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How to Build a DIY Fire Pit

Looking for a perfect outdoor project to spruce up your backyard?  Learn how to build an Easy Fire Pit for your outdoor space using these simple DIY Fire Pit instructions.

It’s a perfect weekend project – you’ll be roasting s’mores in no time!

DIY Fire Pit Project
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DIY Fire Pit for Your Outdoor Space:

One of the items on our never ending to-do list was to build some sort of DIY outdoor fire pit.  We have a great outdoor area with a perfect clearing down by our dry creek bed just begging for a fire pit.

I knew it would be easy for my hubby to build a fire pit. (He loves this sort of DIY project.)

There just always seemed to be a more important project on our “list” and the Fire Pit project kept getting put off.

How to build a DIY Fire Pit

Until…  Last October, we had a multi-family camping trip. The park we stayed at had an amazing, big fire pit with lots of seating. We had such a great time with making s’mores, telling stories and just hanging out, my hubby got motivated to get our’s done in time for our Thanksgiving gathering. (Yay!)

Building the fire pit turned out to be such an easy project, we’re not exactly sure why we waited so long to get it done!  (Easy if you don’t mind a bit of shoveling dirt and unloading retaining wall blocks, that is.)

DIY Fire Pit

I’ve written up the instructions on how we made our fire pit.  I don’t have any photos of the building process. (He actually had it almost done before I knew he started!) But this type of DIY Fire Pit is very simple and photos aren’t really necessary. 

Important Tip Before Starting the Construction of a Fire Pit:

Check your city and local codes and restrictions to find out what is required for a fire pit! (all areas are different)

As an example, part of our local code says that we are fine if we are burning for the purpose of outdoor cooking, so we always have a pack of marshmallows or hot dogs nearby.  (Plus a garden hose for safety.)

Don’t Forget the Fire Pit Accessories

We had a custom grate made by a local welder for extra safety measures and *grilling.”

DIY Fire Pit Grate

 Similar grate on amazon.

And now we can cook sausage and beans to our heart’s content, redneck style of course…

How to build a diy fire pit

I searched all over the internet for just the right globe lights to hang along the path and throughout the trees.  Found them here on Amazon at a great price too!

DIY outdoor fire pit set up
how to build a fire pit

And of course, everyone needs a Telescoping S’more Roasting Stick!

How to Build a Fire Pit

diy fire pit from retaining blocks

Materials used in our DIY Fire Pit:

  • 68 12-in L x 4-in H Limestone Basic Retaining Wall Block ($1.98 each from Lowe’s)  This will give you a 4 foot in diameter (from outer edge to outer edge) by 12 to 16 inches tall pit.
  • Decomposed granite, sand or pea gravel.  You could get away with a couple of bags, but we chose to make a 14 foot diameter circle around the fire pit.  (For safety and aesthetic reasons.) We got 2 yards of crushed/decomposed granite for the circle and pathway and still had some left over.  It was $40 per yard plus delivery.
  • optional landscape retaining wall adhesive (we found this at Lowes too.)
  • Shovels, rakes, wheelbarrow and other misc gardening supplies, plus a very strong back

Building Instructions

Time needed: 10 hours.

Learn how to build an Easy Fire Pit for your outdoor space using these simple DIY Fire Pit instructions. (You’ll be roasting s’mores in no time!)

  1. Check your city and local codes and restrictions to find out what is required for a fire pit.

  2. Chose an open spot, 10 to 20 feet away from trees, bushes, grass and other flammable items.

  3. Use rake and or shovel to clear out grass and debris and smooth out fire pit area.

    If you are planning to create a circular sitting area similar to ours, you might want to mark out the area first using a measuring tape and marking the ground with spray paint.  (Have someone stand in the center of the fire pit area with the end of a measuring tape and the 2nd person can walk around at the desired measurement and mark the ground in a circle.)

  4. Lay out your first layer of retaining wall bock directly on the ground.

    The retaining wall block I linked to above, will form a perfect 4 foot circle when stacked angled edge to angled edge.

  5. Dig out about 4 to 6 inches of dirt from inside the fire pit circle.  

    (You may need to dig out more or less depending on your local code.)

  6. Stack the second and third layer of retaining wall block.  

  7. Fill the bottom of the fire pit with  4 to 6 inches of decomposed granite, sand or pea gravel.

  8. Add the 4th row of retaining wall block.

     We chose to glue the 4th row to the third row with landscape retaining wall adhesive.  If you do this, just follow the directions for the adhesive.

  9. If creating a seating area, add the rest of your gravel, back-filling around the fire pit.

    Smooth out the gravel, add chairs, outdoor string lights and enjoy!   (We found a resin version of these chairs at loves for much less $$.)

inside view of DIY fire pit

We are marshmallow roasting pros now…

How to build a fire pit out of retaining wall blocks

Now, if after reading all that, you don’t want to go through the hassle of building your own fire pit, Amazon has a few fabulous pre-made fire pits that would work just as well for a bit more $$.

So what do you think?  Are you ready to build a fire pit?

Like this project? Don’t forget to pin it!     

Want more semi-easy DIY outdoor projects? Be sure to check these out:

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