Wednesday, December 29, 2010
garden addition: fire pit
My blog had a drought the entire fall season, but that doesn't mean I wasn't doing anything in the garden; I was just too busy to write about all that was happening! One of the garden projects we tackled was the addition of a fire pit.
This ended up being a fairly simple and economic project. Supplies purchased at the Home Depot, totalling $50, included: river pebbles, lava rock, and the 'decorative' concrete block surround. I already had a shovel at home, and Whit provided 95% of the labor.
We did not use 'fire-rated' concrete blocks, rather we opted for the type used mainly in constructing decorative retaining walls. Not being 'fire-rated' means a few pieces may crack over time and need to be replaced. The angled edges of the concrete block made the circle easy to achieve without any gaps in the border.
The location we selected is in the middle of our tiny back yard, which is slightly sloped. (Any fire pit should be at least 10' away from exterior walls) Our fire pit is approximately 2.5' in diameter, with a portion set into ground to accommodate the slope while keeping the top of the concrete surround level.
Once the 10 concrete blocks were placed along the edge, Whit dug down several more inches and we started filling in the pit with one bag of river pebbles followed by one bag of the larger lava rock. The lava rock was purely an aesthetic choice, but I think adds some authenticity.
The final elevation of the rocks sits several inches below the top of the concrete blocks. The fire pit works great! But if Whit had to do it over again, I think he would have made the pit even deeper, to accommodate larger pieces of wood. We will probably add another course of concrete blocks to achieve the same affect.
With the addition of a few camping chairs, our new outdoor entertaining area was complete! Of course, Whit wishes that our fire pit were larger (probably a guy thing). We were limited mainly by space and proximity to the house. I think the size is just perfect.
We had several fires throughout the fall and in to the winter. My hope is that this outdoor space will be used year-round. It will be interesting to see how the moss holds up to the foot traffic and heat, since it is too shady to grow grass in the back yard.