down the entire area to get rid of any dust or particles that may have settled. Once it dries, spray the interior of the firebrick with stove paint.
8. Seating Area – the last thing to do is to create your sitting area around the fire pit. Once again, cut a rope half the distance you wish to extend the seating area and mark it using the rebar and paint just as you did in Step 2. Dig out the area to three inches and then fill it with crushed stone.
Now there is only one thing left to do, build a fire and invite some guests over!
*Photo Courtesy of ACM Design Architects via Creative Commons License