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Eckie

In Ground fire pit

18 posts in this topic

I'm interested in installing one of these this spring...but I'm looking for a little know how. My vision is for the actual pit to be approximately 3ft in diameter and using pavers of some kind for a seating area (size unknown - open to suggestions). Questions are:

1. How deep to dig the pit and the seating area?

2. What can be used for the pit base (material)?

3. I have an sprinkler system in the ground...most of the lines are 10-12 inches below ground...hopefully the answer to #1 will clarify if this will be an issue.

4. Lastly, I assume I'll need gravel and or sand under the pavers, but unsure of depth, thickness, etc.

Anyone done this before? Or, are there a few experts that do this on a regular basis?

Thanks for any suggestions.....

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We did a simpler version of one a few years back. We used large natural stone to line the perimeter of firepit and the seating area (which we already had on our lot). In the bottom of the pit we put in some sand. In between the firepit and the perimeter we filled it with pea gravel (river rock color). We just didn't want to incur the expense of pavers, since we knew we weren't going to stay in the house forever. We love it so far!

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My brother bought a paver kit from menards(?), it's 14'dia, with the inside 4'gone.

he then dug a 12" deep pit that he lined with a 1/4"x12"x4'dia steel ring (not in kit) and then had a steel cover made for it to keep it safe when not in use or to smother the fire.

Its nice that the heat seems to go more up than at you, when its lower than ground level.

He and his wife did it in an afternoon, very clean look too.

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Thanks for the idea, Minneman....

Two questions -- where did he find the steel ring? And two, in regards to the pavers...did he simply lay them out in the existing dirt? If so, would/have they moved with frost in the ground?

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I'm not a landscaper by any strectch of the imagination, but I believe you need a good solid base of either gravel or sand under the pavers and once they're set in place you sweep fine sand in between them to keep them in place.

I know a lot of people and campgrounds use steel truck rims for rings in their fire pits, but you should be able to buy something like that at a big box store.

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Perch ~

Thanks -- I was under the same impression...I'm just not sure how "much" gravel is needed for a base....

Last thing I want is to get it installed, only to realize the next spring (after ground thaw) that I should've done 'this or that' differently...and have to redo it.

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Is there a certain reason you want it to be in-ground versus on-ground? When I think of a fire pit I think: "how am I going to clean this thing out once it's plump full of ashes/bottles/cans/etc". In-ground would probably be harder to clean out.

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For pavers you want to have a pretty solid base of gravel. In the past depending upon the application we typically used 6inches of compacted gravel. Then we used 3/4in o.d. pipe to secret sand on top of the gravel for the pavers to lie on. Another forum to look or ask in is the lawn & garden forum.

Also on a side note we have had pavers discolor around the edge fire pit due to extreme heat.

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yes, he dug a good 6" out of the entire area, put in about 4-5" of crushed rock, packed it with a packer then added enough sand to cover the rock to lay the pavers on,packed again, put them all in then added sand again to pack inbetween.

the steel ring and cover he had made at a steel shop.

Im not sure about the center 4' and how that was handled. however, ive been told some areas have restrictions on how large a fire ring can be.

Its been there 3 yrs with no issues.

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Our fire pit is very basic. It's about 3-4' wide and about a foot deep. Around the perimeter I placed rocks that we found around our property, about a foot or two high.

I didn't line it with any rock/gravel/sand as at that depth I hit clay. When it needs to be cleaned out, I just shovel the ash into a 5 gallon bucket and spread it around the garden and planting areas (it's great fertilizer).

I cleared a seating area and built long benches out of logs I gathered from the property, notched them out and built them up log-cabin style to a comfortable seating level. These are on three sides of the pit, about 5-6' from the pit. I keep a grate, marshmallow sticks and heat resistant gloves out there all the time, as well as a durable "fire stick", used for stoking it up and moving logs around.

The only maintenance I do is shoveling out the pit and an occasional raking around the pit, to get rid of dry leaves.

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Is there a certain reason you want it to be in-ground versus on-ground? When I think of a fire pit I think: "how am I going to clean this thing out once it's plump full of ashes/bottles/cans/etc". In-ground would probably be harder to clean out.

A shovel has always worked for me when cleaning out fire pits. Like posted above the ashes would work as a fertilizer. As for the cans and bottles I just wouldn't throw them into the fire to start with and the problem should take care of itself.

In ground or above ground all fire pits are going to fill up with ashes and need to be cleaned out.

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Cleaning them out is not that big of a deal. And no, we don't throw cans and bottles in it. That's what a garbage is for.

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We just laid landscaping block around a hole where I had a tree stump taken out.

It looks like garbage, but the 7 and 3 year old don't care, they just want the marshmellow sticks. laugh

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Here is what I put in a couple years ago.. No issues with the pavers/block chipping/cracking (maybe a small chip out of one or two), the 36" fire ring itself is a kit that is sold at D-Rock of old hwy 8 for around $100. I think the blocks are made to handle the heat, but don't exactly remember. We have good size fires without any issues. My pit is roughly 6-10" below the surface of that patio and it's every easy to clean out with a shovel. There may be a little discoloration around the inside top edge of the pavers, but I would have to go look and it's nothing that really stands out.

Prep included the basic paver patio prep. Class 5 tamped down, sand over the top of that and then layed the pavers once the sand was all flat. The fire pit is sitting on top of the class 5 and I dug a bowl shape sown inside it. I then built the patio around that.

We really enjoy this setup and it has held up great!

Picture131.jpg

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311~

I think I remember when you posted this a while back -- and was actually hoping you'd chime in...thanks for the pictures...I'm interested in a similar set up..guess my only concern at this point is my underground sprinkler lines (10-12 inches below ground) .. how deep of a class 5 base did you go with?

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I don't remember exactly how thick I went but I think it was roughly 6" class 5 (tamped down angling away from house), 3/4" of sand (screeded over 3/4" pipe), then the pavers on top of that.

Here is the original post with more details:

Original post

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