Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How I Built My Own Outdoor Flagstone Fire Pit

Well, sometimes you have to wait good and long enough to finally have enough incentive to do what you have to do to get what you want.  And that is how I got 'a hair up my butt' as my husband, Rich, said and built myself a fire pit.  I had only been dreaming and planning to do so for about the past four years.  Really, pretty much ever since we built our home.  I knew exactly where I wanted it, what I wanted it to look like and what I wanted it to be.  And that was nothing less than what I had already imagined.  So, I talked about it.  I emphasized how much I wanted one.  And that my friends, got me absolutely no where closer to getting it built.  My husband never did bite at that bait and never did build it for me.  And when I want something bad enough, I cannot get it out of my mind.  Not at all.  And then I find a way to make it happen.  With or without any help, come hell or high water, I will get what I want.  Even if I have to do it all by my little old self ;)
I got my flagstone from 2 different people, so that made it a bit difficult since the stuff from my neighbors was more like small boulders and the stuff from my brother was more ideal cause it was nice and flat. I would suggest, if you can choose what type you would want, the nice flat pieces of flagstone to do this project with. First I removed the grass like it were sod (not too hard since the drought killed it at that time). Once I had a perfect circle (did it all with just a regular shovel), I used a garden rake and worked clockwise from the center out like a pinwheel to drag it, removing any left behind root systems and rocks. I tried to level it the best I could with this process. Next I used one of those things that you pound the ground down with, it is like a shovel handle with a flat square on the bottom. Then I poured in 10 bags of crushed rock (for doing patios and such) followed by a few bags of crushed pea gravel to top it off with-this filled in the spaces around the crushed rock making it more tight and solid. Then I used that ground pounder thing again to flatten it out (I was really afraid that down the road it would sink and crack my cement so I tried my best to give it a solid foundation). Next I started to lay out my rock for the down splash part or the patio part that wraps around and under the ring (to support the fire ring from sinking). I used my largest pieces inter mixed with some medium and small pieces to make it flow, leaving about 2-3" of negative space in between the best I could. I left the center open and placed a large square concrete patio block in the center (for the main floor of the fire pit). I built my center fire ring starting on top of the patio ring, like right on the very edge of where it was left open and built it up 4 rows, then I took them down the same way I had them and made 4 rings in the grass so I knew how to lay them as I cemented them in later on when it was time. I then used a fine ground (no rocks in it) mortar cement for stone mixed with a small amount of concrete strengthener and water to for the 'grout'. You want it wet, but still able to hold it's shape.   I just used a trowel to fill it in between the rocks, then with my rubber gloved hands I just kind of lightly patted it to smooth it (like patting on a babies butt) ;) Once I had the whole patio ring part cemented, I lightly sprayed it with the hose. (it was starting to lightly crack as it began to dry- this is why you spray it with water to slow down the drying process and it will fill in the fix the cracks).  Since it rained for the rest of that night I didn't have to do it again, but if it didn't I probably would have sprayed it again periodically as it was setting. In the morning there were no cracks at all. Concrete likes to set in this cool rainy weather that we had last week. Once the bottom was good and set a few days later I came back with my first bottom ring that I had to the side in the grass, laid it down again on the edge of the cemented patio part. And started to fill in the negative space between the rocks with the cement.  Then next lay the cement on the top of these rocks, lay down the 2nd ring that is set to the side in the grass, fill in any open gaps with more cement, cement the top of the 2nd ring, lay the last 3rd ring on top and again fill in any open gaps with the rest of the cement and follow suite with the last ring to finish it off.  That way the fire ring it solid all the way up with rocks and cement like a well.  Lastly just spray it down with the hose again and periodically until it is set in about the first 2 days if it does not rain. It should not retain water since there is a gravel base (the patio block that I placed in it is in the center and does not take up all the space, leaving gravel around the edges) and hopefully not crack too bad although cement will eventually crack. And that is that I guess :)


  1. LOOKS GREAT !!!! You want to do another one soon?

  2. Thank you :) And no way man! I thought I was gonna die doing it ;)