Sorta. We had already had a fire-pit area. We levelled out an area last year, and put down some landscape block, but we never really finished it, or made it 'nice'
As you can guess, the raw dirt floor would turn into a squishy, muddy mess anytime it rained. We had always planned on getting a load of gravel in, but we knew we needed something to 'hold' it to keep it from washing out. I had gotten some really cool, really hard granite stones from my work. We have mills that grind silica sand to very fine powder. The mills are lined with these granite stones, and then filled with sand and extremely hard ceramic balls. Eventually, the stones will wear out, and some of them get these cool grooved patterns in them. We recently relined a mill and had a pile of these old stones
When we got a load of them, we didn't have any ideas what to do with them, but I hated to just let them get buried up in a hole out back. I love the colors and textures. The faces are very very smooth, due to thousands of hours of abrasion by the sand. The grooves come from the ceramic balls.
On a whim, my buddy piled up a line of stones to see if they would work as a border for the gravel. Then he got a shovel to make them level. Once we had a row, we though, we should make it a bit higher. And... if we go higher, we could make a step. And if we go one step why not 3?
Underneath the dam in our lake is an small area that someone quarried many years ago. Its a fun place to run your atv's. Some of the trails have pretty good gravel berms on the sides of them. I got to thinking that some of this gravel would be perfect for our fire-pit. I grabbed a shovel, jumped in my UTV and told everyone I would be back in a minute. It took a bit more than a minute, but I came back with a bed load of gravel. I dumped it and we raked it out and it looked great. It took about 5 loads, but in the end, we wound up with this:
Total cost: Zero Dollars.
We already had an electric line stubbed up in anticipation of a future pavilion. We sunk a post left over from the cabin build and I put a GFI receptacle on it and hooked it up to a breaker on the electric pole. Now we even have electric there for a fan and our bucket lights. We had a wicked storm with torrential rain on Sunday around 8:00pm that would have left it a soupy mud hole for a week with just the dirt. By 10pm the skies cleared, and we were back sitting around the fire pit.
It's really funny. We never planned any of this. We never even really talked about the direction we would take. It was just sort of "free-form" make it up as we go along. I just need bring down some sand fill in and pack between the stones. We only used about half the pile of stones we hauled down. Now I just gotta figure out what else I can do with them...