Have you recently thought about putting a fire pit somewhere in your backyard? This has the potential to be a great choice, but you will want to take the time to do things right.
You want to consider safety when you’re deciding where to place a fire pit. It’s also prudent to think about the best way to put the fire pit in your backyard.
If you’ve been to other peoples’ fire pits before, then you might have noticed that many people dig holes for the fire pit. Why do people do that, and is it necessary to dig a hole?
Keep reading to learn more about fire pit safety. You’ll learn about the importance of digging holes for fire pits as well as other basic tips that will help you to get started.
Why Holes Are Generally Recommended (for Certain Fire Pits)
Holes are generally recommended for fire pits because you need ventilation. When you buy commercial fire pits from stores, you’ll notice that they will have holes in them for ventilation purposes.
You might want to dig a hole underneath some fire pit designs so that the air will circulate better. Depending on what type of fire pit design you’re going with, it may or may not be necessary to dig a hole.
When you’re making an in-ground fire pit, then you’re definitely going to be digging a hole. Having a hole in the ground is central to the design philosophy of this type of fire pit.
So what you need to take away from this is that there are different fire pit designs. If you don’t want to dig a hole in your yard, then you could build a fire pit that doesn’t require a hole.
You could also buy a commercial fire pit that has legs and ventilation holes. This keeps the fire pit high enough that you won’t need to dig a hole to give the fire pit the necessary ventilation.
Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to choose what you want to do. If you wish to build a simple in-ground fire pit, then you should keep reading.
Below, you’ll learn the basic steps to take when making one of these fire pits. It’ll help you to get the job done while also doing so as safely as possible.
Be Sure to Look Into Local Laws
Before doing anything else, it’s going to be imperative to ensure that you’re doing things legally. Some areas might have restrictions on whether or not you can build fire pits in your yard.
This is often the case when you live in an area that experiences wildfire issues. You’ll want to do the research to see what the laws are in your area.
Even if it’s legal to build a fire pit, it might be necessary to procure a permit first. You’ll need to do everything by the book if you want to avoid getting fined by the local authorities.
It simply wouldn’t be worth it to build a fire pit and then have the police get called on you. Figure out what you need to do so that you can get started.
Pick a Safe Spot for the Fire Pit
Picking a safe spot for the fire pit is going to be the next important step. If you just place the fire pit hole in your yard without putting any thought into it, then you could be putting your property in danger.
Placing a fire pit underneath tree limbs is likely going to be a recipe for disaster. Fire pits will shoot embers up into the air, and these embers could potentially set the tree limbs on fire.
You need to find a location for the fire pit that is away from plants, trees, hanging tree limbs, and other things that might catch on fire. It’s also smart to keep the fire pit a fair distance from the house just to be on the safe side.
Remember that picking the right spot is also about finding a convenient location. You want to find a good location that will be a fun spot for your friends to sit around the fire with you.
Take your time and scope out your yard before you make a final decision. Once you’re done, you can mark the area that you’ve chosen with sticks or rocks.
Measure the Fire Pit Hole
Now that you’ve chosen the location of the fire pit, it’s going to be time to measure the hole. The diameter of the hole should be around five feet.
Use a tape measure to ensure that you get the measurements right. You can make an “X” and then use some string or twine to mark the circle once you’ve finished measuring things out.
After you’ve measured the fire pit hole, you’ll be ready to get started with digging. It’s likely a good idea to get started pretty soon after you’ve measured if you’ve only marked the circle with string or twine.
Otherwise, the wind could come and blow everything away. You could try marking the grass or soil with rocks if you’d like to wait to dig things until another day, but whether you’ll have enough rocks in your yard to do this or not depends on your property.
Dig the Fire Pit Hole
Digging the fire pit hole is the next step. This won’t take too long since you don’t need to dig the hole that deep.
It’s generally recommended to dig the fire pit hole ten inches into the ground. You’re also going to want to angle all of the sides so that it will look like a flat-bottomed bowl.
You can use a shovel to angle things out as necessary. Once this is done, you’re also going to want to get rid of the grass that is around the perimeter of the fire pit.
Using your shovel, take the time to remove the top layer of grass around the hole that you just dug. You’ll be pulling up the sod to protect the yard so that you don’t accidentally cause a fire to spread.
The sod that you’re pulling up can be utilized in spots of your yard that need grass. For example, you might have a dead patch of grass somewhere, and you can simply place the sod there.
Consider Creating a Sand Barrier
Creating a sand barrier is something that you can do if you want to. It might be enough to just remove the grass around the perimeter, but some people go the extra mile by adding sand.
If you want to do this, then go ahead and add sand to the perimeter of the fire pit. This should stop fire from spreading since it will die out when embers hit the sand.
This is just another method of trying to keep the fire pit area as safe as possible. It should be noted that keeping a bucket of sand nearby can be useful as well.
You can use sand to try to extinguish a fire if something does happen to catch on fire. The sand will smother the flames, and you’ll be able to keep using the fire pit without having to worry so much.
Line the Inside of the Fire Pit with Bricks
Lining the inside of the fire pit with bricks will be smart too. You can place bricks vertically along the angled perimeter wall of the fire pit hole.
You want to ensure that the bricks are being placed as close together as possible. For a five-foot-diameter fire pit such as this, you should have to use around thirty bricks to get the job done.
Do your best to position the bricks as snugly as possible. It’s recommended to jam them into the soil a bit so that they will stay in position.
If you’re able to place them together closely, then they shouldn’t move when all of the bricks have been placed. It’ll take a bit of time to get this right, but it isn’t that difficult to do.
Create a Hearth Using the Rest of Your Bricks
Now you’re going to create a hearth using the rest of your bricks. Essentially, this involves laying the bricks around the outside perimeter of the fire pit.
You’ll be making the bricks point outward so that they will resemble a drawing of the sun’s rays. Once again, you’ll be placing the bricks as closely together as you can.
Next, you’ll be doing another layer, but this time you’ll be placing bricks around the previous layer in an “O” pattern. This should help to contain the fire within the fire pit.
You could do this alongside the sand perimeter to keep things extra safe. The area with sand can be where you’ll place your lawn chairs and your cooler.
Spread Sand Evenly in the Center of the Pit
Take the time to spread sand evenly in the center of the fire pit hole. After you’ve finished this, you’ll be ready to build a fire.
You can get the wood and whatever ignition materials you’re planning on using. So long as you’re being careful, it should be easy to sit back and enjoy your new fire pit.
Invite some friends over to enjoy this moment with you. This should be a great way to spend time with friends and family members.
You can roast marshmallows in the fire pit or you can just enjoy talking to some of your closest companions over drinks. Enjoy your time and always be careful to keep an eye on the fire so that nothing bad happens.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel