Circle porch swing

Circle porch swing DEFAULT

When we were little, our grandparents had a beautiful garden swing. It was our absolute favourite place to spend spring days and summer nights, swinging lightly in the breeze and reading a book, eating a snack, or just enjoying some down time. Every once in a while, we’d get excited and swing as high as our legs could take us from their tree swing too, which stood a few feet away, further down the lawn. No matter which one we used, the swings helped us make some of the best warm weather memories we have, so it only makes sense that we’d want to share that same joy with our own kids now that we have our own porch and backyard trees to work with! Sure, there are plenty of pre-made tree, garden, and porch swings that you can buy in stores and simply hang yourself, but we always get a lot more satisfaction out of the things we’ve made ourselves.

Just in case you love the idea of tree and porch swings as much as we do but you feel like you could use some guidance, here are 15 awesome designs, tutorials, and ideas that will help you get started!

1. Classic rope and wood tree swing

Classic rope and wood tree swing

Are your fondest spring memories the ones of afternoons you spent swinging on a classic, old fashioned style swing made from a simple wooden plank and some rope? We loved this kind of swing too and we used the one down on our grandparent’s farm until the rope was just about frayed and needed replacing. That’s why we were so excited to find a tutorial that would walk us through the simple steps of making the same kind of swing for our very own backyard! A Beautiful Mess shows you how to make it happen, as well as how to hang it safely from a strong tree branch so now one gets hurt as they swing, no matter their age or size.

2. Wooden slats and beads swing

Wooden slats and beads swing

Do you quite like the idea of a wooden tree swing but you actually always found that the discomfort of sitting on a hard wooden board usually cut your swinging time short, so you’re looking for an alternative? Then we think you’ll be pretty happy to discover this awesome tutorial from Momtastic! They show you how to cut holes in small lengths of wood and string them onto rope with wooden beads in between. This gives the seat of the swing some movement and give to create a surface that’s a little more comfortable to sit on.

3. Fabric and dowel tree swing for toddlers

Fabric and dowel tree swing for toddlers

Are you very into the idea of making a backyard swing for your kids but you’re actually worried that they’re still a little bit too young to hold themselves up properly on the seat while it moves? Then perhaps you’d be better off making this toddler swing version instead! Kidsomania shows you how to make a safe seat that your little one can lean back comfortably in so they can still enjoy swinging but you have less to worry about.

4. Small kids’ tire seat swing

Small kids' tire seat swing

Have you been very into the whole tree swing idea so far but you remember the one you used as a kid being made from an old rubber tire rather than a piece of wood? Well, lucky for all of us, that kind is probably even easier to make! Just in case you still feel like you need a bit of a hand, however, here’s an awesome tutorial from Surviving A Teacher’s Salary that lays the whole process out in a quick, easy way.

5. Bench style porch swing

Bench style porch swing

If you’re going to spend time swinging this spring and summer, would you rather take it easy and slow and do it with someone you love, just to make conversation and quality time a little bit easier? In that case, we definitely think you should take a look at how Sheryl Salisbury made this double-wide bench style porch swing in much the same way you’d make a regular tree swing with a wooden seat.

6. Awesome DIY skateboard swing

Awesome diy skateboard swing

Perhaps your kids are active little dare devils who are always jumping, climbing, and running around, so you’d like to make them a swing that’s a little more unique and matches their level of cool energy? In that case, we’d absolutely suggest taking a look at this totally awesome standing swing made from an actual skateboard! Domestic Bliss shows you how to use a skateboard deck with the trucks and wheels removed as a base, as well as how to secure it with rope and add handles so your kids can hold on safely while they move the swing with their legs.

7. Back porch headboard swing

Back porch headboard swing

Were you pretty intrigued by the swinging bench idea but you think that you’d rather make something with a back so you can settle in with a loved one and really relax? Then perhaps this larger swinging bench design featured on The Rustic Pig will be a little more up your alley! Besides telling you how to both build and hang it, they also show you how to make the back of the bench yourself by upcycling an old headboard.

8. Porch swing campfire circle

Porch swing campfire circle

Are you actually quite handy with a lot of experience in woodworking, so you’re feeling confident in your skills and maybe even looking for a challenge? Well, particularly if you’re also a social person who plans to throw lots of springtime get togethers with your family and friends, we have a feeling you just might be the perfect person to give this porch swing campfire circle a try! Bowhunting outlines step by step how to make and hang the benches, build the frame, and put the fire pit in the centre from scratch.

9. DIY woven platform swing

Diy woven platform swing

Perhaps you were intrigued by the idea of a unique tree swing that your kids won’t be able to get enough of, but you’d rather they be able to use it together at once, rather than waiting to take turns while they play? Then maybe this larger swinging platform design is a little closer to what you’re looking for! The Naughty Mommy  shows you how to make it using PVC pipes, straps, rope, and some careful weaving techniques. We actually made this one last spring and our kids spent countless shady afternoons reading books together on it while they swung lightly in the breeze. It’s a great place for them to catch a couple fresh outdoor naps as well!

10. Wooden circle and rope tree swing

Wooden circle and rope tree swing

Do you like the way that single horizontal tire swings are constructed because you think they’re easier for your kids to sit on and hang onto, but you don’t actually have access to a spare tire right now and you were hoping to make it for them this weekend? Then maybe this wooden circle and rope swing would work just as well for you instead! Living Well, Spending Less shows you how to drill a hole in the middle of a wooden stool top and tie the rope just right.

11. DIY bench style porch swing with cup holders

Diy bench style porch swing with cup holders

If the bench style porch swings are still the ones that are holding your attention the best but you just haven’t quite seen a design that’s held your attention yet, we’re happy to present one more idea for your consideration! We quite like this tutorial from Instructables for turning a wooden bench into a porch swing because it also shows you how to add cup holders in the arms. That’s a useful idea, since we always have a fresh glass of iced tea in our hands throughout the spring and summer!

12. Cushioned porch swing with rope and pallets

Cushioned porch swing with rope adn pallets

Have you worked hard over the years to establish a sort of rustic chic aesthetic to your home decor and you’re also careful to look for different ways that you can continue that outside of your home and into the porch and yard as well? Then creating new things out of upcycled pallets is a great idea for you! We can’t get over how overtly DIY but also professional this cushioned bench style porch swing outlined on Wild Ruffle is. They show you step by step how to make it happen with thick rope and simple wooden shipping pallets.

13. DIY free standing arbor swing

Diy free standing arbor swing

What if you love the large bench style swings that you’d normally see swinging on a deck or a porch, but you live in a home that doesn’t actually really give you much of a porch to work with? In that case, we’d definitely suggest taking a look at how DIY Network made this tree-hanging version of a bigger bench swing instead! This will help you enjoy the rest of your yard beyond just the steps but also keep you nice and cool in the shade when the weather starts to warm up at the end of the spring and into summer.

14. Indoor fabric swing and crash pad

Indoor fabric swing and crash pad

Are you scrolling through these ideas and wishing wistfully that you had the space or conditions to make your kids an awesome swing, but you live in an apartment or townhouse that doesn’t have a yard? Perhaps you’re actually just from a city where the spring is very wet and rather chilly, so you’re worried they won’t get much use out of an outdoor design. In that case, we’d encourage you to consider making this simple, soft sided indoor swing design featured on Teach Me Mommy. Our kids have a blast crawling in and out of theirs like a hammock and throwing themselves onto the “crash pad” that we also learned how to make from this tutorial. Sometimes they even use it for quiet time, napping or reading inside, but mostly they push each other in it and giggle at how it makes them feel like caterpillars inside a cocoon.

15. Upright hammock swing

Upright hammock swing

Are you temped by a number of these awesome outdoor swing designs but you’re pretty certain that comfort is your ultimate goal so you can have some relaxation time this spring? Then we have a feeling this upright hammock swing that makes a very comfy seat indeed might strike your fancy! We actually made ourselves one just like this swing featured on Tauni Everett a number of years ago when we lived in an apartment with a little second floor balcony and we spent more hours curled up reading in it than we can even count.

Have you made another kind of porch or garden swing before that your family loves and uses all the time but that you don’t see here? Tell us all about how you made it or link us to a tutorial or photos in the comments section!

Sours: https://www.diys.com/porch-and-garden-swing-tutorials/

Rustic chestnut bed swing by PorchCo

You might not hear much about sleeping porches with modern-day heating and cooling, but they were very common in the early to midth century. Will a porch swing bed revive the sleeping porch?

Cottage style Porch swing bed by PorchCo

Cottage style Porch swing bed by PorchCo.

While we do not know if you will be spending the night on your porch, The Porch Company offers a vehicle for at least a catnap.  Ergo the porch swing bed.  This new porch staple furnishes gorgeous style, and many uses for taking in fresh air.  You could read on a porch swing bed.  Watch TV, even.  Perhaps meditate.  Bed swings as beautiful as those offered by PorchCo are definitely worthy of enjoyment with your eyes open!

Rustic circle saw pattern and chestnut stain make a great pair!

Rustic circle saw pattern and chestnut stain make a great pair!

Our rustic chestnut porch swing bed is the perfect addition to any porch design.  The circle sawn finish offers a beautiful pattern on the solid pine wood framing.  We use this technique on many of our outdoor fireplace mantels, as well.  Even though the surface looks rough-hewn, the finish that we apply to the wood means that no splinters will be involved with the use of our custom bed swings.  The chestnut finish is created with a custom stain, applied by us!

It’s a swing, it’s a bed – it’s both!

The PorchCo’s porch bed swings are constructed of solid wood and steel framing, which makes for a sturdy and lightweight porch swing.  You can choose your metal color and wood finish to create your ideal swing.  The backs of our swing beds are adjustable, so they may be used like a swing or a bed.  Each bed accommodates a 6” thick twin-size mattress (not included) perfectly.  Here, you will see a close-up of the custom bed frame and the rope attachment.  Notice how dynamic the circle sawn finish is, even on the smallest elements of the wood.

Our Cottage bed swing design is the most popular style we offer!

Black steel and finished wood framing

Black steel and finished wood framing.

If you have a porch on which you love spending quality time, take a look at our collection of porch swing beds!  Call us at or visit our design studio. We would love to meet with you to discuss your porch needs!

Sours: https://porchco.com/porch-swing-bed-a-sleeping-porch-revival/
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The collaboration between Ethimo and Patrick Norguet has given rise to Swing, a collection of lounge and dining furniture with a dual structure: one an external metal layer, the other an internal layer made with slats of teak, the combination of which creates a balanced alternation of lines and materials.

An iconic piece is the large swing: conceived as a cosy nest meant to provide a refuge for the body and the mind. Of great allure and visual impact, this element brings a touch of elegance to the most sophisticated of spaces.

Completing the collection are the dining elements: table and chairs with a design that remains coherent with the rest of the collection, in which the alternating materials create a harmonic ‘rhythm’.

The collection, now an icon of outdoor living, is now all the more complete with its new circular footrests, meaning that outdoor living spaces have all they need, with an extra little place to sit.

Swing is like a nest that embraces body and mind. A refined system based on a repetition game of a series of elemnets in teak for endless moments of life in the open air.

Patrick Norguet

The apparent modesty of Patrick Norguet veils a spirit animated by the concerns of perfection, detail and an object well-made. For the last 12 years, the designer with an atypical trajectory has thus engraved his name on the international design scene with strokes of precision, determination and discretion.

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Sours: https://www.ethimo.com/en/collection/swing

How to Hang a Porch Swing the Proper Way

It's no secret we Southerners love our porches&#x;is there anything better than heading out to the porch with your morning coffee or relaxing in the evening with a cocktail and a good friend? When you're ready to sit a spell, everybody knows the best seat on the porch is the swing.

It's a great way to fake a cool breeze and the gentle swaying makes for a great nap spot. If you're adding a swing to your porch for the first time, you have a lot of options when it comes to material, style, and size. But the most important step to take is making sure your swing is installed properly and safely. Follow the steps below to ensure you'll be relaxing and swinging for years to come.

Elegant Black Porch Swing

Pick a Location

Before we get down to the technical aspects, you want to make sure you've found the perfect spot for your swing. Confirm you have enough space for your swing: Allow for 3 to 4 feet of swinging arc in front of and behind the swing, and it's wise to give yourself 2 feet on either side of the porch as well&#x;both for additional motion from the swing and so you can walk around it.

You also need to decide how to orient your swing. Do you want to face the street (or yard, if this is your side or back porch) or turn it perpendicular to the street, which creates a bit more privacy and the porch can then be part of a conversational area with other seating.

Confirm You've Got Structural Support

We hate to bring it up, but human beings are fairly heavy. Porch swings can also be pretty heavy, depending on the material they're made out of. Altogether, you're talking about several hundred pounds hanging from your porch ceiling, so taking the proper precautions to confirm you're installing the swing in a spot that can support that weight is crucial. If your porch ceiling is unfinished and you can see the beams and joists (like in the above photo), determining this is much easier. A 2x6 or (preferably) 2x8 joist can safely support the load&#x;anything smaller or thinner will not be strong enough and will require additional bolstering support.

If your porch ceiling beams are covered with beadboard or plywood, you need to see what's underneath it to know where the joists run and whether their spacing lines up with where you want to install your hooks. You should be able to access the joists from above via the attic, or if that isn't an option, you'll need to remove a small amount of the ceiling to see how big the joists are and which direction they run, and then patch it after completing installation.

White Farmhouse Porch Swing
This plush white porch swing provides extra seating for this spacious wrapped covered porch—perfect for entertaining.
| Credit: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Pick Your Hanging Method

Most new porch swings will come with a hanging kit the provides all the hardware you'll need. If you've built your own daybed version or found a thrifted swing, you can buy an entire hardware kit online, like this one.

There are a couple options when it comes to the hanging your swing: You can use metal chains or rope as the suspension material&#x;both are equally strong as long as you use thick, marine-grade rope. (If chains seem simpler but you like the look of rope, you can wrap rope around your chains, like the swing above.)

Swings can also be suspended from either two or four hooks in the ceiling. The classic chain setup has two chains hanging from the ceiling that each split into two separate chains (creating an upside-down Y shape), which attach to the four corners of the swing. You can also attach four individual chains to each corner, which might make your swing support stronger, but requires drilling four holes in the ceiling.

Blue and White Porch with Wicker Chairs and Swing

Install the Hanging Hardware

Be sure to mark your measurements before drilling: Ceiling hooks should be 2 to 4 inches wider than the width of the whole swing, which distributes the weight more evenly and keeps the chains from rubbing against the swing. Drill pilot holes smaller than your eye bolts before screwing them into the center of your ceiling joists.

Go ahead and attach the chains or rope to the swing and then hang each side to the ceiling hooks so that the seat is about inches above the floor. Test your swing to make sure it hangs evenly and swings smoothly, and then all that's left to do is enjoy!

Sours: https://www.southernliving.com/home/porch/how-to-hang-porch-swing

Swing circle porch

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Shirley Ziemba, profile picture
Feddie you can do this !!
Tyler Hylton, profile picture
Eric Ford this would be dope if you do your fire pit
Liz Rose Wyatt-Hoffman, profile picture
Jonathon Glover not that I have friends but I do love swinging towards my fiery doom
Brie De Guzman, profile picture
Keddy! This would look cool in your backyard!
Faye French, profile picture
I really want to get started on this project but need imfo on it can anyone help
Paige Hamil, profile picture
Jennifer Caudell this would be nice in yalls backyard! I&#;m living vicariously through you homeowners 😂
Jeanne Lauren Gore, profile picture
Jake Jackson I think you should just go ahead and build this instead 😊
Ric Denker, profile picture
I&#;m in the middle of building a covered patio right now, but will consider this
Theresa Prusak Bender, profile picture
One of our sons made it & they love it !!!! He was lucky enough not to dig up anything because he put it where they took down an old pool 🏊
Mary N. Hardin, profile picture
The only thing I think it looks nice but as fire dies, you want to be closer, and when fire is strong you want to get farther away- I don&#;t like stationary seating.
Cathy Greene, profile picture
I need this built around my fire pit. Any you pool people want to gelp?
Hine Bones, profile picture
Hey mozzie Monica Lawlor build something like this around ur fire pit 👍🏽😂
Lesa Ritter, profile picture
One of my daughters and Son in Law have this exact set up in there back yard. Love it!!
Johnny Chapman, profile picture
A view of mine at Night, I see he used Butt Joints on the top and that is a Big NO NO because water can get between the boards and cause Damage if you can do a Lap joint to help keep water out and have less problems.
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Reagan Wortham, profile picture
If you add a hood about four foot above the fire Pitt , and stove pipe to the top, it draws the smoke and nobody has to move ! Something to think about!
Desiree Reddin Morris, profile picture
Cody Todd still waiting for you to build this for Emily Todd so I can come hang out with her lol
Jamie Turner-Mathena, profile picture
We have the holes dug back by our fire pithopeful to get ours up this spring!! I feel your pain of having something "pinned" for years!!
Sours: https://m.facebook.com/WeLoveRecipesFromHeaven/photos/diy-porch-swing-fire-pit-such-a-great-idea-looks-so-easy-to-makevisit-uswwwmyinc//?locale=zh_CN
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Introduction: Porch-Swing Fire Pit

When I first saw one of these hanging fire pits, sometimes called a porch-swing fire-pit, I just knew I had to build one. I had a large level area in my lower back yard that was a perfect spot. My kids are a little older now and like to spend time outside with friends, so I knew it would get plenty of use. It does.

A gentleman that goes by the name of Chenango Dave on bowhunters.com provides a basic tutorial, but I wanted to build a structure that was a little larger. I'm sharing the details here for anyone else who wants to build one. I might not include every last detail, but I'll try to include all of the important bits and throw in as many tips as I can think of.

Step 1: Picking the Site

You will want to start with a level area that is maybe 5 feet larger than the structure you intend to build in every direction, or about 25 feet across if you stay close to the dimensions here. If it isn't perfectly level, that is OK, but you will want to level it AFTER you build the structure. It makes no sense to level first only to have to dig deeper holes for the posts.

In my case, I had a giant old swing set that I built about 14 years ago when my youngest daughter was born. Thanks to Craig's list, it was gone in 3 days and I got a little cash to use towards this project.

Keep in mind that, depending on where you put it, this structure can be used year round and it will only be used with a fire for a fraction of that time. My teenage kids wander down to sit on the benches during the day with their friends and sometimes even go down there just to study or read. Fortunately, we have trees to create both morning and afternoon shade, but no trees immediately over the fire pit.

So if possible pick a spot that gets shade for much of the day but it cannot have tree branches directly overhead.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

  • Here is a basic list of materials and tools that you will need.

Materials:

  • 6"x6"x10' pressure treated boards for the posts. Qty 6.
  • 6"x6"x8' pressure treated boards for the beams. Qty 6.
  • Note: You can safely go as long as 10-12 feet with 6x6 beams but prices go up quickly and dramatically for benches over 5 feet long.
  • 2'x6"x8' pressure treated lumber for the top braces. Qty 6.
  • 1/2x8" galvanized lag bolts to attach the beams to the posts. Qty 24
  • 1/2" galvanized washers. Qty 24.
  • 4" deck screws to attach the beams to each other. Qty 24
  • 3" deck screws to attach the braces to the beams Qty 24
  • Some additional 3" deck or drywall screws to use for temporarily attaching braces. Qty....a bunch
  • 2"x2"x8' white pine boards to use as braces, layout posts and anchors. Qty: 10-14.
  • 50-60 pound bags of concrete. Qty: 6-8
  • Paver base for drainage under the posts. Qty: 6
  • A 4 foot long steel re-bar to mark the center point.
  • Stain or water seal of your choice for the structure
  • Material of your choice for the fire pit
  • Landscape adhesive to glue the fire pit together.
  • I used slate and pea gravel for a surround. Others have used pea gravel all the way out to the posts.
  • Topsoil to level the area as needed.

    Grass seed or sod to cover any remaining bare dirt.

You will also need:

  1. The swings. I bought mine from Louisiana Cypress Swings and Things on-line. Great selection. I bought 5 footers. They are made to order so order them SEVERAL WEEKS in advance. Mine took about a month to deliver. Worth the wait. I only bought 4 as I want to build something custom for the empty spot....some day. That was dumb. Go ahead and get 5.
  2. Galvanized or stainless eye bolts or swing hangers with locking nuts and washers, 7 inches. Mine have nylon glides, purchased from a swing parts supply place on-line. The swings above come with lag eye-bolts but I wanted to go through the beams for extra strength. Note: all of the galvanized items and hanger hardware is much cheaper on-line than it is at the local big-box. Shop around. I saved about $50 on hardware that way.

Tools:

  • A couple of decent A-frame ladders
  • Power miter saw, ideally a 12" sliding compound miter saw.
  • Post hole digger
  • Shovel
  • Sledge hammer to drive stakes into the ground
  • A rock-breaking rod (heavy steel rod with one sharp and one hammer end) if you have a rocky yard.
  • Post level
  • Line level
  • Box beam level, preferably a 6 footer or longer
  • Tape measure
  • Layout string
  • A speed square to mark boards
  • A carpenters pencil
  • Marking paint to mark the layout on the ground
  • A large plastic mixing bin and hoe for the concrete
  • Cordless drill and bits for the deck screws
  • 12 inch long 3/8 in drill bit to drill holes for the lag bolts.
  • 12 inch long bit to drill holes for the swing hangers, diameter of the bolts or slightly larger.
  • 1 1/4 Forstner or similar bit to countersink the lag bolts/washers.
  • #8 pilot bit for the deck screws
  • Socket and socket wrench for the lag bolts
  • Brushes for the stain.
  • Optional: A router and round-over bit to round over the edges of your 6x6 boards.
  • Also Optional: a belt sander to smooth down the rough spots in the 6x6 posts and beams before staining.
  • Gloves and goggles
  • Optional: One or more 6x6 tarps to auger through if you want to keep your grass intact.

You will also need to rent a 2-man power auger and an 8 or 10 inch auger bit with an extension. Ask a friend to help with the auger. I used a 1 man auger and it practically killed me. Not recommended. Oh, and DO NOT ask your wife to help with the auger. Trust me on this.

Step 3: Measurements, Angles and Markings

I am a pretty experienced DIY builder but had never tackled anything that didn't have square sides. This is a hexagon. 6 sides. Plumbing and trueing a hexagon can be a little daunting, so here's how I tackled it. I measured everything from a center point using OUTSIDE dimensions. The only time I used on-center (O.C.) measurements was when measuring the distance between posts along the outside.

With hexagons, the distance from the center point to the outside edge of each post will be a little less than the length of each beam. My beams were 8 feet long, and the distance from the center point to the outside edge of each post was 7' 11". So the beams opposite each other were 15' 10" apart. Don't dwell on this too much as the easiest way to measure your hexagon, regardless of the beam length you choose, is below.

The other thing you need is the angle of the cuts for your beams. 360 degrees divided by 6 is 60 degrees, split between the two ends of each beam is 30 degrees. So your cuts will be 30 degrees on the end of each beam.

To make the dimensions as easy as possible, I went ahead and cut the beams and laid them out on a flat surface so I could take all the measurements directly from the beams. You have to be a little more exact when digging holes and sinking the posts, but cutting the beams first ensures that your structure is symmetrical. Just make sure that your beams are perfectly parallel on the ground before you start taking measurements. All corner to corner measurements should be the same and all beam-to-beam measurements should be the same. While you have the beams on the ground, mark the center point of each beam so you will have a reference for the cross-braces. Number both sides of each joint 1 through 6. And save some of the 6x6 scrap pieces for later.

Now, making your hexagon square and level is going to be a challenge and you do NOT want to have to lug these 6x6 beams around any more than necessary. So, I cheated. Once I was satisfied with the beams, I cut the 2x6 boards that I would eventually use for cross braces to be exactly the same dimensions as the 6x6 beams. Now you have much lighter boards to work with as surrogate beams. When you are done with them, you will cut about a foot off of them and use them as cross braces. Nothing wasted.

While you have the saw out, cut one of the 2x2 boards into 1 foot stakes with a 45 degree angle at one end. These will be used as anchors later.

Step 4: Laying Out for the Posts

To create a grid for my layout, I put a steel rod in the center of the space, measured out the length of my beams (8 feet in my case) and painted a circle. That was a good starting point. The posts will end up just inside the circle.

Start with the "front" of the hexagon and either lay down one of your 2x6 mock-up beams or measure out the dimensions and paint the ground where the posts will go. If you saved any 6x6 scraps, place one where each post will go just for the visual and to help with measurements.

When you are done marking out for the six posts, the marking for each post should be exactly the same distance from the center rod and exactly the same distance apart. I used a field tape-measure with a large hook on it so I could walk to each post location without having it unhook from the center rod. Don't forget to make sure the corners are all the same distance apart (measure the post markings across from each other and make sure the beams will be parallel). This may sound complicated, but once you start laying things out, it isn't. If you painted a circle at the beginning of this process, all of your post marks should be the same distance from the circle as well.

Step 5: Setting the Posts

OK, time to go get that power auger.

You will want to auger the holes exactly above your marked locations for each post. Make sure the hole is straight. Start without the extension and drill all 6 holes. Then attach the extension and go back around and dig down to just over 3 feet. 3 feet is building code frost-line depth where I live. It is also deep enough to ensure that the structure is rock solid.

Here is a hint. If you have really nice grass that you don't want to destroy AND your yard is perfectly level, use a couple of sacrificial tarps over the auger hole. Cut a hole in it and let all the dirt from the auger fall onto the tarp. This keeps the dirt out of the grass and allows you to haul any that you don't use away.

Note: If your location is not perfectly level, you will want to dig to 3 feet on the HIGH side. Use the string and line level to determine how many inches shallower each hole on the low side will need to be. You will end up with all posts at three feet deep into the ground once you level the area with additional dirt.

Take one of your 2x2 braces and mark it at 2 and 3 feet. This will be your depth gauge as you auger.

Mark each 6x6 post at the three foot mark. I also marked each post at the 6 foot mark to make leveling a little easier.

Now, there are a couple of ways to set and level posts. You could set them and then cut off the tops to make each level, but I wanted to use all 10 feet of my posts, so I actually leveled each post before setting it in concrete. It isn't as hard as it sounds.

Start with the depth gauge and dig each hole so it is maybe 3 feet two inches deep. Don't be lazy here. When we get to the leveling step, it will be a lot easier to fill a hole in a little than it will be take things apart, pull a post out and dig more. Pour some paver base into the hole and flatten out the bottom so the hole is at or just over 3 feet deep.

Drop a post into each hole and check to see where that 3 foot pencil mark you made is. It should be at or slightly below grade or where you expect it to be if the area is not perfectly level. Be careful when placing or removing the post so you don't collapse the sides of the hole. These posts are heavy, really heavy, so either have a friend help you or pretend you are a Scottish pole thrower and be prepared for back pain later.

Get the posts as close as you can to level. One good way to do this is to tie a string to one of the posts at the 6 foot mark that you made earlier (This will be 3 feet from the ground now...). Attach the string level to the string and walk to the 6-foot mark on each of the other posts. We will get them perfectly true and level in the next step.

Step 6: Trueing and Leveling the Posts

Leveling and trueing the structure will take a little time and patience. There will probably also be head scratching.

Again, there are several ways to do this. My technique might not be the absolute easiest, but it turned out pretty well.

Remember those "cheater" beams we made out of the 2x6 boards? Get those out and set them on top of each post. Screw each side into the top of the posts with two deck screws. The position of the cheater beams should be consistent across the center on all posts. In my case, the ends of the cheater beams (points) just stuck over the outside of the posts by about 1/2 inch.

Now take the 2x2 braces and screw one to the top of each post. Hammer in the anchors next to where the brace touches the ground but do not attach them yet. You have some extra braces to use if you need to anchor a couple of posts from two directions.

Time to measure everything again. Make sure that the cheater beams have exactly the same dimensions that you recorded for the beams you cut and laid out on the ground. They should be completely true but do not yet need to be perfectly level.

Once the hexagon is true, screw the bases of the braces into the anchors. You might need to anchor one brace, check dimensions, then anchor the next. The goal here is to make the hexagon perfectly symmetrical a tthe top. The poles themselves can be a little crooked.

Ok, now that the top of your structure is symmetrical, you can use the post level or box beam level to ensure that each post is perfectly straight. You may need a little leverage to move the bottom of a post an inch or two. Use a shovel or a rock-breaking rod. Do not forget to check the beam measurements each time you move a post to make sure it is all still true.

Once the posts are straight, you can level. I did this by setting my 8 foot box-beam level on top of each of the cheater beams. For low posts, pour in a little paver base and lift up the post to allow the paver base to flow under it. You may need to disconnect the brace so you can lift the post.

Keep leveling all the way around the structure until all of the cheater beams are level. I ended up with one that was about an inch high and decided not to pull the beam out to dig more. Only I notice.

Once you have the post-tops level, measure all of the beam dimensions again. Chance are good that something moved slightly. Adjust and reattach the braces as needed.

Once everything is true and level, pour a little gravel or paver base into each hole to ensure that there is drainage at the bottom of each post and that the post isn't going to move as you pour concrete.

Mix and pour the concrete one bag at a time. Pour it in evenly, then jam the concrete in around the post with the iron re-bar you used as the center marker. The concrete should stop at or just a little below grade. Angle the top edge of the concrete so it will channel water away from the post. Let it dry overnight.

Step 7: Setting the Beams

Once the concrete is dry, you can take down the braces and the cheater beams. If you are going to stain the wood, you might want to hold off on grading until after you've stained.

=================================================

Sidebar: If you have to grade the whole area to make it level, here's an easy way to figure out how much dirt you need. Since your posts are level, there should be a "3-foot" mark a few inches above the ground on the lowest side of the grade. Measure how high that is from the ground. Take the distance between two beams across in inches and multiply that by two. That is roughly how many cubic inches of dirt you would need to cover the area with one inch of dirt. Now multiply that times the number of inches above the ground that the 3-foot mark is. Since this is a slope, divide that number by 2. That's how many cubic inches of dirt you need. To convert that to cubic yards, divide it by 36, 36 again and 36 again. Round up. If it is already close to a rounded number, add a yard. Example: 10 inches from ground to "3-foot: mark. 16 feet across. 192 inches. 192x192=36,864 ..x 10 inches = 368640 divide by 2 = 184320 divide by 36 = 5120 divided by 36 again = 142.2 divide by 36 again = 3.95 yards. Get 5 yards.

Wait until after you've stained (step 6) to grade the area.

=================================================

OK, now is the time to look at your posts and clean them up a little if you want. Sand down any pencil lines, splinters or rough areas. I decided to use a router and a round over bit to radius all of the edges of the posts and the beams before they were installed.

The cheater beams you used before are perfect templates for the real beams in terms of where the lag bolts are going to go. Use the screw holes on the cheater beams as a template for the countersunk lag bolt holes on the actual beams. I countersunk my lag bolts about 1/2 inch. Drill holes in the beams that are the same diameter as the lag bolts but just drill a pilot hole down into the posts or use the hole made by the screws holding the cheater beams.

Set the beams on the posts in the order we numbered them before and place the lag bolts with washers into each of your drilled holes. Using the socket set, start cranking one side of the first beam into the post. Once it is in there a bit but before it is tight. Drill pilot holes for the 4" deck screws that will hold the beams together tight. Then screw in the deck screws. If your angles and posts are true, there will be no gaps between beams. Now finish ratcheting down the lag bolts, repeat this for each beam.

Step 8: Adding the Cross Beams

Remember when I said to mark the center line of the beams when you first cut them? Here is where that comes in handy. Set each 2x6 board so that it lays over the center line on two beams. Use a speed square or straight edge to mark the cut on each end of the board. The cut on the board should match the centerline on the beam. Number these boards on top so you can keep them in order. I suggest you cut each board one at a time and then place them on the structure to make sure they fit properly. That way, if you cut one board too short, you can cheat a little by cutting the next a little longer. You will also want to trim the outside edge of each board so it does not poke over the beam. That gives a much cleaner look.

Oh, and these boards have the same cut angle as the beams. 30 degrees.

For my structure, once all of the boards were cut and set on the structure for fit, I rounded over the ends with a router so there were no points or places to splinter.

When you are happy with the way these boards look, screw them in with 2 4-inch deck screws on each board end. The structure should now be rock solid and should not move at all.

Step 9: Staining, Leveling and Setting the Fire Pit

Now that the structure is all assembled, it is time to stain and level if your yard is sloped at all. Give every board another look to make sure there are no pencil marks left. Once stained, a pencil mark will never go away. To stain the structure, I used a quality deck stain and gave it two coats.

Once the stain is dry, grade around the base of each post and level the area as needed. (See the sidebar in step 4) I was on a gentle slope and needed to bring about 5 yards of dirt in to level.

I suggest that you place your fire pit as you level the area. This way you can level the fire pit first and ensure that the foundation for the pit is exactly at or a little below grade. If it is below grade, the foundation blocks will be completely hidden, giving the pit a nice clean look. Once you are happy with the layout of the fire pit, use landscape block adhesive to secure at least the top two rows of blocks to the rows underneath them.

I used large concrete pavers for the foundation and concrete landscape blocks from Lowe's for the fire pit. I wanted grass under the benches and a small gravel area around the pit. I also ended up using slate that I shaped to fit. To finish it off, I purchased sod rather then having to wait for weeks for grass to grow in from seed.

Step 10: Installing the Benches

If you ordered the benches from Louisiana Cypress Swings and Things, they will come in flat boxes and some assembly will be required. They are easy to assemble, though. Just follow the instructions and let them know immediately if anything is broken or missing.

To hang the swings, measure the distance between the chains on an assembled swing. Now go down to the structure and measure out from the center of each beam (where the cross brace sits) one half of the distance between chains. Mark those spots. Assuming you purchased through-bolts with lock nuts, you will want to drill through the beam in these locations with a bit equal to the diameter of the bolts. Insert the hanger bolts from the bottom, drop a galvanized washer on top and tighten down the lock-nut. (If you choose to use the lag eye-bolts provided with the swings, just drill pilot holes into the bottom of the beams at the correct locations and twist the bolts into palce with a large screwdriver or other tool that will give you some leverage. Repeat for all 5 beams where you want to hang benches.

To hang the swings, I used screw-down snap hooks and eventually added swing springs. Once you are sure the height is correct, cut off the excess chain so it does not rattle.

The cypress swings can be sealed, but will weather to a soft grey if you don't finish them. I've had no problem with splinters

Step 11: Wrap It All Up and Enjoy!

Once everything is complete and cleaned up, find some dry firewood and light it up!

We placed Tiki torches just outside 4 of the posts to provide light. It is almost too much light.

Grab a beer or glass of wine, light a fire and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

I hope you find this Instructable useful! This project was a lot of fun and this unusual fire pit is both a terrific place to hang out and a great conversation piece!

Step 12: Update: 3 Years Later.....

I thought I would add a brief update to this instructables for anyone who is interested. Last year, I added a bar-height table to the back of the fire pit structure and added some solar powered LED holiday lights around the beams. The table was made using typical park-bench construction and is perfect for setting food, drinks or a tray full of ingredients for S'mores. It is wedge shaped, of course, and does not interfere with any of the swings.

The table was made from 4 pressure treated 8 foot long 2x6 boards. One board was used to make the cleats, which were attached to the posts using lag bolts. The boards were then cut to fit on the cleats and the remaining lumber was used to create ties to connect and level the boards under the table. Except for the cleats, the table is held together using stainless deck screws, which were pre-drilled and countersunk. Note the angled cuts to help prevent bruised body parts. In hindsight, I should have angle cut the cleats also. The table is sturdy enough for people to sit on, although I placed it high enough to discourage people from doing that.

The structure has held up very well. The natural cypress swings have grayed a little but they have not splintered or become unusable in any way even though we leave them out year-round.

The fire pit has seen the most use in the fall and spring and is still a gathering place for my kids and their friends.

Thank you to all who have commented. I hope this served and continues to serve as inspiration for your back yard fire pit project.

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Introduction: Porch-Swing Fire Pit

When I first saw one of these hanging fire pits, sometimes called a porch-swing fire-pit, I just knew I had to build one. I had a large level area in my lower back yard that was a perfect spot. My kids are a little older now and like to spend time outside with friends, so I knew it would get plenty of use. It does.

A gentleman that goes by the name of Chenango Dave on bowhunters.com provides a basic tutorial, but I wanted to build a structure that was a little larger. I'm sharing the details here for anyone else who wants to build one. I might not include every last detail, but I'll try to include all of the important bits and throw in as many tips as I can think of.

Step 1: Picking the Site

You will want to start with a level area that is maybe 5 feet larger than the structure you intend to build in every direction, or about 25 feet across if you stay close to the dimensions here. If it isn't perfectly level, that is OK, but you will want to level it AFTER you build the structure. It makes no sense to level first only to have to dig deeper holes for the posts.

In my case, I had a giant old swing set that I built about 14 years ago when my youngest daughter was born. Thanks to Craig's list, it was gone in 3 days and I got a little cash to use towards this project.

Keep in mind that, depending on where you put it, this structure can be used year round and it will only be used with a fire for a fraction of that time. My teenage kids wander down to sit on the benches during the day with their friends and sometimes even go down there just to study or read. Fortunately, we have trees to create both morning and afternoon shade, but no trees immediately over the fire pit.

So if possible pick a spot that gets shade for much of the day but it cannot have tree branches directly overhead.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

  • Here is a basic list of materials and tools that you will need.

Materials:

  • 6"x6"x10' pressure treated boards for the posts. Qty 6.
  • 6"x6"x8' pressure treated boards for the beams. Qty 6.
  • Note: You can safely go as long as feet with 6x6 beams but prices go up quickly and dramatically for benches over 5 feet long.
  • 2'x6"x8' pressure treated lumber for the top braces. Qty 6.
  • 1/2x8" galvanized lag bolts to attach the beams to the posts. Qty 24
  • 1/2" galvanized washers. Qty
  • 4" deck screws to attach the beams to each other. Qty 24
  • 3" deck screws to attach the braces to the beams Qty 24
  • Some additional 3" deck or drywall screws to use for temporarily attaching braces. Qtya bunch
  • 2"x2"x8' white pine boards to use as braces, layout posts and anchors. Qty:
  • pound bags of concrete. Qty:
  • Paver base for drainage under the posts. Qty: 6
  • A 4 foot long steel re-bar to mark the center point.
  • Stain or water seal of your choice for the structure
  • Material of your choice for the fire pit
  • Landscape adhesive to glue the fire pit together.
  • I used slate and pea gravel for a surround. Others have used pea gravel all the way out to the posts.
  • Topsoil to level the area as needed.

    Grass seed or sod to cover any remaining bare dirt.

You will also need:

  1. The swings. I bought mine from Louisiana Cypress Swings and Things on-line. Great selection. I bought 5 footers. They are made to order so order them SEVERAL WEEKS in advance. Mine took about a month to deliver. Worth the wait. I only bought 4 as I want to build something custom for the empty spotsome day. That was dumb. Go ahead and get 5.
  2. Galvanized or stainless eye bolts or swing hangers with locking nuts and washers, 7 inches. Mine have nylon glides, purchased from a swing parts supply place on-line. The swings above come with lag eye-bolts but I wanted to go through the beams for extra strength. Note: all of the galvanized items and hanger hardware is much cheaper on-line than it is at the local big-box. Shop around. I saved about $50 on hardware that way.

Tools:

  • A couple of decent A-frame ladders
  • Power miter saw, ideally a 12" sliding compound miter saw.
  • Post hole digger
  • Shovel
  • Sledge hammer to drive stakes into the ground
  • A rock-breaking rod (heavy steel rod with one sharp and one hammer end) if you have a rocky yard.
  • Post level
  • Line level
  • Box beam level, preferably a 6 footer or longer
  • Tape measure
  • Layout string
  • A speed square to mark boards
  • A carpenters pencil
  • Marking paint to mark the layout on the ground
  • A large plastic mixing bin and hoe for the concrete
  • Cordless drill and bits for the deck screws
  • 12 inch long 3/8 in drill bit to drill holes for the lag bolts.
  • 12 inch long bit to drill holes for the swing hangers, diameter of the bolts or slightly larger.
  • 1 1/4 Forstner or similar bit to countersink the lag bolts/washers.
  • #8 pilot bit for the deck screws
  • Socket and socket wrench for the lag bolts
  • Brushes for the stain.
  • Optional: A router and round-over bit to round over the edges of your 6x6 boards.
  • Also Optional: a belt sander to smooth down the rough spots in the 6x6 posts and beams before staining.
  • Gloves and goggles
  • Optional: One or more 6x6 tarps to auger through if you want to keep your grass intact.

You will also need to rent a 2-man power auger and an 8 or 10 inch auger bit with an extension. Ask a friend to help with the auger. I used a 1 man auger and it practically killed me. Not recommended. Oh, and DO NOT ask your wife to help with the auger. Trust me on this.

Step 3: Measurements, Angles and Markings

I am a pretty experienced DIY builder but had never tackled anything that didn't have square sides. This is a hexagon. 6 sides. Plumbing and trueing a hexagon can be a little daunting, so here's how I tackled it. I measured everything from a center point using OUTSIDE dimensions. The only time I used on-center (O.C.) measurements was when measuring the distance between posts along the outside.

With hexagons, the distance from the center point to the outside edge of each post will be a little less than the length of each beam. My beams were 8 feet long, and the distance from the center point to the outside edge of each post was 7' 11". So the beams opposite each other were 15' 10" apart. Don't dwell on this too much as the easiest way to measure your hexagon, regardless of the beam length you choose, is below.

The other thing you need is the angle of the cuts for your beams. degrees divided by 6 is 60 degrees, split between the two ends of each beam is 30 degrees. So your cuts will be 30 degrees on the end of each beam.

To make the dimensions as easy as possible, I went ahead and cut the beams and laid them out on a flat surface so I could take all the measurements directly from the beams. You have to be a little more exact when digging holes and sinking the posts, but cutting the beams first ensures that your structure is symmetrical. Just make sure that your beams are perfectly parallel on the ground before you start taking measurements. All corner to corner measurements should be the same and all beam-to-beam measurements should be the same. While you have the beams on the ground, mark the center point of each beam so you will have a reference for the cross-braces. Number both sides of each joint 1 through 6. And save some of the 6x6 scrap pieces for later.

Now, making your hexagon square and level is going to be a challenge and you do NOT want to have to lug these 6x6 beams around any more than necessary. So, I cheated. Once I was satisfied with the beams, I cut the 2x6 boards that I would eventually use for cross braces to be exactly the same dimensions as the 6x6 beams. Now you have much lighter boards to work with as surrogate beams. When you are done with them, you will cut about a foot off of them and use them as cross braces. Nothing wasted.

While you have the saw out, cut one of the 2x2 boards into 1 foot stakes with a 45 degree angle at one end. These will be used as anchors later.

Step 4: Laying Out for the Posts

To create a grid for my layout, I put a steel rod in the center of the space, measured out the length of my beams (8 feet in my case) and painted a circle. That was a good starting point. The posts will end up just inside the circle.

Start with the "front" of the hexagon and either lay down one of your 2x6 mock-up beams or measure out the dimensions and paint the ground where the posts will go. If you saved any 6x6 scraps, place one where each post will go just for the visual and to help with measurements.

When you are done marking out for the six posts, the marking for each post should be exactly the same distance from the center rod and exactly the same distance apart. I used a field tape-measure with a large hook on it so I could walk to each post location without having it unhook from the center rod. Don't forget to make sure the corners are all the same distance apart (measure the post markings across from each other and make sure the beams will be parallel). This may sound complicated, but once you start laying things out, it isn't. If you painted a circle at the beginning of this process, all of your post marks should be the same distance from the circle as well.

Step 5: Setting the Posts

OK, time to go get that power auger.

You will want to auger the holes exactly above your marked locations for each post. Make sure the hole is straight. Start without the extension and drill all 6 holes. Then attach the extension and go back around and dig down to just over 3 feet. 3 feet is building code frost-line depth where I live. It is also deep enough to ensure that the structure is rock solid.

Here is a hint. If you have really nice grass that you don't want to destroy AND your yard is perfectly level, use a couple of sacrificial tarps over the auger hole. Cut a hole in it and let all the dirt from the auger fall onto the tarp. This keeps the dirt out of the grass and allows you to haul any that you don't use away.

Note: If your location is not perfectly level, you will want to dig to 3 feet on the HIGH side. Use the string and line level to determine how many inches shallower each hole on the low side will need to be. You will end up with all posts at three feet deep into the ground once you level the area with additional dirt.

Take one of your 2x2 braces and mark it at 2 and 3 feet. This will be your depth gauge as you auger.

Mark each 6x6 post at the three foot mark. I also marked each post at the 6 foot mark to make leveling a little easier.

Now, there are a couple of ways to set and level posts. You could set them and then cut off the tops to make each level, but I wanted to use all 10 feet of my posts, so I actually leveled each post before setting it in concrete. It isn't as hard as it sounds.

Start with the depth gauge and dig each hole so it is maybe 3 feet two inches deep. Don't be lazy here. When we get to the leveling step, it will be a lot easier to fill a hole in a little than it will be take things apart, pull a post out and dig more. Pour some paver base into the hole and flatten out the bottom so the hole is at or just over 3 feet deep.

Drop a post into each hole and check to see where that 3 foot pencil mark you made is. It should be at or slightly below grade or where you expect it to be if the area is not perfectly level. Be careful when placing or removing the post so you don't collapse the sides of the hole. These posts are heavy, really heavy, so either have a friend help you or pretend you are a Scottish pole thrower and be prepared for back pain later.

Get the posts as close as you can to level. One good way to do this is to tie a string to one of the posts at the 6 foot mark that you made earlier (This will be 3 feet from the ground now). Attach the string level to the string and walk to the 6-foot mark on each of the other posts. We will get them perfectly true and level in the next step.

Step 6: Trueing and Leveling the Posts

Leveling and trueing the structure will take a little time and patience. There will probably also be head scratching.

Again, there are several ways to do this. My technique might not be the absolute easiest, but it turned out pretty well.

Remember those "cheater" beams we made out of the 2x6 boards? Get those out and set them on top of each post. Screw each side into the top of the posts with two deck screws. The position of the cheater beams should be consistent across the center on all posts. In my case, the ends of the cheater beams (points) just stuck over the outside of the posts by about 1/2 inch.

Now take the 2x2 braces and screw one to the top of each post. Hammer in the anchors next to where the brace touches the ground but do not attach them yet. You have some extra braces to use if you need to anchor a couple of posts from two directions.

Time to measure everything again. Make sure that the cheater beams have exactly the same dimensions that you recorded for the beams you cut and laid out on the ground. They should be completely true but do not yet need to be perfectly level.

Once the hexagon is true, screw the bases of the braces into the anchors. You might need to anchor one brace, check dimensions, then anchor the next. The goal here is to make the hexagon perfectly symmetrical a tthe top. The poles themselves can be a little crooked.

Ok, now that the top of your structure is symmetrical, you can use the post level or box beam level to ensure that each post is perfectly straight. You may need a little leverage to move the bottom of a post an inch or two. Use a shovel or a rock-breaking rod. Do not forget to check the beam measurements each time you move a post to make sure it is all still true.

Once the posts are straight, you can level. I did this by setting my 8 foot box-beam level on top of each of the cheater beams. For low posts, pour in a little paver base and lift up the post to allow the paver base to flow under it. You may need to disconnect the brace so you can lift the post.

Keep leveling all the way around the structure until all of the cheater beams are level. I ended up with one that was about an inch high and decided not to pull the beam out to dig more. Only I notice.

Once you have the post-tops level, measure all of the beam dimensions again. Chance are good that something moved slightly. Adjust and reattach the braces as needed.

Once everything is true and level, pour a little gravel or paver base into each hole to ensure that there is drainage at the bottom of each post and that the post isn't going to move as you pour concrete.

Mix and pour the concrete one bag at a time. Pour it in evenly, then jam the concrete in around the post with the iron re-bar you used as the center marker. The concrete should stop at or just a little below grade. Angle the top edge of the concrete so it will channel water away from the post. Let it dry overnight.

Step 7: Setting the Beams

Once the concrete is dry, you can take down the braces and the cheater beams. If you are going to stain the wood, you might want to hold off on grading until after you've stained.

=================================================

Sidebar: If you have to grade the whole area to make it level, here's an easy way to figure out how much dirt you need. Since your posts are level, there should be a "3-foot" mark a few inches above the ground on the lowest side of the grade. Measure how high that is from the ground. Take the distance between two beams across in inches and multiply that by two. That is roughly how many cubic inches of dirt you would need to cover the area with one inch of dirt. Now multiply that times the number of inches above the ground that the 3-foot mark is. Since this is a slope, divide that number by 2. That's how many cubic inches of dirt you need. To convert that to cubic yards, divide it by 36, 36 again and 36 again. Round up. If it is already close to a rounded number, add a yard. Example: 10 inches from ground to "3-foot: mark. 16 feet across. inches. x=36, ..x 10 inches = divide by 2 = divide by 36 = divided by 36 again = divide by 36 again = yards. Get 5 yards.

Wait until after you've stained (step 6) to grade the area.

=================================================

OK, now is the time to look at your posts and clean them up a little if you want. Sand down any pencil lines, splinters or rough areas. I decided to use a router and a round over bit to radius all of the edges of the posts and the beams before they were installed.

The cheater beams you used before are perfect templates for the real beams in terms of where the lag bolts are going to go. Use the screw holes on the cheater beams as a template for the countersunk lag bolt holes on the actual beams. I countersunk my lag bolts about 1/2 inch. Drill holes in the beams that are the same diameter as the lag bolts but just drill a pilot hole down into the posts or use the hole made by the screws holding the cheater beams.

Set the beams on the posts in the order we numbered them before and place the lag bolts with washers into each of your drilled holes. Using the socket set, start cranking one side of the first beam into the post. Once it is in there a bit but before it is tight. Drill pilot holes for the 4" deck screws that will hold the beams together tight. Then screw in the deck screws. If your angles and posts are true, there will be no gaps between beams. Now finish ratcheting down the lag bolts, repeat this for each beam.

Step 8: Adding the Cross Beams

Remember when I said to mark the center line of the beams when you first cut them? Here is where that comes in handy. Set each 2x6 board so that it lays over the center line on two beams. Use a speed square or straight edge to mark the cut on each end of the board. The cut on the board should match the centerline on the beam. Number these boards on top so you can keep them in order. I suggest you cut each board one at a time and then place them on the structure to make sure they fit properly. That way, if you cut one board too short, you can cheat a little by cutting the next a little longer. You will also want to trim the outside edge of each board so it does not poke over the beam. That gives a much cleaner look.

Oh, and these boards have the same cut angle as the beams. 30 degrees.

For my structure, once all of the boards were cut and set on the structure for fit, I rounded over the ends with a router so there were no points or places to splinter.

When you are happy with the way these boards look, screw them in with 2 4-inch deck screws on each board end. The structure should now be rock solid and should not move at all.

Step 9: Staining, Leveling and Setting the Fire Pit

Now that the structure is all assembled, it is time to stain and level if your yard is sloped at all. Give every board another look to make sure there are no pencil marks left. Once stained, a pencil mark will never go away. To stain the structure, I used a quality deck stain and gave it two coats.

Once the stain is dry, grade around the base of each post and level the area as needed. (See the sidebar in step 4) I was on a gentle slope and needed to bring about 5 yards of dirt in to level.

I suggest that you place your fire pit as you level the area. This way you can level the fire pit first and ensure that the foundation for the pit is exactly at or a little below grade. If it is below grade, the foundation blocks will be completely hidden, giving the pit a nice clean look. Once you are happy with the layout of the fire pit, use landscape block adhesive to secure at least the top two rows of blocks to the rows underneath them.

I used large concrete pavers for the foundation and concrete landscape blocks from Lowe's for the fire pit. I wanted grass under the benches and a small gravel area around the pit. I also ended up using slate that I shaped to fit. To finish it off, I purchased sod rather then having to wait for weeks for grass to grow in from seed.

Step Installing the Benches

If you ordered the benches from Louisiana Cypress Swings and Things, they will come in flat boxes and some assembly will be required. They are easy to assemble, though. Just follow the instructions and let them know immediately if anything is broken or missing.

To hang the swings, measure the distance between the chains on an assembled swing. Now go down to the structure and measure out from the center of each beam (where the cross brace sits) one half of the distance between chains. Mark those spots. Assuming you purchased through-bolts with lock nuts, you will want to drill through the beam in these locations with a bit equal to the diameter of the bolts. Insert the hanger bolts from the bottom, drop a galvanized washer on top and tighten down the lock-nut. (If you choose to use the lag eye-bolts provided with the swings, just drill pilot holes into the bottom of the beams at the correct locations and twist the bolts into palce with a large screwdriver or other tool that will give you some leverage. Repeat for all 5 beams where you want to hang benches.

To hang the swings, I used screw-down snap hooks and eventually added swing springs. Once you are sure the height is correct, cut off the excess chain so it does not rattle.

The cypress swings can be sealed, but will weather to a soft grey if you don't finish them. I've had no problem with splinters

Step Wrap It All Up and Enjoy!

Once everything is complete and cleaned up, find some dry firewood and light it up!

We placed Tiki torches just outside 4 of the posts to provide light. It is almost too much light.

Grab a beer or glass of wine, light a fire and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

I hope you find this Instructable useful! This project was a lot of fun and this unusual fire pit is both a terrific place to hang out and a great conversation piece!

Step Update: 3 Years Later

I thought I would add a brief update to this instructables for anyone who is interested. Last year, I added a bar-height table to the back of the fire pit structure and added some solar powered LED holiday lights around the beams. The table was made using typical park-bench construction and is perfect for setting food, drinks or a tray full of ingredients for S'mores. It is wedge shaped, of course, and does not interfere with any of the swings.

The table was made from 4 pressure treated 8 foot long 2x6 boards. One board was used to make the cleats, which were attached to the posts using lag bolts. The boards were then cut to fit on the cleats and the remaining lumber was used to create ties to connect and level the boards under the table. Except for the cleats, the table is held together using stainless deck screws, which were pre-drilled and countersunk. Note the angled cuts to help prevent bruised body parts. In hindsight, I should have angle cut the cleats also. The table is sturdy enough for people to sit on, although I placed it high enough to discourage people from doing that.

The structure has held up very well. The natural cypress swings have grayed a little but they have not splintered or become unusable in any way even though we leave them out year-round.

The fire pit has seen the most use in the fall and spring and is still a gathering place for my kids and their friends.

Thank you to all who have commented. I hope this served and continues to serve as inspiration for your back yard fire pit project.

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