Make a Quick, Safe, And Inexpensive Area For Your Outdoor Fire Pit

Outdoor fire pits are fun. They can also be dangerous. There are many different ways for building a fire pit, and I will explore some of them in the next few weeks.

This week we were cleaning up and planting winter pansies for a long-time client who asked if she could add something on. I walked with her to the back yard and she showed me one of those charcoal grill looking things that are most useful for enjoying outdoor fires. She told me that they had gotten something for the patio and had moved this apparatus out into the yard but when they built a fire they became afraid that something in the surrounding area would catch on fire. She wanted to know if I could put some gravel down so things would be safer.

I explained that the gravel would be no problem but that we should also install a border to keep the gravel from spreading out all over the yard. I also observed that the area should be leveled before proceeding with the project.

We raked away the leaves and other organic materials and used a mattock to level the area. While that was going on, I drove down to Willow Creek Nursery and got some “river rounds.” Here is the flat place and some of the rocks.

For a safe fireplace, we need a site that is cleaned of any leaves or other flamable debris.

We used the larger river rocks to build a border that would hold in the “pea gravel” that we would use for the “floor” of the project. Pea gravel is a nice, small, smooth rock that is found in a lot of river beds. There are other stone materials, I’m sure, that would serve the same purpose. My favorite nursery has pea gravel in bulk or you may spend more and get them from a Box store in bags.

pea gravel will provide a fire proof base and a rock border will hold in the gravel.

Your border could be just about anything related to what we used. Bricks, laid neatly, form an excellent border for the gravel base. Then you have all sorts of manufactured concrete products, but the more you get into manufactured, the more you pay.

Of course, depending on how far you have to drive, you may usually find free rocks somewhere. You can probably find someone you know who may want some old bricks hauled off. It is probably not a good idea to use cross-ties or landscape timbers for this project.

An outdoor fireplace with a safe base. I can envision seats of cut tree trunks and people sitting around playing the guitar, singing and grinning.

There are lots of pre-fab fire places on the market. You may also want to use a rock border inside the area and build the fire right there on the ground .

Thanks for visiting John the Plant Man


Published by John P.Schulz

I lost my vocal cords a while back due to throat cancer. The laryngectomy sent me on a quest to find and learn to use my new, altered voice. I am able to talk now with a really small and neat new prosthesis. My writing reflects what I have learned in my search for a voice. My site publishes a daily motivational quote and a personal comment. I write an article a week for my blog, which deals with a lot of the things that I do in the garden. I am also the author of Requiem for a Redneck and the new Redemption for a Redneck--novels portraying the lives and doings of folks around the north Georgia hills. I have an English Education degree from the University of Georgia and very happily married to the lovely Dekie Hicks. You may enjoy my daily Quotes and Notes at

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