Greengate Ranch Remodel
Remodeling a Daylight Ranch in Oregon

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Backyard #3 - Fire Pit Done

Guten Tag - I am on the road again, blogging from Germany. When I am at home, I am too busy either working on projects or doing family stuff, so traveling ends up being a good time to catch up on the blog...

Here is a picture if the completed masonry work on the fire pit (mud on the top is still wet):

I ended up having just enough of the flat stones to complete the top. I probably should have laid them out before hand to make sure - but I could have worked something in if I needed to. This is the challenge / fun of working with left over materials: you don't run to the store if you are a few short, you figure out how to make it work and look nice at the same time.

Here is the real reason I build the fire pit: to spend time as a family around it. We lit the first fire and hung around for a couple of hours, just talking. I don't understand why a fire makes you sit and talk, but I know it's true.

We lit the fire, and after an hour, the area all along the brick wall was really hot. THe concrete brick with the block structure creates a good thermal mass. An unintended effect of this is that the heat reflects off the round wall evenly, so no matter where you stand you get warm. We should be able to cook in this with no problems.

Things left to do:
  • Dig the dirt out of the bottom and put some gravel in there. There is already a drainage ditch under the pit to get the water out of there.
  • Build some benches
  • Put a dedicated hose on the corner of the house (25 feet away) that can be used immediately if the fire looks like it may get out of control.

    Review of the Project / Lessons Learned / Improvements
  • The diameter of hte pit seems just about right. The inner diameter is 3 feet and the outer one is about 5 1/2 feet. Large enough to put big pieces of wood on the fire, but you are still close to the fire.

  • Using the concrete brick for the inside seems like a good idea so far. I used type-S morter (stonger than normal) to lay the brick and block. The 8" block are hollow, so this give somewhat of a thermal break to the exterior stone, which you really don't want to get hot. After two hours of a fire, the outside was still at ambient temperature.
  • The cultured (man made) stone worked nicely. Mixing 4 differnt kinds gave the rustic look we wanted. You could make it look very formal by using a single type of stone. I often see a few square feet of stone for sale cheap on craig's list - get a few boxes and your set to go. I used about 35 square feet in total.

  • If you can build one with a view, do it. If you don't have a view, I would suggest putting up something like an arbor or wall as a nice focal point.

    Material List and Cost
  • 3 60lb bags of concrete for the footing - $10
  • 12 8x8x16 concrete block for footing and base - $12
  • 75 2x3x8 concrete brick to line the pit and top - $20
  • 6 80lb bags of type-S morter - $30
  • Morter color - already had it. Assume $5.
  • 35 sq feet of stone - already had it. Assume $4 a sq ft (could be more) - $140
  • 3 60lb bags of gravel to fill - $10.

    My own cost was $100. To buy everything would be about $250.

    Bryan said...

    That turned out very nice. Congrats. Nothing like being able to sit next to the fire pit on a cold night.

    Good point about picking up materials for cheap on Craig's list.

    Jamie said...

    That's a beautiful firepit! I was looking for pictures of them when I cam across yours. I've been wanting to rebuild my moms firepit for her and I got some great ideas for it from your blog. Thank you. :)

    See my article library on eHow...