Cool fall weather, getting warm and toasty by a nice outdoor open fire. Sounds great, right? You can build your own fire pit easily with rocks, bricks, or even a steel ring. In this article, I’ll show you how to build your own fire pit. I’ll give you the tips and tricks you might not have thought about when building your own home fire pit.
First and foremost, a fire pit must be allowed in your community. Some communities and developments just will not let you have an open fire. The first thing you should always do is to check with the local fire department and make sure its ok. They also can give you the necessary guidelines for building a fire pit. In some cases, a fire can only be built in the daytime, or they might require a certain distance from your home and the neighbor’s property. For instance, in my neighborhood it’s required to be at least 50 feet from any dwelling and neighbor’s yard. It’s probably a good idea to ask your neighbors how they feel about you having a fire pit.
The next thing you will need to take into consideration is prevailing winds. Which directions are the prevailing winds coming from? North, south, east, west? You certainly don’t want smoke blowing back into your face while you are trying to enjoy the fire. I built my fire pit into a natural hill on my property the faces away from the prevailing winds. This way the smoke blows up and over the hill. If the wind does shift direction, which it will, then the hill itself helps to block the wind and smoke. If you don’t have a natural hill then you will need to make a barrier. Building a back wall facing the prevailing winds will help diffuse the wind and prevent smoke from ruining your good time beside the fire. Another good way to help prevent the smoke from blowing back in addition to the back wall is to recess the fire pit into the ground 12 to 16 inches. Mine is recessed into the ground 16 inches in the front. I built mine from concrete blocks, which are 8 inches high. I stacked two on top of each other in the front and I have three high in the back and sides.
Another very important thing when deciding where to build your fire pit is to beware of fire hazards. Overhanging trees, brush, high grass or other flammable materials nearby aren’t really a very good place to build your fire pit. Keep your fire pit away from all of these things but remember you need to keep it close enough to the hose! A good garden hose nearby is very important to have. Always keep it turned on when you’re having a fire just in case. Put a spray nozzle on the hose for extra spraying distance and good pressure. It’s a good idea to keep a shovel and metal rake handy.
If you recess your fire pit, drainage might be needed if your soil doesn’t percolate very well. The soil I have in my fire pit is sand so I don’t need drainage. You can use a metal pipe leading away to a downhill wash out, but don’t use a plastic pipe. You can also dig the fire pit out deeper and back fill the hole with gravel or sand.