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Are you looking for an easy but beautiful outdoor addition to your home? Look no further than a DIY fire pit! With only a few hours of your time and some basic supplies, you can create the perfect spot to host friends and family. Let’s take a look at our step by step tutorial on how to build a simple fire pit that anyone, even beginners can do!
Fire pits in the backyard provide a cozy and intimate setting for entertaining or spending time with family, not to mention a great spot to roast marshmallows with the inviting ambiance from the fire. Wait until you see how beautiful it looks with the house in the background!
We wanted a fire pit seating area in the backyard at our lake house and one that was made from stone blocks. Purchasing a ready-made stone fire pit can be costly and honestly, it doesn’t look as “built in” to the backyard as a homemade or DIY fire pit. We needed a fire pit that was also big enough to seat 6 chairs around it and burn wood.
Exploring DIY Fire Pit Ideas
If you are asking yourself, “how do I make a simple fire pit,” there’s a multitude of DIY fire pit ideas available, each with its unique charm. From a simple round-shaped fire pit to more complex, multi-tiered designs, the options are limitless when it comes to enhancing your backyard.
We opted to purchase a fire pit block kit that was delivered to our house on pallets. You will also need to purchase a steel fire pit ring (for the center) if the kit doesn’t come with one.
When selecting a design, consider the size and style of your outdoor space, as well as how you plan to use the fire pit. Are you looking for a small, intimate fire pit seating area, or do you need a larger fire pit to accommodate more guests?
What is the Best Material for a DIY Fire Pit?
When choosing building materials for a wood burning fire pit, it’s important to consider durability, heat resistance, and aesthetics. Here are some of the best materials for a DIY fire pit:
- Stone: This natural material is durable and offers a rustic, earthy aesthetic. It’s also affordable if you have local access to it.
- Brick: Brick is heat-resistant and provides a traditional look. It’s important to choose fire-rated bricks for safety.
- Concrete Blocks: These are sturdy and easy to shape into your desired fire pit design.
- Cast Iron: It’s extremely heat-resistant and long-lasting. Cast iron can also be molded into various shapes and designs.
- Stainless Steel: Steel fire pits are durable and can withstand high temperatures. However, they’re prone to rust if not properly cared for.
- Copper: Copper fire pits are attractive and conduct heat well, but they can be more expensive.
Behind The Scenes
Our backyard at the lake house needed a complete overhaul when we bought the house. Jim did a significant amount of raking and regrading to fix the yard making the timing perfect to build a fire pit. Once the yard was regraded, the fire pit was built, we installed sod (on the hottest day of the year!) and the overall backyard project finally started to come together!
Installing sod is no joke. My dad, Jim and I worked an entire weekend (yes my dad who is 74 years old!) in 95 degree heat while my mom ran errands back and forth to Home Depot for supplies and of course iced coffee trips to Dunkin. It’s a project I hope I never ever EVER have to do again! -ha
How to Build A DIY Fire Pit with a Block Kit
Now that you’ve chosen your fire pit design, it’s time to get your hands dirty! Here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own DIY fire pit using a block kit:
Step 1: Choose a Fire Pit Location
Find a flat, open space in your backyard that is at least 10 feet away from any structures or trees. Our backyard is fairly small so our options were limited but we wanted to be able to sit and enjoy the view of the water as well as the fire pit.
Step 2: Prepare the Soil
Remove any grass and level the ground. Lay a layer of gravel (or pea stone) for better drainage and stability.
Jim spread gravel in a circle to create a base for the round fire pit blocks.
Step 3: Assemble the Blocks
Prepare for the fire pit installation by following the instructions on your block kit, start placing the fire ring in the center and then start laying your blocks.
We opted to build a round block fire pit so we started the first level on top of the gravel forming a circle and placed the heat resistant round fire ring inside the blocks.
Step 4: Apply a Fireproof Barrier:
Line the inside of the pit with a fireproof barrier such as fire bricks or steel ring to protect the blocks.
You will notice that the blocks have cut out grooves that interlock with each other which helps keep them snug.
As you can see below, our ring was left out in the weather for an extended period of time which caused rusting.
We repeated the process creating 3 levels of blocks around the fire ring.
Use a level to ensure they’re even.
Step 5: Add The Top Final Layer
Our fire pit kit came with a flat top layer which created a finished look. Jim used exterior adhesive to glue the top pieces to the top block layer.
The top pieces sit on top of the blocks.
Our DIY fire pit kit is from Home Depot and you can find it here! You can order it online with free shipping and have it delivered right to your home. We like the Nantucket Paver Gray Variegated color but the sand tone is nice too if you are looking for a warmer toned feel.
Things To Consider Before Building A Fire Pit
When creating a simple DIY fire pit, safety should be your foremost concern – the pit should be at least 10 feet away from all structures and trees and nestled in a flat, open space. Material selection is also key; using a fireproof barrier like fire bricks or a steel ring can protect your fire pit’s structural integrity. Lastly, consider the aesthetics of your fire pit, including its size and the type of filler (like lava rocks or fire glass) that will complement your outdoor decor.
We decided to have our fire pit seating area on the grass around the fire pit but you can also add more stone if you prefer larger stone area vs grass.
Want to see more of our home improvement projects at the lake house? Check out our “lake house remodeling” page.
Is It Cheaper to Buy or Build a Fire Pit? The Pros and Cons
Custom built fire pits will likely be expensive as the labor portion of the project is time consuming. When it comes to setting up a fire pit in your backyard, one of the key considerations is cost. Should you buy a ready-made one or do it yourself? Here are some of the pros and cons:
Buying a Fire Pit
We purchased a fire pit for our main home that sits on our patio near the pool. It’s a propane fueled metal fire pit with really cool lava stones. We wanted to be able to sit by the pool and ripping up the existing patio to create a “built in” looking fire pit like we just installed at our lake house was not an option so plan B, was to purchase an affordable fire pit.
- Convenience: A store-bought fire pit requires less time and effort as it’s ready to use immediately upon purchase.
- Design Options: Retail fire pits come in various designs, giving you more choices to match your existing outdoor decor.
- Pricey: Commercially available fire pits can sometimes be expensive, especially if you’re going for high-end models. The one we bought for our pool area is very affordable!
- Generic Look: They could lack the personalized touch that a DIY fire pit offers.
Building a DIY Fire Pit
- Cost-Effective: A DIY fire pit can be a more budget-friendly option, especially if you have access to cheap or free materials.
- Customizable: You have the freedom to choose the design, size, and materials to match your preferences.
- Time-Consuming: It requires time and effort to build a fire pit from scratch.
- Skill Required: You need some basic construction skills to ensure a safe and sturdy structure.
More Outdoor Projects You Will Love
DIY Fire Pit Printable Installation Instructions
- Fire Pit Kit or stone
- Outdoor adhesive for stone
- Fire pit ring (if doesn't come with kit)
- Gravel for base
Instructions : Step by Step
- Clear a flat area for the fire pit away from trees or structures
- Spread gravel in a circle larger than the fire pit
- Insert fire ring
- Start by forming a circle with the fire pit blocks around the fire ring
- Continue stacking the fire pit blocks on top of each other until you are 3 levels high. This will vary depending on what type of material or kit you are installing
- Using outdoor adhesive for stone, place top layer of blocks adding adhesive to the backside
Building a DIY fire pit is an exciting DIY project that can transform your outdoor space while saving you money. Plus, it allows you to express your creativity and put a personal touch on your backyard. Not only is our fire pit a nice focal point in the yard but it is spacious and allows for multiple chairs creating a perfect gathering spot.
What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.