Safe and Easy Backyard Fire Pits
|A fire pit provides warmth, light and ambiance.|
A backyard fire pit is a feature you and your family can enjoy in almost any weather. Just imagine cool fall nights under the stars toasting marshmallows with the kids or enjoying a romantic moment with your special someone. As outdoor living becomes increasingly more popular, homeowners are looking for ways to make their outdoor spaces usable throughout the year. A fire pit provides warmth, light and ambiance to make outdoor gatherings fun even on chilly nights.
Fire Pit Options
Buying a premade metal pit or a prefab “concrete” circle are two of the most obvious options, but both can be costly and may lack in originality. With so many creative materials available for building a pit there’s no need to settle for plain and simple. Even with limited DIY experience you can create a new focal point for the backyard that complements your landscape and your lifestyle.
Easy Charm – What do a tractor-tire rim, a washing machine drum and an old iron pot have in common? They all make an interesting (and super easy) “found art” fire pit. Almost any item that’s open in the center and made from a fireproof material can be used to build a pit with character. Simply dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the object, just a few inches deep (depending on the height of the object) and level on the bottom. Place the item into the hole and pour a few inches of sand or pea gravel inside and around the extra space on the outside. Surround the pit with stones to create an obvious boundary and prevent burnt toes.
Down and Dirty – Dig a hole in the dirt, and surround the perimeter of the hole with rocks – it really is that easy. If you prefer not to use any sort of container dig a deep hole to hold the fire and let the earth be a natural container. Large stones or concrete pavers around the perimeter act like a fire grate and make the edges of the fire pit obvious for safety.
Make it Last – Add a skim coat of concrete to the bottom and sides of flat-bottomed hole and line with brick or concrete pavers. Build a permanent surround from blocks, bricks or natural stone buttered with concrete for added durability.
Shape and Size -- A circle is the most popular shape for a fire pit; it’s easy to create and the shape is conducive to intimate conversations over flickering embers. But round pits aren’t the only option. Suit the shape and size of your fire pit to the site. For example, if you need to abut your pit against a walkway make it a half-circle or U-shape. A long, thin rectangular pit can stretch to accommodate loads of seating and makes more sense than creating a giant circle that becomes unwieldy to tend.
Before making decisions about the size or materials you’ll use, make certain your site is safe and well-suited for gatherings. Avoid building a fire pit beneath tree limbs or power lines, but do keep it near a water source. Provide a well-lit walkway out to the site to ensure that guests arrive and return safely in the dark.
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