Thursday, November 30, 2017
During the cooler days of fall and winter, even early spring, it is nice to be able to take advantage of pleasant evenings gathered around a crackling wood fire.
You can make your own portable firepit from hypertufa. It will rest right on the ground or can be raised up on a large pot. This makes it very easy to maintain the fire, and not let it get too big to get out of hand. It also provides a safe means to enjoy an outside fire. The resulting wood ash is a terrific additive to your compost pile as well.
The firepit shell is cast from a mound of soil right in your garden. Shape a mound of dirt about 42 inches in diameter. Cover the mound with a
piece of plastic, an old drop cloth works great. I placed some cast concrete ornaments in an outer ring for a decorative effect. Any ornaments you add, remember to place them top side down onto the plastic surface.
Mix up a batch of hypertufa, (here’s my recipe:
You do not have to make the hypertufa all at once and can even do it in stages as time permits. Begin packing hypertufa from the center of the mound to the edges, making a nice thick layer 1.5 to 2” thick.
I put on a first layer to establish the shape. Then laid strips of chicken wire over the surface to serve as re-enforcement and then put another layer of hypertufa on top.
Use a brick to tamp the entire surface of the newly shaped disk. Cover the disk with plastic and allow to harden and cure for two weeks. Carefully flip the disk over and transport to the site where you wish to locate your firepit. It is a good idea to have two or three people to help do this.
Mix ½ bag of sand topping mix with water to a consistency of runny frosting.
Using an old paint brush, apply a thick layer of this concrete over the inside surface of your new firepit. This will both seal and strengthen the structure.
Let this set over night then smooth the edges with a brick. Add painted accents if you wish with exterior latex paint.
Pour one bag of all purpose sand into the basin to serve as an insulator between the burning logs and the surface of the firepit.
Build a fire in the center of the pit and enjoy the warmth, the smell and the glow!