Mirroring the swirl of the wine in our glasses, the flames from our new fire pit lick the air, comforting light flickering around our balcony. Here’s how to make your own fire pit for your balcony or veranda.
So we’ve built our own gas fire pit for our balcony. But what began as a whim to cannibalise bits from my old broken barbecue turned into a full-scale DIY project.
Ever since we visited friends in San Diego who had a little tabletop fire pit on their balcony, we’ve wanted one.
So when my old Gasmate barbecue finally died after 15 years of faithful service, I wondered if any parts of it could live on. In reality, the only piece I could salvage was the hose and regulator, but this ignited (sorry) a project that was surprisingly fun and easy.
And very satisfying.
How to build your own balcony fire pit
I found a company called Easy Fire Pits, based in Florida, that make and ship every imaginable item you need to build your own fire pit.
They have kits you can buy that takes the thinking out of it or you can buy individual parts and put your project together yourself.
They also ship all over the world really really quickly.
Here’s what you need:
– 1 large outdoor plant pot big enough to hold a gas canister
– 1 LPG gas bottle – obviously!
– 1 wooden board at least 5cm bigger than the top of the pot to act as a lid
– 1 aluminium pizza tin or metal bowl
– Your choice of fire pit kit from somewhere like Easy Fire Pits
Here’s what you do:
1. Drill holes in the centre of the wooden top and pizza tin (you might need a Dremel for the tin), and another hole in the side of the pot.
2. Assemble the kit and connect it to the gas canister, then attach the burner to the wooden top and pizza tin.
3. Put the canister in the pot and fix the on-off key through the hole in the side. Put the lid on and you’re set.
Easy Fire Pits kit and parts
We didn’t end up getting a full kit from Easy Fire Pits. We already had the regulator and hose from our old barbecue and the kits they sell don’t come with a burner – they sell them separately.
We ordered the things we couldn’t easily find in Australian hardware stores.
But if you don’t want to fuss around, Easy Fire Pits can send you everything – and it arrives really, really quickly.
There seem to be quite a few DIY fire pit companies in the States, but this one was the only one I could see that would definitely send parts to us.
Here’s what we ordered
1. The burner
I ordered this from Easy Fire Pits as it’s specialised for use as a fire pit. I looked into repurposing other types of burner but none seemed to work. This one is made with marine-grade polished stainless steel so it won’t corrode or rust.
We ordered the 6” burner, which was the right size for our project. You can get all kinds of sizes, shapes and designs from these guys though.
2. To connect the burner to the gas hose
I ordered a fully threaded 4” fitting – I also bought two threaded 2.5” washers that hold the burner in place. You can buy these fully assembled, but it’s about $8 cheaper to buy each part individually for some reason.
3. A 90-degree 3/8” male flare 1/2” female pipe fitting
This goes from the larger threaded fitting in the burner to the gas hose and is the only way to connect the larger gauge pipe to the gas hose, which is smaller. You can also buy these as straight pieces.
4. A high-pressure gas hose
This goes from the burner to the adjustable tap. I probably would have been able to find one in Australia, but it wasn’t expensive and I knew this would definitely fit. It also saved me a trip to the shops.
5. An adjustable key valve, key and cover
Probably the most important piece, this means we’ll be able to shut off and adjust the flame easily from outside the pot. There’s just nothing like this currently for sale in Australia that we could find.
I also bought two 3/8” male flare x 1/2” female pipe adaptor ends, which attach the adjuster to the gas line. These were already taped and fitted to the adjustable valve, which was very kind.
Buying individual parts instead of a kit probably saved us about AU$100 but took a bit more time to work out.
Wow! We were really impressed with how fast Easy Fire Pits got this stuff to us.
The fire pit equipment arrived in Australia from the States in record time. We ordered it online on Monday (so technically Sunday lunchtime for the US East Coast) and it arrived in Sydney via Hawaii on Thursday – just four days later!
Stuff we’ve bought online domestically has taken longer than that.
Putting everything together took literally five minutes. It was really easy. And the book that comes with the parts is really helpful too.
The trickiest part of this project was finding a pot big enough to hold a gas tank that wasn’t ridiculously expensive. We found ours at Flower Power and it fits a 4kg cylinder. Also, drilling into formed concrete is a bit of a challenge.
For the other parts – the pizza tray we got from a catering shop and the wooden board is a repurposed serving platter from Pottery Barn. We’re also looking into getting a glass cover to fit round the burner to protect it from the wind, but all in good time.
As we sit back and admire our work, we’re transported to those balmy SoCal evenings with our friends in San Diego. It’s like travelling without moving.
Please check with regulations in your state, territory or region for guidance on fire pit construction.
We were not paid or compensated by anyone to write this story. Everything you see here we paid for and sourced ourselves.