Warm weather is finally here!
Can you believe it?
After a long winter full of snow and rain, it's time to enjoy the outdoors again. We're all itching to get outside. Warmer weather means inviting friends and family over to enjoy outdoor picnics.
But something is missing.
A fire pit!
It's the perfect addition to any outdoor gathering. Think of all the family fun that happens around the fire. You could cook up some burgers and dogs or roast some marshmallows over your new fire pit.
But don't worry; you don't need to hire a contractor to build you a fire pit. A DIY fire pit is a relatively simple project. It's something that you can easily accomplish in a weekend. It just takes a little elbow grease and planning.
To help you build your DIY fire pit, we'll walk through the how-tos of the project.
Are you ready?
Grab your gloves and let's get started.
Step One: Choose the Location for Your Outdoor Fire Pit
This isn't the most exciting step of the process, but it is an important one!
You'll need to pick the perfect location for your fire pit. When deciding on a location, you should choose a location away from streets and roads. Keeping your fire pit away from the roads will make it feel more secluded and private.
You should also keep your fire pit away from your house and exterior structures. The open flames of a fire pit need open space to prevent any damage from smoke or flames. If it's too close to your home, it could damage your exterior or even catch your house on fire! Let's avoid that.
Your fire pit should also be located in an area free of shrubs and trees. The hot embers of a fire can spread to nearby vegetation. This is especially true if you live in an area with a dry climate. You should make sure to keep your fire pit away from vegetation, if possible.
Step Two: Choose Your Size, Shape, and Style
Believe it or not, fire pits come in many different sizes, shapes, and styles. It really comes down to personal preference. Before you start building your fire pit, you should do some research on how you want your fire pit to look.
Are you looking for a traditional style fire pit? Maybe you should go with a DIY paver fire pit.
Are you looking for a more rustic style fire pit? An in-ground metal fire pit may be best for you.
Or perhaps your style is more modern and sleek? A sleek, slate fire pit might be perfect for you.
Whatever your style is, you should identify your desired size, shape, and style for your DIY fire pit. In this how-to, we're going to walk through building a traditional, paver block fire pit.
Step Three: Gather Your Materials for Your Outdoor Fire Pit
Before you start, you should gather your materials. For your DIY fire pit, you'll need less than 10 types of materials.
That seems pretty simple, right?
Don't worry; we will cover accessories at the end of this DIY guide.
Here's what you'll need:
- Weed and vegetation killer
- Heavy Tamper
- A 6′ long 2″ x 4″ board
- Landscape Fabric
- Landscape Fabric Stakes
Now that you've got all your materials, let's start building!
Step Four: Prepare Your Outdoor Fire Pit Surface
Start by clearing any weeds and vegetation from your designated fire pit area. This starts your DIY fire pit off on the right foot. You can use a universal weed and vegetation killer to get the job done. Don't feel the need to go crazy with this step. You just need a footprint large enough for your fire pit. After it is cleared out, you should clear away any sod. Dig a level area 2″ to 3″ deep so that you can lay your foundation materials.
Step Five: Lay a Sturdy Foundation
This step is the most crucial to your DIY fire pit!
Without a solid, level foundation, your fire pit will look unprofessional. Not only that, but it may also have structural issues. Before you start laying pavers, you need to prepare, level and compact the foundation of your fire pit.
First, put landscape fabric down on the exposed dirt. Cut the landscape fabric to fit the area that you cleared. Use landscape stakes to secure the fabric in place. The stakes will keep the fabric from moving when you lay your gravel. It also cuts down on future maintenance; putting the landscape fabric down will help to reduce the chance of weeds and grass growing up through your fire pit.
Now you will need to lay 1″ to 2″ of gravel. You should leave enough depth for at least 1″ of sand. The gravel that you use should have jagged edges (like limestone gravel). You shouldn't use rounded gravel (like river stone or pea stone). Jagged limestone gravel locks together in place. Round pea stones roll and slide around. Using the right gravel will make sure that your foundation holds together.
After you lay your gravel down, it's time for sand. Pour at least 1″ of sand on top of the gravel. Using the 2″ by 4″ board, level out the sand by placing a level on your board. Once you level out the sand, use the tamper to compact it. After tamping the sand down, check to see if the surface is still level. If it is uneven, add repeat this process until it is completely level. Your foundation should be at the same level as the surrounding ground.
Step Six: Build It Up!
Start laying your pavers!
You'll want to overlap the seams of the pavers in a brickwork-like pattern. Doing this helps to reinforce the structure of your fire pit. Use your level to check each paver. Each paver and each level should be perfectly level.
Continue to add pavers until you reach the desired height of your fire pit. We don't recommend going over 2′ to 3′ in height. This height is enough to contain your fire while reducing the chance of any structural issues.
Step Seven: Add Accessories to Customize Your Outdoor Fire Pit
So now you've toiled away and produced your magnificent fire pit – but we're just getting to the good part: the accessories!
There are countless amounts of accessories available for your fire pit. Doing a simple internet search produces virtually endless results. But first, you should get a fire pit grate to keep your fires burning for longer. This grate will keep your firewood off the ground and burning hot throughout the night. With a fire pit grate, you won't have to work as hard to keep your fire going.
Looking to keep your woodpile organized? Get a firewood organizer and toolset to make sure you never run out of fire fuel.
Did all that hard work make you hungry? Get a roasting grill and hot dog skewers to make a delicious picnic dinner.
Ready to kick back, relax, and tell spooky stories around the fire? Grab an open-fire popcorn popper and some drink holder stakes and enjoy the rewards for all of your hard work.
Step Eight: Enjoy!
Congratulations on your new fire pit!
See, it wasn't that bad, was it?
Everyone can build a DIY fire pit with a little hard work.
So go ahead – light those tiki torches and take a seat in your zero gravity chairs. Invite your neighbors over for s'mores – or don't. Either way, it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your brand new DIY outdoor fire pit!