Outdoor Spaces: Hangout by the Fire!

As a kid, we lived on this amazing corner lot that had a copse of trees. My dad spent hours out there turning this mini-forest into the most beautiful garden pathway I’ve ever seen. In the back section, he made a fire pit. We would sit out there and have marshmallows and friends would come over and tell stories… it was one of the best ways to spend fall nights.

Life in the Burrow- Hangout by the Fire
My dad’s gorgeous garden path and Gertrude the lab mutt!

I was determined to have a fire pit if I ever had my own house. So when I purchased the Burrow, I was ready to get to work!

My fire pit is still a work in progress and I plan on this post being a series as I continue to work to make my hangout space better and better.

I started by turning to my google-fu and le Pinterest to search for the best and most secure way to create a fire pit. After searching and searching, I combined a number of methods and kind of made my own design.

I began by finding reddish retaining wall blocks on sale at my trusty Lowe’s for $.78 a block. I bought a bunch of them, about 40, loaded them into my Honda Civic, named Admiral Alfred the Avenger (I enjoy alliteration!!), and carted them home.

I dug a hole and leveled it out with the blade of the shovel before I began to lay out the first round of blocks!

Life in the Burrow

Now, I don’t know what my future holds, so I made the decision not to cement or mortar the blocks into place. The next homeowner may not like the idea of a fire pit and I’d rather not make their lives harder. However, the blocks are sturdy enough to not just be kicked over, so I’m not too worried about the steadiness of the fire pit!

Once the bottom row was nice and level, I just continued stacking them in a circle making sure to stagger the joints! I read that it is a good idea to have two small gaps close to the bottom of the pit for air flow, so I took a chisel and broke a block in half and used that to create small windows in either side.

Life in the Burrow

Now, sitting in a camping chair around the fire pit works, but I wanted something that could accommodate more people and that would be a bit more fun. I saw a cool idea online using 4×4 posts and cinderblocks and I decided to modify it to fit my uses.

Life in the Burrow

I purposefully placed the fire pit next to two small trees thinking it would be a cool place to put chairs. Once I found the idea for these easy benches, I knew the trees would be a great center point.

I stacked three cinderblocks on edge, digging down and making sure they were level, before I set three 4X4 posts on top. At first, I was thinking the benches would be four posts wide, but they were just TOO wide, so I shortened them down to just three posts and they fit the tushy-tush much better.

Life in the Burrow

I pushed the 4X4’s up against the trees as far as they would go on each side and then I trimmed the outside edges to make them even. They turned out well! The cinderblocks have little lips on them, so the posts have no chance of sliding or rolling off.

I teach at a school with an amazing Career Center. One of the classes is a beginning production class. The students in that class mass-produced Adirondack chairs and were selling them at an amazing price. I thought there was no better way to furnish my hangout space and support our students than to purchase some!Life in the Burrow

I painted the cinderblocks and the chairs bright red to bring some life to the space and now the fire pit and the seating arrangement for my hangout space is complete!

Life in the Burrow

To be continued!

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