Fire Pits

     This blog post is meant to give further instructions and fun information about the multiple firepits I've built, for a variety of reasons. I've currently built three different fire pits, and each one gets better than the previous, so I'm not too worried about needing to tear down my existing and build yet another when I get the landscaping in my yard finished next year.

     I've built all the firepits out of retaining wall blocks that were in the landscaping when I bought my house. The previous owner must have gotten some great deal on these blocks, because I probably have a pallet or two worth of them. There's nothing special or fancy about them. They are trapezoidal in shape, probably about three inches tall. When placed edge to edge the blocks will create a thirty-six inch circle. Making a ring higher than one layer brings about problems though, as the blocks have small lip on the bottom back side, meant to be used as an aid in placing them correctly when used for a retaining wall. Putting the blocks with that setback makes the ring have a smaller diameter, which then makes all the blocks not fit. Technically the lip is suppose to be broken off when staking them for a ring, but I don't have the proper tools for that.

     My first firepit was fairly basic, just two tiers of blocks, with one block on the top ring being flipped on it's side because that lip on the back made the diameter too small for the block to fit in the normal way. The image for this post is actually of the first firepit I built. I ended up pulling it apart after I learned that I can only have a thirty inch fire pit per municipal code. I doubt if anybody would have said anything about it, but hey, better safe than sorry.

     The second firepit was fairly close in style to the first. I didn't take any pictures of it, because it only lasted for a few days, and never had a fire in it. This time I made some measurements and placed four blocks so the diameter would be correct and then smooshed bricks between those for to create a circle. I ended up with some space between the lower rung of blocks, but that was okay as I didn't expect any burning embers to make their way through the slots and into the wild. This firepit was removed shortly after when I read the entirety of the code concerning firepits and learned that there was lot of spacing requirements. It had to be a certain amount of space from the neighbors property line, a certain amount of space for any buildings or flamamble materials. This all this information in my mind, and my trusty tape measure in hand I went out to find the perfect spot for a third, and semipermanent firepit.

     For the third firepit I went all out, burying one layer of blocks below the grade and then stacking two more layers on top of that. To get the sizing correct I stacked some blocks on end, almost every other stack was flipped on end making them much narrower. I was lucky enough to have blocks that stacked flat three high were the same height as two stacked on end, giving a even height overall. I placed some patio blocks around the pit to keep down weeds and anything that might want to grow there, and to keep the ground from getting super muddy when putting the fire out. Another nice thing about putting the firepit lower than the surrounding ground is that water puddles in the ashes, which makes containing the mess very easy. This is the only firepit that I've actually burnt anything in, and I can say that it has worked out very well.

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