How To Build A Fire Pit

Last Updated February 26, 2021 By Bella Zinti

Outdoor heating fire pits are great backyard entertaining needs for every family. There is something about cozying up next to the warm fire with friends and family. Whether is chatting over some drinks or roasting marshmallows, fire fits are a great addition to your outdoor living area.

Building your own backyard fire pit isn't as challenging as it may seem. With the right materials, a sunny afternoon, and a little elbow grease, you can build your very own DIY fire pit in no time! 

Below, we'll highlight an easy and affordable DIY fire pit idea and offer step-by-step instructions on how to build a fire pit. Time to roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and get started! 

Step-By-Step Instructions for How to Build a Fire Pit


Before you start building your DIY fire pit, you'll need to gather the following tools and materials:

  • Heat-resistant stone blocks for the sides
  • Metal fire pit ring insert
  • Fire brick or square concrete pavers for the bottom
  • Pea gravel or lava rocks to fill in the gaps
  • All-purpose sand
  • Construction adhesive


  • Shovel
  • Level

Step 1— Safely Plan Your Fire Pit in your outdoor living space

To ensure your fire pit is safe and enjoyable for your family to use, it's imperative to plan the location and layout of your pit properly. The improper placement could lead to a major fire hazard. Your fire pit site should be near a hose spigot or other water source in case of emergency. 

For safety reasons, your fire pit needs to be at least 15 feet from your home or any other large structures. Avoid areas with large trees or bushes, low-hanging limbs, or any other objects that could potentially catch fire. Be sure there is enough room around the fire pit to place chairs or benches at a safe and comfortable distance from the fire. 

Your fire pit should also be on level ground. Not only does a level surface make building easier, but it also makes it more comfortable for your family to sit around. Uneven ground leads to spilled drinks, tipped-over chairs, and potential fire hazards that can easily be avoided. 

Step 2— Properly Prepare the Area 

Before you start building, you'll want to mark out the layout of your fire pit. Remember, your fire pit's size is determined by the size of the metal fire pit ring you purchased. The optimal size for a fire pit ring is between 36 and 44 inches. While adding the metal fire pit ring may seem like an unnecessary step, it helps to extend the life of your fire blocks by preventing them from drying out.

Place the fire pit ring and the surrounding retaining blocks in the location you plan to place your fire pit to ensure it's the perfect spot. Once you've finalized the site, mark the outside of the circle with stakes, paint, or a shallow ring with the edge of the shovel. 

Step 3— Create A Solid Base 

Next, dig a seven-inch hole inside the area you just marked. If you're building your fire pit on grass, you'll need to remove all sod inside the marked area. Compact the soil using a hand tamper or some good old-fashioned stomping. Use a level to ensure the site is entirely flat and adjust as needed. 

Then, line the hole with a one to two-inch layer of sand. Spread evenly with a garden rake and compact the gravel base. Once again, you'll want to use a level to double-check the area is completely flat before moving onto the next step. 

Step 4— Build Your Fire Pit 

Now that you've created a solid foundation, it's time to begin placing your fire pit blocks. Start by laying the first row of blocks in place, forming a circle around the edge of the hole. Be sure the stones are touching and that there are no large gaps between them. 

Place the metal fire ring insert inside the base layer of blocks, ensuring the blocks fit snugly against it and that the fire pit area is still completely level. Set the metal ring aside until you've finished stacking the bricks. Next, stack the second row of blocks in place, staggering them with the first layer. 

Once you've determined the correct placement, it's time to add construction adhesive between each brick for additional support. Remove one stone at a time, apply a strip of landscape adhesive between the two layers, and reposition the blocks. 

Use the same staggering technique to place the third row of blocks. Apply landscaping adhesive between the second and third layers, giving it adequate time to cure before moving on. 

Step 5— Install the Metal fire pit Ring Insert

Once your blocks are securely in place, set the metal fire pit ring inside the fire pit. Lay the fire bricks or pavers in the bottom of the hole, covering as much of the sand beneath as possible. Fill in the gaps using pea gravel or lava rocks. 

Step 6— Enjoy Your DIY Fire Pit 

Now that you've finished building your backyard fire pit, it's time to kick up your feet and bask in your accomplishments. Light a fire, roast some s'mores, and enjoy the warmth of your new DIY fire pit. 

Fire Pit Rings and Inserts Buyer Guide

One of the important materials you do not want to skim on or leave out is the fire pit insert or fire ring because it helps stone fire pits last longer. Both the rings and inserts come in various shapes and sizes, levels of quality, and unique features. Prior to looking for fire pit rings and inserts, understand which one you need first. Then measure your design and get an idea of what size you will need to build your pit. If you can't find fire pit inserts that you want, custom options are available. Now, let's determine which you will need:

Fire Pit Rings

Fire pit rings are simply a section or sections of metal fabricated sheets that go around your fire pit in the ground. They do not have a bottom, so your burning woods will be sitting directly on the ground.

When purchasing for fire pit rings, you want to look for galvanized fire rings, so it doesn't rust out quickly. While titian fire pit rings are a more reasonable price, they are thinner and less durable than stainless steel or metal material.

Fire Pit Ring Inserts

Ring insert is used as an i nsert for your DIY fire pit projects using brick or stone around it to make a wood-burning pit. Unlike fire pit rings, the ring inserts have a rim or "lip" on top to allow you to build stone or brick around the fire rings. Some inserts have a bottom that holds the content off the ground and creates an ideal environment for burning woods.

When looking for a fire pits ring insert, go for a thicker insert. The thicker it is, the higher the quality, and it provides a higher level of protection, which helps with durability.


Remember to follow the proper safety precautions when using your fire pit. Place outdoor furniture at least 6 feet from the fire to prevent burns from wind gusts and crackling embers. Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby in case of emergency. Be sure never to leave your fire pit unattended and always fully extinguish your fire when you're finished using it. 

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.


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