A New Backyard Project for the New Year

With each New Year comes a new beginning, giving you the opportunity to try different projects that'll help you achieve that yard you've always wanted. This year, give your lawn a fresh start with this inspired backyard project idea.

Build a fire pit

1. Choose a location: Place your fire pit on level ground 20 yards or more from your home or other buildings and trees. Be sure it is positioned where wind patterns blow away, and not towards, all structures.

2. Ensure your safety: After you've decided on a spot for your fire pit, contact your local public utilities company to ensure there aren't any wires, cables or pipes beneath your location.

3. Select a size and shape: Map out the size and shape of your fire pit to fit your personal preferences and needs. Traditionally, fire pits are 3 feet in diameter and round, but you can select a larger area and a different shape like a square or rectangle.

4. Break ground: Use a front-tine tiller like Troy-Bilt's Colt' FT Garden Tiller to help loosen the soil to help create the fire pit, which is generally 6- to 8-inches deep. After you've tilled, remove all dirt from the hole, and shape corners and edges; then add a layer of sand several inches deep to the bottom of the pit.

5. Build a border: Add safety and aesthetic appeal to your fire pit by creating a border around it. Use rocks or flagstone for your border, but avoid using stones that have been submerged in water; they may explode when exposed to heat from the fire.

6. Water: Keep a bucket of water and a covered bucket of sand on hand in case of an emergency, and always make sure your fires are completely put out before going inside.

After your fire pit is ready for use, enjoy some of these activities with the entire family.

  • Make a s'mores station
  • Storytelling
  • Play campfire games like telephone or two truths and a lie
  • Sing songs
  • Roast hot dogs