Your Guide to Installing the Perfect Fire Pit

A unique approach to beautiful and functional outdoor living spaces.

Fire pits are a super easy and cost-effective way to create an outdoor living space for your family. This is one of our favorite simple and easy ways to welcome fall. Instead of building a fire pit out of stone, have you ever thought about using an old syrup kettle? This is a super quick and easy way because, fingers crossed, bonfire weather is headed our way down here in Georgia! I definitely recommend investing in an old syrup kettle. If you’ve never heard of them before, they are large shallow metal bowls that used to be used for cooking down sugar cane syrup! They can definitely be on the pricey side but very well worth the money and you can have an outdoor fire pit in no time! They can also be used for container gardens, koi ponds, and so many other neat things!

This fall I have a client who is so looking forward to roasting marshmallows with their grandchildren this fall. We placed a stone terrace on the back of their house facing the incredible lake views. For our terraces we like to use large 2 1/2” slabs of stone with a polymeric sand base. Mortar joints end up cracking in the long run and this will last a lifetime. We knew when building the terrace that we would be adding a fire pit for them to enjoy! Anytime when building an outdoor space always try to think long term and more importantly how will the space function?

Here are the step by step instructions:

  1. Go Big or Go Home – do not go cheap on a fire pit…often times people look at the space and don’t realize what size they need. We measure and re-measure to ensure our size is correct. Take the time to draw out the space where the fire pit will be sitting, take a few steps back, and look at the space drawn out compared to the house or the surroundings. Don’t be afraid to make changes.

2. Make the First Cut – since we placed our fire pit on an existing stone terrace we removed the existing stone by cutting it out in the shape we measured. We wanted our fire pit to sit on a bed of crushed slate to prevent any staining on our beautiful terrace.

3. Let’s Start Digging – to prevent our fire pit from becoming a bird bath we drilled a hole in the center of the kettle …now the rain needs a place to go so we needed to build a small drainage system.

4. Create a Drainage System- we removed a dirt area 3’ wide by 4’ deep. We placed gravel in the bottom of this hole and then placed a 5 gallon bucket in the ground on top of the gravel and surrounded the bucket with gravel. Basically, we filled this entire hole with gravel. Before placing the bucket in the ground, place slits in the bucket so it as the bucket fills up with rain water it will slowly release into the ground.

5. Topdressing – top dress the entire surface area with chipped slate and place the stand inside. As the chipped slate ages, it may need to be refreshed with new slate every 5 years.

6. Place the syrup kettle on top of the stand and you are ready to go!

Add some beautiful chairs and side tables, grab your s’more supplies, and you are ready to go! Bring on the cold weather and some fireside cuddles!