How to Build a Fire Pit Easily in 8 Steps

How to Build a Fire Pit Easily in 8 Steps

Introduction: How to Build an in Ground Fire Pit

By Braxton Wirthlin BraxtonWirthlin.com

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About: I’m a stay at home dad and woodworker, I have a youtube channel where I upload builds, tips, and how-to videos. More About Braxton Wirthlin »

I recently built an in ground fire pit in my backyard using landscaping flagstone and construction adhesive. With a total cost of around $80 and an afternoon of work I’ve got a fire pit that will last a very long time. Here’s how I did it!

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Gas or Wood?

The type of fire pit you choose is another big decision. If you’re looking for the most leisurely option, you might like a propane fire pit, which they have easy, instant fires. If you want something that burns brightly, smells delightful and is used for more than just decor, you might want an authentic wood-burning fire pit. This decision can also impact your location choice, so take that into consideration.

14. Find The Right Furniture

Portofino® Comfort 8 Piece Motion Fire Seating – Taupe Mist for enjoying a great time with your friends with comfort.

The outdoor furniture you choose really helps dictate your outdoor design. To make your home feel larger, make sure the design from inside the home flows over into the design of your backyard furniture. This will make your space feel more cohesive and more like one large space from inside to outside. You should also consider the quality of materials your furniture is made of. By far the best (and most popular) material is aluminum. High-quality outdoor furniture will last you for years to come. No matter what kind of outdoor furniture you purchase, make sure it is safe for use around fire and is non-flammable. Remember to keep all furniture at least 3 feet from your fire pit for added safety.

Related Questions

Can I Put the Fire Pit Near Grass? 

For the safety of everyone enjoying your fire pit, you should not position it on the grass. Not only does it pose risks to the people around the fire but it can also be damaging to the grass itself. An on-the-ground fire pit will not be completely stable if it is positioned directly on the grass. Most grass surfaces are not level, so this can pose the dangerous possibility of the fire pit tumbling over and spilling its contents.

If you want your fire pit to be positioned on a grassed area you should lay down a concrete slab first. Whether you want your fire pit in your front or back yard it should only be lit in a safe place far from anything combustible such as dry grass or leaves, branches, or anything that can be set ablaze by floating cinder or by the flames from the fire pit itself. 

How Long Will It Take To Dig a Hole for a Fire Pit? 

Digging a firepit by hand can take less than 3 hours, depending on the size and style of your pit. How long it will take to dig a hole for a fire pit will be a factor in choosing how you go about choosing one. If you can schedule a day or a set hour or two for any particular day of the week to work on the hole for your fire pit, then go right ahead and use just a shovel and some elbow grease. A bit more time-constrained but you still want to do it yourself? Hiring a digger means you can create a good sized hole in less than an hour.  

What Size Fire Pit Should You Get? 

There are many factors affecting the ideal size of your fire pit, including but not limited to the size of your yard, your goals for the fire pit (such as wanting it as a permanent fixture or a portable one to take where you would like), and any local council rules regarding fire pits. Ideally, the fire pit should be a size that would allow a robust fire while still keeping your guests close enough to chat. Between 90 and 110 centimetres should be optimal.

Sam Christie Sam Christie is the owner and operator of Christies landscapes, founded in 2013 Sam and his team of landscapers and designers have many years experience in the landscape construction industry. Over the years they have developed and refined a broad range of skills, qualifications and techniques to deliver outstanding projects throughout the Canberra region.

Step 6: Brush Off the First Layer and Glue and Stack the Remaining Stones

Once the first layer is flat and level brush off any excess dirt to prepare for gluing the next layer. Apply a liberal amount of construction adhesive to the bottom of another block, turn it over and stack on top of the first layer. Over lapping two blocks on the layer below it. Continue gluing and stacking the remaining stones on the second level. Glue and stack the third level in the same way making sure you offset that level as well. Check the top layer for any wiggly blocks. If you find one, remove it and add a liberal amount of extra construction adhesive. Replace the block and allow it to settle down gently in to the pile of construction adhesive. This way when the adhesive dries the block will be firmly connected to the layer below.

Finish the Footing

  • Shovel in the remaining concrete until the forms are filled to the top and tap the tubes gently with a sledgehammer until the concrete mix is level.
  • Recheck level, hammering the forms down if necessary, and smooth the top of the footer.
  • Let the concrete completely set up overnight and then remove the forms.

Installing the Liner and building it up with Rocks

  • Installing the liner and building it up with rocks, bricks or other materials as desired.
  • Installing a fire pit can be a very rewarding experience, and it is important to take the proper safety precautions. Here are some tips on how to dig the perfect Fire Pit:
  • Make sure you have enough room around your intended installation site for moving materials and equipment. In other words ensure that there will be no obstacles or obstructions such as plants, trees or sprinklers.
  • Before digging into the ground make sure to contact local utility companies and ask about any underground pipes or wires that may be in your intended installation area. This way you can avoid accidentally hitting a gas line, electric cable or water pipe during excavation.
  • Make a detailed drawing of your proposed installation site, including your intended Fire Pit location and its dimensions.
  • Mark the boundaries of where you plan on digging with stakes or flags to avoid accidentally damaging other landscaping features such as sprinkler systems once you begin excavation.
  • Plan how much soil will be removed before beginning any work; this way if there is too much it can be removed gradually rather than all at once.
  • Once you have determined how much soil will be excavated, mark the area with string so it can be measured accurately after digging begins. This also helps to show where curbs or other features should go when finished.
  • Using a post hole digger or shovel and spade, dig down several inches or more depending on the depth of your intended Fire Pit.
  • Once you have dug to a desired level, place landscaping fabric, such as weed barrier cloth over the area and secure it with stakes so that no soil can escape back into the hole when adding additional layers.
  • Next add some gravel or washed stone to the bottom of your intended Fire Pit so that it can be level and sturdy.
  • Add sand or landscaping fabric to cover the gravel base, as well as any other layers such as bricks or stones you may want to use.
  • Once everything is in place begin filling up with soil until you have reached ground level again. Pack down the soil and use a level to ensure your Fire Pit is completely flat across its surface.

See alsoWhat Type of Wood Is Best to Burn in Fire Pit?

You may want to add some grass seed or other groundcover if desired, then water well until you reach desired moisture level for beginning fire pit usage. If using rocks around the edges of your Fire Pit be sure there are spaces between them so that embers don’t escape and start a fire on the ground.

Before Digging, Call Utility Companies

Before digging out the space for your in-ground fire pit, call your utility companies (dial 811; for more info, go to call811.com) to check the location of buried utility lines.

Also, check the fire pit code in your area. Most require a fire pit to be 25 ft. away from any structures and overhanging trees. Think about how the prevailing winds blow through your backyard.

FAQ About Building a Fire Pit

What do you put in the bottom of a fire pit?

You’ll want to start with a layer of sand at the bottom of the pit, and then top the sand with gravel, lava rocks, fire pit glass, paving stones or even bricks for your fire pit. Alternatively, you can simply use dirt.

How do you prepare the ground for a fire pit?

Clear away all grass and plant material. Excavate about 8 inches of soil, ensuring that the bottom of the pit is level and the soil is compact.

Can you build a fire pit on dirt?

Yes, you can build a fire pit on dirt. Make sure the dirt is compact and level.

What is the best base for a fire pit?

You have several options. Plain dirt is fine, but sand topped with gravel makes a more attractive base.

4. Brick And Stone Pit

Another classic round design, this DIY fire pit design looks stunning with a rustic, stone exterior. Using fireproof bricks on the inside ensures that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises later on and painting them black maintains the general rustic appearance.

source: www.diynetwork.com
source: www.diynetwork.com

Are Fire Pits Safe?

There are a number of safety factors you should consider before deciding if a fire pit will be suitable for your home. Obviously, open flames can potentially be very dangerous. You will need to ensure that you can adequately control any flames and embers from your fire to avoid spreading the flames. You will also need to make sure any children or pets in your home will be safe around the fire. 

The first thing you should do when installing a fire pit in your home is ensure that any children or pets can be kept from getting to the fire. You should ensure that any children living in or visiting your home understand the importance of fire safety and implement clear rules surrounding paying and being around open flames. 

The same should go for pets. You should ensure you adequately train your pet and implement strong rules regarding behaviour around the fire. Additionally, it may be necessary to install a sturdy physical boundary such as a fence to ensure everyone’s safety. 

If you choose to allow pets and children around your fire pit, then like a lifeguard in a public pool, you should keep a sharp eye out for them and never leave them unattended. If ever you have to go to the bathroom or briefly excuse yourself for another reason, ask a friend to watch over them for you. Otherwise, watch them like a hawk and play it extra safe such as not lighting a fire during windy conditions, especially when a child or pet (or anything flammable for that matter) is down wind. 

Having kids or pets around is another incentive to keep the fire at a manageable size. It does not take much for a fire to get too big and accidentally hurt someone. Make sure you also have fire extinguishers or other retardants on hand in case something happens to go wrong.  

Lastly, make sure that when the festivities are over the fire is properly put out. This can be done by dousing the fire in water. However, even once the flames have been put out, kids or pets should not go near the area as there still could be hot embers or coals. 

2. In-Ground DIY Fire Pit

The in-ground fire pit is becoming increasingly popular among DIY fire pit builders. Before digging into the ground, make sure you call 811, the federally mandated “Call Before You Dig Number.” Someone will come to mark the approximate location of any underground lines, pipes, and cables so you can dig safely. Once you dig your fire pit to the desired size, line the dirt walls with stones or brick. Follow these additional steps to get started:

  1. First, you will want to create a bottom layer of gravel, then cover it with the base of your fire pit — larger stones or bricks or an even covering such as quick drying cement.
  2. Consider adding a drain during this step to keep the pit from filling with rainwater and attracting mosquitoes. 
  3. Place your bottom layer of stones and make sure they are level so as the stones are stacked they will be flat. 
  4. Once the first layer is flat and level brush off any excess dirt to prepare for gluing the next layer. Apply some construction adhesive to the bottom of another block, turn it over, and stack on top of the first layer. Continue this process until your firepit reaches the top of your hole. 
  5. Backfill the edges and compact the dirt around the fire pit.
  6. Allow at least 24 hours for the construction adhesive to cure before starting a fire.

16. Conclusion

you got this!

Your backyard fire pit is a great addition to get-togethers, parties, and family events. Some proper planning on how big to make your fire pit, the best rocks for inside your fire pit, and what kind of outdoor furniture to use around your fire pit, can help your fire pit add a lot of value to your home. Don’t underestimate how fire pit glass and fire pit glass rocks can impact the look of your outdoor fire pit. Now that you know what to put in the bottom of your fire pit you can enjoy the outdoors year-round and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to add in some high-quality outdoor furniture from RST Brands to complete your outdoor landscaping look and environment. Like what you read? Share it with your family, friends. and colleagues.Updated on 04/21/2020 Original post from 10/8/2018 

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