A paving fireplace is quick and easy to build. You don’t have to be an experienced craftsman to do that. But it is important that you also think about safety.
A garden without a fireplace is hardly imaginable. Here you can spend a cosy hour with crackling fire, stick bread and telling stories. Fireplaces can be erected in many different ways. In an earlier article, we once collected 20 ideas for fireplaces. In this article we would like to focus on the construction of a fireplace made of paving stones.
Often there are still stones left from various paving works, which can be optimally used to build a fireplace. You don’t have to be an experienced handyman to do that. The only thing that is important in advance is that you take a special look at safety.
Before you start with the actual construction, the location must be determined. The planning is particularly important, because open fire is always connected with dangers, which must be excluded naturally from the outset.
The fireplace should be placed in a free spot in the garden. Anything that can ignite easily must not be in the immediate vicinity. This applies to trees, bushes and shrubs as well as to any buildings. The living or garden house should therefore be at least 80 metres away from the fireplace.
Also make sure that there are no gas or power lines near the fireplace.
Fireplace variant 1 – explained step by step
If you still have a few paving stones left and want to build a fireplace from them, you can do it with a few simple steps and without much know-how. The only thing you’ll need to do that
- a spade
- Paving stones and
- some sand
First measure the fireplace and lift the surface with a spade. You will stab about ten centimetres into the ground. The resulting hole is now filled with sand.
” Attention: Pebbles are less suitable, there is a danger that the stones will burst under the influence of heat.
You can now layer the paving stones around the resulting fireplace. These not only form a decorative finish, but also have a practical function. They prevent the fire from spreading across the boundaries of the fireplace. Now you can layer the firewood on the filled sand and the simple form of the fireplace made of paving stones is ready.
Fireplace variant 2 – explained step by step
If you want to build your fireplace a little more stable and solid, the brick variant is recommended.
Proceed as described above:
❶ Determine the dimensions of the fireplace
❷ Cut out a fireplace with a spade
❸ Fill fireplace with sand
❹ Lay paving stones around the fireplace
In addition, you have to mortar the stones additionally. This gives the whole stability and a uniform picture. Once the mortar has dried, the fireplace can be put into operation.
Fireplace variant 3 – explained step by step
This fireplace looks particularly attractive, but is somewhat more expensive to build. This time the paving stones do not serve as the end edge of the fireplace, but fill the fireplace, which results in a mosaic-like picture. In order to provide the fireplace with protection and closure, a steel protective ring is used.
The sheet must be cut back and welded. If you don’t dare to do this or don’t have the necessary tools, you should have the sheet steel adjusted directly by the dealer.
“Tip: Compared to stainless steel, sheet steel is easier to process.
|❍ Sheet steel
❍ Round steel
❍ Paving stones
|❍ Sheet steel
❍ Round steel
❍ Paving stones
First you select the suitable location according to the criteria already mentioned. Also make sure that the floor is level so that the water can drain off well on the stone floor.
❶ Specify dimensions
❷ Cutting the surface with a spade
❸ Compact soil
❹ Fill up gravel
❺ Fill sand
❻ Create horizontal area
❼ Inserting paving stones
❽ Distribute mortar
❾ Mop up mortar
❿ Apply steel ring
So that you can really cut a circular piece of lawn, make a kind of compass out of a nail and a string. This can be used to define the center point and draw a circle in the desired radius. Now the circular piece of lawn is cut off with the spade.
“Tip: To ensure that the excavated soil does not contaminate and damage the lawn, provide a wheelbarrow.
The hole is dug at a depth of about 35 centimetres. The substrate must then be compacted. For this you use a rammer. Coarse gravel is now applied to the ground. Now cover the gravel layer with sand. This substrate must also be compacted accordingly.
Before you start setting the paving stones, you should check whether the surface is really straight. You can easily check this with a spirit level. It is also important to calculate the height of the paving stones. The layer of gravel and sand must not be too high or too low, as the paving stones should form a level with the surrounding lawn. It may be that you have to make improvements here before the pavement is applied.
You can select stones of different sizes for the paving. For example, design the edge with large paving stones and place smaller stones in the middle. This gives the mosaic pattern additional expression. Once you have paved the pattern, the mortar is mixed. Use a little more water than usual so that the mortar can be well washed into the joints of the paving stones. Now you start to work the masonry mortar into the joints with a sponge. Wipe until the mortar has penetrated the joints and the stones are clean.
Once the mortar has hardened, you can place the finished, cut and welded steel ring on the edge as a protection and barrier and the fireplace can be put into operation.
Is a fireplace allowed?
Whether a fireplace is allowed in principle cannot be assumed without reservation. If you would like to build larger fireplaces, ask the building authorities for safety or read the local regulations. Anyone who wants to set up a fireplace in the allotment garden should study the allotment garden rules. Since allotment gardens are often rather narrow and the plots border directly on each other, the construction of fireplaces is often prohibited due to the safety of the plant. Furthermore, the development of smoke could become a disturbing factor.
Using the fireplace safely
The fireplace is finished and should be inaugurated as soon as possible. Please bear in mind that open fires are always dangerous and that excessive smoke development can disturb neighbourly peace.
“Reading tip: Fire bowls or fire baskets – you should pay attention to that
The burning of very fresh or wet wood, for example, develops into true columns of smoke. Wood which has been painted, varnished or otherwise treated should not be burnt. Toxic gases may be produced.
On a windy day it is better not to put the fireplace into operation. A dangerous sparking flight can develop. Especially in dry summers, surrounding trees or buildings can quickly catch fire.
In a nutshell:
- only burn dry and untreated wood
- Do not use fire accelerators
- Maintain safety distance
- Always supervise fire
- Provide extinguishing agent as a precaution
- Let the fire burn down completely
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.