Bring the Feeling & Fun of a Fire Pit to Your Backyard
Step-by-Step How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit
One of the perks of camping is the fire pit, the cooking, the sitting, the commraderrie, the lapping flames. Build a backyard fire pit to bring all the comforts home.
Cooler weather is here but doesn’t mean we have to be stuck inside. Cozying up to a beautiful fire pit is a great way to enjoy the change of season. With a few supplies and pieces of equipment, you can create your own fire pit in a day.
Supplies to build a backyard fire pit
- Measuring Tape
- Garden Stakes
- Fire-safe bricks or blocks
- Fire-safe gravel or river rocks
Step-by-Step Guide to Build a Backyard Fire Pit
1. Find the perfect location for your new backyard fire pit
Make sure your spot is flat and level, a safe distance away from the house, and away from trees or anything else you don’t want to burn. To avoid getting in trouble with local code enforcement, check the rules and regulations for building fire pits in your area. Also call utility companies before you decide on a spot. While lines are buried well underneath the surface, you never want fire near a gas line.
2. Take your time laying out the foundation of your backyard fire pit
Measure out and mark an outline with garden stakes. Make sure to account for the blocks and 2-3 inches for a gravel perimeter around the fire pit. With a shovel, remove all the grass in your outlined area and tamp down the soil with a tamp or the back of your shovel. Check that the surface is level and if it isn’t, remove soil from high spots. Tamp and check again. Once you have a nice, flat surface, you are ready to lay out your first layer of blocks.
3. Arrange your first course of blocks, leaving those 2-3 inches for your outside perimeter
With a level, check that your first course is even. Now is the perfect time to add gravel to the inside of your fire pit. Don’t wait until your walls are completely constructed, or you’ll be in for some backbreaking work. Your gravel layer should be at least 2 inches thick.
4. Lay out the next courses of blocks until your wall is at least 12 inches tall
Adhesive isn’t necessary if the blocks are heavy enough, but if you prefer to use some make sure it is safe for fires. As you build the wall, overlap the blocks and leave a small space every few blocks. This will allow oxygen to enter the pit and fuel the fire.
5. To keep your perimeter tidy, spray weed killer before laying down the gravel
As a safety precaution and to avoid toxic fumes, don’t get weed killer inside the fire pit. Form your perimeter with a 2 to 3 inch layer of gravel. Your fire pit is ready for enjoy!
Use a Fire Pit Kit
A fire pit kit can take a lot of the guesswork out of the process! These kits can be found at all major hardware stores and include blocks and a steel fire pit ring. The ring can act as a guide as you lay out your wall foundation and helps keep the wall aligned over time.
Maximize the potential of your fire pit by adding a grilling grate! Grilling grates are available in hardware stores and come in a variety of styles.
Measure by Radius
To easily create an even circular guide when you don’t want a steel fire pit ring, use a centrally placed garden stake and a length of string. Depending on the intended diameter of your fire pit, measure a string to attach to the stake. For example, if you want a 5’ fire pit, measure out 2’6” of string. Attach one end to the stake and walk around the stake to create your circle.
You can build your wall with concrete pavers, bricks, or landscaping blocks. Whatever you use, make sure they are firesafe and won’t emit toxic fumes.
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