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Our DIY Fire Pit and First Family Bonfire

We spent our Saturday making a DIY fire pit! It turned out just like we were hoping it would and it works great!

Here is our step by step process and our first family bonfire.

Justin and Titus started off this project by heading to Lowe’s Saturday morning. They filled the truck with all the supplies and even found some plastic Adirondack chairs on sale to add some atmosphere and help define the space. Someday we’ll invest in some nice wooden ones, but these do the job and they look great.

We opted for Dakota fire hole inspired fire pit with a vent to bring in extra air and hopefully create a fire with less smoke. We were able to pick up all we needed for this project for under $200 including all the items for the vent. This could be done for even less if you don’t do the vent or decide to have three levels of stones instead of four.

Here’s are the supplies for the fire pit:

If you want to do a vent like ours, pick up:

  • Dryer vent tube
  • Drain cover (plastic, 4”)
  • 2 adjustable metal rings
  • Black metal dryer vent

Other tools you’ll need:

  • Shovel(s) and a post hole digger if you have one
  • A level at least 3′
  • Caulking gun (for the adhesive)

First, we took 12 of the wall stones and layed them out where we wanted them. We made sure to follow our city’s fire code and placed it 15+ feet away from any structure and near enough to our hose for safety. (Each city has different fire regulations, make sure to check yours). We used the stones as a template and dug the shovel in behind each stone to mark the perimeter of the circle. We then removed the stones and dug the circle down 5-7 inches.

Next, we dug a hole in the middle about 12 inches deep and 8 inches wide. This is optional for drainage when it rains. This hole will be filled with small stones. We also dug a trench connecting the inside of the fire pit with the outside about 12 inches deep. This is the Dakota fire hole part of the project. We place a metal vent inside the pit and connected it to a dryer vent tube with an adjustable metal ring. The other end of the vent tube connects to the outside and is covered with a drain cover held on place with another adjustable metal ring. We go into more detail about this on our vlog video so make sure to catch that.

This is basically how the vent part should look when we fill around it with dirt. Justin is making sure the stones fit before leveling with sand.

We poured in two bags of leveling sand and smoothed it out. We placed the foundational stones in and used the level to adjust them in the sand making sure they were totally level.

We put a tube of masonry adhesive in our caulking gun and zig zagged it in the middle of the stones making sure not to get too close to the edges so it wont squish out the side when the next stones are layed on top. We bought four tubes to put between four levels of stones. We could have skimped by with 3 tubes, but we probably would have felt most comfortable with five tubes divided between the three spaces in between the layers. Think of it like icing between the cake layers except you don’t want any squishing out. As we added each level we staggered the stones so the cracks would fall in the middle of the stone above it.

Cosette trying it out before we added the fourth level of stones. Originally we thought three levels would be enough, but since we dug down about 7 inches we couldn’t see all three levels from the outside so we picked up more stones and adhesive in the afternoon to finish it off.

And here it is FINISHED! What a fun project! Here it is in the lovely sunset light!

We’re not fire pit experts and we managed to finish this project in about seven hours. This includes 3 hardware store trips and watching four kids during the process. That’s not bad. If you feel inspired to make a fire pit too feel free to ask any questions in the comments or on our Instagram. We are happy to help.

We decided to wait till the following night to do our first bonfire so that the masonry adhesive could dry. The fire pit worked perfectly and even continued into the night with friends after the kids went to bed. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. We will be adding pea gravel around the pit soon for safety. We plan to also build a custom wooden cover for the pit when its not in use to make it a table and to keep the rain out (or keep our kids out of it. Haha!)

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