One of the things I enjoy most during the summer is sitting around a fire pit at night visiting with family and friends and having a nice fire going. Marshmallows and hot dogs always seem to taste better when they’re roasted over an open fire ;).
The good news is that they’re not that difficult to make and I found a bunch of different DIY tutorials to help you get the job done (and they’re all free too!).
If you want to build one in your backyard, check with your City or Town Hall first (or even the local firehall)–there may be a ban on open fires in your area which means you’ll never be able to use the pit as you wish.
If you’d like to build one for your backyard or out at the lake, here are a few DIY projects that show you step-by-step how to make one…
Fieldstone & Concrete: A pallet of fieldstone and a bag of concrete makes the perfect gathering place for cool nights, project from HGTV.
Simple Stone Project: Made with stones or brick of your choosing, Type S mortar, a 2-inch-thick layer of gravel on the dirt floor of the pit and topped with a grill.
Better Homes and Gardens has this project for a basic (and cheap!) firepit using manhole blocks topped with fireproof brick capstones: Build Your Own Fire Pit.
Stone Project: Suggests purchasing palletized stone because it’s pre-sorted premium stone that is more uniform in size, shape and quality.
Potential Problems: Issues include not setting up the pits far enough away from buildings and trees, but there are also environmental and social concerns that have caused some locales to ban them within city limits (you could trigger a neighbor’s asthma or allergies from the smoke).
If you are legally allowed to have one in your backyard and you’re confident there won’t be a neighborhood war if you build one, check with your local officials to see what their regulations are for how far to build away from the house (some experts suggest at least 10 ft from the house and 3 ft from outdoor furniture).
Safety Concerns: Since it’s fire you’re dealing with, you do need to take some safety precautions–you can find a few tips and things to watch for at HomeEnvy: The Magic Of A Good Firepit. Some rules of thumb for safety:
- Build the fire pit safely away from the house, fence, trees, shrubbery and any outbuildings or furniture.
- Whenever you have a fire going, make sure you have a good source of water within quick reach to put out or dampen a fire that’s getting out of hand.
- Make sure to completely put out the fire when you’re done and never leave it unattended.
- Don’t take any chances–if it’s windy out, pass on building a fire until the weather is better suited.
- Small children cannot be allowed to run freely, it’s too easy to trip and fall into the fire.
Some of my fondest memories growing up include hanging out at our neighbors with a big fire going in their backyard…if you’d like to get to know your neighbors better and create some goodwill, this can be a great way to encourage more neighborhood socializing. Start up the fire, get out the marshmallows and invite the neighbors over and enjoy the company (bonus: the kiddos will have a hoot too)!