Outdoor Fire Pit Ideas
Is there anything more cozy on a cool night than snuggling up to a bonfire with friends and family? There’s nothing like the sound of a crackling fire to bring loved ones together while you roast hot dogs and marshmallows. A fire pit allows you to enjoy your outdoor living space all year long not just in the summertime.
The following tutorial will teach you how to build a simple fire pit that can be completed in one afternoon with inexpensive supplies from the home improvement store. This tutorial is a great place to start if you have never built a fire pit before.
You can customize your new fire pit by adding tile mosaic, flagstone, a wood cover or even a fire bowl for grilling.
If you are ready to tackle a more advanced project, at the bottom of this post I will show you how to take things to the next level and make a gas or propane fire pit for your outdoor space.
DIY Fire Pit - Before you Begin
Before you begin building your fire pit: Call your utility company (dial 811; for more info, go to call811.com) to check the location of buried utility lines. Also, check the fire pit code in your area.
Most codes require a fire pit to be 25 ft. away from any structures and trees. Think about how the prevailing winds blow through your backyard. Be a good neighbor and don’t locate your pit upwind of your patio or where the smoke will blow into your neighbor’s windows.
How big should you make your fire pit? A 3-ft.-diameter fire pit creates enough room for a good fire, complies with most codes and keeps everyone close enough to chat.
How to Build a Fire Pit With Bricks
Tools and Materials
● Tape measure
● Steel Rake
Because regular clay brick can crack at high temperatures, you need to use firebrick (also called “refractory” brick). Firebrick is a dense brick that’s kilned to withstand high temperatures. It’s larger, thicker and wider than regular brick, and it can be found at most home improvement stores. Firebrick is more expensive than landscaping stones, but it will stand up to nightly fires for years to come.
Regular concrete is prone to spalling & cracking in direct fire exposure. Concrete blocks should never be used for fire pits. They can explode and cause serious injury and/or death. Always use firebrick or cinder block for fire pits.
Beginner DIY Fire Pit Instructions
- Lay out your pavers in a circle in the approximate size and shape of your fire pit (about 36-44 inches in diameter) Lay the fire pit stones out to the correct dimension, mark the area and then pull the pavers out of and away from the pit.
- Once you have your circle roughed out, dig a 12-inch-deep hole in that location.
- Pour sand into the bottom of the hole and tamp the sand level.
- Begin to lay your bricks around the perimeter of the hole. Continue stacking the stones so that they are 12 inches above the surrounding ground.
- Every fire pit needs air flow to provide oxygen to flames. This becomes more of an issue when you light a fire contained within an above ground walled pit. Place one 2-inch hole every 24 to 36 inches around the base of the pit.
- Pour a layer of sand into the ring of stones so that it covers the first layer, approximately 4 inches deep.
The basic design I described will get you started: There are a lot of variations you can make with this simple fire pit tutorial. Try some of these ideas to take your fire pit to the next level: