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How to build a DIY fire pit in the garden itself: Step-by-step instructions for your outdoor space.

To create a unique atmosphere in the outdoor area, you can build and construct a cozy fireplace in the garden yourself. Since ready-made fireplaces are hard to come by, not to mention expensive, it makes sense to design and make your own. In doing so, you can customize the size, shape and appearance to suit your garden area. With such an inexpensive project and some creative ideas, you can easily improve your garden patio or courtyard. So get into the summer season in style by enjoying convivial evenings in front of the flickering flames with family and friends.

Before you build your own backyard fire pit

stone built fire pit in the middle of a courtyard with lit fire

From upcycling old materials to building a simple pit out of bricks and blocks, there are many clever ways to create a stylish and safely contained fire in your backyard. In addition, wood fires, with their smoky aroma and atmospheric crackle, are definitely the go-to for a pleasant evening outdoors. However, there are other options for heating your outdoor space. Both bioethanol and gas burners can be integrated into stunning environments. Thus, you can easily build a low-maintenance and low-maintenance fire pit in the garden itself. Create comfortable seating nearby where you can lounge and enjoy the view. Through it, figure out how to store logs in the most stylish and accessible way. With the realization of such a project, you can create an attractive and functional outdoor meeting place.

sunny day in a beautifully planted vohof with diy fire pit in garden build it yourself

The secret of low cost are the basic building materials that you can use to form a fireplace. These could be bricks, pavers, concrete and retaining wall blocks, for example. However, you can also make fire pits from recycled materials such as planters, flower pots, steel containers, and even refractory glass. Building materials for fireplaces or compressed logs can provide the fuel for the fire in most smaller fire pits. In the larger pits, you can use real wood logs or charcoal. Be sure to check local air quality restrictions for outdoor wood burning. The materials used in this example, which you can easily find at your local home improvement store, can be assembled in just a few hours. Get inspired and find helpful project tips in the steps below.

Materials and tools needed

level the garden floor for outdoor fire with spirit level

First, check building codes and ordinances to make sure fire pits are allowed and if restrictions apply. Choose a relatively flat site that is at least 8 feet from combustible structures and at least 3 to 6 feet from trees or shrubs. Before selecting a final location, consider the movement of wind at different times of the day. You should avoid smoke coming into the home through windows or doors. It is also still recommended to have a water tap near the fireplace. Below are listed the materials required for the exemplary construction:

  • 9 × 27 × 18 cm concrete garden wall blocks (36 pieces).
  • 18 × 9 × 5 cm concrete pavers (26 pieces)
  • 9 × 9 × 5 cm square concrete pavers (6 pieces)
  • gravel according to the size of the fireplace
  • volcanic stone for the border
  • adhesive
  • Tools: tape measure, stakes, string, marking paint, garden shovel, garden rake, earth tamper, spirit level, rubber mallet

How to build a fire pit in the garden yourself

marking paint to delineate a round diy fire pit in the garden area

To build a simple and round version of your own DIY fire pit, you can follow the steps below. First, define the size of the build. The recommended size is between 90 and 115 cm in diameter – in this case it is 115 cm. To define the dimensions, drive a stake into the center of the area where you want the fire pit to be. It is best to make a circle to ensure that the blocks will fit in the excavated area. First, measure a string half the diameter you plan to use. Then tie the string to the stake and use marking paint by walking around the stake in a circle with the string extended to paint the circumference. Do a test run by laying out a ring of blocks and pavers on your patio or driveway to determine the exact diameter you want for the fire pit.

Step 1 – Prepare the garden area

diy fire pit in the garden build yourself and remove sod with shovel

Dig out about 8 cm of turf and soil. If the garden slopes, you may need to dig deeper at one end to make sure your installation is level. Some instructions for DIY fire pits say to dig deeper than 8 inches, as you would for a path or patio in the garden. However, since this is a relatively small area and a non-load bearing structure, the depth specified here would be fine. To that end, a garden shovel with a sharp edge will make it easier to remove the sod. If you don’t want to invest in a hand tamper, you can often rent one through local hardware stores. If you also don’t have a long level, you can use a longer wooden slat to span the width of your circle.

Step 2 – Compact the soil

compact excavated soil for fire pit with soil tamper

First, manually compact the soil under your future fire pit with a soil tamper. Check the area with a level and adjust as necessary, adding or removing soil as needed and tamping again. Make sure the excavated area is level. While doing this, check several positions within the circle to make sure your final project is level at the top row of blocks. Hold the tamper a few inches above the surface, drop it straight down and repeat the process.

Step 3 – Lay out the gravel

lay concrete blocks and pavers with rubber mallet

Next, pour a layer of gravel about 5 inches thick into the excavated area and level it with a garden rake. Wet the base and press the surface down. This is a good time to double check how level your chosen area is. A rubber mallet is really your best friend at this point because it allows you to make adjustments gently.

Step 4 – Lay out the patches

paving bricks in all directions of the sky at round fireplace in the garden build yourself

Lay the first row of blocks and small stones tightly and alternately around the edge of the pit. If slight adjustments are needed to align blocks and pavers, tap them with the rubber mallet. Leave four pavers only partially removed in the four cardinal directions. They will help hold the blocks in place and will be easy to remove later.

Step 5 – Build the backyard fire pit yourself and provide airflow.

air flow when layering blocks in fireplaces important against smoke

Once you are done laying out the base, you can partially slide in every third block. These will eventually be removed in this first course. In addition, this method allows more airflow into the pit and reduces smoke. Also, make sure you use an adhesive with an all-weather formula. Then apply the second coat, staggering the joints with the first coat. You may need to move the second layer slightly to properly stagger the blocks and pavers. After everything is properly in place, attach the two courses with the adhesive. Once you have secured the second layer, you can remove the four inset bricks from the base layer.

Step 6 – Place the last layer and add lava stone.

use adhesive glue to layer concrete blocks on a fire pit

Place and attach the third and final row using the same technique as for row two, except alternate small and square pavers. The square pavers are raised to accommodate an approximately 90 cm grill grate at the top. If you prefer a flush surface, use smaller pavers instead. First, again, fix the layer with the adhesive.

lay volcanic stone or lava rock around a diy fire pit

Accordingly, the grill grate also adds functionality to the fireplace. It also helps to keep the pets away from it when you are not using the fire pit. Furthermore, a grill grate can rest sturdily on the square paving stones and provide enough space to slide narrow logs into it. The porous lava rock drains quickly and keeps the base of the fire pit dry between rains. Add about 5 inches of volcanic rock to the cavity. Let the glue dry for about two days before enjoying your first fire. The backyard lawn should eventually fill in around the base of the fire pit, but you can also dress up the edge with decorative slate chips.

Enjoying your free time after you build your own backyard fire pit yourself

cozy backyard with fire pit for family and friends in summer

Once your fire pit has burned for a few days, you can spend cozy evenings with your guests in front of the fire, even grilling. Such improvement of the garden area will allow you to enjoy delicious dinners with your children and friends outdoors. However, you can also relax yourself in front of the soothing flames with a glass of wine after the work week.

enjoy sunset with glass of wine in front of fire in garden

Nothing says spring, summer or fall like a cozy fire pit in your backyard or garden. For this reason, DIY fire pits are always current and quite popular. They are attractive, functional and provide an instant outdoor gathering spot. Relax and have fun knowing that you spent very little on your DIY construction project and backyard fire pit because you made it with inexpensive or repurposed materials.

How to light and clean your DIY fire pit.

lighting fire in garden area with kerosene

Fire starters are the easiest way to get a fire going, but you don’t have to rely on ones that are soaked in toxic kerosene. There are plenty of natural and more eco-friendly options to try. For example, dry pine cones can help you out. Place them in the center of your fire pit and add small wood and small logs. Light everything with a match or a long-handled lighter. Other free options you can find in nature are dry grass, straw, pine needles and leaves. However, these must be completely dry or they will produce smoke. Spilled or long, tight newspaper is the perfect fire starter. The tighter you roll the paper up and then “twist” or “knot” it around itself, the longer it will burn. Avoid using magazine pages, however, as they release chemicals from the ink and don’t burn very well.

spend cozy evenings in inviting garden with fire pit

Always allow the fireplace to cool completely before cleaning. When cleaning a corten steel fireplace, remove the ash and clean the surface with hot soapy water and a soft cloth. Fireplaces with gas require very little maintenance. Keep burners clean for even burning and check supply hoses regularly to make sure there are no leaks or restrictions. To keep cast-iron fireplaces looking their best, scrub them clean with steel wool. Distilled white vinegar and a soft cloth will also help remove rust, and you can always repaint and reseal to prevent corrosion.