Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fire Pit How-To-ish

Last week you caught a glimpse of Nate’s parents’ fire pit…which made us realize we haven’t introduced our fire pit on the ol’ blog.  We only use it two or three times a year. Mainly because Nate’s parents live a block away and we use theirs more often.  And I don’t like bugs or smoke or more than one s’more.  Nate, however, could win a s’more eating contest…

Mudroom 025

Mudroom 022

Mudroom 026

How do you make your very own fire pit? 

Step 1:  Start with an ugly area like this and choose your retaining blocks of choice.  (We choose King’s Material Keystone Country Manner retaining wall system in granite.)


Step 2: Level the ground where you want to start your fire pit/retaining wall combo.

Step 3: Put down dry bagged concrete or sand to make the ground stable. (We used bag concrete because sand doesn’t work well in Iowa due to our weather extremes.)

Step 4: Start at one end. Lay a retaining block on top of the dry concrete/sand.  Level it out.  Continue across until you finish the first row.

Step 5: Start row 2.  We had three different brick sizes. We picked a brick that was different from the first row (straight line vs. angled) and (short brick vs. long brick) to start the row.  Choosing a different brick helped to make sure the seams didn’t match because this would make the wall less sturdy.  We glued each layer of blocks onto the other with landscape block adhesive to create a more solid base….so it could hold our bums…after a s’more eating contest.


Step 6: Continue this technique until you reach your desired height.

Step 7: Top with landscape block cap.  (We used landscape block adhesive on this step also.)

Step 8: Enjoy your fire pit. Cook up some s’mores!  And smell like smoke.  And get eaten by bugs.  I’m such a girl.

Nate tells me that building a fire pit isn’t hard. Just time consuming and labor intensive. 

Do you enjoy fire pits?  Have you attempted to build one?  Are you a s’mores fan?


  1. You make it look so easy....we will probably be building one next spring or fall if we can ever figure out what we want to do landscaping wise. We too have a 2-story deck and are debating having stairs built to the ground. We change our minds daily on this issue. I like the tip about bag concrete, especially since we are in Iowa (iowa city) as well.

  2. S'mores are not my thing, unless I make them without the marshmallows, but then it's no longer really a s'more. :P

    I do like sitting around a fire, however; I think it's cozy on cool fall nights!

  3. We love our fire pit. It's not cool and built-in like yours, but it still does the trick. We'll just hang out in the backyard, throw sticks for the dogs and smell like a campfire the next day. : ) Somehow it feels like a mini-mini-vacation. Complete with bug bites.

  4. Cool! I'm going to show this to Andy because we've been wanting something like this. And yes, I will eat smores until I want to throw up. Then eat more.

  5. Cool! I'm going to show this to Andy because we've been wanting something like this. And yes, I will eat smores until I want to throw up. Then eat more.

  6. Nate gives good advice! I don't think too many things in life are actually hard, just time consuming and labor intensive.
    Plus, your fire pit looks awesome. I have one of those black metal ones from Target, so it's not very cool. But I can still make smores!

  7. So cool - if only I liked cooking outside ;)

  8. you're hilarious! I LOVE fire pits, but mostly for the relaxation and heat since I'm not much of a s'more person either. :) We're definitely planning to build on in the back yard but are stuck on exactly where it's going... we'll see!

  9. I think Nate and I should have a S'mores eating contest (when I don't have gestational diabetes that is). I'm pretty sure I could take him out.

  10. Love seeing all of these fire pit blogs showing up. Great looking build! What do you use for a fire pit cover when not in use?


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