How to build a Garden Fire Pit

Pic Credit

It is well known that the summers here in the UK are often short, but if you enjoy sitting outside well into the evenings a perfect way to keep warm is to have a fire pit – which creates a cosy atmosphere while keeping warm. You could always buy a chiminea, which is a type of freestanding chimney, but these can deteriorate fairly quickly (depending on the style, and how much you pay for it). Fire pits can be a real investment, and can last for years and is a great way to add year-round focus to your garden.

You don’t need to be a builder, there are a vast amount of designs that are easy enough to build this blog has fire pit designs with lots of different styles. Regardless of what design you choose, some points you need to remember while building you fire pit are : leave small gaps between your bricks/stones and try to make the pit somewhere between 50 – 100cm diameter for a good sizes, safe fire.

Now that bits out the way, here is how to make a simple brick fire pit :

What Will You Need?

  • Enough bricks to build your pit. For a simple square pit, you will need 28 bricks per layer and around 4 layers, depending on your design, if you want a buried fire pit you may want to do more layers.
  • Gravel
  • A spade
  • Firewood (click here is great for finding local firewood around the UK)
  • A bucket of water or sand, safety first and all that

Where to Build a Fire Pit

Now, it might be obvious to say this but fire is incredibly hot and destructive, you need to take this into account when you choose where to put the fire pit. There shouldn’t be any over hanging branches or bushes nearby that can potentially catch alight. 

Something else to consider when deciding where to build this fire pit is what seating (if any) you plan on having around the pit – you don’t want to build it and then discover there isn’t enough room to sit. You could always use some creativity with your seating – i mention some good ideas here.

It might be worth laying out the chairs before you start building the pit, to check  how much room you have, and if you would be a comfortable distance from the fire, being too close would make it too warm. Thinking about it at this stage, will make the whole process alot easier!

Building the Fire Pit

This simple design is from a wickes design, you can watch the video below to see the step by step instructions on how to build it:

Now you have you pit – how about a fire

Fire building is considered something of an art form, but the basic idea is to start with some sort of kindling. This is  to make the flame catch. Once you have a flame you should start to build up the layers slowly. Then add larger logs once the fire is established, when it comes to building a good fire, the teepee shape is usually successful.

Disclaimer: You must ALWAYS Keep an eye on your fire, and never let your fire get out of control. If you do feel that your fire is getting out of control, put sand over the fiercest parts to calm it down or over the whole thing to extinguish it.

Never leave a fire that is still glowing, use water or sand to make sure that all the flames are gone and have no chance of reigniting.

 

Now that you have your fire pit ready, its time to toast your success! Get some friends over, open a bottle of wine and talk and laugh the night away! 

If you have great ways to improve your gardens that you want to share, comment or message me! I would love to hear from you!

Build your own greenhouse – Part 3

Build your own greenhouse – Part 3

This week I had some help from family again, and it has really made a big difference! My aunt has some good experience of DIY projects, and with her guidance I was able to make some important decisions about how I was going to construct the greenhouse.

The first decision I made, was how the frame would sit.

Because of the way I want the plastic-panes to eventually sit in the frame, a lot of the basic design was predetermined  – but the biggest decision of the day was how the bottom would be fixed to the sides.

I had previously pre-cut the four bottom planks, but i hadn’t really thought about how the four corner posts would join to the bottom. If I didn’t want to re cut the planks the posts would sit against the inside corner, creating a sort of lip – which isn’t something I wanted. Instead, I would prefer having the wall of the greenhouse sitting flush, so we re measured how long I wanted the overall greenhouse to be, and then re-cut the bottom planks accordingly. Where I’m using reclaimed wood, not all of the posts are the same width, so the length of the bottom planks would need to adjusted individually to allow the overall length to match.

This then helped with the decision of how we were going to fix them all together –  again, due to the fact I am using reclaimed wood, the thickness made it hard to use screws, so we decided to use brackets. (brackets look like sheets of metal, that are used with nails, when you hammer the nail in, it causes the metal to ‘bite’ into the wood, and therefore holds it together tightly – the more nails you use, the stronger the join).

It was also at this point that we worked out what wood could actually be used for the main structure, and what supplies I would have to go and purchase. We were able to use reclaimed wood for thebottom and the four main posts, but I didn’t have long enough timber to use for the inner posts or the roof, so when visiting the local DIY store I picked up 10 x stick timber which was on offer for £2.57 each. I also took the opportunity to check out pricing for plastic sheeting (my first years plan to help spread the over all cost) and the congregated plastic for the roof.

Once we had all the supplies we needed, it was time to start building.

We used one 3in screw in each join, just to keep it held together tightly, then used the brackets to secure them all. Once the greenhouse is fully constructed, I will go along and tidy up the joins, cutting and bending any overhanging brackets.

While sorting all of the above, it also became clear that one of my pre-laid slabs needed moving – something I was not looking forward to! But with four of us working on the project it didn’t take too long. Two of us started building one of the walls while the other two moved the slab.

All in all, we only actually spent a couple of hours building so only managed to cut and construct one wall, however the planning is just as important as the building and now there are clear plans set in place I know we will make good progress from here on out.

In other Garden news:

I planted a raspberry plant today, and sowed some parsnip, onion and tomato seeds this morning and plan to have them out in the tunnel and trough. With the weather forecasting snow next week I’m hoping the tunnel will protect them from the worst of it. so fingers crossed!

Now that spring is just around the corner I am looking forward to the slightly warmer days and sowing my own veg from seed. Last year I stuck to buying starters which worked really well – but in the long run it would be nice to grow from seed!

 

I would love to hear from anyone thinking of buying a greenhouse, or just starting out on their homegrown adventure! Please, feel free to get in touch!

Build your own greenhouse

Build your own greenhouse

Phase One is complete

This last weekend was just beautiful! I spent some much needed time with my sister and niece (a nice start on one of my 2018 goals – see here for more on that) and after weeks and weeks of planning I finally made a start on building my greenhouse (yippee!). It was bitterly cold when we went to the seafront, and walked out as far as we could, we were wrapped up warm, and treated ourselves to a hot drink after!

Now, don’t get too excited phase one is a bit of a boring phase.. but vital! Let me explain.

The spot that I have picked to build my greenhouse is tucked nicely away behind the shed and is in a prime spot for getting lots of sunshine a large part of each day. The only problem with the spot i picked.. was it was already being used – by a big old Laurel and a lovely climber. I had already made a start on clearing the space, but with just a pair of hand cutters and a hand saw it was going to be a very slow and labour intensive job. I ended up buying a chainsaw, and this weekend was the first opportunity I had to get outside and made a real start of clearing the space up.

With such a beautiful (and surprisingly mild) day we had on Sunday I was able to get the whole area cleared! Even the stumps were either dug up or cut right down below ground level and killed off. It was a lot of work, and I had some help doing it but by finishing it all in the day means I can move on to phase two – which is making the ground level and putting down some slabs for the wooden frame to sit on (because I have decided to make my greenhouse out of a wood, I’m conscious that sitting directly on the ground will encourage rot. The plan is to have slabs just around where the frame meets the ground and then have the inside open soil).

It is at this point I have also re thought about the size I want the greenhouse to be. my original design was to have a 5 sized greenhouse (2 long sides against the wall and fence, and then 3 sides facing out) But I have since put my sensible hat on and realised that although that would look super awesome, the size of the overall greenhouse would be relatively small and as this is going to be my first attempt of building one, i should probably stick to a lot simpler designs! So goodbye cute design, hello practical rectangle design!

I would really love to hear from anyone who has build their own greenhouse, what obstacles did you come up against and what do you wish you had done differently?

Just send me a message or leave a comment!

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