Tools and Materials:
- Hand tamper
- Spray paint
- Measuring Tape
- Mortar or Masonry adhesive
- Pavers (preferably fire resistant)
- Fire brick
Other Tools and Materials
Our list above shows materials you would need for a simple fire pit. Depending on the shape and desired aesthetics, you may need more tools and materials. Certain fire pit shapes (ex. a rectangular pit in brick pattern), you might have to break out a circular saw along with a concrete blade so you can cut your pavers to the correct size. Also, if you would rather, instead of using spray paint to outline your fire pit, you can lay the pavers and mark the area with your shovel. Another option for marking your fire pit, such as for rectangle/square pits, you can measure and set stakes in the corners and run your string around them.
To add to the aesthetics, you can buy river stone or any other decorative stone and place it in the bottom and around the edge of your pit. If you don’t like the look of the fire bricks, you can buy a pre-made metal fire pit insert. You can also add capstones to the top of your pit.
Before you get digging there are a few things you’ll need to do. The first is to make sure you can have a backyard fire pit. If you can have a fire pit, see what regulations go along with it. Some places you’ll need to have a border or stone around it.
Next is to choose the shape of fire pit you’d like. You can do standard shapes such and circular, squared, or rectangular. Or if you are looking for something unique, look up some fire pit inspiration. Depending on what shape you are going for will determine what shape pavers you’ll need. For example, circular pits need trapezoid blocks so that they fit correctly.
Now that you have checked code requirements and bought all your materials, it’s time to break ground. There are three ways to measure and mark your area: stakes and string, spray paint, or by laying your pavers and using your shovel. Make sure to take into account both the pavers and fire brick so that your pit is the size you want. Once the area is marked, dig out the area. Remove the grass with your shovel. Next, dig down around 12 inches to create a pit where the wood goes. Now it’s time to dig the grass up around your fire pit if you are making a border. Then, lay down your gravel base. You can put the gravel not only where the walls go, but also in the pit. Finally, take your hand tamper and tamper down the gravel so you have a solid base to build on.
Building The Walls
There are two ways you can build your fire pit walls, and it all depends on how you want your fire pit to look. One way is to use mortar as if you were building a brick wall. The mortar can be seen in between the pavers, this creates a rustic look. The other way is to use masonry glue, which glues the pavers directly together. Start by building the outer wall with your pavers. Lay them in you desired shape and see which pavers, if any, will need to be cut. Also, if you bought a fire ring insert, double check that it fits in your fire pit.
Next you’ll lay your first layer of pavers. This is where you will want to make sure they are level. You will use your mallet to make small adjustments. If you have pavers that can’t be leveled with the mallet, you may have to dig out or put in a small amount of the gravel underneath. Then try to level your paver with the mallet again. Once your first layer is leveled, build up your wall. Don’t forget to apply your mortar or adhesive in between each layer.
Now that the outer wall is built, it’s time to make the inner wall. This is where you will use your fire bricks. Build this wall by either making it like the outer wall, or you can glue/mortar them to your outer wall vertically. Make sure they are level with the top of the outer wall. If you aren’t using fire brick, then just place your fire pit insert.
With your walls built it’s time to do any other extras. This is when you’ll want to place decorative stones, build borders, and glue on capstones.
Once the mortar/glue is dry then you are ready to fire up your fire pit!
If you are looking to get bigger project done, be it a backyard project or anywhere else in your home, Shakespeare can help. We can help you by building a new deck, screen room, addition, etc. Contact us today for a free estimate.