Nearly every mythology deals with the creation of fire, which underscores mankind's love of making things burn. Fire was essential to mankind's early survival by allowing us to cook, providing us with light and protecting us against predators and cold. Today, we can continue our love affair with fire by installing a fire pit into our backyard. A fire pit can extend our outdoor enjoyment well into late fall when the temperatures begin to drop, as well as allowing us to cook outdoors.
Choose a location for your fire pit. A fire pit should be located well away from your home or any structure or object that you do not want to catch fire.
Insert a dowel rod into the ground at the centre of your proposed fire pit. Tie the end of a 30 cm (12-inch) string to the rod. That is half the width of the fire pit. Hold the other end of the string. Hold a can of spray paint against the string and rotate the string around the dowel rod to mark the boundaries of the fire pit. Then tie a 60 cm (24-inch) string to the dowel rod. Hold the spray can against the dowel rod and rotate the string while spraying the can to mark the edges of a safety trench that will encircle the fire pit.
Dig out a trench between the inner ring of spray paint and the outer ring of spray paint to form the safety trench. This trench should be 25 cm (10 inches) deep.
Fill the trench with a 7.5 (3-inch) layer of gravel. Tamp the gravel with a tamping tool until it is firm. Mix cement with water in a bucket until it is the consistency of cake batter. Pour the cement over the crushed gravel until the trench is completely filled. Smooth the surface of the trench with a trowel. Cover with builder's plastic sheeting and allow it to cure and harden for 24 hours.
Dig a hole inside the safety ring that is 20 cm (8 inches) deep. Pour 5 cm (2 inches) of crushed gravel into this hole and tamp it down. Mix cement until it is the consistency of cake batter. Pour the concrete into the hole in a 2.5 cm (1-inch) thick layer.
Set fire bricks in a layer into the bottom of the hole over the layer of concrete. Place cement with a trowel over each brick where it will touch concrete or a neighbouring brick before fitting it into place. The process of putting cement on the bricks is similar to placing frosting on a cake. Lay a second layer of bricks over the first.
Place a layer of bricks around the sides of the fire pit up to the safety trench. Cover each brick in cement on 5 sides with a trowel, leaving only the exposed side uncovered.
Cover the fire pit in plastic builder's sheeting. Allow the fire pit to dry and cure for up to 7 days before using.
Check with local ordinances to determine if there are any rules that concern building a fire pit. Some areas have ordinances that prohibit fire pits over a certain size.