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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research, he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
There’s nothing like enjoying a fire in the outdoors. With the chill of the evening air and the warmth of the fire, the crackle of flame, and the lovely glow that firelight casts, all the senses are enchanted.
You can make your fire pit out of virtually anything that is even slightly flame resistant, like a grocery cart. But for a fire pit that will last the ages, you have to build one like your ancestors made – out of stone.
If you want to add a feature to your home that will be durable and add countless evenings of togetherness and warmth, here are some great ideas for your new stone fire pit.
1. Considerations for Your Stone Fire Pit
If you’re thinking of adding a fire feature to your outdoor area, you need to make some careful assessments beforehand.
You don’t want your fire pit to be too large so that it overwhelms any other architectural details of your garden or outdoor space, but you also don’t want it to be so small that it barely can fit the logs you burn in it.
Location is crucial. You should also ensure that you don’t put your firepit too close to the house or underneath trees. You don't want scorched paint or stunted branches. The best place for your fire pit is inevitably next to its wood source, so wherever you find the most convenient place to stack your wood is an apt choice for a firepit.
You should consider what types of stone fit your budget best, what size fire pit fits your outdoor space, and what shape it should be. Once you have these necessary details decided on, you’re ready to implement your fantastic stone fire pit ideas.
2. Types of Stone
There are many words and terms to describe stones that you may not be familiar with, but it’s helpful to know some key phrases before you start building. Here are a few of the words you may hear thrown around in the quarry.
- Ashlar – Rectangular or square cut stone, or a pattern of laying out in a geometric design.
- Chinkers – Smallish rocks and pebbles used to fill in the gaps between the larger stones. It helps insulate your fire pit, so the burning logs get just enough oxygen, but not too much.
- Cut stone – Stone that is milled or cut to a specific shape and size.
- Face – The outward-facing side of the stone or the side that you will see.
- Flagstone – Usually used for walkways and patios, these stones have been milled to a width of 1” to 2”.
- Pavers – These rocks have been milled to the size of bricks, and they’re often used for patios. They can also be handy when building an outdoor fire pit.
- Rough stone – Stone straight from the quarry.
- Rubble – Detritus from construction projects that are often used to fill inside walls or, if you want to insulate your fire pit, between the liner and the outer wall of your fire pit.
Some types of stone are better for fire pits than others. If the rock you choose is too porous, there’s potential that it may explode under high heat; not what you want for your outdoor fire pit.
Do not use rocks that are often found in riverbeds as they are porous. Stones that should not be used in fire pits include sandstone, limestone, river rocks, gravel, or pumice.
The ideal stones to use are rugged and durable, like marble, granite, or slate. You can also use concrete, specially treated lava rocks, glass rocks, or brick on the insides and surrounding chamber of your fire pit.
You don’t want to expose the inner rocks to too much moisture so, if you have stones in your pit, you may also want to include a cover so that the stones don’t get soaked and pose a threat.
3. Fire Pit Shapes
The most common shape for your fire pit is round, as this is roughly the shape of a campfire and, out of all the fire pit building materials, it is also the easiest to build. Stacking bricks or pavers is a simple process that doesn’t take many materials or much effort.
However, no hard-and-fast rules dictate you have to use circular shapes in your stone fire pit ideas. This chamber is like your living room fireplace, a centerpiece for your outdoor area. You want the shape to match the ethos of the rest of your outdoor space.
If you have a sleek modern aesthetic, you could opt for a long rectangular shape for an intriguingly shaped fire. If your outdoor area is more English Garden, then a traditional round shape might fit better. To get a better Idea look into our review to know what most popular outdoor fire pits look like.
4. Where to Put the Fire Pit?
In terms of how deep you’ll have to dig, most recommend 6” to 12” deep. Ensure that the ground is level before you put a liner, lava rocks, or glass rocks in the bottom of your fire pit.
If you go deeper than 1’, you will need to put in some kind of ventilation, so your fire gets the right mix of oxygen it needs. If you don’t think a separate vent is possible, consider raising the fire pit so that the flames are elevated in a bowl-like structure. This also creates a nice visual effect.
Gauge the distance between your fire pit and any other hazards in your yard. You don’t want to damage your house, so plan a pit 15’ away or farther. Plan the fire pit at least 10’ away from flammable structures, overhanging branches, sheds, garages, vehicles, and anything else that would be hazardous in a fire.
Consider your household’s action patterns, as you don’t want to put your new sunken fire pit, for example, on the path down to the pond. Smoke and the direction it generally blows can also be a concern. Lastly, keep your fire pit far away from garden beds or anything else you don’t want scorched.
The Last Strike
Outdoor stone fire pits are a compelling combination of warmth and wildness. Enjoying the leaping flames of a stone fire pit under the starry skies is a treat no one forgets readily.
With these excellent stone fire pit ideas, you will be enjoying your outdoor hearth with loved ones for generations to come.