Light Up the Night with a Backyard Fire Pit and Solar Lights!

In the fall there are several iconic thoughts that spring to mind of most people. Cool crisp days evoke good feelings and memories created around fall festivals, apple cider, holidays, and other fall activities. One way to share the fall experience with your family is to add a backyard fire pit. What could be better than a cool crisp evening around the campfire with friends and family while roasting marshmallows and making smores? A simple backyard fire pit is an easy project that you can put together to add another special memory making activity to your fall events! (All materials for this project were provided by Lowe's through Lowe's Creative Ideas.)

Keep safety in mind while building your fire pit. You need it to be far enough away from your house so that smoke or a large fire won't cause damage. You also need to keep the safety of small children in mind.

To build my firepit I used 28 concrete retaining wall blocks, 16 plain gray concrete paving stones, and 2-3 bags of base sand. This made a fire pit that is approximately 4 feet wide on all sides.

First clear out any grass or plant material that is in the fire pit's location. I chose my location then put together the first layer of outside stones to make sure that the outline of the stones fits in the area. I cleared out a little extra area. Once the area was cleared sufficiently I added a layer of sand. I spread it out evenly then placed the concrete paving stones on it. The paving stones will allow me to clear the firepit from time to time easily with a shovel.

Clear the sod and plant material for your firepit location.

Add a base layer of sand underneath the pit for stonework.

Set the firepit stones around the area

After the paving stones were placed I built the outside edge of the fire pit using the retaining wall blocks. I stacked the second layer of blocks after the first to make a fire pit that was 1 foot deep.

While the firepit was finished I still had a few things I wanted to do. Every fire pit needs seating, so I built a few simple seats by stacking a large retaining wall block on top of two smaller ones. These seats are simple to make and very rustic - perfect for a campfire!

A Simple seat made from stone retaining wall blocks.

I also wanted to light up the area so that the perimeter of the fire pit area was easy to see around obstacles. I used some solar lights, rebar, 1/2" conduit, little paint, and dome shaped pots to create some outdoor lighting. I cut the conduit into 4' and 6' pieces which I then painted a hammered copper color. I also painted the inside of the dome shaped pots a reflective silver color and the outside the same copper color. I even painted a few of the solar lights to match the copper look. 

After the paint was dry I cut holes in the bottom of the pots to allow the larger sized solar lights to poke through.There was a lip on the lights where the pots could hang. The stake ends of the solar lights fit perfectly into the painted conduit. Once all the lights were made I could hammer in the 24" pieces of rebar where I wanted the lights and placed the conduit over them. 

The reflective dome lights direct the light toward the ground and cover a 10-12 foot diameter around each light. This makes the light they provide more functional than it would be if they were just placed at ground level.

The lights create safety around the fire pit area so that we can move around and enjoy those crisp autumn nights!

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