Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Outdoor Fire Pit

In laying out my outdoor zen garden (as my mil likes to call it),  I included a spot for a fire pit.  We had a number of bricks stacked haphazardly behind our shed, but for a long time I was secretly holding out on using them for anything, hoping that those bricks would be some day be used in a kitchen add-on.  However, when neighbors added on to their similarly shaped home without the use of extra bricks, I realized that I was holding out for naught.  So, with a little premixed mortar and some planning help from my brilliant son, I went to work.

These bricks have been stacked behind our shed since we bought the house, over 10 years ago!  And who knows how long they were there before that.  I didn't encounter any snakes, but there were TONS of spiders and lizards!
My biggest issue in building the pit was the inability to cut my bricks. I had to plan around full bricks.  I had seen a youtube video describing how to make a rocket stove, which leaves space at the bottom between the bricks to feed the fire.  I thought maybe I could do something similar.

A few weeks before "the build" my son was visiting.  I  described what I wanted and between the two if us we came up with a design.

As you can see, he gave some serious thought to the project.  :)

 Everything I needed I already had:  the brick, the tools and even the mortar.

I've had this premixed mortar around for a while, and it's come in quite handy for quick tile projects. Even though this one was planned out before hand, it was carried out "spur of the moment" (as in, I woke up one day and decided it was the day to make a fire pit).

I had placed a squarish piece of cement to mark the spot for the pit, and I decided to 
just build around it.   First I laid the bricks in a square around the piece of cement, which will become the base of pit. 

The second row, however, would allow for an opening the size of a half of a brick.  It will be used later to feed the fire, or I can block the space with a broken piece of brick.

The mortar was real easy to put on, sorta like icing a cake.  Unfortunately, my cakes turn out a little messy, as did this project!

The next row was laid out the same as the first, as well as the third and fourth ones.  I was concerned about the stability of the walls, since I didn't stagger the bricks, but they seem fine.

Just for good measure, I slapped on spread some extra mortar on the inside corners.

The last row was not really a row at all.  I just placed two bricks at each of the corners.  This will hold up a grate for fires, or the wooden top I plan on making to cover it during the summer.

The mortar shows quite a bit in the photos, but with weathering and use, it will blend in nicely with the brick.  (At least that's what I keep telling myself, lol.)

At dusk, it's the perfect spot for a glass of wine.

With the sun almost all the way down, it's ready for some marshmallows on a stick!

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