Weekend Warrior: How to Make a Concrete Fire Pit

Outdoor fire pitA fire pit in the backyard can allow you and your guests to enjoy outdoor time, regardless of the season. Fire pits can be used for spring and summer evenings, but can also serve as s’mores headquarters during the fall and winter months. Adding some character to your backyard with a fire pit bowl can be done with a few materials, some space, and patience. This DIY project can be completed over the course of a weekend.

Necessary supplies include a tarp, sand, permanent marker, concrete, straws, a wheelbarrow, a trowel, a garden hose, plastic sheeting, board, and a level – which may be purchased at EquipSupply.com.

To begin, place a tarp that is at least 10’ x 10’ square on the ground. Mark a circle that is at least 3 feet wide on the tarp with a permanent marker. Pour out a bag of fine sand in the middle of the tarp and add enough water so that everything sticks together. Start mounding the materials up.

Next, mix another bag of sand with water, using the hand trowel. Pile this wet sand on top of the original mound. Mold and smooth into an inverted bowl shape that is as wide as the circle you marked on the tarp. Continue to add wet sand until the mound is as big as you want your fire pit to be. Keep it covered with a plastic sheet to prevent the moisture from drying out too quickly.

Prepare the concrete by pouring it into the wheelbarrow and adding water slowly to avoid making the mixture too wet. Mold the wet concrete over the mound of sand, keeping it about 2-3 inches thick. (Keep your wet concrete covered with a plastic sheet between layers.) While the concrete is wet, insert a few straws through the top of the mound, which will allow any rainwater to drain.

Place a board on top of the wet concrete and use a level to make sure the base is straight for the bowl to sit on, once you invert it. Allow the mound to dry for 48 hours, keeping it covered to ensure that it dries at a good pace.

Finally, lift the concrete bowl off the sand mound and remove the straws. You can sand it smooth based on your preference. Set the pit in place, and put a few gel fuel canisters inside. Add a grill grate in the bowl and cover with a layer of rocks that can stand up to the heat. Light the grill grate up and you’ve got yourself a homemade fire pit bowl.