Learning how to build an in-ground fire pit will enhance outdoor entertainment space, and make your yard a better place to relax as the nights get colder. And while it may seem like a big project – learning how to build an in-ground fire pit is surprisingly fast, inexpensive, and relatively easy for anyone with basic home improvement skills.
Today you’ll learn how to build a fire pit the cheap – and get it done quickly. We’ll also show you some great fire pit ideas and a few accessories for the easiest backyard fire pit designs you can build.
How To Build an In-Ground Fire Pit
Before Your Start:
There are many attractive and inexpensive backyard fire pit ideas to consider, but before you get started, here are a few suggestions to consider:
1) Fire pits should be located a safe distance from your house and any nearby flammable objects. While some municipalities require minimum distances, the general rule is to keep a fire pit at least 10-20 feet from a home, fence, or any other combustible structure.
We suggest you be on the safe side and place the fire pit no less than 20ft. away from your house, or further, if you have the room.
2) Flying fire pit embers can be a problem when you have an open fire. You certainly don’t want them floating onto your roof – or worse yet – your neighbor’s roof 🙂
3) It’s a good idea to keep fire pits several feet away from trees or bushes- below-ground fire pits can burn tree roots, or cause damage to limbs or leaves.
How “Deep” Should I Build a Fire Pit?
You should also consider how Deep you want the hole for your in-ground fire pit to be. As a rule, your fire pit should be at least six inches below ground level, though you can certainly go deeper if you want the option to build a larger fire pit. Avoid going deeper than 18 – 24”, however, since a fire too far underground may not allow enough oxygen to help the fire burn. You’ll also lose some of the visual effects – if you bury the fire too deep in the ground.
Should I Line the Hole With Sand?
One of the most common questions when it comes to how to make a fire pit is whether the bottom of a fire pit should be lined with sand.
In most cases, it’s a good idea to line the hole of a fire pit with an actual “paver base” which is a crushed stone found at any home improvement store. This material helps keep the fire contained, radiates the heat more effectively, and prevents root fires from occurring.
How To Build A Round “Concrete Paver” Fire Pit – 10 Easy Steps
Once you have your spot picked out – and know how deep you want the hole to be, you can get started with the DIY fire pit. One of the least complicated backyard fire pit ideas is knowing how to build a fire pit with pavers.
Concrete Pavers for fire pits are generally about 4″ wide x 8″ long and 1 3/4 Thick – but they can vary according to the look you want to achieve.
10 Steps to Build Fire Pit with Pavers:
- Dig a hole by using a stake, string, and a can of spray paint (like in the video below).
- Remove the Sod
- Level the dirt and add “paver mix” and level out the entire circle
- surround it with a single ring of pavers. Using concrete pavers for fire pits will allow you to make a cheap and straightforward fire pit – you can build quickly.
- Stagger the Second Course above the First Course – But leave loose.
- If you need to Cut a Paver Stone for Either Course here is a How -To Cut Patio Pavers Guide.
- Once you have the Loose Second course in place – Remove 3 pavers at a time, and Bond them in place with Concrete Adhesive (Use a large Caulk Gun)
- Repeat Step 7 For your Third Course.
- Add a Metal Fire Pit Ring of your choice
- Add Lava Rock to the Bottom and you’re done!
Let’s make it Even Easier – WIth this short video from Lowes “How to Build a Fire Pit with a Fire Ring”
Types of Fire Pits
One of the advantages of building a fire pit – is individual creativity – You get to choose the type of fire pit that best suits your yard. Do you want to build a Round, Square, or Rectangular fire pit? Should it be above ground or flush to the ground? Incorporate your design aesthetic, the number of people you want to accommodate, and maybe most importantly – your budget into your fire pit design. Just get creative – and build the fire pit that checks all your boxes.
“The Round Fire Pit” [Above Ground]
The Concrete Paver fire pit design – is one of the easiest types you can build. A concrete paver fire pit also looks great on top of a concrete patio as well as a lawn.
“Ground Level Fire Pit”
Another option if you want to know how to build a fire pit cheap is to line your hole with bricks and small stones. This kind of fire pit won’t have any structure above the ground, but will instead have its top row of blocks flush at ground level. While not as attractive as some other options, a flush to the ground fire pit will work perfectly well and can be built for a very low price.
“Natural Stone Fire Pit”
For a more rustic looking fire pit, use flat natural stones to create a fire ring. This approach works best for a larger pit due to the irregular shaped stones, so plan on creating a circle of at least 3 feet in diameter.
Once the firepit hole has been dug out, begin stacking the stones around the perimeter. While you could stop with One Tier, this is one of those fire pit designs that are way more eye-catching if you add a few layers – making it 2 – 3 tiers high.
When finished building this simple fire pit design, you’ll be amazed by just how much natural beauty it will add to any backyard.
Fire Pit with “Matching Patio Pavers”
While all of these fire pit ideas are just fine on their own, you can add luster and appeal to any of them by incorporating them into a larger fire pit area. If you’re good at laying down paving stones, brick or gravel, you can create a patio area to surround your fire pit and give your guests a place to sit while they enjoy a roaring fire. Building a paved area around your fire pit can make even the most inexpensive fire pit look terrific.
An important part of adding a paver patio surround is that you pick the pavers that match the fire pit you want. For example, you likely wouldn’t want to use a patio paver made up of rectangular pavers built around a natural stone fire pit, as the two materials would clash.
Consider using a concrete patio paver (smooth or interlocking edgers) from a supply store that also has the same color as the fire pit pavers (with rough edges)
Here are Two fine examples of matching fire pit and patio pavers together
Add Feature Wall To Fire Pit
To add visual interest and additional seating options to a fire pit area, build a perimeter wall that partially encircles it. A feature wall makes a great backdrop and will highlight a firepit from the rest of your yard. Just check out these great ideas below.
More Fire Pit Options
Fire Pit Rings
Some folks wonder how to make a fire in a fire pit. We can confirm, that whether your plan is to build a Square or Circular fire pit – nothing makes building a fire faster – than using a Metal Fire Pit Ring.
A Fire Pit Ring can be purchased online or at any major home improvement store and replaces the work of lining the inside of your fire pit with thin concrete pavers. Heck, you already have the fire pit paver walls built – why line them with “more pavers”?
Fire Pit Rings can be purchased at Amazon in Galvanized Steel or Black Painted Steel – and will certainly speed up your fire pit construction time. Dig the hole, line the bottom with paver base, drop in the fire ring, add a tier or two of concrete pavers around the border – and that’s it – you’re done!
Trust Us – If you’re building a fire pit with pavers, the simplest way is by using a fire pit ring – and BTW – clean up is “WAY” easier.
Fire Pit Patio Furniture
A final consideration for creating a complete fire pit area is to choose patio furniture that fits it well. Keep the style of your fire pit in mind when picking your furniture out.
When it comes to buying patio furniture – Classic or Rustic furniture usually pairs best with a round fire pit of natural stone, while modern style furniture provides a more “high-end” look for square fire pits built of sleeker concrete pavers.
“Portable Fire Pits”
While having a DIY in-ground fire pit is great, not everyone is willing or able to dig a large hole in the backyard. If you want a fire pit without digging the hole, a portable fire pit may be your answer. There are any number of portable fire pits you can buy, including both wood-fired and propane-powered models.
Our personal pick for the best “portable” Wood-Fired model at Amazon is the 24” “Landman Big Sky” Fire Pit
While we think the Best portable Propane Gas fire pit is the “Outland Living” Gas Fire Pit
By the Way – The portable propane-fired Outland gas Fire Pit is the Perfect gas fire pit for Tailgating
See the 10 Best Gas Fire Pit Tables – For those who prefer to use LP Propane gas fuel vs. Wood burning
DIY Fire Pit Ideas
If you prefer to stick with the Do It Yourself fire pit idea, you can make your own portable fire pit from any number of suitable metal containers.
Commonly used materials for this purpose include old washing machine drums, car rims, and shopping carts. Generally, all you’ll have to do to turn a metal object into a fire pit is drill holes to allow for airflow.
As you can see there are loads of options for Backyard fire pit designs.
And now that you know how to build an inground fire pit of your very own, it’s just a matter of selecting a design you like – buying the materials and dedicating an afternoon for construction.
Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying evenings with your friends and family gathered around the warm and beautiful fire pit – that you built – for years to come!
Check out more “Gear” for Your Home at BestHomeGear.Com
Additional Reading & Resources:
Best Tips For Fire Pit Safety – University of Utah
How to Build Regulation Corn Hole Board Game – Besthomegear.com
Tree Branches in Way of Firepit Location? Best Cordless Pole Saws – Besthomegear.com
The Proper Way to Store a Gas Propane tank from – WikiHow.com
“The Best Cordless Leaf Blower You Can Buy” – Besthomegear.com
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