How to make a Stone Firepit!
A firepit can be a great addition to your yard. It’s a great centerpiece for social gatherings, and they’re not too difficult to make. Here’s how I made mine:
First, select the site. It should be in a clearing, with no trees close by or branches hanging above. Choose a flat place, and mind that you don’t put your firepit in a low spot that could possibly flood.
Next, get your materials. You’ll need gravel, sand, bricks, and a steel ring. The ring is the most difficult to find. I eventually found mine in part of a kit I bought at Lowes. I wanted my firepit to be a bit taller than what the kit provided, so I bought a few extra bricks to make up the extra layers.
You do NOT need any adhesive or caulk. The bricks will stand just fine on their own. And if there is some damage, you will be able to take the firepit apart easily and replace damaged stones without a problem. You should consider getting some black spray-on stovepipe paint. This will help protect the ring and the inside faces of the stones.
Now that you have your materials, mark the center of the firepit, and then put down a ring of stones as a placeholder. My stones formed a nice ring with 12 bricks, but yours may be different. Mind the gap – at every third brick, I left a small gap in the ring. This is for ventilation, to admit air into your firepit. Air comes in through the gaps in the sides, and fuels the fire. The stones shelter the flame and hold the heat in.
Flip the stones outward, so they lie outside the cut you just made with the hoe.
Use your hoe to rip up the grass and sod from the earth.
You can move it to elsewhere in your garden, if you like.
Start digging! You should dig about 8 or 9 inches down. As you can see, I went a little crazy and dug a little deeper than that.
Lay down some gravel in the bottom. The purpose of the hole and the gravel is to allow for effective drainage of water, and to provide a substrate that will easily hold heat.
On top of the gravel, put down some sand. This will prevent too much of the ash from settling down into the gravel layer. It will also hold heat well, and make it easier to remove ash from the firepit later.
Flip the stones back over! They should be a tiny bit settled into the earth – maybe penetrating an inch or two below ground. This is all you need to provide a firm foundation for your creation. Use a level to make sure all the stones are exactly the same height. If you don’t do this, your firepit might end up looking like the great tower if Piza! And, don’t forget to mind the gap at every third brick.
Add the second ring of bricks. No need for a gap this time, the ones at the bottom are enough. Make sure the bricks in this ring are tucked in nice and snug. Check to see that they are level.
Add the third ring of bricks, and optionally the fourth. Then, place the steel ring at the top.
Spray the inside of the ring and stones with heat-resistant stovepipe paint.
The first few burns might be tough to get started. You will have to burn a large amount of material before you accumulate a decent bed of ash. However once you do, you will find your fires to be be easier to light, and that they retain heat better.
With this particular firepit, I spent about a week last year burning old debris from behind my garage. I would go to bed late at night after the flames died down. When I woke up late the next morning, the ashes would still still be hot! A little bit of tinder and coaxing was all that was needed to get my firepit back to blazing once again. My record for keeping my firepit hot last winter was four consecutive days.