Outdoor Living

DIY Fire Pit: How to Build a Fire Pit

Jan 5, 2023

A firepit makes for a wonderful gathering place, and installing one is an easy afternoon project. Before beginning, choose your fire pit location a safe distance from any structures or low-hanging trees and check your local building codes for any restrictions. The style and shape of your fire pit will determine the type of wall blocks you'll need to purchase. For a round fire pit, you'll want trapezoidal blocks, which are smaller on one side. This allows the edges to fit snugly together without creating any gaps.

A square fire pit uses rectangular blocks and can be constructed in a variety of patterns with blocks of different dimensions. At The Home Depot, we have all the materials you need to build a fire pit and complete kits with detailed instructions are available online. If you're installing in your yard, drive a stake down the middle of what will be the center of your pit. Use marking paint tied to a string to draw a circle around the stake. The circle should be slightly larger than the outside dimensions of the fire pit you're planning to build. Dig out the entire area for your fire pit. You'll want to take it down to a depth of about 7 inches below grade. Using a hand tamper, pack the dirt solidly all the way around. Pour a generous amount of crushed gravel into the hole, so you're finished base will be approximately 5 inches thick. Wet the gravel thoroughly with a garden hose and then use the hand tamper to compact it into a hard layer a couple of inches below the surface.

We're building this fire pit as part of a new patio construction where the crushed gravel base has already been laid. Once you've decided on the location, lay out your first course of blocks snugging them together and using a level to make sure the height stays consistent. If necessary, add leveling sand or tap down blocks to even things out. After finishing out the first row, check the base layer in several places with a long level to be sure the structure is even. Then assemble the second level of wall blocks making sure to stagger the joints between rows. Bowls and insert rings come in standard sizes, so you'll need to choose the right one for the fire pit you're planning to build. After you've completed the second row, test fit the fire pit bolt to make sure the lip rests fully on the edge and adjust the positioning of the blocks if needed. If everything's fitting properly, remove the second row of blocks and add beads of construction adhesive to the bottom layer to bond everything in place.

Then refit the blocks and continue the process for the next row. A fire pit typically only has three or four rows of blocks. The bowl sits on top and can be removed for easy cleaning. If you decide to build your fire pit in the middle of an existing patio, this can be done. But, you'll need to cement your bottom layer to the patio to keep it from shifting. With your new pit finished, it's time to build a roaring fire and invite the neighbors over to enjoy some outdoor entertainment.

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