Fire pits are one of the oldest concepts we have. They date back to the days when the fire was used for light, warmth, and preparing food. Of course, the function of the fire pit has now changed and while it’s more of a decorative feature than a practical tool, it’s still good to understand where they’ve come from.
A fire pit is just a hole dug in the ground with space for fuel and a flame. They’ve become increasingly popular over the last 5 years and there are now more fire pits in people’s homes than ever before.
Part of the charm is that you can build it all yourself. Some people really enjoy a DIY project and you can build a basic fire pit with no hassle at all. Even though it’s simple to create, it enhances your space and can really transform the look of your garden. Knowing you’ve created something which has had such a positive impact can be extremely rewarding.
Best DIY Fire Pits
There’s no hard or fast definition of what a fire pit is and there are a lot of different options out there. We’ve gathered together some of the best DIY options out there to give you some inspiration.
1. Circular concrete fire pit
One of the more traditional options is the concrete fire pit. This is really simple to create yourself and the end product is a stylish, completely contained fire pit you can enjoy at home. First, you need to dig into the ground about 6 inches and put your fire pit in it. Spread gravel around the outside and then build up concrete slabs all around the outside rim. This will eventually look like a well and the fire pit will really stand out in the garden.
2. Half wall fire pit
If you’re safety conscious then this option will be the one for you. You approach the half-wall fire pit in the same way you do the circular concrete fire pit, but you’ll also want to build a second, halfway about a meter further back. By adding some paving to the ground around the fire pit you completely minimize any possibility of the fire spreading outside of the contained area.
3. Gravel fire pit
This is a really simple option that really helps your fire pit stand out. All you need to do is set up a traditional fire pit as usual by digging down into the ground. Then you can surround the flame with some large stones, uneven is better, which gives a rough outline of the fire. Then, take the gravel and spread it around 50cm in a circle out from the fire pit. This defines the area and creates an elegant seating space to enjoy the flames.
4. Washing machine drum fire pit
This is an interesting alternative to the traditional fire pit which offers some distinct advantages. It’s simple to set up and completely cost-free because you’re recycling something you already have. Plus, compared to other fire pits this is much more versatile because you can move it to different areas as needed.
To create this fire pit you should first source your old washing machine drum and paint or stain it as appropriate. You should then add a metal stand onto the base, or buy one pre-made that it can slot into. You can then light the fire within the drum and it will burn hot for hours.
5. Cinder block fire pit
A cinder block fire pit offers some great style and considering it should only cost you $40 there’s some good value here too. All you need is 20-25 cinder blocks arranged in a square with some lava rocks in the center. You can find both cinder blocks and lava rocks at most garden centers.
A cinder block fire pit shouldn’t take more than a few hours to put together if you’re reasonably competent with DIY. This design offers a solid combination of simple materials that are robust and reliable. A practical alternative to a standard fire pit.
6. Brick fire pit
A brick fire pit offers you an opportunity to repurpose some old bricks that would probably have no other use. You’ll generally not need to go out and buy anything for this option meaning there is no cost associated with it.
You should start by digging the hole and laying bricks in the base and around the edge. You should then put them all around the rim, helping define the fire pit and give protection to stop the flames from getting out and spreading. It’s a simple structure, but quite sturdy, and the brick should provide a solid base for several years at least.
7. Tire rim fire pit
Another alternative is the tire rim fire pit which uses the rim from an old tractor as the base for the fire pit. This again, allows you to recycle an old piece of equipment that you would normally throw away and means this design won’t cost anything.
This fire pit is different from the others on the list because you won’t need to do any digging. You can simply set it down on some concrete or other heat-resistant turf, and start a fire in the middle. You may choose to place stones all around the outside of the fire pit to create a more solid base and give a less metallic look to the piece.
This fire pit is smaller than most of the others and therefore best suited for smaller gardens or yards.
8. Fire pit bowl
A modern alternative to the fire pit is the fire bowl. While this lacks some of the old-school feels of a fire pit, it’s much more stylish and can bring a completely different look to your garden. Plus, it’s fueled by gas meaning you can use it indoors because there’s no smoke.
You can buy a fire pit bowl or you can make it yourself. You’ll need a large concrete base to place the gas canisters within the bowl. These will be used to start and feed the flame once lit. Place small, round stones within the bowl until it is nearly full and then you’re good to go.
9. Stacked stone fire pit
The stacked stone fire pit is more expensive than the alternatives but if it’s within your budget you should certainly consider it. It’s well suited for a more traditional home and gives a rustic look and feel to your garden.
To create this stone fire pit you’ll need to purchase some large, thin stones to stack on top of each other. You should dig and build the fire pit as usual, but use these stones to create a base. There should be around 5-6 layers going around when this is complete.
This design takes you back to nature with something that feels more rugged. If you like the outdoors then this is a good option for you.
There are a lot of different fire pit models to choose from, and ultimately there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s all down to your personal preference but before you decide you should consider who will be using the fire pit, and how often. This will likely plan an important role in which type of fire pit you build and help narrow down the options.
As with any DIY project, there are a lot of benefits but there can also be some significant challenges so you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly. By finding the type of fire pit that best suits your home you can help minimize these challenges, and hopefully, you’ll be able to improve your garden and get more enjoyment from the time you spend there.