Building a fire pit

javan(9b n. coastalCA)April 22, 2006

Here are some pictures of our recently completed fire pit. Now don't laugh! We aren't professional builders, but we did have fun designing and building this fire pit so our kids could have friends over to roast marshmallows, etc. It will also be good for drum circles (where I ask the spirits to grow our garden!).

The pit site is not on level ground which created its own set of complexity. I dug out a (somewhat)circular pit, then filled it partway with pea gravel (a ton cost me $20).

We then layed out our design.

My wife spread out a layer of mortar for the bottom of the circle.

She then set bricks into the mortar.

We built up the circle, mortaring bricks in place.

We set bricks around the outer edge of the pit.

We put pea gravel around the bricks to set them in place.

This is the finished product.

Costs included $20 for the gravel, $40 for the bricks and mortar, $10 for gas. While it doesn't look perfect, it feels good to have created it. Thanks for looking, Jim

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wanna_be_farmer(z7 Va)

That looks great! Good job!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 6:27PM
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Hey , you have the twin to my wife's garden hat!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 2:38AM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

Clavero, It is a great garden hat. She uses it all the time. I've been looking for something that covers my ears (I usually wear a baseball cap), but haven't found exactly the right hat yet. All the best, Jim

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 12:34PM
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bomber(6 MA)

I love your firepit! Now for pictures with the fire in it. :-) Thanks so much for sharing.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 6:09PM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

Your wish is my command, bomber. Behold the fire:

Me with fire (it was cold last evening!)

Fire on its own

We didn't want to build the fire too big at first (to make sure the mortar dried out first.) We had a grand time roasting marshmallows and just sitting and poking the fire. Hooray! Jim

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 7:35PM
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Is that an espalier "fence" is see in the background ? Apples maybe?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 1:15PM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

Clavero, very observant! It is a Belgian Fence espalier, losange variation, and it consists of 9 apples, 3 European pears, and 3 Asian pears. It is 6 years old, and is producing fruit well. All the best, Jim

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 2:43PM
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We attempted one against a back fence line a few years back...the intention was to have the X and Y cross branches merge into one another, form an interlocking "fence", but the location was wrong.

We did have a pear semi-espaliered in front of, and up and over our back deck. THAT did well for about 15 years until fire blight took the tree. Visitors used to marvel at having ripe pears hanging within arm's reach overhead while they were sitting beneath the shade of the tree on the deck.

Alas...have grapes there now...basically the same effect but living in Sonoma Co....grapes are everywhere these days, the awe factor is a bit diminished.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 8:22PM
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clbravo(z8 LA)

After Katrina I needed a feel good project. Had the old brick from a tear down and lots of downed trees to burn after the hurricane. Saw a sketch and had a mason build

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 11:43PM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

Wow, clbravo, that is a beautiful design and wonderful construction! Is that slate flooring, or some other stone? Really gorgeous! Jim

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 11:22AM
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clbravo(z8 LA)

The flooring is Pennsylvania Blue Stone I got from a local stone dealer. The brick came from an old convent in the French Quarter in New Orleans in the 40's after a fire. The previous property owner was a scrounger and built a ranch style house out of it, which I tore down 13 years ago to built my present home. I have been saving for these type of projects. I am an old brick fanatic.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 1:25PM
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Try this firepit for approx. $150. There are images and audio along with the instructions .

Here is a link that might be useful: Building an inepensive firepit

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 2:46PM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

Wonderful instructions, gardengaldeb, well organized website, and I enjoyed the audio (and your classic New England accent, at least to my ears) while listening. You did a great job on your firepit, and presented it well.
We have been enjoying our fire pit a great deal (pics above). We added a fourth layer of brick since I took the pictures. One thing I like about ours and would recommend is a skirt of brick around the outside of the fire pit. We use it to hold our fire pit tools (a log turner) and the coffee pot we use to warm various wine concoctions we occasionally have with the fires. Fire pits are great! Jim

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 7:17PM
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Thanks for the compliments Jim. It was a fun, easy project. I have been thinking about adding a skirt after seeing how wonderful your pit looks. I admire you for the wonderful work you did. Unfortunately, I don't have the patience for a project that large and tend to try things that have quick results. It's pretty much about the instant gratification for me!

Thanks again for looking at my site!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 7:03AM
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heres a patio and fire pit i recently completed, it was my first


    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 10:31AM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

I saw the fire pit you built posted on the garden gallery portion of this site, and really liked the rock work and the kinda primal feel of the pit. Very nice work. If others want to see it, take a look at the photos in the garden gallery psted by nzracer. Jim

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 4:33PM
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Thanks so much for sharing your pit fire. Is a pit fire used for anything else? I notice the second picture of the pit fire had no pea gravel. Is pea gravel needed?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 3:58PM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

Illijana and I sat by the fire tonight looking up at the stars and enjoying the evening. Here are a couple of pics of the fire. Hope all of you who have fire pits are enjoying them as much as we are. All the best, Jim

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 2:06AM
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Just moved in and want to rough in where the fire pit goes before we lay sod. It has to be on the south side of the house near the west end. I'm not sure what the predominate wind direction is yet, but am concerned about smoke blowing in the house. Any suggestions for how far away from the house a pit should be? And how far away it should be from the canopy of our large pin oak?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 2:58PM
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Javin, although this post goes way back, I still wanted to thank you for your great firepit instructions. My 15 year old son wanted a firepit and I thought he and friends with guidance from us, (or should I say from you), should build it themselves. We followed your steps and here are the results.

Discussing their next step.

Thanks again. They really love it. I gave them my old veggie garden patch which is in the back corner of property. Here they have privacy and I have peace. I can't hear or see them but I know they are there. I feel good when the kids are here and work to make it a fun place to hang.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 11:36PM
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Love the fire pits. We redid our patio in a pa blue flagstone and included a firepit! We love it, our favorite "room" of the house! Only thing, we didn't research how far away from the house it needs to be, oopps! We live in crestwood KY. Anyone know what the regulations are or where to find out? I did a google search and came up with how to build... sites. Thanks

Tried to include pics of our patio, but it didn't work:(

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 11:28AM
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javan(9b n. coastalCA)

Oh, keep trying for the pictures, Rebekah. It is so interesting to see. (Having them on works for me). You can call your county or city planners ( building and planning department) to ask about the regulations without mentioning your own name or address. They can tell you what you would like to know. I'm glad you are enjoying your "room".

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 3:12AM
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