Ring of Fire: Building a Bonfire Pit

Standard

how to build a bonfire pit

 

How to Build a Bonfire Pit

One of the second things Joe wanted to do after moving in was build a backyard fire pit. It was one of the easiest projects to date, and took less than a day! We love the bonfire pit kits – I know it’s not 100% DIY, but there is still plenty of elbow grease that goes into this.

Here were the steps:

  1. Collect the materials
  2. Build a perimeter around the area to fill with sand
  3. Build a fire pit in the middle
  4. Fill the area with sand
  5. Enjoy bonfires

Simple enough, right?


 

how to build a fire pit DIY

 

We had our little beach all mapped out. This was not my idea, and I was a little skeptical at first. But once I saw the outline, I knew it would be a good turnout.

how to build a fire pit DIY Menards

The kits from Menards are very simple. Just go to the kiosks, pick a pit style, and print out a list of the items you need to buy.

how to build a fire pit DIY Menards

We chose the 56″ Crestone fire pit.

how to build a fire pit DIY Menards

As I mentioned, there’s plenty of work involved. The kit includes all the product SKU #’s, but it’s up to you to find them all and assemble them at home. It was like a scavenger hunt! (We did not get the optional accessories.)

 

20150513_151443

The 11% discount was definitely our friend. I think the whole project came in under $400 with the extra blocks for the perimeter. (Not including the sand pit, which it totally optional). If you just buy the kit, it will be around $258 with a rebate.

 

Materials

 

how to build a fire pit DIY Menards

The kit listed a bunch of items from the lumber yard, along with a box containing this liner, which was only $129ish. The price of the kit includes everything on the list, but the materials were up to us to hunt down.

 

Menards lumber yard

Let the scavenger hunt begin!

 

how to build a fire pit kit

We found I-don’t-even-know-how-many retaining bricks. We filled the bed of Joe’s truck.

 

how to build a fire pit kit

This was the part that required the most muscle. It took maybe 20 minutes to load them.

how to build a fire pit DIY

We picked up some pea gravel for inside the pit.

landscape adhesive

And just a few tubes of glue. by a few, I mean at least 10.

 

how to build a sand beach fire pit

And ordered the sand. Oh so much sand.

how to build a fire pit DIY Menards

All said and done, this is what we brought home for the brick and gravel.

Getting Started

The plan was to extend our beach and merge it with the fire pit area. If you can’t tell, Joe is really into beaches and wanted to make this a toes-in-the-sand style experience.

Again, here is the plan:

  1. Collect the materials ✔
  2. Build a perimeter around the area to fill with sand
  3. Build a fire pit in the middle
  4. Fill the area with sand
  5. Enjoy bonfires!

The Perimeter

The perimeter is the back-breaking stage. No backs were actually broken during this part, but be careful lifting all those!

how to build a fire pit DIY

Joe took some blocks and beach stones and made a horseshoe shaped section surrounding the pit.

 

how to build a fire pit DIY

I think he was enjoying this part 🙂

We were doing better than this guy and his BBQ pit at least. That’s always encouraging.

building a fire pit

We fine-tuned some of the blocks after assembling the fire pit, but for the most part, it looked great.

how to build a fire pit DIY

The plan was to rake the extra sand into the beach, blurring the lines to the fire pit area.

how to build a fire pit DIY

We originally had some wooden beams marking off the beach that Joe removed.

The Pit

So that brings us to the main attraction – the actual bonfire pit. The kit will walk you through the steps better than we can (since we customized it a little bit), but I’ll outline the main steps. Unless you bought the exact same kit, all the models will vary slightly.

We decided to put it below ground so we first made a phone call to mark the gas lines in the yard to be sure it was safe to dig. Once we got the yard marked and got the green light, we made a 6″-8″ square pit for the metal fire pit liner.

how to build a fire pit DIY

Lay down the bricks that make up the foundation and then pound them into the ground with a rubber mallet. Glue them to the top layer of stones. They’ll fit snugly under the rim of the metal fire pit liner. Ten tubes of glue cost around $22.00. I got to be the glue girl – which may sound easy but you have to move fast with those tubes of glue! Once you open them, it’s only a matter of minutes before they dry.

how to build a fire pit DIY

We put down pea gravel in and around the pit to level the area and it helps keep in heat. Any small pebbles will do.

 

how to build a fire pit DIY

We leveled the top of the pit to make sure everything was looking good. This isn’t a make-or-break step, but it will certainly help to fit the bricks together evenly.

how to build a fire pit DIY

We let the glue dry, and got ready to make our beach!

 

The Sand

Why is there a truckload of sand pouring into the driveway? That’s a great question. Right after picking up all the fire pit materials that day, I made a quick stop into the vitamin store while Joe waited in the truck. Not 10 minutes later I came back to the truck to overhear the end of Joe’s phone call with someone saying the sand will be arriving in an hour. You just can’t leave this man unattended without coming up with a new project…

ordering beach sand

So an hour later, we had our truckload of beach sand (approximately 150 wheelbarrow trips, according to my estimation).

 

how to build a fire pit DIY

Joe lined the area around the pit with this fabric so weeds would not grow through the sand. This weed barrier is commonly used for landscaping projects and you can find it in just about any garden center.

how to build a fire pit DIYWe rolled it out along the main spaces we wanted covered with sand.

 

how to build a fire pit DIY

We tucked the weed blocking fabric under the stone perimeter and made sure it was tight around the whole area.

 

how to build a fire pit DIYYou’ll need to overlap pieces when you come to a corner or run out of fabric.

 

how to build a fire pit DIY

You may have to cut smaller pieces to fit in tight corners or over irregular shaped areas.

 

how to build a fire pit DIY

Then we started shoveling the beach sand in, load by painstaking load.

tractor trailer

A tractor trailer or something larger than a wheelbarrow will help you get the job done faster. The previous owners left us theirs!

The Finished Fire Pit

Shoveling the sand took the most time and happened over the course of a few days. But it was worth it!

DIY how to make a backyard fire pit

We cleaned up the sand and have a big beach rake to make it look neat and tidy after a rainfall. Or when you get footprints on it 😉

 

DIY how to make a backyard fire pit

So there you have it! The beach sand is optional, but if you do go that route, we’d recommend ordering sand in bulk from some place locally. You save quite a bit compared to buying it in bags from a retailer. It’s still going to be pricy, but aside from the sand, this could be a very easy project that will cost less than $300.

 

beach chair

Beach chairs are definitely not optional. We had this secret service agent scoop some up from a garage sale for us. We have connections.

Before and After

You can choose the level of crazy you want to go with this. There are some pretty extravagant fire pit ideas out there, and if you have the desire to do something on a grander scale, go for it! Just promise you’ll make something at least one step up from a hole in the ground. This is a quick and easy one that we highly recommend.

 

before and after pic beach bonfire pit DIY

 

 

The S’mores

20150914_201627

Not to mention, you’ll have so many memories, great stories around the fire, and unlimited s’mores! Is it redundant to say “unlimited s’mores”? It seems implied that you will get s’more s’mores…

20150914_201616

If your city lets you have a bonfire pit, you might as well make it into something fun that the neighbors can all gather around.

20150914_201552

 

It’s been one of the highlights of our late summer nights. You’ve got plenty of time before fall, so what are you waiting for?

P.S.

I’ve got a pretty sweet bonfire cake/cupcake recipe to share.

 

One thought on “Ring of Fire: Building a Bonfire Pit

Comments are closed.