Adding a specialty feature like a fire pit to your backyard retreat can create a relaxing atmosphere in your landscape, not to mention, it can also help to extend the use of your outdoor space in cooler seasons, adding warmth and light. Even though a fire pit can be considered special, no special tools are required for do-it-yourselfers to make one.
How to Make a Fire Pit
Step 1. Prepare an area for the fire pit, making sure it’s a solid, level foundation with base rock or sand.
Step 2. Build a wood form for pouring concrete using wood nailed together in a square or a rectangle. The form needs an exterior box and a smaller interior box that creates a five-inch gap where the concrete goes. Build the form as high as you want the fire pit, using stakes to hold the wood in place as well as to the ground. Make the entire wood form sits level.
Step 3. Reinforce the wood form, making a grid with rebar. Drive pieces of rebar vertically into the corners and along every foot inside the form. Then run rebar horizontally between the vertical rebar and tie them together with steel metal wire. Cut wire mesh or matting pieces to fit inside the form for extra reinforcement and tie it to the rebar grid with wire.
Step 4. Pour concrete inside the form, tamping down to fill any holes. Smooth off the top with a trowel and tap the forms to release the wet concrete from the forms while drying. Let the concrete dry overnight. Once the concrete is completely dry, carefully remove the wood forms.
Step 5. Add any finishing touches to your concrete fire pit, such as a slate top or fine sanding of the concrete for smoothness. Fill with fire pit about three quarters full, placing a metal fire bowl on top, so it’s flush with the top of the concrete frame. Add decorative glass around the outside of the metal fire bowl until only the top rim of the bowl is exposed.
How to Make a Fire Bowl
Step 1. Lay out a 10-foot by 10-foot tarp on the ground, drawing a circle on it with the permanent marker that’s at least 36 inches wide.
Step 2. Pour out a bag of fine sand in the middle of the circle, adding enough water to make it the consistency of beach sand for building a sand castle. Begin to mound the sand into an inverted bowl shape as wide and round as the tarp circle, smoothing it out with your hands or a trowel. Continue to add wet sand to the mound, until it’s as large as you want the fire bowl to be. Cover the “sand mold” with a plastic sheet to prevent moisture evaporation.
Step 3. After preparing the concrete, take the plastic sheeting off the sand mold and cover it with the wet concrete, applying in layers until the concrete is about three inches thick. Insert several straws near the top of the concrete layer through to the sand, creating drain holes for rainwater. Cover with plastic sheeting.
Step 4. While the concrete is still wet, place a board on top of the covered concrete and use a level in north-south-east-west directions, making sure the top is level and straight for the bowl to sit on when it’s inverted. Smooth out as necessary.
Step 5. Allow the covering concrete to slow dry for at least 48 hours. Once it’s dry, lift the bowl from the sand mold and remove the straws. Lightly sand the concrete fire bowl to your preferred smoothness, if needed.
Stop by our store for a full line of CTS Rapid Set concrete mixes, designed to harden and set within minutes, making your job faster and simpler and allowing you to move onto the next step of your project much sooner than with other concrete mixes. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY project. We’re open seven days a week!