One of the elements I wanted to include in our garden makeover was a focal point to sit round with the family. Here is how to build a fire pit!
I have visions of us using the garden all year round, toasting marshmallows over the fire pit in winter and huddled together keeping warm with the fire. As our children are older now, I didn’t have to worry about the safety aspect of an open flame as I would with a toddler, so when we were designing our garden layout, I researched where to buy a fire pit ‘bowl’ so we could build a stand for it and include it in our garden.
We found the fire pit bowl online and measured the circumference. Once we had this, my husband (a builder) chose a spot for the fire pit and built a radius wall of half a metre high.
To get the radius of the wall to the same size as the bowl, he created a cardboard template of the metal dome, by drawing round it so he had a guide as to where to lay the bricks! Then he began to create the first row of brickwork to start off the fire pit.
You can’t use full bricks for something like this. As you are creating a curved wall, you need half bricks as you couldn’t turn full bricks sharp enough to get that kind of circle. The bricks you use need to be cut in half with a brick hammer before laying.
Keep laying the rows of brick until you reach the half metre height and then allow the mortar to set for a few days. Four days should be long enough to ensure the structure is solid. If the weather is bad whilst the brickwork is setting then you need to cover the fire pit to protect the work. If it’s frosty, cover it with hessian. If it’s raining, cover it with Visqueen (a damp proof membrane). Otherwise, if it is pleasant weather, the brickwork should be ok left uncovered.
Once set, sprinkle some gravel into the bottom of the pit to help drain any elements like water away. After that, lay your metal fire pit bowl on top and you are ready to fill it with logs and burn it!
Since our fire pit has been finished (and the rest of the garden) we have enjoyed many evenings outside – even through the winter! We purchased some outdoor furniture that would compliment the garden and positioned a couple of chairs around the fire pit to create a welcoming seating area.
We have been able to recycle some old wooden furniture from the house that has broken and would have been thrown away into logs for the fire pit! I love being able to light a ‘camp fire’ at any time of year and it has added an extra special element to our garden.