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Tips on How to Procure Low or No Cost Building Materials
A case in point was a left over sewer pipe section several blocks from our home in a new subdivision. That pipe became the central element in a combination fire pit and barbecue. I buried the 5’ long by 4’ diameter section in our backyard near an existing raised planter bed. I left the top sticking out just enough to brick the exterior with discarded Roman bricks I found in another nearby housing development. I filled the pipe to within 2’ of the top with crushed rock. Next I poured a 3" concrete floor with an oversized wine bottle in the center. Once the concrete hardened I broke the wine bottle, leaving an opening of about 6" in diameter in the floor. I then bought a length of 1/2" stainless steel square bar and had a local welding shop weld it into a circular grill to fit inside the lip of the concrete pipe. Extending the planter box to partially surround the new fire pit and putting a 2"x8" cap on top formed the seating area. I adjusted my impulse sprinkler to sweep over the pit which washed all but big clinkers down into the crushed rock inside the pipe.
Having doubts about finding a left over sewer pipe around your area? Maybe so, but have you thought about making contacts with your town’s administration? I have found our public works director happy to give me surplus materials.
I just had a truck load of broken up sidewalk dropped off at our neighbors unused lot. I in turn used this material to make a 20’x26’x 22" retaining wall for a garden pond. I have gotten enough bricks from local demolition projects to build two patios and over 200’ of walkways through our property. Another good source is local contractors. I built a 20’ x 10’ x 8’ arbor from beams left over from an upscale residential development. But my best finds have come from poking around new residential developments. The large decorative rocks that will form the waterfall for my pond I found in a discarded pile in a new development just 5 miles from our property. That was a real find, as here in Florida you have to buy rock from dealers at around $240 per ton.
Looking for a new fire pit, fireplace, accessories or more? Compare types, brands and prices with our Fire Pits Buyer's Guide or Fireplaces Buyer's Guide.
This helpful article was provided by DoItYourself.com community member Denny James.