An outdoor fireplace and grill pit combines the beauty and warmth of a fireplace with the functionality of a grill. The structure can be used for cozy social moments or for barbecuing hamburgers, shish kabobs, marshmallows or hot dogs. Many can be bought in convenient fire pit packages in a range of styles and sizes. However, homeowners sometimes choose to have a pit that is custom designed.
For whatever design chosen, here’s a general tutorial on properly setting up an outdoor fireplace and grill pit.
What You’ll Need:
Materials: a complete fire pit kit or these individual materials
- 60 fire bricks
- a pallet of fieldstone, such as New England style stone
- gravel for decoration
- fast-setting concrete, six bags
- mortar mix, a dozen bags
- 3 rolls of landscape mesh
- 1/2 inch rebar that’s 24 inches long
- wheel barrel
- stone hammer
- utility knife
- measuring tape
- 1/2 inch masonry jointer
- safety glasses
- string line
- spray paint
- Five cans of high heat paint
Step 1: After browsing a home improvement store or website, purchase a pre-packaged fire pit kit with a grill. Such kits generally come with 16 to 20 pieces to assemble. If not purchasing a kit, the list of materials above.
Step 2: Survey the backyard and choose a clear place to install the outdoor fireplace and grill pit that is not near anything flammable, such as wooden fences, low-hanging tree branches or a gazebo. Needless to say, the pit should not be too close to the house. The center of the yard works well.
Step 3: Take the spray paint and the measuring tape to mark the chosen location with a pattern for a square pit. If the pit you’ve selected is circular, use the compass and string instead of measuring tape to draw the round pattern on the ground. Commonly, circular pits measure three feet in diameter; square pits can have a three foot square interior. Leave a two-foot trim around the outside of the pit for the concrete footer and wall that will surround the pit, separating it from the seating area.
Step 4: Now, mark a square or circular seating area around the designated pit location, according to dimensions of your fire pit kit. If creating a free form pit without a kit, a 12-foot diameter circle or a 10-foot square enclosure that wraps around the pit will suffice for the seating section. These dimensions can be adjusted according to personal preference, but changes may require more materials.
Step 5: Time to install the concrete footer mentioned in Step 3. The footer will hold the wall that will trim the pit. To create the footer, dig a two-foot wide trim all the way around the pattern marked for the fire pit; dig at least six-inches deep. Then, mix the quick-setting concrete in the wheelbarrow and pour the necessary amount into the excavation. Allow time for the concrete to set smoothly.
Step 6: Open the pallet and separate the field stones into two piles: capstones and face stones. Hint: the smoothest stones should be saved for capstones, which will lay on top of the wall. The remaining face stones form the wall.
Step 7: Starting on the outside edge of the footer, lay the face stones to create the first ring of the wall.
Step 8: Go inside of the wall ring and place fire bricks along the edge of the pattern marked for the fire pit. These bricks should not be against the wall; there should be space between the inside of the wall and the bricks lining the pit area. Arrange the bricks vertically so that they reach three-feet high.
Step 9: Top the first ring of the wall with more rings, laying layer upon layer of stone until the wall is the desired height.
Step 10: Fill the space between the wall and fire brick with any leftover stones and the mortar mix. Then, cap the wall with the capstones.
Step 11: Finish the seating area by shallowly digging out the seating section. Fill with landscape mesh and the decorative gravel.
Step 12: The final step is to place the steel grilling grate over the pit and attach the optional round barbecue hood. As an alternative, you can store the grilling plate and use the steel fire pit cover when you don’t plan to cook on the pit.
When it’s time to enjoy the pit, fill it with wood. Buy benches for the seating area and invite a bevy of friends.
About the author: Richard Dobbins writes about fireplace and grilling pits for Northshore Fireplace. Richard enjoys cooking on the BBQ and entertaining friends and family when he’s not busy writing.