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I Built a Backyard Firepit

October 3, 2012
By

This summer we had a major drought.  It was so bad the town of Fishers, where I live, instituted a burn ban.  The grass in my yard was decimated by the dryness, so I took action on a project my wife and I had talked about for a long time.

So what did I decide to do during a burn ban?  I made a firepit.  One particular spot in my backyard is notorious for turning brown each summer in spite of watering and other special care, so this summer with the excessive heat and dryness was no different.  I decided that since the grass was suicidal in that area, I would just help it along and dig a big hole in that area and line it with the multitude of flagstone I had lying around from a deteriorating landscaping project by my home’s previous owner.

Here’s a little journey through my project.

The beginning.

The rain finally fell and filled my firepit… I mean swimming pool. I was glad to have the rain soften the ground.

The hole is finished and the sprinkler line is redirected. Next, I dug a one foot diameter by one foot deep drain and filled it with rock. Over the entire base of the pit I first put four inches of rock and then four inches of sand. It really hurt filling in the hole I had just dug.

I covered the four inches of rock at the bottom of my firepit with about four inches of sand to cover the entire bottom of the firepit. I lined the firepit with flagstone to create the walls of the pit.

After building up the rock walls, I topped it with the biggest stones and filled in the outer edges with dirt.

After finishing the firepit, I decided to add a border of pea pebbles around it so I wouldn’t have to weedwhack the grass growing in between the stones. Here I started defining the circular border.

After removing the grass around the firepit, I put in a metal trim that could be shaped into a circle and sunk into the ground. This helps me keep most of the pebbles out of the grass. The metal trim came in eight and four foot lengths. I used three eight foot pieces and one four foot piece. Hard to believe that the circumference of the pit was 24 feet.

Here’s a close up of the final project. That’s a root in the middle of the pit which I plan to burn. It came from a nasty sticker bush by our house. I think it looks cool.

This is a wider shot of the completed project. You’ll notice I also put in four tons of river rock along the back of my house.

Like every project I dream about and then actually take action on, this one took a lot longer than I expected.  When I first thrust my shovel into the rock hard ground, it was mid July and I had a plan to complete the pit in two days.  What could be so hard about digging a two foot deep hole and stacking a bunch of rocks in a circle? Two and a half months later I had the answer… HARD.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say I started this around the weekend of July 14th and finished on September 23rd, but it did include four tons of river rock, laying down a lot of weed block, and a few days off for that thing called work.  Still, it was no weekend project as I had originally imagined.

The best part is that it is complete, and the burn ban has been lifted.  Now it’s time to roast marshmallows.

 

Here are a few more pictures from the rest of our backyard project.

Staining the playset.

Four tons of river rock.

This is the back of our house before we put in the river rock and cut down the arbor on the left.

We had a lot of sand and stone up close to the house. Part one was to remove all that.

I laid down weed block after removing a lot of sand and dirt from around the back of the house.

That was two bags of river rock from the store, which confirmed that we could get a better deal on a lot of rock from the local rock quarry. Four tons of rock was perfect.

Elisabeth stained our remaining arbor.

Elisabeth standing on top of the ladder.

The fact that she was still smiling after all this.

The final result with stained arbor and river rock put in.

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