Fire to the Pit

Feelin’ hot hot hot?  Not exactly…not even for the Phoenix area.  Winter is still upon all of us and when nightfall strikes, the cold still manages to creep it’s way around.  BUT fear we shall not, persevere we shall!  How might one do this, you ask?  Good ol’ fashioned fire!  Sure you could wear a sweater or go inside where heaters work their magic but that’s far too logical.  And hey, where’s the fun in that?  Fire pits are such a fad right now and rightfully so!  It’s that time of year so pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on outside!

P1020815The roomies and I decided we had to get in on this fire pit business.  It seemed super cozy, relaxing, and social.  Plus, in case our stellar company wasn’t enough, it gave our house that inviting “cool factor”.

We did our fair share of browsing the Internet, and hunting through construction sights in order to find the cheapest possible way to make our fire pit a dream come true.  Ya see, us poor college students can’t normally handle wearing the fancy pants…we thrive in the cheap and charming.  Craigslist has tons of free/cheap stuff so if you’re lucky you might find a fire pit ready to go or stones that someone wants removed from their yard.  We weren’t lucky of course…that would be too easy.  Simple is also a plus, which is why we based our pit off of this tutorial by Thrifty Little Mom.

Before this beauty happened…

IMG_1984…our process went something like this…

Things to do First:

  1. Before we even began, we checked our local city’s fire codes to be sure there wasn’t any fire restrictions.
  2. Then we checked with our county’s Air Quality Department to be sure we were not having a fire on a “No Burn Day” or else a ticket would surely be knocking at our door.  If you live in Maricopa County, cleanairmakemore.com, is a great resource to view daily air quality updates.

Gathering Materials / Building:

  1. We went to our nearest hardware/outdoor stores (Ace, Walmart, Home Depot, etc.) and decided on Home Depot due to the variety of stones/blocks/bricks/pavers!
  2. After testing out sizes and building fire pits all over the store, we decided on these blocks, which were $1.75 each.  These are the dimensions…stone diagram
  3. Setting 8 blocks around gave us an inside diameter of almost 20 inches.  We did 2 layers to give us some height (16 total blocks) for about $30.
    • Using more blocks and 1 more layer, as seen in Thrifty Little Mom‘s tutorial, looks nicer, creates a tighter fit between blocks, and allows for a larger fire BUT is unnecessary if you’re trying to save some money.
    • When setting another layer down on top of the first layer, remember to offset the blocks like you would a brick wall.  So the middle of the top brick will sit on the crack bellow (where the 2 bottom bricks meet when their sides touch).  This creates better stability…hooray for a fire pit that doesn’t fall over!
  4. Next we filled the inside of our pit with 1 layer of granite-looking rocks that we found and a hexagon-shaped brick to keep our fire off of the ground (as seen in picture above).
    • Warning: when rocks are heated, they have the tendency to explode if they are too porous and have absorbed enough water beforehand.  Check out more information here.  I have never experienced this personally but it is definitely something to keep in mind and test out before you invite a party of people over.  Injuring guests is NOT what cool kids do.
    • Note: it isn’t worth getting super creative with the inside of your pit because after your first fire everything turns black from charcoal.

That’s all folks!  The rest of the party is up to you…

P1000879Looks like someone is ready to get toasty with the amigos!  Have fun!

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