Most people don’t consider a fireplace a necessity when purchasing a Florida home – the weather simply doesn’t seem to warrant it.
But recently, fire pits are enjoying popularity, as many Tampa and Sarasota area residents are discovering the fun that they can add to backyard barbecues and outdoor entertaining.
Creating an intimate space for friends and family to gather is a great way to add style and character to your property.
You may be surprised to learn that most fire pits are easy to build. Even home owners with limited skills can safely undertake this project on their own, with just a few materials and some guidance. You can expect to be sitting around the glow of the fire enjoying the evening with friends after just one afternoon of work. Here are some easy tips to get started.
Get Approval: First and foremost, check with your town , neighborhood or HOA for any ordinances. Once you know that it is permissible for you to build, find a place in your yard that is a safe distance (at least 25 feet ) from trees, bushes or structures.
Gather Your Materials: In order to build a fire pit, you will need blocks or stones, sand or gravel, a trowel, a large shovel, a level and a tamp.
Shop for Rock & Stone
When deciding which stones to use, you’ll want even or level stones that can be easily stacked. Concrete blocks are cheap and easy to replace, but easily deteriorate from the heat. We recommend field stones or flagstone, which are more decorative and will allow you to match the décor and style of your home.
Fire bricks have the best heat resistance and are a good choice to line the inner layer of your fire pit.
Dig Your Hole: Locate the perfect spot on your lawn, and place a stake in the center. In order to create an even pit, tie one end of a string to the stake, and measure how wide you want your circle to be. Walk the string in a circle around the stake, marking the circumference on the ground with a trowel. (Most fire pits are approximately 5 feet across.) Once you have your circle drawn, dig out the circular hole.
It is recommended that your hole is 8-12” deep. Use the tamp to even out the dirt, and make sure it is level.
Here’s a Tip: Dig a hole about 4-5 inches across and 18 inches deep in the very center of the circle, and fill with gravel. This will allow rainwater to drain and not collect in your fire pit.
Build Your Fire Pit: Next, fill the circle of the fire pit generously with gravel, which can be purchased in a variety of styles and colors. Spread out evenly, then arrange your first level of bricks in a circle. Continue to build levels until your pit is at least one foot tall.
If your bricks are heavy enough, you likely don’t need to use any type of mortar. Should you feel that you want to add stability, ask for an outdoor, fire resistant product.
Whether laughter with friends, or sm’ores with the kids – a fire pit brings people together and helps you to create home-grown memories right in your own backyard.
For more ideas and suggestions on the right stones and gravel for this do-it-yourself project, visit the Big Earth Landscape Supply website.