DIY Fire Pit Ideas for the Backyard

Summer is here, which can mean plenty of peaceful nights spent outside listening to the comforting crackle of your own fire. But what if you do not have a place to safely light a fire in your backyard? You could go with one of those metal, pre-made firepits you find at big box stores, but for about the same price you could also build your own custom fire pit, suited to just the way you like it.

Here are some ideas to inspire you to try the second option, which leaves you with a safer, more-permanent and one-of-a-kind outdoor fixture you can take pride in knowing you built yourself.

Check Your Local Codes and Ordinances First

Your first task is to see if your local area has laws governing backyard burning. Chances are good that they dictate minimum safe distances from structures and trees, and they may also describe a minimum depth for the fire pit to be dug into the ground. Some municipalities may require a four-foot wide sand or gravel ring around the outside of the pit. Others may ban backyard burning entirely.

No matter what your local laws say, make sure any pit you build is:

  • Solid
  • Level
  • In an area with good drainage
  • Not located underneath overhanging trees
  • 25 feet from any tree or structure.

Also, check your current drought status before burning.

Simple Paver Ring Fire Pit

The simplest way to build a ring fire pit is with border paver stones, which have a flat back edge and a rounded outer edge. You can lay out the size of your ring by driving a stake in the ground, tying a piece of sturdy string the length of the radius of your circle to the stake, and holding the string while spraying spray paint or marking chalk. Dig out this marked circle at least an inch and a half, below the root level of the grass.

Use a surface level to ensure the ground is level. Move around any dirt to fix uneven spots, and then tamp the ground. At this point, you could fill in the surface with paver base or sand for better safety and to ensure your fire pit lasts longer.

Now, you are going to lay three layers of paver stones in a ring shape. Ensure the stones of upper layers overlap the layer below them, so each seam is staggered. You could choose to leave the pavers unjoined, or you could apply either masonry joint glue from a caulk gun or mortar mix to give the stones a stronger bond.

Once your ring is complete, you can fill the inside with lava rocks, gravel, small pavers, or your preferred material. In areas that require a steel fire ring, you can lay one inside the stone paver ring and fill in the gaps between the pavers and fire ring with crushed rock.

Now you have your very own ring fire pit! The same strategy can also be used to build a rectangular fire pit but with block pavers instead of border pavers.

Other DIY Fire Pit Ideas

If the above instructions do not ignite your creativity, then try some of these other fire pit ideas:

You could also purchase a more permanent gas-powered outdoor fireplace for instant flames without all the soot to create a warm fire anytime you want. It can even be converted into a pizza oven! Start planning your summer relaxation by getting an outdoor fireplace today.