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How to: Create a Simple, Inexpensive Natural Stone Fire Pit

Natural stone pit by a large field


A Guide to Creating a Simple, Inexpensive Natural Stone Fire Pit

There's something undeniably captivating about sitting around a fire pit. From the warm glow on a summer night to the comforting crackle during a crisp winter's evening, a fire pit can turn your garden into a year-round outdoor retreat. And when not in use, it serves as an attractive focal point, adding charm and character to your garden.

Natural stone is an excellent choice for a fire pit because of its affordability, durability, heat resistance, and aesthetic appeal. If you'd prefer a fire pit that's easy to move, metal braziers are also a fine choice. 

So, how can you create a simple, inexpensive outdoor fire pit using natural stone? It's easier than you think! Here's our step-by-step guide:


Step 1: Choose your Spot

The first thing you'll need to do is choose the right spot for your fire pit. Look for a flat area in your garden that's safe and free from overhanging trees, bushes and other combustible objects, such as wood piles or structures. Auckland Council currently advises a clearance of at least 1m. 


Step 2: Prepare the Base

Once you've chosen the spot, it's time to prepare the base. Clear the area and lay a level base of pebbles, gravel or stone chips. This will provide good drainage and a stable foundation for your fire pit. Many of our customers opt for a chip or gravel that contrasts well with the surrounding area. This ensures a stylish result, especially when the natural stone is well-considered also. 


Step 3: Select, Prepare and Arrange the Stones

This is the stage where you can customise your fire pit:


  • Start by choosing the right type of stone. Not all natural stones are created equal. Some, like sandstone, are porous and can absorb water, which can lead to cracking and spalling. Others, like limestone, are soft and can be easily damaged by heat. The best type of stone for a fire pit is a hard, dense rock that is resistant to heat and moisture. Good options include granite, basalt, and lava rock. Ask the team at Stone & Water World for recommendations to suit your budget. 
  • Consider the size of the rocks. You'll need to choose rocks that are large enough to withstand the heat of the fire, but not so large that they make it difficult to build the fire pit. A good rule of thumb is to use rocks that are at least 15 centimetres in diameter.

  • Think about the colour and texture of the rocks. The colour and texture of the rocks will add to the overall look of your fire pit. If you want a natural look, choose rocks that are similar in colour and texture to the rocks in your yard. If you want a more modern look, you can choose brightly coloured or textured rocks.

  • Inspect the rocks before you buy them. Look for cracks, chips, and other damage. Once home, wash the rocks. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could cause the fire to smoke.

  • Place stones in a circle to create the fire pit. The fire pit should be 80 cm - 100 cm in diameter. Ensure the rocks are sturdy and secure. 


Step 4: Safety First

Safety is always paramount when dealing with fire. Always have a bucket of water or, preferably, a fire extinguisher nearby when you're using your fire pit. This will allow you to quickly respond to emergencies. 


What about local fire restrictions?

Before you start your DIY fire pit project, check your local fire restrictions and consult guides on small outdoor fires for warmth and cooking. Regulations vary, so make sure that open fires are permitted in your area and if there are any specifications about the design or placement of your fire pit. 

Creating your own natural stone fire pit doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. With a little effort and a few materials, you can create a charming outdoor feature that will enhance your garden and create a welcoming space for family and friends to gather, no matter the season. 


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