Building Outdoor Ambience 

When it comes to outdoor ambience fire pits are fast becoming a hit in New Zealand. With a little knowledge and under $200 worth of materials you too could soon be entertaining around your very own fire pit.

Over the past several years, outdoor fires have become all the rage with many homes now sporting a brazier somewhere in their outdoor area. Fire pits are the next big thing when it comes to outdoor ambience and heating and this simple guide will give you some great ideas and advice on how to safely build your own fire pit. It can be as fancy or as modest as you want it to be, it’s up to you. You can even set them up to double as large outdoor barbecues.

Step 1 – Location

Given the fact that your fire pit will be burning solid fuel, make very sure you select an area well away from any structures, fences and trees. A large open area is always best as it also provides the most ventilation as well. Another reason for choosing an open space is because it enables you to build a seated feature around your fire pit for entertaining guests. You do not have to build this extra feature straight away as you can always landscape around it later on.

Step 2 – Digging the Hole

To start with you need to work out what shape you want your fire pit. The most common type of fire pit is typically round or square, however different shapes are starting to emerge in many backyards so be as creative as you want. Any safe fire pit has a wall around its edges to contain the embers and sparks and is pretty much a must. This is actually built on top of a small concrete base. It’s on this wall that you can later support a rotisserie setup or custom built hotplate/grill. The best part is that it’s a very straight forward structure that most people can build.

Step 3 – Building the Fire Pit

1. Using a spray can or cardboard pattern, mark out your fire pit. Allow 150mm extra space around the outer edge of your base hole to allow for boxing.

2. Next use a spade to dig the shape of your fire pit down to a depth of 150mm.

3. Now it’s time to install your boxing. For basic straight edged shape fire pits you can build some traditional wooden boxing to support the edges of your concrete base. If your are building anything round or curvy then you may need to visit your local hardware store for some flexible garden edging to use as boxing.

4. Fill your boxing with concrete and screed the top. Allow to dry.

5. Once your concrete has set (24hrs) you can start marking out where you are going to build the wall for your fire pit. If you are building a round fire pit then a simple marker on a piece of string does the marking nicely.

6. Now you can start constructing your wall. There are many options for materials here. Interlocking retaining blocks and bricks work best. Just visit your local supplier to see what variety would look best for your wall. You will usually only pay a few dollars each so it is not an expensive project by any means. Once you have constructed your wall allow a further 72 hours before you light your first fire and whatever you do, do not burn it too hot the first time.

Now that your fire pit is completed you can add landscaping and seating around it. A built in table setting always makes for a stunning setting for outdoor dining and cooking on your fire pit produces great tasting BBQ food. To cook on your new fire pit simply weld up a hotplate, grill or both that will sit across the top of your fire pit. You can even construct your own rotisserie platform for an even greater effect. Most local engineers will weld this up for you for a reasonable price if you take in your measurements and drawings.

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Builders Taupo  specialize in putting in the extra mile when building a home. Yes, even fire pits. It’s the little design extras that make a house truly unique and special. Visit Builders Taupo today for a free quote on your next building project. No job too big or small.

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