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Build your own DIY fire pit this summer: The ultimate how-to guide

Considering building your own fire pit? Here's how to assemble a custom fire pit yourself

With summer arriving soon, now is the perfect time to add a fire pit to your backyard landscape. Perfect for hosting evening gatherings with family and friends, fire pits are an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors all summer long, and even on warm spring and fall nights. And if you’re looking for a fire pit that makes for a fantastic centerpiece to your yard and looks chic and eye catching, then a custom DIY fire pit is the way to go.

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1 hour

What You Need

  • Fire pit blocks

  • Fire bricks (optional)

  • Shovel

  • Tiller

  • Gravel

  • Tamper or compactor tool

  • Sand (optional)

  • Cement (optional)

  • Fire bowl and grate

  • Lava rocks

Today, we’re giving you the ultimate how-to guide on creating your own DIY fire pit. Custom fire pits look incredible, and they’re easy to assemble. So, here’s how to make your DIY fire pit this summer.

Fire pit in a seating area
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to build a DIY fire pit

Step 1: Choose the right placement.

Before you can begin building your fire pit, you need to ensure you pick the right placement. You’ll want your fire pit to be at least 10 feet away from any structure, including the house, fence, or shed. Ideally, 20 feet away from any structure in a wide-open area is best. But for those with small backyards, this can be tricky.

Also, you need to place your fire pit away from any trees or low-hanging branches. A large open area above the fire pit will help prevent accidental fires.

Step 2: Pick a material for the walls.

Choosing the right blocks for your fire pit is essential. For example, trapezoidal blocks are great for circular fire pits, while rectangular alternatives can be best for a square fire pit.

You might also consider purchasing fire bricks that can withstand high temperatures and may be a safer option. Be sure to research your material or speak to a professional before choosing the blocks that work best for your situation and also look great in your design.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider what materials you're using within the center of your fire pit. Are you planning to use a fire pit bowl or a grate?. Or do you prefer lava rocks? If you opt for a pit bowl or grate, you’ll want to use those when measuring your outline to ensure a proper fit.

Step 3: Start with an outline.

Once you have the placement for your fire pit, you’ll need to create an outline. Whether you opt for a square pit or a circular shape, it’s good to create an outline with the blocks you intend to use. Use a shovel, spray paint, or string to mark the perimeter and then remove the blocks.

Step 4: Till up the ground.

Once you have your outline, you can begin tilling up the grass or sod to prepare for your fire pit base. You’ll want to till the ground about 5 inches out from the perimeter for additional safety. Furthermore, you’ll want to dig about 7 inches deep to prepare for adding the gravel base.

Tilling may not be necessary if you are planning to put your custom fire pit on a concrete or paver patio. If that is the case, you’ll want to ensure that the material at the base of your pit is fire safe before you begin building the walls of your pit.

Step 5: Add a gravel base and level the area.

Now, you can add a gravel base. This step prevents weeds and grass from growing in the pit and reduces the risk of fire spreading. Fill in the gravel about 5 inches. Then, wet the gravel with a hose and begin compacting it down. Use a level to make sure the space is even, particularly in the places you plan to lay your blocks.

Step 6: Start laying the blocks.

Now, you can begin laying your blocks. Remember that your gravel base will extend roughly 5 inches beyond your intended outline. Stagger your blocks and ensure they are tightly placed to one another. As you stack each row, check the level so you lay everything evenly.

You might have to use sand to level the ground around the blocks. Additionally, it’s optional to use cement in between the blocks for a long-term setup. However, this may not be necessary, depending on the blocks you’re using.

Step 7: Use a fire pit bowl or add your pit base

Once your DIY fire pit has been built, you can add a fire pit bowl or a pit base like lava rocks to your design. After your pit bowl or base has been added, you can test your fire pit and sit back to relax, admiring your handiwork.

Fire pits are a wonderful backyard addition, especially for the avid entertainer. With this how-to guide, you can easily create your own DIY fire pit that looks chic and intentional and is sure to be the centerpiece for many summer festivities for years to come.

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Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
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