Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 28, 2016

Modern DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover)

Between shoveling two 3/4 tonne truckloads of gravel (one in the pouring rain before a birthday party, the other at midnight in the pitch black) and getting bit by a German Shepard while buying supplies, you'd think I'd be cursing this DIY fire pit - but I can't wipe the goody grin off my face!  I love how our modern, welded fire pit turned out and, despite some back breaking manual labor, it was surprisingly easy to make over our fire pit.

Hubby and I readily admit that neither of us are very adept at landscaping or gardening.  The first summer we lived here we were really focused on updating the interior and last summer we were barely here (and when we were, we were working on our bathroom reno - the "reveal" is going to pop up on the blog soon!).  This year we originally had an ambitious summer to-do list but then decided: hey, you know what's better than weeding and painting and digging around, trying to repair our shoreline and remove our horrible dock?  Making s'mores and watching the sunset! 

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

But we needed somewhere nice to make our s'mores and do our sunset watching, because our old fire pit was too janky!

Fire Pit Makeover - Before

The fire pit is positioned in the center of our lawn, which I like, but having this crumbling fire pit front and center ruined the lake view from the house.  Although we've used it a lot over the years, I hated that the fire pit was just plonked down in the grass because I was always stressing out about ticks.  It was not a very inviting outdoor space.

Fire Pit Makeover - Before
 
We mulled over some fire pit landscaping options and decided anything involving paving stones or lock stone was silly because our lawn, in addition to sloping toward the water, is very lumpy.  The previous owner had tried lock stone, but it just sunk into the lawn and grass grew over it.  We needed something cheap and plentiful that could move with the ground.  Enter: gravel!

Simple Fire Pit Zen Garden - Supplies:

Simple Fire Pit Zen Garden - Steps:

First we created a little "box" out of 2 by 4 pressure treated lumber we found in the garage.  Instead of buying longer lengths, we just attached two lengths together with screws and scrap wood:

DIY Wood Gravel Pit Frame

We dug up and transplanted the sod (waste not, want not), and then laid down some landscaping material to prevent weeds from peeking through:

Landscaping Fabric
DIY Gravel Fire Pit

Then we hauled home two, 3/4 tonne truck loads of dolomite, which is a nice white gravel.  Weaving my way through the trees and parking the truck on the lawn was SO much fun.  Shoveling 5,280 pounds (!) of gravel was slightly less fun but my arms feel super muscley now so I can't complain.

Ram 2500 Parked on Lawn
Dolomit Landscape Gravel

You've already caught a sneak peek of the modern fire pit we built for what is essentially an adult-sized sandbox.  I started a Pinterest board devoted to plants, exteriors and landscaping and started pinning a lot of fire pit designs.  I stumbled across this pin and tracked it back to The Brick House (I miss Morgan's blogging so much!).  Hubby and I both loved the modern look of her welded fire pit, so we decided to make our own - with one minor alteration to her design.

How to Weld a Modern Fit Pit - Supplies:

How to Weld a Fire Pit
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

We went to a local steel fabricator for the metal and had them cut all of the pieces we needed to size, making this project a LOT easier.  That's where I got a little too friendly with a German Shepard - who did not want to be friends.

How to Weld a Modern Fire Pit

How to Weld a Modern Fire Pit - Steps:

To start the box, Hubby laid one piece on the floor and held the other one upright with the magnets - which are really, really handy.  He tack welded it into place on both the inside and outside just to hold it in position:

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

He continued to tack all the sides in place until the box was assembled.

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

Once it was tacked, he laid it down and confirmed it was square by using a tape measure.  Then he proceeded to weld the whole seam, inside and out.

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

Welding this fire pit was really easy and took so little time - no more than a couple of hours.

Before I show you any more, Hubby would like me to remind you that he's not a professional welder, and has not actually turned on our welding machine for years.  I think he did a wonderful job, but he sees imperfections.  I just see s'mores and sunsets, baby.

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

Instead affixing steel rods in the corner, like Morgan did, we added cross bracing inside the box.  This adds some strength and ensured that the box stayed square when we awkwardly moved it from the garage down the hill to the fire pit.  Jeesh, this thing is heavy.  The process for the cross bracing was the same: check for square, hold the braces in place with magnets, tack them in place, and then completely weld them.

This is what the finished, unpainted, welded fire pit looked like:

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

I really loved the natural patina of the metal and didn't mind that it would quickly rust, but Hubby was adamant that we paint it.  It didn't take long for our old fire pit to rust completely through, so he wanted to protect this new fire pit and keep it looking good for as long as possible.

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

I decided to try Rust-Oleum's High Heat Ultra Enamel Spray Paint in Aged Copper, although matte black would have looked sharp too.

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

I'd love four Adirondack chairs encircling our new modern fire pit, but for photographs I hauled out my Eames score.  I could not restore the chrome legs, so I painted them matte black. 

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)

See why I love our modern fire pit so much?  I ogle it from the kitchen window every morning and admired it while we canoed around the bay last night.

The gravel is working out perfectly.  I used a rake to level it as best I could, and it was like playing in a giant zen garden.  No grass or weeds have poked through and I love that I no longer have to sit with blades of grass tickling my ankles!  I'm planning on planting some mosquito deterring plants around the fire pit area.

Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover with Eames Chairs) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
Modern Square DIY Welded Fire Pit (Our Fire Pit Makeover) | Dans le Lakehouse (www.danslelakehouse.com)
How to Weld this Easy, Modern Fire Pit - Love the Square Design and Copper Finish // DIY Fire Pit // Full tutorial with photos and instructions from www.danslelakehouse.com // Great beginning welding project

Yep, I'm pretty smitten with our modern, DIY welded fire pit.  If you need me this summer, you know where to find me!  Bring marshmallows.
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23 comments

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Cassie! I'm so happy with how it turned out. I think it fits the surrounding really well, but still looks modern.

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  2. it looks great! oddly enough we added one to our backyard this year too.

    We built ours out of quarry stone and added the gravel "surround" as well (I didn't want to have to move chairs to mow the grass and I like the defined area). The sides of our "pit" are quite high like yours which caused an unexpected problem - when we have a fire and are sitting around it you don't get to see much of the actual fire.

    I will be adding a few inches of gravel to the inside of the pit to elevate the coal base. We picked up a few adirondack chairs for around the pit but I like the idea of benches - better for cuddling under a blanket while you watch the sunset - and will also be researching mosquitto repellent plants.

    I hope you have a chance to enjoy many fires (and sunsets) to come!

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    1. You raise an excellent point: you can't see too much of the fire, that's for sure. For us this was ideal because it keeps the wind coming off the lake from messing with our bonfire. The previous pit had that weird wall for that reason. But it's something worth mentioning because not everyone needs to protect their bonfire, lol. You could do this same style, just lower. Maybe yours could be cut down a little? Or pile more gravel inside so the logs get a boost?

      And yes - no more moving chairs to mow!! That is the best part.

      I like your idea of benches. That sounds cozy. Your fire pit sounds great - I hope you enjoy it a lot this summer too!

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  3. That's so simple+modern=cool looking! Save me a s'more---lol!


    Amy in MN

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I really have to credit Morgan, from The Brick House (linked to early on) for the idea. I probably owe her a s'more too. Lol.

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  4. LOVE the shots looking out over the lake, but the one looking up to your house had me on the floor! What an amazing project. So excited for you and your summer evenings :)

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    1. Thank you for saying that, Staci. I almost didn't include the photo because I'm reminded of my overgrown garden and how, years later, I have not yet painted the house the charcoal grey I envision... But then I figured, this is real life, what the heck - let's show everything. I'm happy you like it - did you spot my Mom and Szuka through the windows :)

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  5. Can't get over how pretty and modern this is. It fits so well with your house. It complements the mid-century look, but doesn't take away from the house. I kinda LOVE the Eames chairs there though I know it's temporary.

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    1. Thank you!! Next year I'm hoping to paint the stone dark grey and re-stain the deck to match. The pine wood grew on me and I love it with the copper. I agree - the Eames chairs look so good! I love that I finally have a use for them. But I only have two. A set of four would be ideal. For now, they stay :)

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  6. Love this! I think we need one, too. Our patio is massive 6" flagstone, which we love. The previous owners had a hot tub, that went with them- leaving a once-concealed triangular opening behind. We had some 3" pieces of flagstone around that we used to turn the opening into a fire pit. I love that the thick stone patio gives us a flat solid surface for chairs (I've pinned some plans for modern Adirondack chairs) but the 3" flagstone around the pit have begun cracking from the heat. I think a nice modern welded pit like yours would be perfect. We've been cooking on our fire regularly since we ran out of propane for the BBQ in June. We preferred grilling on the fire, so we haven't bothered with refilling the tank.
    What a beautiful spot you have to sitting by the water and gaze at the embers. Lovely!

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    Replies
    1. Your fire pit area sounds lovely - adding a new pit would be great! A solid surface is nice to place chairs on. Do I follow you on Pinterest? I'd love to see those Adirondack plans. I'm excited to cook on ours! We have an old bbq we just never haul out.

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    2. Not sure, but I follow you so I sent you a few pins. One has plans, by Ana White and the other two have no plans but are good inspiration- designed by Carlos Motta.
      My hub was planning to weld up a proper rack for cooking so I'm 'grate'ful for your timing and lovely design- a little, so-while-you-have-your-welder-out, and your photos and I just may convince him to make us something similar.

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  7. God I miss the Midwest...I know you're in Canada and all..but I'm originally from WI now living in South Australia for 17+ years and it looks just like "up north". I miss the birches and the pines and the oaks and the, oh, I don't know what else. All of it. And, believe it or not, the snow. Love your fire pit! Fortunately I have a husband who works in the steel industry. I had him mock up a steel pit I saw for $2,000 for about $20 in scrap materials. With help from a welder friend. I have been following you for quite a while now - but never saw the outside of your house - or your yard leading to the lake. It's beautiful.

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    1. Hello Lynn! Your comment really made me appreciate the landscape I take for granted too often. I do love the trees. That blue spruce is my favorite and I'm considering planting some more. Wow - your pit is a bargain! I think we paid $200 in supplies and labor costs (they cut it for us), but we saved a lot welding it ourselves. I'd love to see a photo of your fire pit - are you on Instagram?

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  8. Oh no that old fire pit had to go! This looks amazing for a couple who aren't into outdoor projects you completely smashed this one!! What a perfect spot to sit by the water and admire the view by the fire I'm sure you'll get heaps of use out of it :)

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    1. Thank you!! We've been using it a lot - I never want summer to end :)

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  9. It's a little plain for my personal style, but it looks great and soooo much better. I also love how the color matches the house. I also liked the unpainted metal and it's swirly goodness, it was almost marble like.

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    1. It's funny: I was going to paint the whole house dark grey but, for various reasons, my plans keep getting foiled so it will have to wait until next year. But as I wait, the wood grows on my and I think I'll just paint the siding and concrete stone, but leave the wood. I agree - how it matches is so pretty (and a total accident). But that natural metal! SO gorgeous - you're right, like marble! Sigh...

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  10. Hi Tanya! I'm back at work and saved the blog until I got back for reading!!

    I LOVE this fireplace! My father in law teaches welding so we have access to metal and a welder! Plus we do have a welder in the garage... I HATE our fireplace!! We've had a few as my father in law was always trying new designs. But THIS may work!!!

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that reading my blog is something worth "saving" - yay! If you and your father-in-law whip this up, you'll have to show me! I know you'll put your gorgeous spin on it :)

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  11. This looks awesome! Sorry, but your 'before' made my laugh out loud when I scrolled down already seeing what your after looked like. You did an awesome job and I think some adirondack chairs would look perfect around it.

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    1. Yep, the "before" was pretty hilarious! Happy I could make you laugh :) At least they didn't include "fire pit" as a selling feature on the house listing, lol.

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