Having a backyard fire pit is very popular these days and more and more people are building there own.
You might think the making a fire pit is too complicated and expensive, but it's really not. It is actually quite simple and can be done by anyone with basic tools and materials found at your local hardware store.
We have created a simple step-by-step guide with illustration for you to follow, so you can also learn how to build a fire pit. If you’re looking to use some of your artistic flare and to test your handy-man skills, this guides for you.
Start with the Plan - How to Make a Fire Pit
Planning is the most important part of the DIY firepit project.
Where are you going to make your fire pit? First you will need to assess the area and work out where is the best place for your fire pit. A spot with ground that can be easily dug is ideal. Remember to look out for trees and over hanging branches as these can be a potential hazard.
What shape do I want my fire pit? Before buying any materials, draw up a few quick little sketches of your DIY fire pit ideas. This will help you work out exactly what design and style fire pit you want to build and it will also help when estimating the amounts of materials required for your project.
To make it easy for you, these materials can be found at your local hardware store.
The materials below will be enough for an average sized DIY fire pit. You might need a few more or less of some of these amounts, but this list can act as a guide to help you calculate how much you may need to build a fire pit.
20kg or 44lb - Gravel
40 – 50 Retaining Wall Blocks or Bricks
20 – 30 Clay Fire Bricks
2 tubes - Concrete or a Construction Adhesive
Large bag – Lava or volcanic rocks
You only need basic tools!
Garden hose with nozzle
Spray Paint (only for circular fire pit)
- Timber Stake (only for circular fire pit)
- String (only for circular fire pit)
Grinder with missionary black (optional)
Building a Fire Pit: Steps to Follow
You have your design, materials & tools. It’s now time to get started with the fun stuff.
Regardless of the size, shape and complexity of the project, you’ll just have to follow these simple set of steps:
Prepare the Area
1. Start by marking the shape and the size of the fire pit on the ground.
For square or rectangular fire pits, lay down blocks and mark the ground with your shovel around the perimeter of your fire pit.
For circular fire pits, hammer a stake into the ground and attach some string. Use the string like a compass and mark out a circle with a can of spray paint.
Dig and level the Base
You’ll need to now create a base for your fire pit. A solid base is going to ensuring its stability and longevity for years to come.
2. With your shovel, start digging up the grass and dirt inside the marked area of your fire pit; do this until the area is 5cm or 2" deep. It's best to place the grass and dirt into a wheelbarrow to discard easily later on.
3. Next, use your hand-tamper to tamp down the soil and make sure that the entire surface is compressed and level. You can also check its level with a spirit level.
Lay the Foundation
Once you’ve dug out the base of the fire pit, its time to strengthen the foundation!
4. Start with adding a 2.5cm or 1" layer of gravel on the base and distribute evenly with a garden rake.
5. Lightly wet the first layer of gravel with your garden hose and tamp down the gravel with your hand tamp.
6. Next add a second 1.5cm or 1/2" layer of gravel on top and tamp down one final time.
Compressed layers of gravel will be the strong and stable foundation we need for our diy firepit.
Constructing the Walls
7. Lay the first row of blocks or bricks inside the perimeter of the base and use a level to make sure they sit evenly.
8. Once the first layer or blocks are down, place down the next layer of blocks on top and stagger them like a ‘brick wall’ until you have a two layers of blocks.
We are laying the second layer of blocks to see how they will look before we apply an adhesive. (If there are any gaps in your second layer – you will need to use a saw with a masonry cutting black and cut a block to size and fill the gap.
9. If you are happy how the second layer of blocks look, remove each block one-by-one, apply concrete adhesive with a caulking gun and replace the block back in to position for permanent fixture.
10. Repeat steps 8 & 9 for each of remaining blocks until you have three or four completed layers around the fire pit.
The amount of layers will depend on how high you would like build you fire pit.
Adding the Fire Bricks
Once the concrete adhesive has dried, its time to add in the fire bricks! These clay fire bricks will evenly distribute the heat and will prevent any of your blocks from cracking!
11. Place the clay fire bricks in an upright position and line the inside of walls of the fire pit. To get the correct height, you should either add a bit more gravel on the base or you can place a some of fire bricks along the bottom of the pit too.
12. Once the fire bricks are in position, fill the pit with lava rocks around 7cm or 3" or half way up the fire bricks. This will hold the bricks into position and create a nice base to place your wood to burn.
Your DIY fire pit is ready for burning! All you have to do now is place your fire wood in and kick back and relax!
Keep It Simple!
If this is your first time building a fire pit, you should try to keep it simple. A basic shape, materials and steps mentioned above will give you a great result. If you’re a bit more experienced with this kinda of thing, you can move on to more challenging design that have irregular shapes or a more decorative exterior.
Look Out For Inspiration
Making a fire pit is a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy construction projects and you’re quite crafty.
If you have never made a fire pit before, it wont hurt to look for some diagrams, and any other inspiration online.
We’re also here to help you and guide you through the process of learning how to make a firepit.