Make Your Own Fire Pit in 4 Easy Steps!

This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)       I've never been much of a camping person (I'm more of a "glamping" person for sure). I've certainly done my fair share of it over the years, but I have to admit that I love my outdoorsy events best when I can still end up in a real bed after a shower at night. However, one of my favorite camping-related activities is a campfire. It's warm, it's cozy, and there's usually some sort of yummy snack involved in the process.

Last fall we bought a mini portable fire pit for our backyard, and we liked it so much that we decided we wanted to build a proper fire pit this year so we could have fires more often. After doing some research, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's really not that hard to build your own professional-looking fire pit. It's a pretty easy process to plan out, and although it does take a bit of muscle to complete, it's totally worth a bit of cardio. Ready to create your own backyard campfires (and get an arm workout in the process)?? Good, let's get going!

This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)   Supplies:
-colored spray paint
-gravel to fill your pit
-shovel, mattock, or other digging tool
-concrete landscaping stones and metal firepit ring (optional). You can buy the stones by themselves or in a kit that comes with a metal ring.*
masonry adhesive
-rubber mallet 

Before you start your fire pit, you’ll want to check on the recreational fire codes for your area to make sure that a fire pit is allowed (you can call your local fire department if you aren’t sure). You want to build your pit at least 10 feet from any building structures, trees, fences, or other obstructions. Keep in mind also that you don't want anything hanging above your fire pit, so even if a base of a tree is 10 feet away, you don't want to have branches hanging directly above the fire pit.

*NOTE: You can get your landscaping stones from your larger hardware stores (like Lowe's or Home Depot), but make sure to also check smaller local hardware stores (and specifically stone and landscape businesses) to see what other types of stones are available. I got my stones at a local stone place because they had a large range of colors to choose from (and I like color choices!).  You can also either do two or three layers of stone, with or without the metal ring–it’s up to you and your budget.

This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)           Ok, let’s get to work!

1. OUTLINE YOUR FIRE PIT. Lay out the bottom ring of your stones in the grass where you want the fire pit to be. If you are going to use a metal ring, like we did, you can use that to build a few stones around to find your circle.  Remove a few stones so you have space between them, and use the spray paint to mark where the outside of the stones would hit. Remove those remaining stones and complete your painted circle.

2. DIG YOUR FIRE PIT. Use a shovel, mattock, or whatever other digging tool you need to dig out your circle 6” deep. Depending on where you live, this will be an easier or more difficult task. Our Missouri grass has crazy strong roots and we have lots of giant rocks in the soil, so this was quite an arm workout for us! 

3. FILL YOUR FIRE PIT. Once you have a 6” hole dug, you’ll want to pour your gravel into your hole until the gravel is level with the ground. The gravel will give your fire pit an important drainage area when it rains.

4. BUILD YOUR FIRE PIT. Place your first ring of stones around the edge of the gravel circle and use a rubber mallet to tamp the stones flat and even with each other.  Again, if using a metal ring you can keep that in the middle to make sure you are fitting your stones right up against the ring. When placing the second row of stones, place some masonry adhesive on the bottom of each stone and stagger the placement of the second row (the middle of each stone should sit on the end seams of the row beneath it). Use the rubber mallet to even and tighten the stone placement. Repeat the process with the third row. 

This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)         When you actually build a fire in your brand new pit, you'll want to start with a smaller collection of newspaper, dry leaves, and sticks all piled up together. Once you light that starter pile you can start adding bigger branches and smaller logs, and then move to bigger pieces of wood as those catch on fire. After you've had several fires, you'll want to scoop out (or use a shop vac to vacuum out) most of the ashes so they don't build up too high and blow around like little pieces of white ash snow. It looks cool at first, but then it lands in your hair, and you're like, "OK, not cool anymore…"

This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)   This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)      This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial) This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)        This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)           This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)               This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)     This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)              This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)  This would be great for the backyard! Firepit in 4 easy steps (click through for tutorial)          As you can see, we are loving our fire pit so far. It feels like it was just what our yard was missing and we didn't even know it! We've already had several fires in it so far, but our experience went to the next level of fire pit enjoyment when Josh built us a corresponding semi-circle bench. We'll show you how we made that bad boy soon.

Of course, you've got to have your campfire amenities, and for us that's a s'mores basket, mountain pie maker, and moscow mules. What do you think? Is this your year for a fire pit? xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes & Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella and Piper of the Signature Collection.
 

  • Wow! This looks amazing and so easy! I live in an apartment right now, but this is going on my home improvements list for when I finally buy a house. Great post and photos!

  • Laura! I love that your wardrobe mainly consists of black and white items and yet it is always different, always fresh and new. You know how to work the basics. I admire it so much!

  • It’s so frustrating that there is not more transparency with concern to budget in your larger DIY’s. I learn a lot from the budget breakdowns that Young House Love and similar blogs share and I think it would enhance the content of ABM’s DIY posts rather than a scale of dollar signs that range from $-$$$.

    This is a tutorial that I could see myself using, but it isn’t practical without knowing the investment involved.

    Sarah

  • Laura should do outfit posts, her wardrobe is a must! Love the fire pit, you guys are always doing something, can never sit still. 🙂

  • Hi Sarah!
    This is definitely a project that has a large range of price. Depending on how many layers you use, what kind of bricks you buy, if you use a metal ring or not, where you buy the stones from, it could be easily under $100 (especially if you use two layers and skip the metal ring) or even up to $400 (for certain kinds of stones from a stone vendor). That’s why I mentioned in the supply list that you have all those options because they all affect the price. Hope that helps!

    Laura 🙂

  • I love this! It’s perfect for a cozy backyard get-together. Thanks Laura & the ABM team! Posts like this (and pumpkin spice White Russians, and broccoli cheddar bakes, and every other dang adorable thing you girls/guys do) is why I love this blog so much!

    Laura, if I may ask, where did you get your shoes? They’re simply divine! 🙂

  • Do you have a link to that bench?? I have a firepit already, but would love to have that bench! 🙂

  • This sounds wonderful. When I get a home I definitely want to commit to this. I love firepit gatherings. I love your setup as well. Great work!

  • When my mom retires, she wants to go and live by the sea (her mom lives there). I’m SO building one of these for her when she goes. I’m kinda too excited about it, to be honest 😀

  • I was just going to comment on that amazing bench!! LOVE IT! Cant wait for the tutorial 🙂

  • Camper pies!! I am so glad you featured the wonder that is a mountain pie maker, and I can’t believe more people haven’t commented on it. I just discovered them this year, and they are glorious! We discovered you can do all of your camping meals this way (savory and sweet, and did someone say breakfast?). Please please have someone consider doing a feature on fancied up camper pie recipes – they would be so fun to do at home for parties. Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura,

    Thank you for your reply!

    While I definitely understand the flexibility in the budget, my comment was really towards lack of any type of cost breakdown. Of course I am capable of deducting the cost of a metal ring or deciding to go with a cheaper stone to fit my budget.

    Since you’ve gone so far as to beautifully photograph and detail the steps you took to build the fire pit, taking things one step further to discuss project investment would add to the plausibility of this tutorial.

    I think the disconnect is that budget may not be an issue for your project since it is more than likely treated as a business expense, however for the average reader to take your tutorial and make it their own, cost is a huge factor. It seems as though a lot of the larger DIYs are done for content purposes rather than reader usability. By omitting key details (budget, glazing over steps) it increases the likelihood that I will search out a similar, more detailed tutorial on another site.

    I hope you know my criticism comes from a good place. I love ABM and enjoy the tutorials!

    Sarah

  • Hi!
    Love the pit! Would also like to know more about the pillows? Are they outdoor fabric? Did you make them yourself? If so would you supply more information please.

    Marlene

  • Hi Sarah!
    I do understand your concern about cost. Like I said, that’s why I wanted to to show a range of options since our readers have different budgets for a project (and the same exact materials are not always available locally at the same price for all our readers). Also, I do spend a lot of time trying to be as thorough as I can with DIY steps, but if you have more questions about how to make one, specifics on costs or a supply that wasn’t linked, feel free to email me at support@redvelvetart.com and I would be happy to help. Thanks!

    Laura 🙂

  • I made a fire pit in our old backyard last year (we have since moved) and loved it! It was soooo easy. That is one summer/fall thing that I really, really miss when it comes to living in an apartment. It will most definitely be one of my first projects when we move into our own house.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Wow– this tutorial makes building a fire pit feel much more approachable for me! We have a giant backyard and have done nothing with it, both because it is an intimidating space, and also because time and cost, etc. The song of the masses, basically. 😉 I’m looking forward to the bench tutorial also! AND…pretty please tell us from where that stunning hammock comes!

  • My husband and I have been wanting to put a fire pit in our backyard! It’s like you are reading our minds! It’s surprisingly easy! Thanks for the tutorial! 😉

  • I LOVE your fire pit, and these pictures are amazing. Your blog was recommended on bloglovin, and I am so glad I subscribed. I can’t wait for the tutorial for the circle bench. Pinned and followed.

  • This makes me want a fire pit of my own, but sadly I wouldn’t be allowed to build one.

    Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

    xx

  • My husband just built our deck…and had a stamped
    concrete patio laid coming off the deck, its beautiful, we are so happy how everything came together, but we need to put in a fire pit. This is the perfect project for us to do together. Thank you so much!!

  • My husband has been wanting a fire pit for so long. We are renting now, but waiting closing for our first home!! I know he’ll love this tutorial. I love that bench! Wish us luck on closing soon.

  • Great concept with an easy build. The idea for the backyard to get the benches and set them up in such a manner is a fantastic idea as well for entertaining. I cannot wait to post up allot of the results between the above ground garden, this idea, gazebo, and other backyard oasis ideas that will further increase my interest with outside activities. Thank you for this in advance.

  • I’ve been looking at easy ways to build a fire pit for a while now and this guide is so perfect! I’m going to give it a go, grab a few benches and get the whole family toasting marshmallows! Maybe this will actually force my kids to go outside!

    Thanks for the advice Laura.

  • Oh wow, I’m gonna build myself one of these. I’ve been meaning to buy one for ages but never really thought about building one myself. This is going to be a great focal point for our next family get together. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • What a beautiful idea! Did you find that you needed to space the stones apart in a few spots to allow for air to flow through for the fire????