Nothing beats an outdoor fire as a warm, inviting place to gather with family and friends, or simply sit alone and reflect on the day, and installing a stone fire pit is relatively easy. A stone fire pit is a safe, and an affordable way to provide comfort and entertainment. It will give you a permanent structure you can use again and again for creating and reliving wonderful memories. While you can purchase freestanding metal fire pits, they can become unsightly over a relatively short period. Also, if you live in an area prone to brush fires, they may not even be allowed in your area. A stone fire pit allows you to build higher walls for better fire containment. And the natural look of stone weathers and ages better than metal.
The Right Location
The first thing you'll need is the right location. Don't install your fire pit under trees, near bushes, or too close to your house or other structures that might ignite. Flat ground is a must. The actual fire pit should be about three to four feet in diameter and rise about a foot or so above the ground. For the wall of the fire pit, use interlocking concrete blocks. They make them to look like real stone and have angled sides so you can create a circle with them. You can find them at any home and garden center. Be sure to get a steel ring designed for fire pits as well. This will line the inside of your fire pit and protect your blocks from the brunt of the heat.
Dig a Trench
To start, determine the circumference of the fire pit. Then, purchase you stones. Lay the stones out on the ground. You may have to cut a stone to fit. If possible you might want to go a little smaller or larger with your fire pit to avoid cutting the stone. With a spade, mark the outside and inside edges of the fire pit all around the circumference. Remove the stones and dig a trench 12 inches deep. Keep the sides of the trench straight. Use a posthole digger to dig a two-foot deep hole that you'll fill with gravel. This will help drain water from the fire pit. Place your stones in the 12-inch deep trench to make sure they fit and that everything is level.
Remove the stones and lay about four inches of gravel in the bottom of the trench, then cover that with four inches of sand. Tamp down and make it level, then lay the first course of blocks. Ensure that the blocks are level as you place them by either tamping them down or shimming them with gravel. Then, build the wall, with the seams between the blocks staggered. Also, it's good to leave a few small gaps in the stone wall. This will help the fire draw in air. When you have your second course of blocks fill the interior of the pit with about six inches of gravel. Install the metal ring and the remaining courses of blocks. All you need to do now is light your fire and purchase your smore making supplies.