How I Plan to Make my Firepit

There’s been a lot of sticks and branches falling out of the trees and landing on my lawn. I have a barrel in the backyard for burning sticks and leaves, but some of the branches are too big for it. I could break them into smaller pieces, but I can’t fit a whole lot into the barrel at once and that means the process of burning yard waste is much slower than I would like.

For the last week or so, I’ve been thinking I ought to have a firepit. It would make the burning of yard waste easier. It would also be nice to have a fire once in a while, just to sit around and shoot the shit over beer.  When I first moved into this house, my mom had suggested a couple times that I make a firepit for the purpose of having people over and hanging out in the backyard at night. But I wasn’t for it at the time, partly because I didn’t feel like making a firepit and partly because I don’t have people over very often.

I’m still not likely to have people over much, but I think a firepit would be nice. However, if I’m going to make a firepit in my backyard, I want it to be something I like. I don’t want to just dig a little hole and surround it with rocks. What I want to do is build an outdoor fireplace in my backyard. Something a little more fancy than the usual hole-and-rock style firepits.

Click picture for larger version.

Yesterday, after playing around with a tape measure and making crude sketches, I figured out exactly what I want to do. I will dig a hole twelve inches deep and make it perfectly square, with thirty-two inches on all sides. I will also make the floor of the hole flat. So, twelve inches deep and thirty-two inches on all sides, and a flat floor. That’s the first step.

Next, I want there to be a wall of concrete blocks surrounding the hole. This is as much for safety as it is for looks. A concrete wall should reduce the chances of the grass catching on fire. The wall will be twelve inches high. So, the wall twelve inches high surrounding the hole twelve inches deep, that means the overall depth of the pit will be two feet.

Home DepotI looked on They’re selling concrete blocks sixteen inches long, eight inches wide and eight inches high for $0.98 each. These concrete blocks are perfect for what I have in mind and they cost a lot less than I was expecting. I’ll need ten of them. Two sides of the pit will have three of these concrete blocks. That will make the walls forty-eight inches long, which is sixteen inches too long. But then the other two sides of the pit will only have two concrete blocks each and everything will come together.

nullBut the concrete wall will only have a height of eight inches and I want it to be twelve inches. I also don’t want there to be square holes in the top of the wall where spider webs will start appearing. Home Depot is selling these solid blocks that are sixteen inches long, eight inches wide and four inches high for $1.04 each. I’ll need ten of them, to place on top of the first layer of concrete blocks. The concrete wall will have a height of twelve inches and there will be no holes except for the firepit itself.

So, that’s what I want to do.