How to Build a Fire Pit – Cheap and Easy DIY

If you love spending time outdoors, then a fire pit is a must-have in your backyard. There’s no need to spend money on a store-bought fire pit – you can easily build one yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Back yard fire pit in gravel seating area

Choosing the Right Location for Your DIY Fire Pit

Before you start building your fire pit, it’s crucial to choose the right location in your backyard. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Local ordinances and fire safety regulations: Check your local regulations for fire pit use and make sure to comply with any safety measures.
  • Adequate airflow: Look for a spot with sufficient airflow to avoid smoke buildup in your backyard.
  • Away from flammable materials: Choose an area away from any trees, bushes, or other materials that could catch fire easily.
  • Proximity to seating areas: Consider the distance from your fire pit to any outdoor seating areas or entertainment spaces.
  • Level surface: Take into account the natural terrain of your backyard and level out the area before building your fire pit.

Materials You Need to Build a DIY Fire Pit

You’ll need a few materials.

  • Bricks, pavers, or stones are ideal for creating the base and wall blocks of the pit. These materials are fire-resistant and durable. Retaining wall blocks are a great choice because they’re designed to fit together without mortar.
  • Gravel or sand is essential for creating drainage and stability under the fire pit. This layer will also help prevent moisture from accumulating, which can cause rust and other damage to metal components. You can also use this to make a nice level seating area around the firepit.
  • A metal fire ring or liner can help contain the fire and protect the surrounding materials from heat damage. Look for a fire pit liner made of thick gauge steel or cast iron for added durability.
  • Rebar or metal stakes can be used for reinforcement and stability. These materials will help keep the fire pit walls in place and prevent shifting over time.
  • A shovel, level, and measuring tape are also useful tools to have on hand for constructing the fire pit.

Fire Pit Safety Measures Every Homeowner Should Know

Before using your fire pit, it is important to take proper safety precautions to ensure the safety of your home, property, and loved ones. Here are some essential fire pit safety measures every homeowner should know:

  • Always have a water source and fire extinguisher nearby when using your fire pit. This can be a bucket of water or hose, as well as a fire extinguisher designed for outdoor fires.
  • Never leave a fire unattended and be sure to fully extinguish it before leaving it. It is important to stay with the fire pit at all times while it is in use and make sure it is completely extinguished before leaving it for any amount of time.
  • Keep flammable materials, such as leaves and branches, away from the pit. Ensuring there is a clear distance around the fire pit will help prevent accidental fires and reduce the risk of the fire spreading.
  • Avoid using the fire pit on windy days to prevent sparks from catching nearby materials on fire. It is important to check weather conditions before using your fire pit and avoid using it on windy days that may cause flying sparks.
  • Ensure that your fire pit is an appropriate distance from your home and any other structures. The recommended distance will depend on the size of your fire pit and the material used to construct it. Be sure to check local regulations and guidelines for fire pit placement.

Ideas for Your Backyard Fire Pit

You also need to think about how you want it to look. Here are some DIY fire pit ideas to inspire your backyard design:

Traditional Designs

A circular or square fire pit design can be both classic and functional. These designs are easy to construct and can be made with a variety of materials, including stones, bricks, or concrete blocks.

Sunken Fire Pits

Sunken pits are a modern twist on the traditional fire pit design. These pits are built below ground level and can provide additional seating space around the pit. Sunken fire pits work well with any backyard landscape and can be made with stone or concrete blocks.

Raised Fire Pits

A raised fire pit provides an elevated focal point in your backyard. This design is perfect for those who want to create a cozy and charming gathering spot. Use bricks, pavers, or stones to build the walls and add a surrounding seating area.

Natural Elements

Incorporating fire-resistant rocks and stones in your fire pit design can be a great way to add natural beauty to your backyard. Collect stones and boulders from your yard or nearby areas to create a unique and eco-friendly fire pit design.

Multi-Level Fire Pits

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider creating a multi-level fire pit. This design can add visual interest and dimension to your backyard space. Use different materials, such as stones or bricks, to create a tiered effect.

Get creative and have fun with your DIY fire pit design. With the right tools and materials, you can build a backyard gathering spot that is both functional and stylish.

Budget-Friendly Fire Pit Designs to Try

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly approach to building a fire pit, there are several options to explore. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Recycled Materials: Old bricks or cinder blocks can provide a rustic and eco-friendly look for your fire pit. Look for these materials at construction sites or on local classifieds for a frugal option.
  • Fire Pit Kit: Fire pit kits can be an affordable and easy-to-assemble option for beginners. These typically come with all the materials and instructions you need to construct a basic fire pit.
  • Natural Materials: Look for rocks or boulders in your yard that can be used to create a natural, low-cost fire pit. Arrange them in a circular or square shape to form the walls of your pit.
  • Simple Design: A basic, no-frills round or square shape can be an elegant and budget-friendly option for your fire pit. Use pavers or bricks to create the walls and add a metal ring or liner at the top for added security.

Whichever design you choose, remember to prioritize safety and fire regulations in your backyard. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can build a beautiful fire pit on a budget that will provide countless nights of warmth and enjoyment.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Fire Pit from Scratch

Building a fire pit from scratch can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. With the right tools and materials, you can create a beautiful and functional fire pit that will provide warmth and ambiance to your outdoor space.

1. Choose your location and gather your materials

The first step in building a fire pit is to choose a suitable location. Make sure to consider safety and legal requirements, such as fire safety regulations and local ordinances. Once you have selected a location, gather all the necessary materials.

2. Outline the dimensions of your pit and dig it out to the desired depth

Using a measuring tape and stakes, outline the dimensions of your fire pit. Then, using a shovel, dig out the pit to the desired depth. Make sure to level the bottom of the pit and remove any debris.

3. Fill the bottom of the pit with gravel or sand for drainage and stability

Once you have dug out the pit, fill the bottom with a layer of gravel or sand. This will provide drainage and help stabilize the fire pit.

4. Begin constructing the walls of the pit using bricks, pavers, or stones

Using your chosen materials, begin constructing the walls of the fire pit. Make sure to keep the walls level and straight. You can use mortar to hold the materials in place, or simply stack them on top of each other. Retaining wall blocks are the best choice if you want to skip the mortaring step.

5. Add a metal ring or liner to the top of the wall to contain and protect the fire

Now add a metal fire pit ring or liner to the top of the wall. This will help contain the fire and protect the surrounding materials. You can use a pre-made metal ring or create your own using metal sheeting or other materials.

Once you have completed these steps, you will have a fully functional fire pit that is ready to use. Remember to always follow safety guidelines and maintain your fire pit for longevity.

Using Fire Pit Kits to Build Your Firepit – Pros and Cons

Fire pit kits can be an excellent option for those who want to build a fire pit quickly and easily, without having to source materials or design plans. Here are some pros and cons of using a fire pit kit:


  • Fire pit kits can be affordable and budget-friendly, especially compared to custom-built designs.
  • Kits often come with all the necessary materials and instructions, so you don’t have to worry about sourcing individual parts or designing a plan from scratch.
  • Kits can be easy to assemble, even for beginners, with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow.


  • Kits may not allow for much customization or creativity in the design, and you may be limited to a few specific styles or sizes.
  • Some kits may not be as durable or long-lasting as a custom-built fire pit because they may be made from lower-quality materials or may not be designed to withstand regular use.
  • If you have a unique space or want a fire pit that is tailored to your specific needs, a kit may not meet your requirements.

Overall, whether you choose a fire pit kit or decide to build a custom design from scratch, the most important thing is to consider your needs, budget, and style preferences. With the right tools and materials, you can create the perfect backyard oasis to enjoy with family and friends.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Fire Pit for Longevity

Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to ensure that your fire pit lasts for years to come. Follow these tips to keep your fire pit in top condition:

Remove Any Debris and Ash

After each use, allow the fire to cool completely and use a shovel to remove any ash or debris from the pit.

Clean the Walls and Metal Components

Use a wire brush or mild detergent, depending on the material, to clean the walls and metal components of your fire pit.

Inspect for Damage

Regularly inspect your fire pit for any cracks or damage, and repair or replace as necessary to prevent further degradation.

Cover the Pit

When your fire pit is not in use, consider covering it with a fire pit cover to protect it from the elements and extend its lifespan.

Cooking on Your Fire Pit – Tips and Tricks

Cooking on a fire pit can be a fun and delicious way to enjoy outdoor meals. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:

Use the right cooking equipment

For direct cooking over the fire, use a cast iron skillet or grill grate. These materials are durable, easy to clean, and heat up evenly. Another option is to use a rotisserie, which can provide an even cook and add a smoky flavor to your food.

Elevate your cooking surface

To prevent your food from burning or cooking too quickly, consider elevating your cooking surface above the flames. You can do this by placing bricks or stones in the fire pit to create a cooking platform.

Use fireproof gloves

Safety is important when cooking on a fire pit. Use fireproof gloves or mitts to protect your hands from heat when handling hot pots and pans.

Experiment with different recipes

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your fire pit cooking! Experiment with different recipes and techniques to find your favorite dishes. Some popular options include grilled meats, vegetables, and even pizzas.

Don’t forget the s’mores

No fire pit meal is complete without s’mores! Pack some graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows for a fun and sweet dessert.

Adding Aesthetic Touches to Your Fire Pit Area

Now that your fire pit is built and ready to go, why not add some aesthetic touches to make the area even more inviting and enjoyable?

Outdoor Lighting

String lights or lanterns can add instant ambiance to your fire pit area. Hang them from nearby trees, wrap them around the perimeter of your seating area, or drape them above your fire pit for a cozy glow.

Comfortable Seating

Having comfortable and weather-resistant seating is key to enjoying your fire pit area for extended periods of time. Consider lounge chairs, Adirondack chairs, or benches for a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.

Plants and Greenery

Adding greenery can bring natural beauty and color to your fire pit area. Plant a garden around the perimeter, or use potted plants to make the space feel more homey.

Outdoor Decor

Throw pillows, rugs, or artwork can add style and personality to your fire pit area. Choose materials that can withstand the elements, such as outdoor-rated fabrics, to ensure they last season after season.

Water Features

A fountain or pond can add a calming and peaceful ambiance to your fire pit area. The sound of trickling water can make your space feel like a retreat from the outside world.

With these aesthetic touches, you’ll love spending time around your fire pit even more.

Enjoy Your New Fire Pit!

Building a fire pit for your backyard is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, entertain guests, and create a cozy ambiance. With careful planning and the right materials, you can build a fire pit that fits your style and budget. Remember to always follow safety guidelines and regulations for location and use. Whether you prefer a traditional or modern design, a DIY or pre-made kit, a fire pit can add value and enjoyment to your home and outdoor living space for years to come.