How To Build A Fire Pit – Tips & DIY Resource Guide

BlazingOne of the things I enjoy most during the summer is sitting around a fire pit at night visiting with family and friends and having a nice fire going. Marshmallows and hot dogs always seem to taste better when they’re roasted over an open fire ;).

The good news is that they’re not that difficult to make and I found a bunch of different DIY tutorials to help you get the job done (and they’re all free too!).

If you want to build one in your backyard, check with your City or Town Hall first (or even the local firehall)–there may be a ban on open fires in your area which means you’ll never be able to use the pit as you wish.

If you’d like to build one for your backyard or out at the lake, here are a few DIY projects that show you step-by-step how to make one…
Easy steel fire bowl setup, HomeDepot offers this set of instructions (pdf). Simple to make, you just need some lumber, rocks, sand and screws (as well as the steel bowl and some tools).

Fieldstone & Concrete: A pallet of fieldstone and a bag of concrete makes the perfect gathering place for cool nights, project from HGTV.
Portable: Neat! Great solution for those with no yard, this can rest on a small table. Made with a metal planter & glass.

Simple Stone Project: Made with stones or brick of your choosing, Type S mortar, a 2-inch-thick layer of gravel on the dirt floor of the pit and topped with a grill.
How to Build a Fire Pit: This Old House walks you through the project step-by-step and advises lining the pit with a thick steel ring.

Better Homes and Gardens has this project for a basic (and cheap!) firepit using manhole blocks topped with fireproof brick capstones: Build Your Own Fire Pit.
Wall Block Pavers: A simple project stacking wall block pavers together and lining with heat resistant bricks.

Stone Project: Suggests purchasing palletized stone because it’s pre-sorted premium stone that is more uniform in size, shape and quality.
Quick & Easy: OldCastle landscaping blocks are arranged in a circle then a steel bowl set in the middle (includes a video tutorial).


Potential Problems: Issues include not setting up the pits far enough away from buildings and trees, but there are also environmental and social concerns that have caused some locales to ban them within city limits (you could trigger a neighbor’s asthma or allergies from the smoke).

If you are legally allowed to have one in your backyard and you’re confident there won’t be a neighborhood war if you build one, check with your local officials to see what their regulations are for how far to build away from the house (some experts suggest at least 10 ft from the house and 3 ft from outdoor furniture).

Safety Concerns: Since it’s fire you’re dealing with, you do need to take some safety precautions–you can find a few tips and things to watch for at HomeEnvy: The Magic Of A Good Firepit. Some rules of thumb for safety:

  • Build the fire pit safely away from the house, fence, trees, shrubbery and any outbuildings or furniture.
  • Whenever you have a fire going, make sure you have a good source of water within quick reach to put out or dampen a fire that’s getting out of hand.
  • Make sure to completely put out the fire when you’re done and never leave it unattended.
  • Don’t take any chances–if it’s windy out, pass on building a fire until the weather is better suited.
  • Small children cannot be allowed to run freely, it’s too easy to trip and fall into the fire.

Some of my fondest memories growing up include hanging out at our neighbors with a big fire going in their backyard…if you’d like to get to know your neighbors better and create some goodwill, this can be a great way to encourage more neighborhood socializing. Start up the fire, get out the marshmallows and invite the neighbors over and enjoy the company (bonus: the kiddos will have a hoot too)!

Related Posts


    • Jeff

    well i can’t wait for a nice warm weekend so i can get started on my firepit for this summer. my son is 3 1/2 yrs old and i think it will be great to roast marshmallows or even hotdogs like i did when i was a kid!

    • The Art of Doing Stuff

    Thanks for the mention TipNut! I plan on doing a bigger, BETTER fire pit this summer. 🙂 ~ karen

    • I Arlyin

    We made a fire pit out of a washing machine drum. We buried half of it in the ground and put pieces of concrete around it so it would look nice. Put oak wood in it and got the fire going and cooked hotdogs over the fire. The kids love cooking the “ol’ timey way”.

    • mykah

    my husband was wanting a fire pit very badly, but cheap ol me couldnt see spending that much money on something that wouldnt get used often…so he got fiddling around an made one out of a semi truck rim. he buried it and built up rock above and around it. the fire stays contained very well since its buried in the ground, the wind hardly ever affects it. i was actually very impressed with his creativity and guess what??? we use it almost every weekend with the kids! i love it now!

    • Kristy

    I am wondering if one could build a firepit out of an old metal file cabinet. I have seen several metal file cab. repurposing projects lately. Then I also saw a wheel barrow used as a firepit. So my brain started putting the two together…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *