Lava rocks are a popular choice for fire pits because they are durable and can withstand high temperatures.
However, if you’re new to using a fire pit or have never worked with lava rocks, it can be intimidating to try and figure out the best way to arrange them.
This article will cover the steps you can take to properly arrange the lava rocks in your fire pit.
Proper rock arrangement is essential for optimal heat distribution and overall functionality, whether using your fire pit for backyard gatherings, camping trips, or simply for ambiance.
Let’s get started!
To arrange the lava rocks on a fire pit, follow these steps:
- Begin by removing any old or damaged lava rocks from the pit. If you are using a new fire pit, skip this step.
- Next, fill the fire pit’s base with a layer of lava rocks. This layer should be around 2 inches thick and completely cover the pit’s bottom.
- On top of the base layer, add a second layer of lava rocks. This layer should be around 1 inch thick and should be placed in a crisscross pattern over the base layer.
- If desired, add a third layer of lava rocks on top of the second layer. This layer should be thinner, around 0.5 inches thick, and placed in a crisscross pattern similar to the second layer.
- Once you have added the desired number of layers, use a broom or rake to evenly distribute the lava rocks across the pit.
- Finally, light the fire and let the lava rocks heat up before use.
Always use caution when working with fire and follow all local fire regulations.
These are the steps I follow when I arrange the lava rocks. There are other ways to do this. Let’s check them out.
How To Use Lava Rocks For A Fire Pit?
Adding lava rocks to your fire pit gives it a clean, modern look, and they’re easy to maintain. You should create a fire pit by covering it with 4-5 inches of lava rock.
You may then layer with wood if that is your preferred fuel. Lava rock can be filled into the fire pit (or at least enough to cover the fire ring) if you use gas.
Special Note: It is possible to explode even lava rock because moisture gets trapped inside when it gets heated. You should use caution whenever you use your fire pit after rain or when it is installed.
Due to heating and cooling, concrete fire pits can develop hairline cracks even after using lava rock to dissipate heat.
The cracks in your fire pit are not always slight, but they are not fatal flaws because your fire pit is constructed of unique wire mesh for structural integrity.
Burning large, hot wood fires (which burn hotter than gas) can result in cracks in your chimney. Also, check your local regulations, as you may not be able to burn wood in some counties or states.
Different Ways To Arrange Lava Rocks On A Fire Pit
The following are some different ways to arrange lava rock in your fire pit.
1. Natural Accents With Larger And Small Rocks
You could place smaller lava rocks around your fire pit to give it a more natural look. These pieces can be accentuated and made more impactful by using larger stones!
As a result, you can equally mix large and small stones when arranging lava rocks.
2. Fountain Fire Pit
An additional modern arrangement you might want to consider is a fire pit with water flowing out of it. Place your largest lava rocks in the center and arrange them into circles around the perimeter in an even, circular pattern.
Once that has been done, fill any gaps here and there with smaller stones to ensure no more spaces are to be filled.
3. Pebble Patio Around The Perimeter
Here’s another arrangement I absolutely love if you’re looking for something more modern! The first step is to surround the perimeter of your fire pit with medium-sized to large lava rocks.
In between the larger stones lay smaller ones to create an interesting stone patio pattern surrounding your fire pit.
4. Faux Boulders Island
You can uniquely arrange lava rocks by creating an island in the middle of your fire pit. As you did before with Aqua Lava Rocks, place a ring of larger, round, or square stones around the perimeter.
Create a solid island by filling in any gaps within this circle with smaller lava rocks.
5. Aqua Lava Rocks In A Ring Pattern
The way these lava rocks are arranged on my fire pit is one of my favorite ways to do it. Ensure that large, round rocks surround the perimeter of your fire pit.
Keeping these larger stones close enough to prevent them from falling into the fire pit is important. Make a fun pattern by placing rocks of irregular shapes and jagged edges within the circle.
6. Lava-Crete With Texture
This is another great option to create a textured look with your lava rocks. Using the same method you used above, start by placing larger stones around the perimeter of the fire pit.
You can then fill in any gaps between these pieces by stacking smaller pieces on top of one another.
You may then want to try the following different looks:
- Make a heart shape out of your lava rocks. These are especially cute for engagement parties and weddings! Adding even more visual interest is possible if you use different sizes.
- With the lava stones around your fire pit, make overlapping rows that also look like waves.
- Make your fire pit more visually appealing by stacking different shapes and sizes of lava rocks. This is a great way to create something that looks unique to you without taking up too much space!
- The rocks can be arranged in shapes to create unique patterns, such as triangles or stars. You could make this with five lava stones arranged into a star shape and one larger stone in the middle!
How To Prepare For Lava Rock Placement?
It is important to check your fire pit first and note how much space there is between the lava rocks. Using this information, you can determine what size to use!
How do I choose the right type of wood or gas to burn? In a fire pit, either propane or natural gas can be used. However, natural gas will heat the lava rocks more quickly.
Are they available for purchase anywhere? These are available at most hardware stores and online. If you use red and black lava rocks, use a mixture of different colors to add even more visual interest!
You should ensure that the rocks around your fire pit are completely dry before placing them there. Preventing mold or mildew from forming on them is a good thing to do!
How Long Do Lava Rocks Last?
As long as lava rocks are not exposed to direct heat for too long, they can last anywhere from a few months to several years.
Fire Pit Safety
- Check your city or county code to ensure gas connections are made properly. Make sure your fires remain small, and your fire pit is at least 10 feet from trees, plants, or other structures.
- Fire starters should never be made from gasoline. In addition to being hazardous, gasoline has the potential to cause explosions. Always keep an extinguisher on hand. It is important to wear safety gloves when lighting a fire pit and handling the fuel.
- It is not recommended to use stone or gravel instead of lava rock because it could explode when heated. In addition, there are special glasses and ceramic “stones” that can be used. You should ensure that the glass or ceramic you use for your fireplace has been certified.
- It is always a good idea to cover the bottom of the fire pit with lava rock before burning anything. You should place a layer of lava rock at least 4 to 5 inches deep if you are burning wood.
- After placing your firewood on the lava rock, add your kindling. Ensure that at least half of the fire ring is covered with lava rock when using a gas fire pit.
- It is important to drain the bowl to avoid filling it with water. There is a 1.5″ hole pre-drilled into potted fire pits to allow drainage and leave room for a gas line to be run.
Safety Tips For Arranging Lava Rocks On Fire Pits
Lava rocks can make an attractive addition to your fire pit, but it is important to use them safely. Ensure the area surrounding your fire pit is clear of all flammable materials, such as leaves and grass.
As a result, any sparks generated won’t fly into nearby areas where they can cause a fire. You should ensure that lava rocks are placed at least a few feet from the fire and coals when installing them around your fire pit.
Move any lava rocks that begin to crack or break apart away from the heat source right away to prevent them from catching fire!
Always wear protective gear when handling lava rocks since they are extremely hot! It also includes long sleeves and pants for protection against heat, along with fire-resistant gloves.
Fire pits can be built from lava rocks, which are popular options among homeowners. Native Americans have used these stones for centuries, and they remain a popular choice today. The lava rocks could be used in various ways around your fire pit if you are interested!