Back yard fire pit ideas?

Discussion in 'Garden and Lawncare' started by TomS, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. Sep 8, 2011 #1

    TomS

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    I am looking for fire pit ideas, or more specifically what to put on the ground around the fire pit ring. We have a low and damp back yard where the pit will go. We considered putting in a paver patio which would give us a solid surface but see we would really only use it occasionally for the fire pit so that seems like a bit over kill.

    I have the steal fir ring but we are debating what if anything to put around it. Seem like the grass will die off and turn to mud. We have thought about throwing down some bark or small gravel. What considerations or ideas can you suggest?
     
  2. Sep 8, 2011 #2

    BridgeMan

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    Sounds like you need to build up the grade a bit, to get rid of the dampness. I think pavers would be a good idea, especially the heavier, fake stone types, in an effort to make a welcoming setting that you and your guests will enjoy using. Make the area large enough for people to gather around on, larger than just the fire pit.. Don't use bark, as it can smolder and burn for a long time after the fire pit is out.
     
  3. Sep 9, 2011 #3

    TomS

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    One of the things I am trying to avoid is a large and costly project for something that will only get occasional use. One of the reasons I started to look for other options other than pavers is the effort to remove a lot of soil and build up the proper base.

    I have thought about flag stone or one of the fake stone versions and then laying it with out any base at all. If it heaved a little from frost I could just lift it and re-level a bit. Both those versions still seam to get expensive.

    I considered loose pea gravel but can see that getting kicked into the yard. Im not sure if there would be a more decorative version of a packable base so that I could lay pavers over the top at a later date if I decide to upgrade?
     
  4. Sep 10, 2011 #4

    BridgeMan

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    You may regret trying to do something on the cheap, and winding up with an eyesore that neither you nor your guests will ever want to use. And a problem with using a "packable base" is having the fines stick to everyone's shoes when just slightly damp, and then being tracked into the house, etc. Better to use an inexpensive washed rock, with lots of fractured faces--it will be more likely to interlock and firm up than rounded rock ever will.
     
  5. Nov 26, 2011 #5

    dcacinverter

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    You could use pea gravel without worrying about it getting kicked out as long as you build some sort of retaining wall. You could make it out of any number of things and you can probably make it look pretty good.
     
  6. May 20, 2012 #6

    KimC

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    Not sure if it is practical, but our neighbor found a bunch of rock down by a creek just down the road and brought it home and buried it so it was even with the ground around it. Then they planted grass in between the stones and it has a really nice rustic look to it. The stones are all flat and flush with the ground and so far the grass is doing well. If you were worried about the grass dying off you could use gravel...but you might be surprised how well the grass around it can do (at least we have been in our backyard).
     
  7. Aug 10, 2012 #7

    BMartin9000

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    This is a good idea
     
  8. Sep 6, 2012 #8

    wyattfisk

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    Personally, I placed mine in the center of my backyard on a round patch of bark. I surrounded the bark with decorative stones to create a stark visual divide between the bark and the grass, and I laid some stepping stones from my concrete patio out to the ring. The result was a pretty cool "island effect" that really made the whole thing pop. The most important thing about it though, for me, was the fact that it was super cheap - I had a ton of bark and small decorative stones left over from an earlier project, and I found good stepping stones for free on Craigslist! Not sure what sort of budget you're dealing with, but personally, if you can make something "cheap" look really good, then I say more power to you!
     
  9. Sep 19, 2012 #9

    slownsteady

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    Bark is just too combustible, stone is a better idea. Pea gravel won't make a good base for chairs & stuff because the legs will sink in, and your guest will have a hard time getting comfortable.

    Remember to take into account the cost of solving problems with cheap materials - sometimes the solution isn't cheap at all. And if you have to redo in a year, then that's gonna cost more money.

    And finally, just how wet is this area? Maybe the best answer is to provide better drainage before you even start.
     
  10. Sep 20, 2012 #10

    notmrjohn

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    Build up the area with clean fill dirt. set the fire ring, set an outer retainer, steel or really rugged plastic landscape edging, concrete or brick edging blocks, flagstone, river rock, something that will stay in place. Depending on distance from fire ring (and termites), landscape timbers or rail ties. Fill area between rings with Drainage rock, Bridgeman's "washed rock, with lots of fractured faces--it will be more likely to interlock and firm up than rounded rock ever will." larger than pea gravel and less trackable. Avoid bark, termites, but more importantly, can smolder unseen for days then burst into flame. Check for roots under fire ring, also can smolder unseen, actually travel along root underground, spring up in unexpected place. Happy s'mores making!
     
  11. Sep 21, 2012 #11

    ownerbuilder2012

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    I have been looking for some fire pit inspiration, haven't build one though. but i just thought of sharing some photos.

    575300_352363221485345_51633432_n.jpg

    545462_353285051393162_2057244547_n.jpg

    179144_372469176141416_849374543_n.jpg
     
  12. Sep 21, 2012 #12

    slownsteady

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    They look beautiful...but not very comfortable.
     
  13. Sep 21, 2012 #13

    notmrjohn

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    "...not very comfortable. " Use softer rocks.
     
    nealtw likes this.
  14. Sep 23, 2012 #14

    Philphine

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    i like all of those. i may try setting mine more in the ground. right now i have one of the roll around kind with the wheels removed, sitting on landscaping bricks.

    you didn't say how big an area you wanted to cover. mine is just sitting on 8"x16" pavers. about the cheapest pavers there are, and probaly most common too. i got mine from a couple different places when i saw them at good prices, and even used off craigslist a couple times. being so common they all match, except a bit of aging difference, which was ok by me. i just added them as i got them 'til i had what i wanted. if you did the trick where you spread them apart to let grass grow bettween them, it would take even fewer to cover an area.

    edit to throw in a pic

    [​IMG]

    i'd kinda forgotten what i did. it's not really on the pavers, they surround it. i also remember why i didn't put it in the ground (the pond liner. any new fires will probaly need to be pretty small too). they stop on one side because it's supposed to turn to mulch, but just now looking at it, i may add a few more so mulch doesn't come right up to the fire (guess i'd dampen the mulch down first anyway).

    the red pavers were another cheapish find i couldn't pass up, so i got enough to work into a pattern, which let me also pull up a few of the grey ones and stretch the area out a little more.

    like the op, i almost never use the pit. i just liked adding it to the outdoor idea. the investment was small enough that i don't regret it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  15. Sep 23, 2012 #15

    notmrjohn

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    phil, you mite wanta move the fire box about half way between pond and shrubbery/hedge people can sit all around it and sparks aren't gonna do pond liner any good. I've even seen fish hit at sparks at night, won't do them any good.
    Want a really small investment on fire tub? Rear rim, brake drum, and half axle from junked car, weld axle at drum; weld drum from junked washing machine or dryer to other end. Looks best too close to nearly scrapped trailer in run down trailer park, where you can also find the junked car and appliances. Remove cinder block from under trailer to keep car from tilting at angle and looking tacky. No need to pave around drum, crushed beer cans will soon cover area. Leave washer motor attached to drum, spinning fire works show.
    "Shoot far, Wilber Dean, that's far out!"

    But you can go upscale with stainless drum and nicer supports.

    fland4ogbvj80m6.medium.jpg

    fireimages.jpeg

    fire.jpeg

    fir.jpeg
     
  16. Sep 24, 2012 #16

    Philphine

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    i can't really move it anywhere else. just out of frame on the left is another structure that someone would have to squeeze past if there were a fire burning. it would be about the same situation if it were in some other spot in the area. after posting the pic and looking at the area. i did try out setting some of the extra pavers i had in place to eyeball it some. i think i'll add rows to the spot about where i was standing to take the pic. then you could sit on three sides, maybe, and still be on pavers.

    the liner, in the end, i hope won't be exposed to the fire. i have some eggrock to fill in bettween the pavers and the rocks surrounding the pond once i decide i'm done. the fish, i just have to hope for the best. i haven't had a fire in it since i built the pond. i'll just have to keep the fires low i guess, and hope i don't have an impromptu fish fry.
     
  17. Sep 24, 2012 #17

    notmrjohn

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    Phil, pro'lly don't have to really worry about the fish. Might want to feed them in area away from fire box, just so they don't congregate down there, expecting food, when people are about. Most sparks go out when hit water N E way, they'll spit out ashes.
     

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