Back at the beginning of the summer I went to a lovely dinner party at the home of our friends the Horans. Dale had to work with the band that night so he was only able to be there for drinks and appetizers but I spent the evening with our friends. We had a wonderful meal on their deck and then we retired to their back yard where they had a fire in their fire pit. It was a beautiful night and we relaxed, drank wine, chatted, and gazed at the crackling fire.
I came home all fired up (get it? fired up? heh) about that fire pit and urged Dale to build one for us. He was agreeable to the idea so we started to plan. We selected a location on the side of our house, a part of the yard we rarely use other than for horseshoes. You may recall that we had removed a large maple tree from this area last summer and we’ve been struggling to grow grass their ever since. It was not a difficult decision to give up on the grass and repurpose the area for our new fire feature.
We considered simply purchasing a stainless steel fire pit like our friends have but we’ve heard they rust and need to be replaced frequently. They are also not inexpensive so we decided building our own would be smarter and more economical. We looked at pictures of fire pits online and I find a few that I liked pretty quickly. We decided to go with a square rather than a circle. I thought it was more aesthetically pleasing, almost like a chimney at ground level. I also figured it would be easier. It turned out to be cheaper, too, since we didn’t need to use curved pavers.
On a Friday back in August I sort of, errr, pushed Dale into making it happen. I had invited friends over for dinner and told Dale they expected to have a fire in our new fire pit that night. We went off to Lowe’s and we bought cement blocks and rectangular pavers and crushed stone. It was only about $75 and we headed home, eager to start.
We found our center point and spray painted a circle in the grass to mark where we needed to shovel out the dirt. We enlisted help from Patrick, our grandson, Joe, a friend of Hannah’s, and Eryk, a friend of Jessica’s. The guys dug and dug and then started to put the cement blocks in place.
They soon discovered, however, that a large root from the tree was in the way. So they dug and dug and dug and tried to get that root up. It was stubborn and large and it did not want to move.
Dale eventually got his chain saw and began hacking away at the thing. In the ground. There was dirt everywhere and still that root would not budge. Finally, after nearly 2 hours, the root gave way.
There were hollers and whoops of cheer and I made the guys pose for a photo.
Once that root was gone it was pretty quick work to put down the rest of the cement blocks. We used full size ones and half size ones to get the depth that we wanted. The rectangular pavers then went around the top and added some visual appeal with their texture and placement. We haven’t cemented everything in place yet as we want to make sure the ground doesn’t settle and require us to re-level the area. We’ve also surrounded the fire pit with pea stone although I don’t have a photo of that. Probably because, even though we’ve gone back and bought more and more bags of the stone, we still don’t have enough. What can I say? My geometry skills suck.
In the meantime, though, we have enjoyed several fires already. It’s so relaxing to go out there in the evening and just talk with friends, share some food and drink, and watch the fire. It’s like going camping but with all the comforts of home.
And that’s my story of a DIY fire pit. For 7-8 hours of labor and $150 in materials we’ve got ourselves a pretty cool spot in our yard now.
And we just won’t talk about the cost of that new chainsaw blade.