Build Your Own DIY Fire Pit

Enjoy the outdoor spaces of your home at night with a fire pit in your backyard! Great for entertaining or just getting the family together, fire pits create a sophisticated and warm atmosphere for gathering. You can find fire pits in a variety of shapes, dimensions, and styles, and they can be custom built as a DIY home improvement project.

No matter what type of fire pit you decide to build, remember to check your local building codes to ensure your construction complies with legal requirements. Building codes vary from region to region, but in many cases the rules stipulate that a fire pit be placed at least 25 feet away from the home or any surrounding trees. Additionally, outdoor furniture should be approximately seven feet away from the open flame.

Before You Begin

Materials

You can build your own above ground fire pit with stone blocks and clay fire bricks. The type of block you choose for your fire pit retaining wall will determine the aesthetic style of your fire pit. Distressed stones can create a more rustic tone while crisp cement can make the space feel modern. Regardless of style, if you’re creating a custom fire pit, it is recommended to choose rectangular blocks. Rectangular units are easier to rearrange, and adjust to different layouts and sizes than more irregularly shaped blocks.

Preparation

Before starting construction, lay out a layer of retaining wall blocks in formation of your fire pit. This step is especially necessary if your design incorporates partial blocks because it allows you to figure out which blocks need to be cut with a circular saw with a concrete blade. This trial layout serves as an opportunity to double check the layout of your blocks and in order to ensure construction will be level. If you’re working on a lawn, mark the perimeter of the fire pit site using colored spray paint.

Once you have a clear idea of the layout and placement of your fire pit, it’s time to prepare the site for a layer of paver base. Using a shovel, dig about two inches down for the entire area you have outlined in spray paint. With the layer of sod removed, tamp down the remaining soil base.

Build Your DIY Fire Pit

Step 1: Installing Paver Base

Now that the site has been prepared, you can install your paver base. Start by pouring about two inches of paver base across the soil of your fire pit site, covering the entire space evenly. Paver base is typically a combination of sand and gravel, so you may need to use a rake to spread it out.

Add moisture to the two inch layer of paver base and tamp it down to make room for a final layer of paver base. Pour an additional ½ inch layer of paver base evenly across the site and tamp it down a final time. Before moving on to construction, use a level to check that the site is even.

Step 2: Setting Retaining Wall Block Stones

Lay the first layer of blocks in a pattern on top of the paver base ensuring that stones are placed squarely. Then, lay the second layer of blocks on top of the first, this time ensuring that the joints between blocks are staggered with the joints between the bricks of the bottom row. This variation is what gives your block wall structural support. If your fire pit design calls for partial blocks, use a circular saw with a concrete blade to cut the pieces you need as you lay them out.

With rows 1 and 2 neatly in position, you can add construction adhesive knowing that you won’t make any layout mistakes. Simply remove the top layer of bricks, add construction adhesive to the top side of the bottom layer of bricks, and put the top layer of bricks back into place. To keep everything properly aligned, try removing only one or two blocks at a time to add construction adhesive.

Step 3: Installing Clay Fire Bricks

Once your outer fire pit wall has been successfully constructed, you need to add an interior layer of clay fire bricks. You can style your fire pit to have its clay fire bricks level with the rest of the wall by adding more paver base.

Step 4: Finishing the Fire Pit

To help keep the clay fire bricks soundly in place and for aesthetic effect, add lava rock (or any other heat-resistant stone) to the interior of your fire pit. Your fire pit is complete and all you need to do is enjoy it!

To make your backyard fire pit a truly social experience, style it with comfortable outdoor furniture that family and friends can relax in. Whether you surround your fire pit with a seaside casual dining set up or place a cozy hammock nearby, the right outdoor furniture can make your fire pit a functional and comfortable gathering spot.

You can find everything you need to upgrade your home at Grayco Hardware & Home Center. Find my Grayco.