Having built two or three firepits (and I only mean small fire pits for homes) in my life, I feel I’m at the point where I know enough about the process that I don’t necessarily need a manual or info from online, yet I’d still look it up anyway.
What that really translates to is “I know what I’m doing, but I want to make sure.”
There’s something fun about building up a fire pit to me. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m building a permanent structure. Maybe it’s because it can be done in a day and not toiled over forever. Maybe it’s just my love of fire pits and small campfires and the talks and fun that ensues these sort of things.
Regardless, I wanted to walk you through a few steps (since that’s really all it takes for a fire pit). My way definitely isn’t the only way, or the best, but it’ll get the job done for a structure that can weather the elements and even someone falling or tripping into the stones.
Yep. You’ll want a base that’s actually slightly below the ground level in order for the bricks to settle and have a permanence that’s much sturdier than just stacking the bricks around on top of the ground. This also helps to level the pit. Don’t worry too much about your digging being perfectly flat. The next step will help with that.
Lay down pea gravel.
Pea gravel is perfect for being the next layer since you can smooth it out as needed until it’s perfectly level. You can actually use a few cardboard boxes that you’ve broken down and lay them on top of the pea gravel and push where needed to flatten out sections all at once if needed.
Base layer pavers.
This is what I do next, though some people may not agree with. I like to take 2’ by 2’ pavers and place them in the shape of what I want my pit to look like, but this only applies to the outside edges of where the bricks will be sitting. This is just to give the actual pit bricks a solid base to sit on. Again, use those cardboard boxes again if the gravel shifts from the heavier pavers.
These are primarily for keeping heat in above the ground. I layer these between the pavers in a way that makes the base all touching. You’ll want these to be in the center of your pit for the main reason of keeping heat in and not seeping down. Also, these are fireproof and won’t scorch any parts underneath.
Lay your bricks.
This is the step most of you probably know how to do anyway. There’s no right or wrong way to layer bricks. What I will say is that having a metal insert to “hold” the bricks together is the way to go so that they never cave in or collapse outward thanks to the metal insert holding onto all bricks at once in a way that they cannot come out on their own. I don’t necessarily cement my bricks together, but you can if you want to.
And tada! You can obviously make your pit as big or small as you want to and even take the liberty of doing some of these steps your own way, but this is a basic fire pit in my experience and it’ll hold up for a long time!