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A backyard with a fire pit can be a great gathering place. It can help keep you warm on cool nights and make entertaining in the backyard more enjoyable.

When building a fire pit, safety should be the top priority. Use fireproof materials on a flat, dry area that’s at least 25 feet from the house. The fire pit should be about 2 feet high and 5 feet in diameter.

Here’s how you can build one:

Start with the foundation. With a stake in the ground at the center of the fire pit, mark the circumference of the circle at 5 feet by using a string that is two-and-a-half feet long.

Dig the space down 6 inches. Mark an inner circle of 12 inches from the outside of the circle. This inner circle will be the edge of the fire pit wall.

Now make a foundation, which the stones of the fire pit wall will sit on. Mix concrete and lay it so it’s level to the ground. Don’t pour concrete in the center. Build the concrete up to about one-and-a-half inches below ground level, then press rebar into it for reinforcement. Smooth the surface and let it dry for 24 hours.

Put up the outer wall. Start laying the stones by mixing mortar and then shovel 2 inches of it on top of the concrete base. Lay stones on the mortar, working in small sections.

As the first few levels of stones begin taking shape along the outer edge, start laying bricks to form the inner wall.

Move on to the inner wall. Level each brick and fill in the gaps with wet mortar. Measure the inside and outside edges of the wall from time to time to make sure the wall is thick and retains its circular shape.

Keep raising the bricks against the inside circle and the stones against the outside circle, and fill in any gaps with stones and mortar. Stagger the seams of the stones and bricks to make the structure more stable. To finish, lay a cap of pre-selected flat fieldstones on top of the wall.

Add about 1 inch of mortar on top and layer the stones flat along the entire circumference. Add mortar between the capstones to complete it.

Add the finishing touches. Brush the exterior with a paintbrush to remove loose debris. Lightly spray it with a garden hose to remove excess mortar.

Spray paint black the bricks inside the fire pit with a high-heat stove paint. Fill the pit with a layer of river rocks.

You can then dig out the surrounding area of the fire pit to create a sitting area if you want. It can be filled in with landscape fabric and then covered with crushed stone.

Let everything dry for a day or two, then try it out with a small fire. Get some marshmallows and skewers and you’re ready to start enjoying your new fire pit.