I got tired of burning a brown spot into my yard so I decided to pick up some materials and make a nice block base to put my fire stand on. You can do it with a few hours and under $100 depending on the type of brick you choose.
Step 1: Select Location
Find a nice flat spot away from the house and neighbors to place your fire stand. Chose wisely because this is permanent.
Step 2: Planning, Supplies, and Tools
Depending on the size of your stand, first decide how large you want the base to be. This will determine how much material you will need. I did not want to cut any blocks, as I do not have a chisel or brick saw. So based on the 6X6 inch and 9X6 inch blocks from Lowes, I settled on a 3 ft X 3 ft area.
One deceivingly complex task is to figure out the block pattern you want to use. Try drawing it out first to see what you like. Once you have the pattern count the blocks and sizes you need to purchase.
My pattern required 16 - 9X6's and 12 - 6X6's.
Now go get some drainage rock for the foundation.
I wanted a 3 inch stone base so 3 X 3 X 0.25 = 2.25 cubic feet
The Drainage Rock from lowes was $3.38 per .5 cubic feet. Therefore I needed 5 bags.
I also wanted 1 inch of sand to place the bricks on and make them level. 3 X 3 X .083 = 0.75 cu ft
Quickrete All purpose Sand is ~$3.50 per .5 cu ft. I used 3 bags taking into account me not leveling properly and to fill in between the blocks.
16 - 9X6 block ($1.14/each)
12 - 6X6 block ($0.74/each)
5 bags- Drainage Rock ($3.38/bag)
3 bags- Sand (~$3.50/bag)
Spray paint (not necessary but makes it easier keeping your cut straight)
Spade shovel or edger
Length of wood (screen out sand)
Tamper (if you got one, not completely necessary)
Step 3: Get Diggin'
I spray painted the outline of my location and used the spade shovel to cut the outline of the base. Cut the square just a little smaller to get the block in nice and tight, you can also cut away more soil later if you need to.
I then pried with the shovel the grass outline and rolled up the lawn like a carpet. You don't have to save the grass also but its a good piece of sod that you can use somewhere else.
Next start digging to the depth you need. Just add the stone thickness, sand and block to get the required depth (3 + 1 + 1 1/2 = 5 1/2 inches). I needed to go 5 1/2 inches down. Make sure to measure often, you don't want to go deeper then you have to otherwise you'll need more stone and sand.
Tamp the soil if you have a tamper. I do not so I dropped a bag of the stone unopened into the hole. You do that to make sure your new base doesn't settle over time.
Step 4: Add the Stone
Add the drainage stone.
Again make sure you compact the stone down with your tamper or in my case I used a block a wood and hammered it with the mallet over the entire area of the base.
A compacted base, is a happy base!
Step 5: Add the Sand and Blocks
Add your sand.
Try to level out the sand with a piece of wood and a level. This is where your block will go on top off so the more level the better. I had a really hard time getting everything exactly level so I gave up and just eyed it up.
Now insert your blocks onto the sand. Use the mallet and level as best as you can. Level it up and give each block a few wacks with the mallet to set it in.
My square wasn't quite large enough so I had to use a hoe to cut the edge just a little bigger.
Step 6: Sweep in the Sand
Sweep in extra send between your blocks.
Sprinkle some water on the blocks and sand to compact it and then add some more.
I also had to put some soil along the outer edge of my blocks.
Step 7: Enjoy.
Place your fire stand on top and start enjoying the summer nights with your camp fire.
The total cost was close to $55 in materials and took maybe 2 hours on a Saturday.
Note: I may have went overboard with the 3 inches of stone. You might not even need to use the stone at all or as much depending on the draining and soil conditions in your yard.