There are few things as relaxing as a warm fire on a cool evening. An outdoor fire pit makes any patio or backyard into a great gathering place where friends and family can eat, talk, or just rest by the fire.
While you can build a fire pit from rock or have one poured, this fantastic do-it-yourself version from the folks at Progressive Farmer magazine uses bricks or cinder blocks and offers clear step-by-step instructions and a materials list to help make your project both fun and easy.
The installation is pretty quick — you can build a fire pit in just one day — and doesn’t cost a whole lot, especially if you look for a sale on bricks at the end of the season at Lowe’s or Home Depot. You can even occasionally find bricks for free when someone tears down a structure or replaces their driveway.
Step 1: Preparation
STONES We built this fire pit from landscaping blocks. You can use field stone or other materials too. Do not use stones that have been submerged in water; they can explode with the heat of the fire. Concrete blocks may deteriorate from the heat, but they are cheap to replace.
DRAINAGE In the bottom center of the pit, we dug a fencepost-sized hole 2 feet deep and filled it with gravel. The hole works like a sump, helping to drain rainwater.
ADHESIVES We dry-stacked the stone. It's a quicker way to build the fire pit. If you have to replace cracked or broken stones, dry-stacking makes that job easier as well. If you want to cement the courses, lay cement down only on the outside half of the stones to protect the cement from the heat. Adhesives may melt and give off fumes; we advise against using them.
SAFETY This fire pit is built in a wooded area. Before we started the fire, we soaked the area around the pit with water. We also had 5-gallon buckets of water and a shovel handy to put out any stray fires.
What You'll Need
98 retaining wall blocks
steel pit ring with tabs
We bought the ring and grate as specialty items from a garden store. We couldn't find a place to order these pieces from on the Internet, so we'd suggest welding your own or having them produced at a welding shop.
The retaining wall blocks used in this project were 12 inches wide, 4 inches high and 8 inches deep.
We purchased about one-half ton each of sand and gravel.
Total Cost: about $500