A backyard fire pit brings family and friends together for the warmth of the flames, the relaxed conversations, and maybe even the roasted marshmallows – all the while making it more picturesque.
There’s no doubt it’s one of the best ways to enjoy winters by simply sitting around the warm glow and crackling logs of a good fire. You can really feel all your tension melt away with the flickering flames.
Studies suggest that the relaxing and blood-pressure-lowering effects of sitting around a crackling fire are built deep into our DNA, inherited from our ancient ancestors
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If you’ve been longing for the flickering flames and family fun a great backyard fire pit can bring but have been putting it off, now is a perfect time to get cracking—or crackling. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best DIY firepit ideas.
In this article:
- 1. Paver Power
- 2. Fast Firepit Perk-Up
- 3. Easy In-Ground Fire Pit
- 4. Truck Rim Fire Pit
- 5. Repurposed Wheelbarrow Pit
- 6. Patio-Style Fire Pit
- 7. Backyard Beach Party Pit
- 8. Fire Boulders
- 9. Gravel Fire Pit
- 10. Simple Cinder Block Fire Pit
- 11. Fire pit Bowl
- 12. Ring of Fire Fit
- 13. Cozy Corner Fire Pit
- 14. Grill or Chill Fire Pit
- 15. Easy Portable Pit
- 16. Tabletop Fire Pits
- 17. Retaining Wall Brick Pit
- 18. Steel Box Firepit
- 19. Propane Patio Table
- 20. Fire Pit Table
- 21. Stone Fire Pit
- 22. Koi Pond Pits
- 23. Square Fire Pit
- 24. Tree Ring Firepit
- 25. Solid Concrete Fire Pit
- 26. Buried Truck Rim Fire Pit
- 27. Cement Brick Firepit and Bench
- 28. Inground Stone and Brick Firepit
- 29. Firepit Grill
- 30. Portable Stone-Topped Fire Bowl
- A. Choosing a Fire Pit Design
- B. Types of Fire Pit Accessories
- Wrapping Up
1. Paver Power
Pavers are flat “stones” made of molded concrete. They are inexpensive, come in many sizes, styles, and colors, and are easy to find at any home improvement store.
Stacking straight or curved paver stones in a circle and then layering them upwards is one of the easiest ways to build a firepit and instantly add warmth to your backyard. Once the circle is built, you can use small square paver stones to fill in the bottom of the firepit.
Next, you’ll have to brush paver sand over the top of the tiles on the floor of the pit to fill in the cracks and gaps. Cementing the gaps between the curved paver stones will make this firepit more secure.
If you find it too difficult to get a good fit with paver stones on the inside floor of your firepit, you can easily line it with lava rocks or fireproof pebbles. There’s plenty of flexibility otherwise.
2. Fast Firepit Perk-Up
If you have an old metal-bowl style fire pit from the store, you can give it a new and improved look by building a base and display for it. Do this by stacking curved large landscaping bricks or more layers of flat paver stones in a circle and placing the metal fire bowl in the center with the bowl’s lip held up by the bricks.
Think of the whole setup as an instant facelift for your old store-bought fire pit!
3. Easy In-Ground Fire Pit
You can make an in-ground fire pit by digging a round hole in your backyard of the size you prefer, and then place bricks vertically around the soil edges of your hole at a slight angle. Once done, you will have to place flat paver stones on the ground around the outside edge of your pit.
Pavers come in a wide variety of options so you can customize your perfect pit. You may also use extra pavers to extend out into a circle to form a patio-like seating area around your fire pit.
4. Truck Rim Fire Pit
If you have a large metal truck rim at any junkyard and turn it into an easy DIY firepit. Stack curved landscaping bricks around the outside of the truck rim in one or two layers depending on the height of the truck rim.
The next step is to fill the bottom of the rim with lava rocks. The rim contains the fire nicely and keeps it insulated, and you, warm.
5. Repurposed Wheelbarrow Pit
Metal wheelbarrows make picturesque pits for backyard fires. Whether you choose a brand new, bright red metal wheelbarrow or an old rusty one from a grandparent’s shed, they will contain a fire easily.
We would also recommend using antique wheelbarrows to lend a cool, retro look to your fire pit. Prop it on a platform of bricks or paver stones or stack bricks or cement blocks around the wheelbarrow in a rectangular shape to lock it into place.
6. Patio-Style Fire Pit
You can create a fine fire pit patio circle by digging a shallow hole and placing the bowl of a store-bought fire pit inside. Once done, place flat paver stones in any style you like around the edge of the pit and out in concentric circles – with or without adding cement between the stones.
Next, you can place your outdoor chairs in a cozy circle around the patio-style fire pit. It is perfect for parties or small family gatherings!
7. Backyard Beach Party Pit
You can bring the beach to your backyard by building a large sandbox with a simple, rectangular wooden frame and filling it with a play-sand from a home improvement store.
Dig a hole in the center of the sand and line it with flat paver stones in a rectangular shape. Then line the outside with 2 to 3 layers of bricks to form a low border in the sand. Add beach-style chairs and a couple of potted palms for a beachy backyard bonfire and curl your toes in the sand.
You can also install tiki torches to add a fun touch!
8. Fire Boulders
Flat boulders that have an indention makes an ideal fire pit. If you are lucky enough to live in rocky terrain and can locate the perfect boulder, moving it to your backyard is an easy way to create a no-fuss fire pit.
Moreover, you will also find companies that specialize in creating these outdoor boulder beauties with a gas flame. Easy peasy!
9. Gravel Fire Pit
You can create an easy and attractive fire pit by clearing a roomy round space of debris and laying out a load of gravel rocks in your preferred color. Make this large enough to place chairs around the circle for gatherings.
For this, you will need to make a round firepit with a circle of larger rocks in the center of the circle, boulders, or paver stones. It is simple to create and super effective when it comes to keeping you warm.
10. Simple Cinder Block Fire Pit
You can use good old-fashioned cinder blocks to create simple fire pits that are easy to construct.
Start by stacking white cinder block caps in a rectangular shape with an open center. Then you will need to use mortar to seal the blocks together. Fill the center with two large bags of red lava rocks for an easy backyard fire pit with a modern, updated appearance, and you will have your fire pit ready for use.
11. Fire pit Bowl
One of the most modern, updated fire pits features a smooth concrete bowl filled with flame-proof Mexican beach pebbles and lit with a fire fuel gel.
This one is for a handyman or a DIYer with experience pouring concrete with a mold. A novice who pays close attention to detail can also build this stylish firepit by following the easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.
12. Ring of Fire Fit
For a backyard fire pit with an extra-warm glow, you can consider building an open-ring fire pit using landscaping bricks in the color of your choice.
Use only a single layer of bricks at a height of at least 6-inches. Fill the center with fireproof lava rocks. Add a vertical layer of straight, 12-inch landscaping bricks. While doing this, make sure you leave a 4-inch open space between the bricks so the fire glow is visible in between. Then pull up a chair and warm your toes by the open glow!
13. Cozy Corner Fire Pit
To create a cozy fire pit against a fence or wall in a corner of your yard, use straight standard bricks or the landscaping bricks of your choice. Form a complete circle in the corner of your yard using a stack of three landscaping bricks.
Then begin the fourth layer in a semicircle along the back or corner side of the circle. Start creating another layer using one less brick on each side and then repeat, using one less brick per side with each layer.
This forms a tear-dropped shaped back wall of the firepit with a staircase-like look on the edges. Continue the process until you get to a single brick on the top. Fill the bottom with fire-proof pebbles or lava rocks.
14. Grill or Chill Fire Pit
You can enjoy a versatile fire pit for outdoor fireside chats or for cooking on a grill. While there are some complex methods for building grilling fire pits, a simple handyman hack is to build your firepit around an existing egg-shaped grill with a lid.
Stack a circle of curved landscaping bricks around your grill all the way to the rim. Then measure about 8-inches out and begin another circle of matching curved bricks. Fill the gap with gravel in the color of your choice to the very top. Enjoy your firepit or cook-out by lifting the lid and lighting a wood or charcoal fire in your grill!
15. Easy Portable Pit
You can also repurpose an old washing machine drum as an easy portable fire pit. In fact, the steel construction and already included drainage holes make a perfect fire pit.
Start by placing bricks beneath the drum to lift it from the ground before starting your fire. It’s simple to make and easy to move to any part of your yard where you want to have a fire. Try repurposing an old push mower as a base for the washing machine drum fire pit to make it extra portable.
Just push the setup to whatever location you desire for the most portable fire pit possible.
If you are handy with tools you can build this upgraded version of the washing machine drum pit by attaching pipe legs to your washing machine drum instead of propping it with bricks.
16. Tabletop Fire Pits
Light up any party with a crackling fire as a centerpiece on your outdoor table. Tabletop fire pits are easy to make by filling any large clay or cement plant pot with beautiful fire pit glass in the color of your choice. You can light it ablaze by using non-toxic gel fuel.
Once done, get out your delish goodies, because this is the perfect table centerpiece you can use for roasting marshmallows or making s’mores. It is perfect for parties and backyard family gatherings.
17. Retaining Wall Brick Pit
Retaining wall bricks are typically larger than landscaping bricks, so they make a fast, easy fire pit using fewer bricks and less work.
If you have retaining walls in your yard, use the same type of bricks for a fire pit to pull the whole look together. Just build a circular bottom layer and then a staggered second layer. Fill the bottom with lava rocks or gravel, and then pull up a few chairs to enjoy a cozy time.
18. Steel Box Firepit
This is a neater option for small yards and open-air patios. This sleek firebox pit will give your patio parties a new glow.
For a firepit with a sleek, updated look that’s perfect for a patio, you can make a large steel box firepit. This requires some welding, so it’s a handyman special, but the result is a stylish steel firebox with a floor of lava rocks, gravel, or fire-proof pebbles.
19. Propane Patio Table
Light up your backyard, porch, or patio by cutting a hole into the center of a metal patio table and installing a store-bought, bowl-style fire pit. A propane flame makes this tabletop fire pit a neat, clean, and simple way to warm up any outdoor event.
This setup works in small spaces and even on balconies. Pull up some matching metal chairs and enjoy roasting marshmallows or hotdogs, or just sit and enjoy the flames while sipping a glass of wine.
20. Fire Pit Table
Instead of building a small fire pit on a tabletop, try building a tabletop on your firepit! A great use of backyard or patio space is to build a round brick firepit floored with pebbles or lava rocks.
Then build a simple lid with varnished boards cut and measure it to form a table-like lid for the pit. It functions as a beautiful table during the day, then just remove the lid for a cozy fire at night.
21. Stone Fire Pit
You can have a warm, friendly firepit in your backyard with a more permanent structural design by building a stone fire pit with a cement and brick base. The pit itself is lined with a lining of staggered brick and the outside is built with beautiful pre-bought palletized stone.
The cement base and mortared brick and stone circle make a very stable and beautiful fire pit that’s long-lasting.
22. Koi Pond Pits
Remember a few years ago when everyone was installing koi ponds in their backyards and gardens?
If you’ve said ciao to your koi, repurposing your koi pond for a fire pit is a beautiful use of the space you already have. Most koi ponds are already lined with rock, making them perfect for repurposing. If the pond has a plastic liner, remove the liner and add lava rock or fireproof pebbles.
The beautiful natural rock arrangements lining koi ponds look fantastic when repurposed as stylish fire pits. Invite your friends and gaze at fire instead of fish!
23. Square Fire Pit
You can build an easy square fire pit using simple, inexpensive cement blocks. First thing is to clear, rake, and flatten your chosen area and then use your cement blocks stacked in two layers to enclose a roomy square area.
Place flat paver stones in a matching gray color or a contrasting color over the rim to cover the holes in the top blocks. Line the bottom of the pit with more flat paver stones or fill it with lava rocks or fireproof pebbles.
24. Tree Ring Firepit
Use four pre-cut half-circle concrete tree rings with scalloped edges from any garden or home improvement store to make a super-simple fire pit. Clear a round area in the approximate size of your tree rings and place two of the half circles down with the scalloped edges upward forming the ring.
Then place the remaining two half-circles, upside down on top of the first, lining up the scalloped edges to fit together like puzzle pieces. Line the bottom of the pit with lava rocks.
For a more elaborate version, purchase four more tree rings in a larger size and repeat the above process, forming a larger ring around the smaller. Fill the gap to the top with gravel and place a fire bowl over the top of the inner circle.
25. Solid Concrete Fire Pit
If you are handy with tools and cement, you can build a beautiful solid concrete fire pit in your yard by using a rectangular wooden frame. Then fill the frame with your mixed concrete and smooth it with a trowel. Let it dry overnight and then remove the frame and smooth mortar all over the outside for a smooth finish.
After that, line the top with a pre-cut slate for a polished, professional appearance. Fill the rectangular pit with gravel stone almost to the top. Place a fire bowl into the gravel and then fill the remainder of the pit with gravel stone around the bowl until flush with the rim.
26. Buried Truck Rim Fire Pit
Use the large wheel rim of a Mac truck to make an easy in-ground fire pit. Measure the rim and find a flat, level space in your yard. Start by digging a hole of the appropriate size, and sink the truck rim into the hole until it’s flush with the ground. You have the option to choose flat paver stones to suit your taste and place them in concentric circles around the rim until you form either a small area or a large, patio-like area for seating.
Line the bottom of the truck rim with lava rock, fireproof pebbles, or more flat paver stones. This makes a great space for small gatherings to sit around staring down into the flames. It’s also a nice way to toast your toes on a chilly evening
27. Cement Brick Firepit and Bench
This simple plan results in an inexpensive, but attractive rectangular fire pit with a matching bench for a seamless, pulled-together look in your backyard or garden. It is a perfect two-for-one backyard building project resulting in both a firepit and a place to sit and enjoy the flames.
You will need 6 large square cement paver bricks and 40 cement blocks for this. Use 3 of the paver bricks to form a surface on a flat, level space.
Staggers stack the cement blocks to build up the firepit around the outside of the paver-brick floor using all but six of the blocks. Then form a bench with the remaining cement blocks and use the remaining 3 paver bricks to form the bench seat.
28. Inground Stone and Brick Firepit
Build a simple inground fire pit by digging a hole with sloping sides, wider at the top and narrow at the bottom. Line the hole with traditional red bricks – placed vertically – with a slight slant to follow the slope of the hole.
Line the red lava rocks at the bottom of the hole. After that, add flat paver stones of any size to form a ring border around the outer edge of the hole. Use loose gravel stones to fill the spaces between the paver stones.
You can also line the firepit with as few or as many circles of stone as you like, forming either just a firepit with a neat rim or an entire patio-like seating area. Just don’t forget to cover it with paver sand and sweep away the excess to keep weeds from growing between the stones.
29. Firepit Grill
Measure the circumference of a flat, circular grill grate where you want to install the fire pit. Use landscaping bricks in concentric circles to form a simple fire pit of the same circumference over a gravel base by stagger-stacking the bricks. You will have to apply mortar between the layers for a more permanent structure.
Add lava rocks to the bottom of the pit. Place the grill grate across the top of the pit for cooking burgers, hotdogs, chicken, steak, or any of your favorites. Then remove the grill top for an open fire.
This is an ideal setup for a backyard barbecue. You can grill your dinner and then after dinner just sit and enjoy the open fire with your family and friends. In short, it’s the perfect family get-together option!
30. Portable Stone-Topped Fire Bowl
A portable fire bowl is perfect for a backyard, patio, porch, or even a balcony. Simply start with a large clay or concrete plant pot. Fill the pot with wet cement and insert a can slightly larger in size than a propane fire can.
Let the cement partly dry and insert attractive multicolored rocks and stones into the surface around the can and out to the edges of the pot. When it’s time for an outdoor party or gathering, just insert your fire can for a warm, toasty glow.
A. Choosing a Fire Pit Design
Fire pit designs come in many shapes and sizes, complementing even the must mundane of architectural landscapes. These units may be installed by a professional contractor or personally by the home owner.
The structure itself may be free-standing or incorporated into part of a larger patio. A fire feature can enhance the atmosphere of any backyard, and with some creativity, can be constructed to fit any size living space.
1. Stone Fire Pits
There are many different ways to construct permanent fire pit designs. Most involve digging a small pit into which the fire feature will be placed, and surrounding it with natural stone or any type of fire resistant material. Stone and gravel patios may be constructed around the completed pit. This type of outdoor enhancement may be fed by gas or burn natural wood.
The hole where the fire will be placed may be any shape. Square, rectangular, and circular pits are the most common, however, custom fire pit designs are also possible.
Once the hole is dug, it may be lined with fire resistant clay brick, stainless, or galvanized steel. Pre-made steel inserts are available for purchase through many home improvement websites. These inserts are often sold as part of a kit which the homeowner can easily assemble and slide into place to create a safe fire burning area that will not erode over time.
The pit may be filled with sand, gravel, or lava rock to create a finished look around the fire. Natural gas lines must be fed below ground into the pit, and connected with the home’s existent lines. The opening to the piping should end just above any additional rock features which are added to the pit. It may then be surrounded by any style of paving brick or natural stone. Common choices include concrete pavers, clay brick pavers, and natural stone retaining walls.
2. Portable Fire Pits
Homeowners who do not wish to create a permanent feature, or who are unable to dig into their outdoor area, may want to consider a portable unit. These fire pit designs may require some light assembly, but once they are complete they may be placed anywhere in the outdoor landscape. They are typically constructed from stainless or galvanized steel, copper, bronze, or cast iron. Most stand alone units are wood burning, though gas powered models are also available.
The fire pit typically resembles a large bowl on metal support legs. It may be circular or square in shape, depending on the preference of the purchaser. Some models feature screen lined cut outs along the edge so that the light of the fire may be viewed on all levels. Wood may be placed directly into the bowl and does not require any type of resistant lining.
Propane fire pit designs fit well into table style models. These units typically feature a flat table top surface made off sturdy materials suited to outdoor weathering elements. The center of the table features a bowl area fed by a propane line where gas logs, lava rocks, or decorative stone may be placed. The table is often activated by a switch, and is safe for use on any surface.
3. Fire Pit Accessories
Once the fire feature has been completed, homeowners may begin using it immediately. Accessories are available that both enhance the enjoyment of the unit as well as increase its safety. Spark screens are constructed to prevent ash and cinders from escaping the fit and landing on flammable materials, such as decking, grass, and foliage. Roasting and grilling inserts may be purchased to temporarily change the fire pit from a design feature to a functional outdoor oven. They may be found to fit any width and shape, and are removable for easy cleaning.
Creating a fire pit in the backyard adds value to any home. In ground pits require an intermediate level of construction expertise, but can be completed with relative ease following detailed instruction. Portable fire pits may be assembled quickly and placed on any surface. They are ready for use immediately, and are small enough to accentuate any size space. Regardless of the type of pit chosen, accessories may be added to the completed design to make them both safe and functional.
B. Types of Fire Pit Accessories
Fire pit accessories can really enhance the outdoor experience. Here is a list of the must-have fire pit accessories for new fire pit owners.
Fire pits are popular outdoor accessories for any patio or deck area. They are used in the cold winter months to say warm and roast marshmallows. During summer months they serve as a gathering place and to grill food. Here are a few basic fire pit accessories that every fire pit owner should have.
1. Fire Pit Fill
One of the most basic fire pit accessories is fill which is the material that burns. Fire pit glass is a unique specially formulated glass that does not melt when the fire pit is in use. It is available in almost any color imaginable and creates a unique experience as the fire emanates from the glass rocks rather than logs.
Lava rock is another popular fire pit fill option. Lava rock by nature is designed to withstand high temperatures making it a good choice over natural wood. It is also very lightweight making moving portable fire pits easy. Lava rocks produce no smoke when they burn and will last longer than wood logs.
2. Fire Pit Tools
Just as there are tools used to tend a fire in a fireplace, there are similar fire pit accessories to tend fire pit fires. These tools can be purchased individually or as a set. The main tools needed are a fire pit poker that is used to stoke the fire and fire pit tongs that are used to pick up and move the wood logs around inside the fire.
3. Fire Pit Screen
Fire pit screens are mesh devices that sit on the outer edge of the fire pit and prevent sparks and ashes from flying out. A fire pit screen is one of the most important pit accessories for safety reasons, but there are several designs to choose from. The most basic fire pit screen is a low mesh dome that sits over the fire to contain it.
Other types of fire place screens are tall cylinders which are open at the top. These fire pit screens can be used alone or with a cooking grate that is placed on top of it. This allows food to be placed on top of the grate, which essentially turns the fire pit into a grill.
4. Fire Pit Covers
If the fire pit will stored outdoors when it is not in use, especially during the winter months, then a fire pit cover is one of the necessary fire pit accessories. Fire pit covers are made of thick, durable plastic much like outdoor furniture covers. Fire pit covers some in circular shapes and easily slide right over the fire pit to protect it from weather, dirt, debris and insects.
As fire pits continue to grow in popularity so will the number of fire pit accessories. Having the right fire pit accessories will make the outdoor experience fun and relaxing.
Fire has long been a symbol of life for humans. Fire means good food, warmth, safety, and comfort. Even with all of today’s conveniences, including lights at the touch of a button and light coming from the glow of the screens we look at all day long, there are still reasons we crave the comfort of firelight.
Studies show that unlike white and blue light, red, orange, and yellow lights don’t inhibit melatonin production. Staring into crackling flames actually helps us to produce the hormones we require for relaxation and a good night’s sleep.
Building a backyard fire pit is an easy way to bring the family together for conversation. No one can resist the lure of a good fire. So pull up a few chairs, grab some beer, wine – or a bag of marshmallows – and let the fire touch the primitive soul in you!