How To Make A Fire Pit And Upgrade Your Outdoor Space

Imagine this; you are coming back home after a long day, and you get to relax in front of a backyard fire! Is there a more perfect ending to a busy day? The scent of burning wood and the sparks dancing off into the night is a great way to unwind and create cosy memories with family and friends. The good news is that you can have that feeling every time you want after finding out how to make a fire pit!

High angle view of people roasting marshmallows on skewers over fire pit at campsite

Are you afraid that making a fire pit is complicated? You’ll be happy to know it’s really not! Anyone can do it just by having the right tools and materials. And of course, you should have the right guide to make yours safe and beautiful. Are you ready for an easy and quick backyard update? Follow our instructions and tutorial to find out how to make your own brick fire pit and enjoy a crackling wood fire in your own backyard!

Styles of fire pits

Backyard fire pits are mostly made of brick, concrete and metal nowadays. You can either buy one at a store, order a custom design or build your own. There are 4 different types available:

  1. Wood-burning: This is the quintessential representation of a traditional campfire. The only difference is that it is in your backyard, and the fire is inside a metal bowl mounted on a pit stand.
  2. Gel fuel: This fire pit uses the newest of all portable fuels. Since it is clean-burning, it doesn’t cause a fuel fire with escaping sparks, and it is far safer to burn than a wood fire.
  3. Natural gas: A natural gas fire pit is similar to a propane one but has a permanent connection to the natural gas line that runs into your house. It is the most cost-effective one and the easiest to maintain.
  4. Propane: This fire pit is the most convenient one since you can enjoy it without having to add more wood or refill the gel fuel while the fire’s burning. Since it is very versatile, it is location-independent, and you can place it anywhere in your backyard.

Planning before you start building your fire pit

Before you start with your DIY project, there are some things you need to consider first. Here is all you need to know to make your fire pit safe and avoid spending any extra money or time later.

Select its location and shape

Whether you are building a fire pit out of brick, concrete pavers or landscaping stone, you should select a location that is a safe distance from any low hanging trees and structures. You should also search online to take design ideas about the shape of your pit. It could be anything from a mini tabletop fire pit to a square or round fire pit

Consult the local building code and homeowner association

Disclosing your outdoor fire pit could be a requirement of your homeowner’s insurance policy. You should check with your agent to learn if having one may affect your coverage. Also, make sure to check the building regulations and codes before you move on with your home improvement DIY project.

Teenagers sit talking around a fire pit in a garden at dusk

Safety

Safety should be your number 1 priority to prevent avoidable damages. Here are the top tips to keep your fire pit safe before and after you build it:

  1. Don’t place it beneath a tree or overhang.
  2. Place it at least 3 m from any tree, home, fence, or other structures.
  3. Avoid building it in windy conditions.
  4. Educate your children about fire safety and keep a close eye on them and any pets around an open flame.
  5. Don’t use any other dangerous, toxic products.
  6. Keep a hose, container of water and fire extinguisher close whenever you light up the fire pit.

Prepare the area

Your simple fire pit will last for many years to come and provide the perfect ambience for many thrilling campfire stories. To achieve the best possible result, you should first prepare the area on which you will build it. Keep reading to find out all you need to know.

Mark the shape and the size of the fire pit on the ground

For rectangular or square fire pits, lay down your blocks and mark the ground with a shovel around the pit’s perimeter. For circular fire pits, hammer a stake into your ground and attach some string. Use this string as a compass and mark out a circle with a spray paint can.

Dig and level the base

Start digging up the grass and dirt inside the marked area of your fire pit with your shovel until the area is 5cm deep. Then, use your hand-tamper to tamp down the soil and ensure that the entire surface is level

Lay the foundation

Add a 2.5cm layer of gravel on the base and use a garden rake to distribute evenly. Then, lightly wet the first layer of gravel with your hose and tamp down the gravel with a hand tamp. Add a second 1.5 cm gravel layer on top and tamp down one last time.

Step-by-step guide: How to make a brick fire pit

Outdoor fire pits are so hot these days. Seriously! So do you want to melt marshmallows while you lounge in an Adirondack chair? Follow this step-by-step guide and have your fire pit ready in no time!

Step 1: Lay the first row of bricks

Lay the first row of bricks inside the base’s perimeter and with a level, make sure they sit evenly. Depending on the fire pit design you want to follow, you can also follow the same process using cinder blocks, concrete blocks, or retaining wall blocks and stones. It could be a stone fire pit, metal fire pit or concrete fire pit.

Step 1: Lay The First Row Of Bricks

Step 2: Prepare the second row of bricks

Once you’ve put down the first layer of blocks, put the next layer of blocks on top and stagger them like a ‘brick wall’ until you have 2 layers of blocks. If there are any gaps in the second layer, use a saw with masonry cutting and cut a block to size to fill the void.

Step 2: Prepare The Second Row Of Bricks

Step 3: Lay the second row of bricks

If you are happy with how the second layer looks, remove each block, apply concrete adhesive using a caulking gun and replace the block into position for a permanent fixture.

Step 3: Lay The Second Row Of Bricks

Step 4: Complete constructing the walls

Repeat the last steps for each of the remaining blocks until you have 3 or 4 completed layers around the fire pit. The number of layers will depend on how high you would like to build your fire pit.

Step 4: Complete Constructing The Walls

Step 5: Add the fire bricks

Once the concrete adhesive has dried, it’s time to add in your fire bricks! Place your clay fire bricks in an upright position and line them inside the fire pit walls. To get the right height, you should add a bit more gravel on your base, or you can place some fire bricks along the pit’s bottom.

Step 5: Add The Fire Bricks

Step 6: Fill the pit

Once you have the fire bricks in position, fill your pit with lava rocks around 7cm or halfway up the bricks. This will create an excellent base to place your wood to burn and hold the bricks into position. 

Step 6: Fill The Pit with lava rocks

Step 7: Insert the iron campfire ring into the circle(optional)

If you want to use an iron fire ring, adjust it to sit even with the block wall’s top. You should fill any space between the ring and the wall to the top with gravel. You can also use any old washing machine drum you no longer need to use as a base for your fire pit.

Step 8: Add finishing touches and enjoy your fire pit

That’s it! Your ground fire pit is ready for burning! All you need to do now is place your firewood in, kick back and relax! You may add some extra lighting, chairs and a table for dining to live the alfresco experience to the fullest.

5 Benefits of an outdoor fire pit

An outdoor pit has so many benefits for you not to want one in your backyard. Below you’ll find the 5 most popular reasons why people can’t resist those pits and why you should make your own!

1. Alfresco dining all year round

Is there anything like enjoying a spot of al fresco dining? A fire pit is an excellent addition to any outdoor dining space, adding style, warmth and practicality. For all you adventurous chefs, you can even cook a variety of food in your pit since many models double up as a grill. If yours doesn’t already have a grill to cook on, you can easily find it as an addition to your existing pit. You may use the flame from the outdoor pit to make a tasty treat, like toasting marshmallows and making s’mores or roasting hot dogs.

2. Entertainment

A fire pit provides an ideal spot for people to gather around and socialise, which is great for entertaining family and friends. It encourages people to congregate in one area since it is a spot that people tend to gravitate towards.

3. Versatile and durable

What’s great about fire pits is how well they fit into any yard or gesture environment, creating a beautiful focal point for the space outside any home. Since there are many DIY fire pit ideas to choose from, you can find the one that matches your home and taste. Regular wood-burning fire pits provide a nostalgic alternative while propane, portable fire pits are much easier to illuminate, and you can move them freely as needed. 

4. An extension of your home

Having a fire pit, your outdoor space becomes an extension of your house where you can unwind. For a yard makeover, add additional lighting and some comfy seating or a sofa set, and it’s sure to become your new favourite spot. The pit will not only expand your living area but will also add value to your house.

5. Ambience and cosy atmosphere

Like bistro and solar lights and candles, the pit’s glow adds visual warmth to any space. It creates a sense of closeness and a relaxed and informal atmosphere. This ambience is perfect for many scenarios, from parties, to a romantic date to a very casual gathering with friends.

Campsite with fire pit and two tin cups with hot tea

Fire pits are so popular right now, and why wouldn’t they? Their various benefits are already mentioned, and people just can’t get enough of them. What’s more, you can make your own and save the expenses of buying a ready-made one. It only takes a couple of days and is very easy to do. Are you ready for your unique fire pit that will last for many years and offer the perfect ambience for many thrilling campfire stories? Follow our guide and get prepared for many cosy nights to come! Next stop: How to make your fire pit smokeless.

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