You could just build a fire somewhere, then put it out when you’re done. Or you could buy one of those metal basins at a place like Williams-Sonoma. But by actually digging into the dirt and constructing a pit whose sole purpose is to contain a campfire — by permanently incorporating it into the tiny speck on the earth that belongs to you — you are making a commitment. A commitment to your family, a commitment to your friends, and a commitment to having fun.
1. Decide whether or not to check if local laws permit the building of a fire pit in your yard.
2. Pick a location. Not under a tree. Some corner of the yard where you envision friends sitting around reminiscing about old times with love and friendship, plus old jealousies bubbling just beneath the surface.
3. Measure the hole. The diameter should be four feet or five feet. Make an X, with the axis at the center of what will be your fire pit. Use string to mark a circle on the grass around your X. Measure all of these with a tape measure or your feet, which are probably about a foot long if you have big feet.
4. Dig the hole. It should be about ten inches deep, with the sides gently angled out, like a bowl with a flat bottom.