When we purchased the house I wasn’t really planning on a fire pit but we had some friends who dug theirs out and offered it to us so we went ahead and put it in. The pit has come in very handy since we don’t have a truck or trailer right now but we do have an overabundance of trees, branches, bushes, etc.
We started the project (summer 2013) by simply digging out the pit, spreading gravel, and starting to clear away the brush in that general area. In addition to pulling weeds we had to clear out years old leaves and random garbage that had been sitting for years along the fence. This first picture is as close to the “before” picture as we have because I wasn’t expecting to put a fire pit in so I never took a picture of this general area until after we dug it out. This shot does show how out of control our lilac bushes/trees were but doesn’t truly capture how bad the weeds, leaves, and garbage were when we first got here.
In the fall we continued the project by pruning the lilacs–the house came with lilac bushes along the fence-line that were so overgrown that they were getting tangled in the electrical wires 20 feet up–so those had to be chopped back significantly.
Over the winter and spring we did nothing and were rewarded with weeds coming in like crazy. It’s amazing how quickly everything grows here in Wisconsin, especially when you clear away the ground cover (in our case years old leaves, garbage, and other weeds). In addition to our weeds we planted some lawn seed over the summer so the area was simply filling up with “stuff.”
Also, we had old logs and tree branches that were crowding the area so in the fall of 2014 we chopped all of that up and hauled it off (or burned it off), got more gravel, dug out the extra mounds of dirt and cleared out the weeds. Then we decided to further clean up the area by tilling the dirt (with a shovel) to the south of the pit and putting a brick barrier between the fire pit and the lawn so it would be easier to maintain. We put moss between the brick to serve as a water barrier (so the dirt wouldn’t wash away) and because moss looks awesome.
Budget: So far we have incurred very few expenses. The fire pit was free (gift from friends), the bricks were free (we found a giveaway on Craigslist), and the dirt and moss was free (we simply moved it from other areas of the yard). We did pay about $5 for the grass seed and will need to pay for benches.
Still left to do: Add brick barrier on southern border, put moss between the bricks, add mulch or lawn behind the pit (between the pit and the fence line), purchase benches to sit on.
Here’s what it looks like so far.