A winter outdoors

2015-06-30 06:00

THE cold weather has crept in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors this winter.

Here’s how to build a simple concrete fire pit that will add a dash of style to an outdoor patio, while warming up cold nights in the garden.

The inspiration for this project came from an old metal fire bowl that was headed for the rubbish. Instead of throwing it out, the metal bowl was re-used. By creating a square concrete frame and filling it with gravel and pebbles, the bowl was set in place and can now be used to burn wood or charcoal.

Preparation for your DIY fire pit

You need a solid area to build the concrete fire pit. Add a sand bed if you need to make a level area.

Build a mould for pouring the concrete. You can nail together pine or shutterply (cheap plywood) to make the outer structure of the fire pit.

You need to build an outer and inner frame, and secure it with stakes set on the outside of the mould.

Use two stakes per side. These will also secure the frame to the ground and keep it from moving around. Use a spirit level to ensure it is level on all sides.

Use a hammer to drive steel rebars into the frame at the corners and at 20 cm intervals along the sides.

Make sure the rebars are securely in the ground and sit below the edge of the frame. Run lengths of rebars horizontally between the vertical rebars and tie these together with steel wire to make the reinforcing grid.

For extra reinforcement, add chicken-wire mesh. Cut pieces to fit inside the frame and tie to the rebar grid with wire. Steel rebate and chicken wire can be found at a building supply store.

Pour concrete inside the frame. Use a wood batten to stamp down the concrete so all the holes are filled as you don’t want any air bubbles trapped inside your frame. Smooth off the top with a wood trowel. Once the frame is filled, tap with a rubber mallet while still wet. Leave to dry for 48 hours.

After 48 hours, you can remove carefully the mould and use a steel trowel to clean up and smooth the outside.

To finish off, use pieces of slate to fit the top of the frame and mortar in place, and then fill with gravel to about three quarters to the top, so the top of the fire bowl will be flush with the top of the concrete frame. Add or remove gravel until the bowl is at the correct height. Top up the spaces around the bowl with decorative pebbles so that only the top rim of the bowl is exposed.

— Property24

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