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Help Me Plan My Revamped Fire Pit Area

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  • Jim White
    Club Member
    • Sep 2019
    • 529
    • Gainesville, FL

    Help Me Plan My Revamped Fire Pit Area

    For the last 3 or 4 years, my friend who helps out half a day a week has been hounding me to redo our fire pit area. I had set it up myself probably 10 years ago, just putting down 12 by 12 inch pavers in a square 12 or so feet on a side. I mostly leveled the area, but weeds were always a problem poking up through the cracks. I had some decent furniture out there and a metal fire pit that was maybe 30 inches across.

    Last summer, I gave the furniture and the fire pit piece to our older daughter when she moved into a condo a couple miles from our house. Now I finally have the impetus to get going on the redo, because this weekend I got the most awesome centerpiece for the seating area. For the last 14 years, I've had season tickets to Florida Gator baseball. They just built a new stadium that the team will move into next year and the old one is to be demolished next month. I had been joking for a year that I was going to steal our four seats after the last game in the stadium, but the athletic department came through. They emailed season ticket holders offering the chance to buy old seats for only $150 each. I immediately signed up and asked if there was any way we could get our actual four seats. I really wanted our seats since our kids grew up in the ballpark and I even took our grandson to a game or two when he was just three or four months old. To my utter amazement, the seat numbers on the four they brought out to my truck match and we do indeed appear to have our four seats. Here they are in the back of the truck:

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    We'll have to build legs, but my guy can pull that off with no problem. He wants to pull up the pavers, level the area properly and set them with proper filling in between and landscape cloth underneath so the weeds don't come back.

    For the actual fire pit, I've just started poking around and really love the looks of the Big Horn 47 inch black steel fire pit. It burns wood and has a charcoal pan insert. It has a grill, of course, and can be raised or lowered in a semi-Santa Maria style. I think it will work really well for sitting around a fire or for grilling burgers, dogs and s'mores with the grandkids. It isn't very expensive, either. Does anyone have any experience with this beast? Or does anyone have a suggestion that would be even better?

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    I haven't started thinking about the rest of the seating and tables, so suggestions there are welcome. The area sits adjacent to a small arena we put in where my wife works her horse before riding him out into the neighborhood. It's separated from the neighbors by brush on two sides and I put a nice lantana bed between it and the rest of the back yard.

    I'm not putting up pics of the area just now because it's in serious transition. The arena is partly dismantled because we got hit really hard by pine beetles and the last few dead trees will be coming out as soon as tomorrow, weather permitting. Then it's full speed ahead on the reset.
  • Attjack
    Club Member
    • Aug 2017
    • 3968
    • Primo XL
      Weber 26"
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      Weber Q2200

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      Portable propane burners (3)
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      Fire pit grill

    #2
    I'm redoing mine now. I've installed this border, am laying down landscaping fabric, and will also remove the rest of the grass, and I'm about to order gravel for the interior. I don't have stadium seating but I'll have some Adirondacks to chill in.


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    Comment


    • Red Man
      Red Man commented
      Editing a comment
      I love how pit bulls play together, that looks exactly how my dog plays! I swear, my dogs biggest motivator is playing with other dogs.

    • Attjack
      Attjack commented
      Editing a comment
      Same with my guy. He's an American Staffordshire Terrier. He lives to meet and play with other dogs. He knows how to adjust to their way of play too. We have started a dog sitting and boarding side business. He's so happy that we did and he's a great host.
  • ofelles
    Club Member
    • Jun 2018
    • 2006
    • Brentwood CA
    • Yoder YS640 on Comp cart
      Klose 20x42 Charcoal Grill
      LSG Insulated Cabinet
      Jumbo Joe
      VacMaster Pro 380 sealer
      FireBoard and Pit Bull fan
      Thermoworks Signal
      Thermoworks Dot
      Thermopen Mk4

    #3
    That sounds like a lot of fun. Lone Star Grills make pits and one is a Santa Maria style
    https://lonestargrillz.com/collectio...maria-fire-pit

    Comment


    • Jim White
      Jim White commented
      Editing a comment
      Oooh. That might help me hold off building an outdoor kitchen to put in their adjustable charcoal grill I'm in love with. Pretty expensive, but definitely made from heavier material and has three coats of paint, so should hold up a long time.
  • mnavarre
    Club Member
    • Jan 2018
    • 545
    • San Diego

    #4
    I know someone around here has a very similar pit/grill. I want to say it's lonnie mac ,but I may be wrong. Home Depot had something similar a couple of years ago. I might have to look into that.

    Comment

    • LA Pork Butt
      Charter Member
      • Dec 2014
      • 5356
      • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

      #5
      I have always been a proponent of form follows function. So, say a little more about how you want it to function. It is a little bit like describing your cooking situations before you decide on a cooker. That pit looks wonderful and I could envision gathered around it and cooking their own food.

      Comment


      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        Jim White How many people? How often?

      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        LA Pork Butt That could be highly variable. Would be 6 of us every couple of weeks in cooler weather times. Could be larger groups now and then with my wife's students or when additional family comes into town.

      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        Jim White I think I would set it up so that chairs for 6 were in a half moon and there was room to move in chairs for a larger crowd when needed.
    • BillyBriskets
      Club Member
      • Jul 2019
      • 27
      • York, PA

      #6
      I am interested to see what you end up doing and what people post. I’m planning a pit area in my yard as well. I’ve been looking at breeo fire pits. They are a bit more expensive but seem to be solid and made in USA. They have a small stainless lip around the fire pit you can use as a griddle and you can add on a cooking grate attachment.

      https://breeo.co/collections/feature...cts/phoenix-24

      Comment


      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        Woah! The X24+ looks amazing! Thanks for the link. That may be the new #1 right now.
    • Attjack
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 3968
      • Primo XL
        Weber 26"
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        Orion Smoker

        DigiQ DX2
        Slow 'N Sear XL
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        ​​​​​​​ - With Rotisserie
        Weber Q2200

        Blackstone Pizza Oven

        Portable propane burners (3)
        Propane turkey Fryer

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      #7
      With those seats I'm thinking of a square area.

      Comment


      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, I definitely want to stay square, as the four baseball seats will have to be in a straight line. I would imagine the other chairs and tables will be movable. The Lone Star pit at 225 pounds would be tough to move around, but the Breeo, at 80 could move when needed.
    • Attjack
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 3968
      • Primo XL
        Weber 26"
        Weber 22"
        Weber 22"
        Weber 18"
        Weber Jumbo Joe
        Weber Green Smokey Joe (Thanks, Mr. Bones!)
        Weber Smokey Joe
        Orion Smoker

        DigiQ DX2
        Slow 'N Sear XL
        Arteflame 26.75" Insert

        Blaze BLZ-4-NG 32-Inch 4-Burner Built-In
        - With Rear Infrared Burner
        - With Infrared Sear Burner
        - With Rotisserie
        Empava 2 Burner Gas Cooktop
        Weber Spirit 210
        - With Grillgrates
        ​​​​​​​ - With Rotisserie
        Weber Q2200

        Blackstone Pizza Oven

        Portable propane burners (3)
        Propane turkey Fryer

        Fire pit grill

      #8
      I will say my fire pit has a grill grate but because my outdoor kitchen is just across the yard I just don't use that feature.
      Last edited by Attjack; June 9, 2020, 09:23 PM.

      Comment

      • RonB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2016
        • 12701
        • Near Richmond VA
        • Weber Performer Deluxe
          SNS
          Pizza insert
          Rotisserie
          Smokenator 1000
          Cookshack Smokette Elite
          2 Thermapens
          Chefalarm
          Dot
          lots of probes.
          CyberQ

        #9
        Congrats on gettin' your seats. And that's a great lookin' fire pit / cooker.

        Comment

        • CaptainMike
          Club Member
          • Nov 2015
          • 2476
          • The Great State of Jefferson
          • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill w/SnS and DnG (Spartacus)
            Old school big'ol Traeger w/Pro controller (Big Tex)
            2 W22's w/SnS, DnG (1 black, 1 copper) (Minions 1 and 2)
            20+ y/o many times rebuilt Weber Genesis w/GrillGrates (Gas Passer)
            20 x 30 Santa Maria grill (Maria, duh)
            Bradley cabinet smoker (Pepper Gomez)
            36" Blackstone griddle (The Black Beauty)
            Fireboard
            Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

          #10
          Oh my gosh Jim, what a heartwarming story about the seats, just what I needed right now! That fireplace/grill looks perfect for the application you mentioned. Not knowing much about your space, but knowing a bit about building I'd advise you to think about power, water and lighting. All of it can be shoved underground and stubbed out for planned and future use. If you're planning on doing pavers again either hire a reputable contractor or do a little research on how to properly set up and install them. It's a simple process to do them correctly, but it is back breaking work. I'm really looking forward to your progress!

          Comment

          • Jim White
            Club Member
            • Sep 2019
            • 529
            • Gainesville, FL

            #11
            After spending more time thinking about the Big Horn vs. Breeo question, I think that the Breeo just seems like it would be too risky to have around toddlers and young children. That outside rim for searing looks like a lot of fun to work with, but it would just be too inviting for a little one to come up and try to hold onto it like a rail around the fire. With the Big Horn, though, they could do just that, as the "shelf" around the outside of the fire bowl looks like it would probably stay cool enough to touch. I'm pretty sure that at least one of the advertising pictures has people with their feet up on that rim (although it's probably more likely their feet were on that bottom rail).

            Safety is going to win out here. And there's always the chance that a Big Horn would rust out after enough years that the little ones might grow enough to be responsible around a Breeo....

            Comment


            • hoovarmin
              hoovarmin commented
              Editing a comment
              That was my first thought as well. It sure looks cool, but we'd be at the emergency room on a regular basis.
          • Jim White
            Club Member
            • Sep 2019
            • 529
            • Gainesville, FL

            #12
            Update: the tree work is finished, the arena reconstructed and the pavers have come up from the old setup. Turns out the area was larger than I recalled, at 17 and half feet on each side. The good news is that the pavers survived and will be reused. Here's a view looking toward the back edge where the stadium seats will be installed:

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            And here's the view looking the other way, where you are looking at the small arena:

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            With the loss of a couple of the largest trees in the area right around the pit, I came to the conclusion that the new setup needs a pergola and shade cloth (yeah, project creep setting in already). Turns out my handyman guy was already on that same wavelength. He had successfully made us a pergola in the front pasture when our daughter gave us only 30 days warning advancing the date for her wedding. Here's that pergola with the wedding party (with such short notice, our pasture was the only venue we could be assured wasn't already booked).

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            And just because my guy can do it all, he also catered the reception dinner for 70 with kick-ass cajun BBQ shrimp among other dishes.

            And what do you do with a pergola after the wedding? I ordered a red cedar swing customized to commemorate the event:

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            My guy said the wait would be a couple of months if we wanted 20 foot lumber to build the pergola, so the new area will be a tad smaller at 16 feet on a side since that lumber was available. This thing will be substantial:

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            This is going to be a fun area for evening cookouts and s'mores and will also now be comfortable in a couple of years when the grandbabies are learning to ride.

            Comment

            • scottranda
              Charter Member
              • May 2015
              • 1731
              • Charlotte, NC

              #13
              This is the fire pit I have and it’s fantastic!

              https://ssfirepits.com

              Comment

              • Jim White
                Club Member
                • Sep 2019
                • 529
                • Gainesville, FL

                #14
                Serious progress was made today:

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                Also, we were able to pick up the Big Horn fire pit and grill. For only about $200, I'm pretty impressed. It's not made from particularly heavy material, but it's still pretty well made and looks to have very good powder coating on all parts. Even came with a cute little cover. Will wait to assemble it after pavers go back down.

                I've been studying up on installation of shade cloth and it appears that for pro installation you go with grommets around the outside edges of the cloth. Apparently, you order the cloth 6 inches or so short on each side and wrap rope through the grommets to suspend the cloth trampoline style. I think I'll suggest putting 3/8 inch steel rods around the inside edge of the 2 X 6 upper frame so we can trampoline from underneath. Apparently, biggest risk for wear isn't weather or sun but rubbing on stuff in wind. This will put the cloth in a spot where it can't touch anything if it moves a few inches in the wind. There will be the issue of the posts to deal with, though. Gonna have to think that through...

                Comment


                • PBCDad
                  PBCDad commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I don't know anything about shade cloth, but if you put it underneath your rafters, wouldn't it collect leaves and other stuff, with no real easy way to get it off?

                • Jim White
                  Jim White commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm pretty sure a leaf blower would still move stuff off. In fact, with it a bit lower, it might not even take a ladder. There is some air flow through this stuff.
              • Jim White
                Club Member
                • Sep 2019
                • 529
                • Gainesville, FL

                #15
                Update with more progress. Seat installation is underway!

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                Also, there have been a few decisions. I'm going against the "pro" recommendation on installing the shade cloth trampoline style because, at least for installing on the underside, I decided that would put the "ceiling" too low. Air flow is going to be very important, so we're going with the much simpler shape without post cutouts and putting the cloth flat on top with the grommets attached directly to the top wood. Sounds like about a three week wait for the shade cloth fabrication.

                We also realized that the old pavers will take a lot of fiddling and labor time to reinstall, so we're going with a concrete slab. I also decided it should go out about two feet on all sides to make mowing around it easier and to give room to chase shade as the sun moves to different angles.

                Last night I ordered the rest of the furniture. Going with teak. The chairs are light and folding, so they can be moved around easily for various groupings around the fire pit. And the table is expandable with two leaves, so we can reconfigure depending on how many people are around.

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                I think the only other thing that will be needed is some sort of utility table for use as a work surface when cooking with the fire pit in grill mode. There probably won't be room for it to be very big, so I'm thinking work surface and at least one shelf underneath. Suggestions for good weatherproof choices are welcome.

                Comment


                • Ahumadora
                  Ahumadora commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If anyone has teak furniture that is old and grey the easiest way to clean it back to new is to sandblast it. Just tell the sandblaster to use old sand that is fine/powder like. I done mine then gave it a couple of coats of Cetol and is like new.

                • Jim White
                  Jim White commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ahumadora Thanks. I plan to apply some sort of preservative from the start. The shade cloth should help, but I'll probably refresh the preservative every few years.

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