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Incorporate a freestanding fire pit into your patio with a ring of concrete cylinders.
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Measure each concrete forming tube about 16 inches from both ends and mark circles around the tubes. Using a handsaw or jigsaw, cut each tube into three 16-inch-long pieces for a total of 12.
Each column will be just a fraction short of 16 inches long because of the material lost to cutting. You can cut the tubes longer for added height, but each tube will yield fewer columns.
Empty a bag of concrete mix into a mixing tub and add water according to the label directions. Use a shovel or hoe to mix it to an even consistency. You should be able to squeeze a handful of concrete and have it hold its shape.
Adding too much water makes concrete weaker, not stronger. Use only enough water to create a consistency slightly runnier than peanut butter.
Cover a smooth surface, such as a scrap of plywood, with a plastic sheet or other waterproof material. Stand the 16-inch tube on the surface and begin filling the tube with concrete, stopping occasionally to tap the surface with a scrap piece of wood to force out the air bubbles. At the top, use a trowel to smooth the concrete even with the rim of the tube. Mix additional concrete and repeat for the remaining 11 tubes. Allow the concrete to set up overnight.
After the concrete sets, slice the side of the tube with a utility knife and remove the cardboard.
Measure the diameter of the dish portion of the fire pit. Arrange the columns in a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the fire pit dish, leaving a space between the columns for air circulation to keep the concrete from overheating.
Add kindling and small pieces of wood to the fire pit, light, and cover. Estimated cost for this project is $136.
To avoid possibly damaging the concrete columns, avoid creating large fires that fill the metal fire pit.