On cool summer and fall evenings, fire pits allow homeowners to enjoy the outdoors while staying warm and comfortable. However, while fire pits can add warmth and beauty to your backyard, it can be annoying to have to keep lighting and re-lighting logs. Propane fire pits make lighting your fire easier because they use a propane tank and an electric starter to ignite the fire.
Design and Dimensions
In order to build your fire pit, you need to know what materials you will be using and how large an area it will require. Some propane-fueled fire pits have simple designs, and consist solely of stones that are placed in a circle with a gas line in the middle. Others are more complex and use concrete as a foundation, with cinder blocks and stones built on top of it. Your fire pit may be square, round or triangular, so be creative and choose a design and dimensions that best fits your needs.
The Right Location
When selecting a spot for a propane fire pit in your backyard, use a tape measure to ensure the dimensions are correct. It's helpful to use spray paint to mark the area where the fire pit will go. If you are building a more complex fire pit, it may be necessary to use a backhoe to dig out the area as well. The bottom must be level, though, so use a rake to smooth the soil until it is even.
A Solid Foundation
If you are using concrete as a foundation for your propane fire pit, you should build a temporary wooden frame to serve as a template for the concrete slab that will form the fire pit's base. The frame should be secured to the ground with wooden posts, and must be level before the quick-setting concrete is poured into it. Make sure to smooth the concrete so it is level as well. Allow it to dry as per the instructions on the packaging. When the concrete is dry, the wooden frame may be removed.
In order to save money on masonry supplies, use cinder blocks as a frame to which decorative stones can be affixed. A single course of cinder blocks is usually sufficient, and they are typically finished with cap blocks on the top. As you build up the cinder blocks, make sure that they are level. On the interior of the fire pit, it may be necessary to cut the blocks to fit, so be careful when measuring.
The benefit of building your own propane fire pit is that it can meet your specifications exactly. Find manufactured stones to adhere to the cinder blocks that are the color and texture that you desire (see Resources). Use field stones to cover the top of the fire pit, and cut them so they fit in place.
Connecting the Gas Line
For your fire pit to operate, a propane regulator must be installed that runs the fuel from the copper tubing that connects the propane tank to the fire pit. The propane gas line must then be connected to the regulator with Teflon tape. Because there is a risk of explosion with propane tanks, it's best to seek professional assistance for this step to avoid any mistakes.