The Backyard Firepit
We are told storytellers of old would spin tales and leave their audience in raptures using fire to attract, project, and create an intimate setting. The firepit remains prime real estate for gatherings, late-night chats, and rustic cooking. So why not build one? What should be considered before purchasing and putting shovels in the ground?
My Mutual wants your summer evenings to be everything you’ve longed for while being with the people you love. Take a quick read before starting on your next summer project.
Where should you place your firepit?
The perfect place may not always be ideal in hindsight. The best option will be away from combustible materials. You’ll want to be 15-20 feet away from fences, walls, garage sheds, or any other material that may be flammable. It would also be advisable to keep a fire extinguisher on hand when using the firepit in case of emergency.
In conjunction with space, you may want to consider if there is a prevailing wind pattern in your area. After having built the perfect firepit, the wind may blow all the smoke from the fire into your home. Remember, this wind pattern may also adversely affect your neighbours.
After all these considerations, you will still want to check in with your local municipal/city bylaws. Depending on where you live there may be restrictions on the size, placement, and material of your new firepit. It would be terrible to have built a new firepit only to find out you're in trouble with the local governing authorities.
What kind of firepit are you after?
It may not seem like there are many options, but there are plenty of different building materials and fuel sources to consider.
Smaller prefab firepits are easy to set up and take down when not using them. Perfect for a homeowner with a small yard. Or perhaps a larger firepit that becomes a focal point of your back yard. Going to your local building center can help you understand the different types of prefabricated firepits. These can be great options if DIY isn’t something you’re interested in or if you wanted to use a different fuel source.
Prefabricated firepits also offer you the option of using something other than wood to make your fire. Propane and natural gas firepits have become quite popular. They offer all the ambiance of a fire without the smoke and sparks. If you’re thinking about going this route just be sure it will be accessible for the type of fuel you have chosen.
If you’re keen to save some money, have an adventure, or maybe do something completely customizable, the DIY firepit is exactly what you’re looking for. If you already have a design in mind, there are only a few other things you may want to consider before you start. If not, spend some time online and you will see there are plenty of designs and material choices to select from.
Prep the Ground
You’ll want to dig about 6 inches below ground level for the area of your firepit. Try and keep it level and firmly packed. Put a couple of inches of sand in the bottom of your newly dug area and tamp it down. Next, fill with gravel until you have reached ground level. You may want to make this area larger than your burn area to create a non-flammable area around your firepit.
Your firepit should have an inner and outer wall. The inner wall should be built using fireproof building material. The best option here is to use fire brick. You can be a bit more stylish when building the outer wall as it needs to only be fire-resistant. Options like clay brick, stone, and pavers are commonly used.
Over time the heat from your fire will begin to dehydrate the surrounding brick and stone and over time they will deteriorate and may crumble. You can elongate the life of your firepit by installing a steel fire ring that lines the innermost wall. These can be found online and in your local hardware store.
You have selected a safe area in your yard and have built the perfect base to begin your build. Now it is up to your imagination and sense of adventure! Whether a prefabricated firepit or something you’ve built with your own hands, the memories you build around the fire this summer will be done in a safe environment.