• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook creates a fire pit.

    Steps:
    1. Arrange the pre-cast concrete blocks in a circle on the ground.
    2. Use a shovel to cut through the grass all the way around the circle of blocks, then move the blocks off to the side.
    3. Remove the grass from within the circle using a square shovel, then dig 8 inches of dirt from the circle.
    4. For poor-draining clay soil, dig a center hole and fill it with ¾-inch gravel.
    5. Spread a 1-inch-thick layer of gravel across the hole bottom, then compact it using a hand tamper.
    6. Add another inch of gravel and compact again. Repeat to within 4 inch of the grass.
    7. Place the steel fire-pit ring in the hole.
    8. Set block around the outside of the ring; pound each block with a rubber mallet and check to ensure the block is level in two directions. Repeat to complete first course.
    9. Clean off the top surfaces of the blocks, then apply a bead of concrete-block adhesive.
    10. Set the second course of block on top of first course, making sure to span the joints in the first course. Repeat for the remaining blocks in the second course.
    11. Place the upper portion of the steel fire-pit ring on top of the lower section.
    12. Add more gravel to the hole until reaching the bottom of the steel ring.
    13. Press down pieces of sod around the outside of the fire pit to fill in any bare spots.
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
      moving around the concrete blocks is tiresome, but the work itself is rather straightforward
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    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • pointed shovel
        Pointed and flat-blade shovels, for removing grass, digging hole and spreading gravel
      • tamper
        Hand tamper, for compacting gravel base
      • torpedo level
        Torpedo level, for leveling up first course of blocks
      • mallet
        Rubber mallet, used to tap down first course of blocks
      • caulk gun
        Caulking gun, for applying adhesive between courses
      • tarp
        Plastic tarp, used to place sod and dirt dug from hole

      Shopping List

      1. Curved pre-cast concrete blocks, used to build circular fire pit

      2. Steel fire-pit ring with grill

      3. Gravel, forms fireproof, self-draining base beneath fire

      4. Adhesive, used to adhere blocks in upper course to blocks in lower course