Adding a DIY fire pit to your backyard is an excellent way to keep the fun going long after dark. Instead of an unsightly dirt fire pit, spend a day making a new statement piece for your yard. If you’re wondering how to build a fire pit — we’ll show you how. When selecting and building your DIY fire pit, make sure you avoid using wet stones. If you are using river rocks, be sure to give them several days of direct sunlight to properly dry.
1. Overlaid Stone DIY Fire Pit
For an artistic-looking fire pit, instead of evenly shaped bricks, grab several unique rough rocks, and construct an overlaid stone fire pit. If your pieces are hearty enough you won’t need any cement for this pit either — but use common sense when building up your walls. Here are some additional tips to secure your structure:
- If the stones do not feel secure, add in some non-flammable masonry adhesive, landscape adhesive or Liquid Nails.
- For the center, line the bottom of your fire pit with one or two inches of sand.
- The outside of your fire pit should be lined as well, and no grass or other yard matter should be within two feet of your pit.
2. In-Ground DIY Fire Pit
The in-ground fire pit is becoming increasingly popular among DIY fire pit builders. Before digging into the ground, make sure you call 811, the federally mandated “Call Before You Dig Number.” Someone will come to mark the approximate location of any underground lines, pipes, and cables so you can dig safely. Once you dig your fire pit to the desired size, line the dirt walls with stones or brick. Follow these additional steps to get started:
- First, you will want to create a bottom layer of gravel, then cover it with the base of your fire pit — larger stones or bricks or an even covering such as quick drying cement.
- Consider adding a drain during this step to keep the pit from filling with rainwater and attracting mosquitoes.
- Place your bottom layer of stones and make sure they are level so as the stones are stacked they will be flat.
- Once the first layer is flat and level brush off any excess dirt to prepare for gluing the next layer. Apply some construction adhesive to the bottom of another block, turn it over, and stack on top of the first layer. Continue this process until your firepit reaches the top of your hole.
- Backfill the edges and compact the dirt around the fire pit.
- Allow at least 24 hours for the construction adhesive to cure before starting a fire.
3. Tin DIY Fire Pit
Using whatever barrel-shaped scraps you can find, you can create this all-in-one tin fire pit. Tin fire pits are extra safe as they ensure your fire is adequately contained, and are much preferred in areas with wide open plains and active winds such as El Paso.
You can spruce up your repurposed tin barrel nicely with some high-heat paint (like Rust-Oleum) and stencils.
4. Above Ground DIY Fire Pit
There is no digging required for this DIY fire pit design! Select some handsome gravel for your foundation, spread it out to create your overall fire pit space, then stack your fire pit stones. The fire pit pictured was built with crushed concrete rock with some additional aesthetic details.
The pit’s stones ought to be more than heavy enough to be dry stacked — no need for adhesive or cement. Hang some outdoor lights above your fire pit to finish off your welcoming ambiance for backyard guests.
5. Raised DIY Fire Pit with Fire Bowl
If you want an elevated fire, this is an ideal design for you. You can build up your fire pit walls to the desired height (only use even bricks for this design, not the rough stones mentioned above) and then top off with a fire bowl.
Ensure that your fire pit is the proper size for the bowl by building the first layer of the wall around the screen top of your fire bowl. When purchasing a fire bowl, make sure it has holes for drainage in the center (dumping out fire bowls filled with water is a hassle).
6. Grate Drum DIY Fire Pit
For a less formal, down-home fire pit look, simply add a smoker fire basket (sometimes also called a vertical drum) to the mix. You can either buy one pre-made, or you can craft one yourself using flexible metal grating from the hardware store and a few bolts to fasten it into a circle. Quite a few Hometalk DIYers like to use old washing machine drums, which cost about $10 from used appliance stores. Then insert your drum into the center of your fire pit. If you choose to build a solid wall design like the fire pit pictures, make sure you leave a drainage route for rainwater.
Whichever style you choose, just make sure you enjoy responsibly. Take all the necessary safety precautions before, during, and after building your fire pit to keep everyone safe.