Homemade DIY Fire Pit Ideas in 2022?
Anyone can build a fire pit! There are many types of fire pits. Most are simply an outdoor spots to build a fire and enjoy the warmth with your family and friends. There is nothing like gathering around the fire pit with a nice beverage on a pretty summer evening. If you design your fire pit carefully, and if you collect a few fire pit accessories or grill accessories, you can even use your fire pit as a grill to cook or roast food. There is nothing quite like a good piece of meat cooked over a real wood fire! And who doesn’t like roasting marshmallows on an open fire to make smores?!
Why you should want to build a fire pit in your own home?
- First, a fire pit creates a year-round place for you and your friends to gather! Don’t think that this fixture in your backyard can only be used during summer or springtime. Remember, the main point of having a bonfire is to keep people warm and that includes every season imaginable. Imagine how refreshing it is to not crowd inside your home if you decide to throw a party during the colder season! Everyone can enjoy warming and cozying up outside by the fire!
- Secondly, firepits are actually versatile. You don’t have to stick to the simple structure that you might have in mind as you envision a campfire setting. Today’s different designs can fit and look good in any backyard regardless of its size and space. You can go on a traditional route where you can burn wood or go modern with portable profane firepits that you can hook to gas tanks. If you want to go chic and extravagant, there are new generation pits that are called “smokeless” where in you are able to burn wood without creating too much smoke.
- Thirdly, as landscaping is an integral part of a home’s design, you can make your very own firepit the focal point of your backyard or patio! You can choose different structural designs that go well with your aesthetics. If you are leaning towards a modern look, you can opt to have a patio fire pit which is built from straight-edged, cleanly cut stones with different textures that will exude artistic and creative atmosphere. Or, you can be more bold and straightforward by using a simple cast iron or steel basin as your fire pit design. It can be rugged looking to depict a more outdoor feel.
There are some who opt for the simple build like using old brick and stone or even something as easy as a sandpit. So, whether you want to go rustic, classic, traditional or modern Zen, there is always a fire pit build that will suit your taste and practicality.
- Finally, it is pretty obvious that you can have so much fun cooking and dining outside using your very own firepit! The whole set up could be fitted to accommodate enough tools, utensils and space to have your very own outdoor kitchen. Once you have your grill grates, stainless steel pots and pans, foils and thongs, you are practically geared up to create a feast!
Keeping all of these points in mind will help you clearly decide on having a fire pit constructed in your property and it could be either a temporary or permanent one. After all, fire pit construction is not that complicated and difficult. Again, you have to consider the space where you want this place of gathering to be erected. It can be a small space that is featured in your patio setting or a huge, round gathering area smack in the middle of your huge lawn outback. Once you identify the exact location you want your fire pit to be placed and its size, you can now continue to begin researching the materials that you want to use and employ.
If you aren’t so much of a “do-it-yourselfer”, don’t worry! Some of these are pretty easy to make. But if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can find pre-made and portable fire pits as well which are easy, work well, and are the perfect solution for many homes.
Homemade DIY Fire Pit Ideas
Campfire or simple stone fire pits
If you have an open space and a non-flammable surface, it is easy and quick to build a nice site for a simple bonfire-type fire pit. If you get creative, you can even rig up a grill over it or a tripod for Dutch oven cooking!
Want to learn how to build a fire pit or campfire next time you go camping? It’s not that hard and you don’t need any fancy tools, supplies, or techniques! You can even cook on your campfire if you get creative! If you have a big enough backyard, you can build a stone fire pit there too.
The hardest part about making a campfire or stone fire pit is finding (or buying) the wood!
Here’s what you do:
If you have an open space with no flammable materials around and a surface you can light a fire on, you can simply build a stone fire pit on the ground. Appropriate surfaces would be dry dirt, gravel, or sand. It helps first to use your trusty shovel to make a small depression in the ground. This helps to hold your firewood and prevent the fire from spreading or falling to the sides.
Alternatively, if you want to get fancy, or if you don’t want to dig, you can find a bunch of large rocks to form a campfire ring to contain the wood and limit it from spreading. Simply arrange the rocks in a circle to build a stone fire pit.
Now your simple campfire or stone fire pit is ready to fill with wood and to ignite!
Campfires are fun simply for their spectacle, their warmth, their ambiance, and their aroma. But you can even cook on your campfire! There are several ways to cook when you build a fire pit or campfire but here are a few quick ideas. First of all, the simplest fire pit cooking is with long metal skewers. Load them up with whatever food you want to eat, game birds, hot dogs, sausages, etc…then just slowly turn them near the fire (not IN the fire or they will burn) until they are done! It’s that easy, but your arms may get tired. Roasted marshmallows can be made this way as well.
A slightly more elaborate way to cook on your campfire is when you build a stone fire pit. Bring along a grill grate (you can just pull the one-off your trusty old grill at home) and arrange the stone fire pit so that the stones are arranged just a bit closer than the grill grate. Once you have a nice fire going (or ideally when you have a good core of wood embers) you can throw the grill on top and cook your food! Even more elaborate is to rig up a metal tripod to hang pots or roasts above your campfire for some serious campfire cooking!
Safety Note: Never build a fire pit on or near flammable materials and if you aren't going to use a mesh lid or cover, keep your fire clear of flammable materials or structures so that burning embers don't hit them!
Temporary Cinderblock Fire Pit
A cheap fire pit barbecue is easy to build! You can build a fire pit based on this fire pit design. It’s temporary yet sturdy and you can use it as a barbecue as well to cook up some delicious grilled foods.
The general principle of the cinderblock fire pit is essentially the same as making a temporary brick fire pit. However, the added size and stability of cinderblocks over most bricks make this a great solution for a cheap fire pit barbecue.
Safety Note: Never build a fire pit or start a fire near flammable materials or on a flammable surface (like wood). Use protective equipment when starting fires and use a screen mesh lid to prevent flying embers from getting to flammable materials. I recommend building your fire pit at least 20 feet from other structures and avoiding overhanging tree branches.
What you will need:
- A pile of cinderblocks – The exact amount you need will depend on the size of your fire pit. With most cinderblocks, you will need about 2 to 3 levels of cinderblocks to make your fire pit the correct height. You can get these at most home supply hardware stores.
- A round piece of flame-retardant metal the size of your fire pit – If you are building your fire pit barbecue on a non-flammable and non-damageable surface (such as gravel or dirt) you do not need this. However, if you build a fire pit on your concrete or cement and don’t want to leave a big black char mark, then I recommend using one!
- Firepit and barbecue supplies – A mesh screen cover is optional but helps to prevent flying burning embers from hitting you or other flammable items. I also recommend finding a dome solid lid, like you’d see on a Weber kettle grill so that you can cook better by retaining heat. Finally, you’ll need a large grill grate big enough to cover the top of your fire pit barbecue and sit securely on the cinderblocks. Plan ahead so that your fire pit design is a size which you can find a grill grate and lid for!
How to build your cinderblock fire pit:
- Plan the size and position of your fire pit – Keeping the safety tips above in mind, plan the position and size of your fire pit. The size will largely be determined by the size of available grill grates and lids you can find, as well as your backyard. Estimate the number of cinderblocks you’ll need for your fire pit design given its size. I recommend a smaller fire pit (about 2-3 feet in diameter) because as a temporary structure without mortar, a shorter, smaller fire pit design will be more stable and less likely to topple. You can use your grill grate to mark out on the ground with chalk or pencil the size of your circular fire pit design.
- Build the walls of your fire pit design – If you are using a metal flame-retardant base, place that on the ground in the position of your fire pit. Now start laying cinderblocks in a circular shape around the base. If a layer does not fit perfectly, you can gently adjust the diameter so that your cinderblocks fit around the circle evenly. Don’t worry if there are small openings in the wall of the fire pit.
Once your first layer is complete, start the second, laying the next brick on top of the joint between two lower cinderblocks. After the first two layers, assess the height of your fire pit design. You do not want your fire pit too tall or you won’t be able to see your fire! Also, the grill will be so far from the hot embers that you won’t be able to cook well. With cinderblocks, they should be big enough and stable enough with one ring as the wall. For added stability you can always build a second larger circle around the first to thicken the wall and bolster it.
Your fire pit is done! Fill with firewood and light it up. When you have good embers glowing in your fire, you are ready to start cooking. Simply lay your grill grate across the top of the fire pit and start cooking! For some barbecue cooking ideas, go to our grill recipes page.
Temporary Brick Fire Pit
Want to build a brick fire pit? A homemade fire pit is easy to make. While permanent fire pit construction takes a bit more time and effort, here you have a simple fire pit design so that anyone can quickly and easily build a brick fire pit.
First of all, remember safety first! Never build a fire pit or start a fire near flammable materials or on a flammable surface. Use protective equipment when starting fires and use a screen cover to prevent flying embers from landing on a nearby tree or house!
To build a brick fire pit, you will only need a few easy to find supplies:
- A pile of large bricks or cinderblocks – It is best to use larger, wider bricks when you build a brick fire pit so that the walls of your fire pit are sturdy. How many bricks you need will depend on the size of your fire pit, the size of the bricks, and whether you decide to have more than one layer of bricks for the wall.
- A large round piece of sheet metal or other non-flammable material – This is optional. You will only need this as the bottom for your fire pit if you are building it on a surface which may be flammable or which you would not like to damage with the fire. If you are building the firepit on a solid, non-flammable surface like concrete, gravel, or dirt, you do not need a base unless you want to avoid blackening of the surface. The size of the metal should be about the size or slightly larger in diameter than the fire pit will be. To determine what size your fire pit will be, refer to step 1 below.
- A mesh cover – Again, this is optional but recommended to prevent burning embers from flying out of the firepit. Depending on the size, dome mesh lids can be found where you buy grill accessories and fire pit accessories.
- Round Grill Grate – This is optional but allows your homemade fire pit to double as an outdoor barbecue for fire pit cooking. The size should be about the same as the top of the fire pit and will help dictate the diameter of the fire pit. Again, grill grates can be found anywhere you buy barbeque or grill accessories.
How to build a brick fire pit:
- Plan your fire pit design and size – The most important first step is determining the size of your homemade fire pit. Measure the diameter (width) of the area you have available. How many bricks you need will be dictated by the size. For a temporary fire pit like this, it is best to limit the size as a larger structure will be less stable. If you plan to use your firepit as a grill, find a grill grate the size you would like. You can lay the grill grate on the floor to mark out the size of the fire pit. The grate must slightly overlap the bricks on the sides of the fire pit to be secure.
- Build the walls of the fire pit – If you are using a metal base, lay the round piece of metal on the ground. If not, mark on the ground (with chalk or pencil) the circular space for your firepit. Starting with one layer, arrange the bricks around the circular base so that they are just touching or almost touching. If your bricks are cinderblocks with holes through them, align the holes up and down so that the walls do not have openings. After the first layer is arranged, add layers, one at a time, with the new bricks overlapping two bricks in the layer beneath. Continue adding layers until the desired height. The height should not be too tall as it gets less stable the higher you get. Also, if it is too tall, you won’t be able to see or feel your fire as well. Also, a grill grate will be too high over the fire or embers to get hot enough to cook. Picture a copper or cast iron fire pit, they are not that deep! Keep this in mind when you build a brick fire pit!
Important Note: If you are using smaller bricks and/or have a larger sized fire pit, consider using an additional ring of bricks around the first to add stability and strength. As you can imagine, since this is a temporary fire pit and the bricks are not secured together, if anything bumps into them strongly, they can topple!
Now your fire pit is ready to use! Simply start adding wood and light it as you would for any fire. For tips on getting fires started, CLICK HERE.
Advantages and disadvantages of a temporary brick fire pit:
- Easy to make – No mortar, no cutting wood or bricks, no hammering. Just pile up your bricks or cinderblocks. Building an outdoor fire pit is easy.
- Widely available supplies – You don’t need a specialty store to find the parts. Any hardware or home supply warehouse store has what you need and they are inexpensive. And if you want to turn it into a fire pit grill, simply buy or find any grill grate that will fit on top!
- Re-usable – While it is a “temporary” brick fire pit, you can use it a few times and then dismantle it. Keep the parts and rebuild it whenever you want a fun outdoor fire or grill.
- Fire pit cooking – A fire pit is fun just for the ambiance, but its even better when you can cook a delicious meal on it. Building an outdoor fire pit and fire pit grill are just as easy. Simply plan the size of your pit so that you can find a grill grate big enough to cover it. Once you have your fire going and some good wood embers to cook on, throw your grill grate on top and start cooking! Replacement grill grates are sold just about anywhere you buy grills and barbecues.
Permanent Stone Fire Pit
A stone fire pit has a nice rustic look to it, the perfect complement to a pretty outdoor setting, the ranch or country home. We’ll divide the building of permanent stone fire pit into 3 parts.
Do you have a spacious backyard and want to learn how to build a stone fire pit which looks good and you can relax around or even grill on? One option is to hire a contractor or mason, spend a whole bunch of money, and have a stone fire pit build for you. Another option is to build a temporary brick fire pit. However, if you want to learn yourself how to build a stone fire pit then this is the place for you!
Depending on how “fancy” you want your outdoor stone fire pit to look, you can build a stone fire pit in several ways. Honestly, to really do it right, it takes a quite a bit of planning, hard work and supplies. But if you are dedicated to it, your stone fire pit will turn out beautifully.
Safety Note: Check with your local safety codes before building a fire pit. Some zoning areas will require safety and building inspection for any new structures, particularly a fire pit! Be sure to build your fire pit away from low hanging branches and at least 20 feet away from any flammable materials or structures. Using a mesh screen lid when you build a fire is the safest means of preventing burning embers from causing a problem.
Here are step by step directions to help make building an outdoor fire pit easier:
Things you will need
It’s impossible to give exact amounts for the stone, gravel, rebar, mortar mix and fire bricks because this depends entirely on the size and configuration of your fire pit. Plan a bit and try to figure out rough estimates. Also, bring your measurements to the supply store where you buy the concrete and stones and have them help you with amounts:
- Tape measure
- Can of spray paint
- Shovels (both spade shovel and flat shovel ideally)
- Trowel (optional but helpful)
- Mixing tool (such as a mixing hoe)
- Iron rake or other flat concrete tool
- 1/2 inch jointer (optional)
- Chipping hammer (optional)
- Safety glasses (for using with chipping hammer)
- Level (it helps to have a small one and large one too)
- Something to mix concrete and mortar in (a wheelbarrow works best for this)
- Wall stone – you can use anything available but New England fieldstone and/or Connecticut green stone are great choices for an outdoor stone fire pit. You could alternatively use brick throughout. You need both stones for the sides of the outdoor stone fire pit as well as “capstones” which are flat (at least on one side) to make up the top of the fire pit.
- Gravel mix concrete
- 1/4 inch rebar (reinforcement bar) cut into ~2 foot pieces
- Pre-mixed mortar mix
- Fire bricks
- Safety glasses
- Black stove paint (optional)
- Landscaping mesh and crushed stone or gravel or bricks and additional mortar (optional if you wish to build a seating area around your outdoor stone fire pit).
Planning and Measurement
- First find a suitable location for your fire pit. You want it to be away from trees and overhanging branches or powerlines. Also plan to place your outdoor stone fire pit at least 20 feet from the nearest structure. You also want the fire pit to be on a relatively flat surface. Ideally, grass, dirt or gravel is a suitable base for your fire pit. These will allow drainage in rainy weather. If you build it on a solid surface like concrete your fire pit will be a bird bath during the rainy season! It will also be more prone to wear and tear with exposure to the elements and may not last as long.
Plan the size of your fire pit carefully. Remember to leave enough room around it for people to sit on chairs or reclining lawn chairs. Also, keep in mind that the wall of your outdoor stone fire pit will be close to 12 inches thick, so measure out both the interior diameter of the pit, as well as the outer diameter of the fire pit wall. Finally, if you plan to use your fire pit as a barbecue pit for fire pit cooking, make sure you can find a circular grill grate that is large enough to span the inner diameter of your fire pit and will sit securely on the top.
- The design of your fire pit will be such that there is an inner layer of fire bricks which provides a flame retardant inner wall, surrounded by the face stones which will be the decorative stones facing the outside of the stone fire pit. The top will be covered by flat stones, the capstones, to make your outdoor stone fire pit look clean and even.
I recommend making your outdoor stone fire pit about 12 to 18 inches high with the wall 12 inches thick. If you make the fire pit too much taller you won’t be able to see your fire! Also, you won’t be able to feel it because the wall of the fire pit will insulate the heat from you.
Buying your Supplies
- Most of your supplies can be found at a standard home supply and hardware store. However, you’ll find the best selection of stones and brick at a dedicated masonry quarry or stone yard. If you don’t know where one is, look in your local yellow pages or on the internet to find one nearby. If you bring your measurements, they can often help you figure out how much stone you’ll need to build a stone fire pit. Also, most quarry will deliver for a small fee if you don’t have a large pickup truck or van to carry your stones yourself.
In picking out your stones, you will need both stones for the sides of the outdoor stone fire pit (face stones) and separate stones for the top (capstones). Choose stones that have a smoothly curing flat side to face out on the sides for the face stones. Choose wide stones with a smooth flat surface for the top capstones.
Most stone yards have either a bulk pile of stones to sort through yourself or pre-sorted pallets of somewhat uniform shapes and sizes. You’ll pay a bit more for the pallets but it saves time and effort.
Safety Note: Check with your local safety codes before building a fire pit. Some zoning areas will require safety and building inspection for any new structures, particularly a fire pit! Be sure to build your fire pit away from low hanging branches and at least 20 feet away from any flammable materials or structures. Using a mesh screen lid when you build a fire is the safest means of preventing burning embers from causing a problem.
Prep work and foundation:
- Use a hammer to pound one of the pieces of rebar (or any firm straight stick) into the center of the spot you will build your backyard fire pit. Then tie a piece of string to the bar near the bottom. Measure out 1/2 the outer diameter of your backyard fire pit all (for example, if the outer diameter of your outdoor stone fire pit is to be 5 feet, then make the string 2-1/2 feet). At the end of the string, at the distance determined (1/2 the outer diameter) secure the can of spray paint. With the string taut, walk in a circle while spray painting a circle on the ground. This will help you to make a perfect circle to build a stone fire pit.
- Next, use this circle as a guide to dig out an area 4 to 6 inches in this area. The dug out surface should be fairly level. Test with your large leveling tool to insure that you are level and make adjustments, moving dirt around as necessary to make the base for your outdoor stone fire pit level.
- Then repeat the spray paint trick with the string shortened to the diameter of the inner edge of the wall of your stone fire pit. So, for example, if your outer diameter is 5 feet, then your inner diameter is 3 feet (5 feet minus the two 12 inch wall thicknesses). Therefore your string should be 1-1/2 feet. This will create a smaller circle within your bigger circle, but with the same center point (marked by the rod in the ground).
- Mix premix concrete with water in wheelbarrow until it is a soft spreadable consistency (but not runny). Spread it in the area between the two circles (under where your backyard fire pit wall will eventually sit). Leave the inner circle free, to allow for drainage. Spread and push down the concrete using your mason tools (the iron rake works well for this) until it is about an inch and half below the ground level. Use your trowel to smooth down the concrete.
- Now place rebar pieces in the wet concrete and tap them in so they are completely covered in concrete. This provides support for your fire pit and prevents cracking during weather changes.
- Before continuing your backyard fire pit, leave the concrete to set fully. While this sets you can organize your stone and firebrick so it is easy to access. Leave room for you to work and for the wheelbarrow. Make sure to keep your side stones and capstones separate.
Setting the stone in your outdoor stone fire pit:
- Mix wheelbarrow of premix mortar. I recommend using just one bag at a time, using the directions on the bag, so that it does not dry out as you set stones.
- Spread mortar on the outer half of the concrete base with trowel and begin setting stones. Start with the face stones all around the outer edge, leaving room on the inner edge for the fire bricks.
- After the first row, place more mortar on the inner edge of concrete and start setting fire bricks. Set the first row of fire brick to make the flame retardant interior wall of your backyard fire pit. The inner edge of the bricks should be on the inner circle, at the edge of your concrete base or foundation. After setting the first brick, each subsequent brick should have a neat mound of mortar on the side of the brick to adhere it to the brick next to it. Push the bricks into the mortar and push them close to the brick next to them. There should be enough mortar to fill all the gaps. Tap the bricks with the trowel or handle of a tool to secure them snugly in the mortar and against the adjacent brick.
- After each brick is placed, use your level to measure across their tops to insure that they are flat. Tap them with a tool to adjust them until they sit level.
- When you get around the whole circle, if the last brick does not fit exactly, you will need to cut a piece of brick. Most of us don’t have a diamond blade saw or brick grinder handy. So if you don’t, you can usually make a pretty clean break in a brick with a stone hammer and chisel. Be sure to wear safety glasses when doing this so that you don’t get brick shards in your eyes! Cut out a piece of brick to fit your last spot to finish the first layer of bricks.
- Go to your next layer of face stones. Make sure to use enough mortar to fill all gaps but make sure it is set back enough from the outer edge of stones so that the outer wall of your fire pit will not get stained with mortar. You want that part to stay clean and pretty!
- Avoid weak points in your wall by spanning joints between stones with larger stones above it.
Some tips on stone setting:
- Choose face stones that have a smoothly curving flat face to point out.
- Incorporate stones of different size and shape into the wall of your backyard fire pit. You want as little free space filled with mortar in your wall so get creative and find good fits of stones like you would a puzzle. So pick stones that fit well together. If need be, you can shape stones a bit with a chipping hammer and safety glasses.
- Make sure each stone is as close to level as possible. Crooked stones look bad and are less stable.
- After each layer, use a jointer or other tool to dig out excess mortar which is sticking out between stones. You can then use a paintbrush or other firm bristled brush to brush the mortar joints to make the mortar smooth and even. This will make your backyard fire pit more beautiful.
- After each layer of face stones, follow with layers of bricks to catch up to the same level. Just like the stones, span the joints with a brick. In other words, place one brick over the joint created by two bricks on the level below it.
- As your wall is build, layer by layer, fill in the area between the back of your face stones and the inner layer of fire bricks with mortar and any junk stone you have (smaller pieces of stone that don’t work for the outer wall or which you have chipped off the larger pieces). You can even throw in other types of stones you have laying around since this “filling” will not be seen and is just there to make the wall of your backyard fire pit solid and add support.
Safety Note: Check with your local safety codes before building a fire pit. Some zoning areas will require safety and building inspection for any new structures, particularly a fire pit! Be sure to build your fire pit away from low-hanging branches and at least 20 feet away from any flammable materials or structures. Using a mesh screen lid when you build a fire is the safest means of preventing burning embers from causing a problem.
- As you continue building a fire pit wall, measure the height periodically. Stop when you are getting close to your desired height and test with capstones (the flat stones which will make the top of your outdoor stone fire pit). When you have reached the desired height with the capstones, you are ready to start setting the capstones.
You should plan on having two rows of capstones in one layer. The outer row will cover the face stones you have build up in the wall. The inner row will cover the fire brick so that the fire brick is not visible from the top.
I suggest setting the capstones in place without mortar first to make sure the whole puzzle fits! Try to keep the space between stones consistent and use your level frequently to insure they are level all the way around. Once your first capstone is leveled and set in mortar, use that as a reference to level all the others to. You can use a large (4 foot) level to do this to be sure the whole top is flat and level.
Before securing the capstones with mortar, be sure the space between the fire bricks and face wall are totally filled with loose stone and mortar so there are no gaps to weaken the structure of the stone fire pit. This also helps you get rid of all the extra smaller stones and stone pieces that are laying around!
- Set the capstones with mortar and be sure they are level. Smooth the mortar between stones with a jointer and brush to remove excess mortar so it is clean, even and flat.
Optional – Seating Area
- After building a fire pit, an optional seating area can be created around your fire pit as well. This can also be added at any time after you build a stone fire pit.
- Use the string and spray paint trick to mark out a circle around your stone fire pit which will be the seating area around it. With shovels, dig out this area to a depth of about 2 – 3 inches for a crushed stone or gravel seating area, or to 4 – 5 inches (the thickness of a piece of brick or tile) for a brick seating area.
- The simplest way to make a seating area when building a fire pit is then to layer the area with landscape mesh (cut with a utility knife; this prevents weeds from growing up). Secure and cover the mesh with crushed stone or gravel (this can also be bought at a quarry or stone yard or home supply warehouse). Spread the crushed stone evenly with an iron rake or other tool.
- If you decide on a stone or brick seating area, simply pave with mortar and bricks to fill in the area. For greatest strength and stability, dig it out even deeper and make a 2 – 3 inch thick concrete base or foundation with rebar pushed into it as above. Then build a layer of brick, stone or tile with mortar on top in one layer. Remember to use your large level to insure your seating area is flat and even!
- After building a fire pit, I recommend spraying the fire brick with black stove paint so that it is not obvious and blends in. This takes the focus of the bricks and puts it where it belongs, on your beautiful stone work and the raging pit fire you build! Be sure to use a piece of cardboard or masking take to block your capstones when painting so that they do not get painted too!
- You can place some river rock or other large stones in the base of your outdoor stone fire pit to both raise the height of the fire (if necessary) and to help with drainage. It also adds some pretty contrast with the outside stonework of the stone fire pit.
- As a final step after building a fire pit, rinse or wash your stone with water and a brush or towel to remove dust and dirt that has accumulated.
Your outdoor stone fire pit is done and ready to use! Building a fire pit is pretty easy, isn’t it!? Now its time to test it out with your favorite firewood.
If you want to use your outdoor stone fire pit as a barbecue pit, simply start a fire and get good hot embers going. Then lay a grill grate over your pit and cook your favorite grilled recipes on it! You can even rig up a rotisserie over your fire pit to roast larger meats like whole chickens, suckling pig, lamb or duck. If you don’t want to get that fancy, simply get yourself some long skewers and you can make hot dogs, sausages or s’mores by hand!
Permanent Brick Fire Pit
Have a home with a lot of room? Installing a permanent brick fire pit is not that hard. If you make it the right size and find some grill accessories, you can even cook on your firepit!
Fire pit construction is not that difficult, it just takes some supplies, some space in your backyard and a some time to work on it. Building a permanent brick fire pit is essentially the same as building a permanent stone fire pit with a few small differences.
I will not repeat all the detailed instructions for building a permanent fire pit here! For those detailed instructions, see my instructions for building a stone fire pit. Fire pit construction using bricks is essentially the same, with only a few differences.
Notes regarding brick fire pit construction:
1. To build a fire pit with bricks, you don’t need to find a source for building stone and don’t need to pick out suitable stones. So in a way, building a brick fire pit is easier and quicker than with stone!
2. You will need two types of bricks, fire bricks for the inner side of the wall, which will face the fire, and regular bricks for the outer wall. You can buy bricks at most home supply & hardware stores.
3. Building the wall of your fire pit is essentially same as for stone, using mortar to secure your structure.
4. The middle of your fire pit can be filled with more layers of brick and mortar; or alternatively, you can fill it with loose stones and mortar. If the thickness of your wall is not exactly an even number of bricks thick, don’t worry! You can fill in gaps with rock and brick pieces as show in the picture.
5. The cap or top of your firepit can be completed in various ways. You can use several rings of bricks as seen in this picture, or you can decorate the top with nice flat stones like Connecticut green stone. Get creative to make your fire pit attractive!
6. Keep in mind that if you want to barbecue on your fire pit, you need to make it a size that you can find a grill grate that will fit on top!
7. In working with brick you will frequently need to cut a brick to a smaller size to fill a gap in the circular fire pit design. Assuming you don’t have a diamond blade saw or brick grinder handy, you can use a stone hammer and chisel to make a pretty clean break in your bricks. Remember to use your safety glasses when doing this so no brick shards get in your eyes!
Okay, are you ready to start? Let’s go! Get started with the plans for Building a Permanent Brick Fire Pit!
Advantages and disadvantages of a permanent brick fire pit?
If well built, a permanent fire pit can give you many years of safe and comfortable fires. No more digging holes or wheeling around the portable pit. Simply build a fire pit and enjoy it for years. The only downside is that the space you devote to the fire pit is not usable for anything else if your yard is limited in room. Also, you need to occasionally dig out and dispose of the left over ash and debris to keep your fire pit usable.
What amount of room do you need to build a permanent brick fire pit?
That depends on the size of the fire pit you plan to build. In general, you want an open space quite a bit bigger than the outer circumference of the pit. It should be on flat ground. Also, it should be relatively open, without close overhanging branches or other flammable material nearby. Most people recommend placing it at least 20 feet (the more the better) from any other structures which may be flammable.
Can someone else build a fire pit for me?
Sure! In your local area contact contracting companies or masonry supply shops to find out people who have experience with this. There are many people around the world with experience with this. It is a relatively simple masonry task to assemble a fire pit so you don’t need someone that specializes in fire pits as long as they know the basic design.
Permanent Firepit Grill
A firepit grill is a open fire pit which you can also cook on, over a real hardwood fire. If you’ve read any of my site then you probably know that I’m a big fan of this style of cooking. It is the most primal, basic and natural way to cook food and the real hardwood gives off such a great aroma and flavor.
The problem of open fire pit cooking
Despite the ideal advantages of cooking over a real fire, for ease of cooking and to save time, charcoal and gas grills are usually preferred because they are quicker to get going and less messy. The problem is that a fire pit grill takes some prep time. You can’t really cook over the open flames directly above the fire because the active flames will quickly burn your food before it is done on the inside. Ideally, you want to burn a lot of wood a long time to create a nice bed of hot embers to cook over. This takes some time to develop. Many fire pits won’t even have room for a grill to be laid on top with a big pile of wood anyway, you’ll have to wait until the firewood has burned down to fit it on.
Another problem is that once your wood has burned down to nice, hot, glowing embers, the heat starts to fade. So you can quickly cook a handful of items, but for longer cooking times the heat will fade (although stirring the embers a bit occasionally to get more oxygen to them can help prolong the heat).
Finally, most outdoor fire pits are quite large and will not fit a standard sized grill over it. Some people resort to having a metal worker weld a custom one, fitted to the size of their firepit, but this can be difficult or expensive.
So if you want to cook regularly on an open firepit grill but want to avoid many of the problems discussed above, you can design and build a firepit which solves some of the common difficulties of cooking over an open fire. You will be designing and building a brick or stone firepit much in the same way as is discussed in detail on Outdoor Stone Fire Pit. But instead of planning and marking a circular footprint for your pit like this:
You will instead plan two intersecting circles that overlap a bit like this:
They should only overlap slightly and one should be smaller than the other. The smaller one should be measured out to be just smaller in its inner diameter than a standard round grill grate. For example, the most widely available round grill grate is the Weber grill grate made for the Weber kettle grills. These grills are made in 18-1/2″ and 22-1/2″ diameters. So plan the inner diameter of the smaller circle to be just smaller than one of these sizes. Just the inner diameter should be this size, the inner most edge of your finished bricks or stones that will cap your fire pit grill. The fire pit can then be built to have these two connected circles with the smaller one accommodating the grill grate which can rest right on top of the fire pit rim, like this:
The advantage of this type of firepit grill is that you can have your regular fire going in the larger pit at all times. As you develop hot embers in the bottom of the pit, you can push them over with a long implement into the smaller circle (or use a tongs or shovel to transfer them). You then simple cover the smaller section with the grill and you can grill over the hot hardwood embers! As the heat fades, you can periodically transfer more embers from the fire to your cooking area. This way you can keep your big fire going continuously, out of the way of your cooking area, and you can have a continuous source of new hot embers to cook with. You can theoretically keep cooking indefinitely! Assuming you have enough firewood.
Good luck building your own firepit grill!
Parrilla-Styled Homemade Grill
Have you been thinking about building a homemade grill? Well, I’ve got an inspiring story for you to set you on the right foot towards home grilling heaven!
I get introduced to some very interesting folks through this site of mine. A while back, I was contacted by a gentleman who has lived for some time in Panama. He’s been a grilling lover for years but was unhappy with the gas grill he was using for a while. Rather than buy a charcoal grill like the rest of us, he decided to go all out and build a grill. Not only that, but he designed the thing and built it from scratch!
He ended up making a lovely parrilla-styled grill. A parrilla is a South American style grill, particularly prominent in Argentinian cooking. It is basically an open brick fireplace with a grill that can be raised and lowered over the fire. My friend Ken must have some experience with engineering because he designed and built a beauty! I’m quite jealous of this beautiful grill and amazed at the versatility it has.
One of the nice things about a homemade grill like this one is that you can use just about any type of fuel source. Charcoal, firewood, smoking woods can all be easily tended in the open-front fireplace grill. And because the grill is adjustable, you can get it to just the right height to keep your cooking temperature right where you want it. Usually, these adjustable type grills are primarily for direct heat cooking but Ken solved that problem as well. He crafted a big rectangular grill lid with a thermometer that he can place on top of the grill to hold in heat and smoke so that he can even do slow cooking barbeque and smoking on this thing! As if that weren’t enough, he can also raise the grill out of the way and attach a motorized rotisserie!
Below are his pictures and descriptions of the homemade grill he built. On How to Build a Parrilla Grill page I even have the original plans he designed and used to build the grill.
Courtesy of Ken Barger.
Parrilla-Styled Homemade Grill: Concrete Block & Fire Brick Grill
The fire is usually started and maintained on the right side. When the coals are ready they are spread below the cooking grate at the left, the grilling area. A small number of coals are kept at the right so that, if needed, extra wood or coals can be added to prepare for later use.
Underneath, the two red 30 gal plastic containers are for storing hard and medium hardness charcoal. To the left is a chimney, and an area for storing dried hardwood for smoking and cooking.
Dimensions of grill:
Total: 86″ height x 66″ width
Grill Surface: 36″ length x 24″ width
Min. Lowered Grate Surface: 2″ from bottom
Max. Raised Grate Surface: 27″ from bottom
Close up views of the cooking grate:
As you can see there are two cables, located at the center on each side of the grate. The grate is balanced by 2, 3-inch angle iron guides attached at the center on each side of the grate and run along the sides of the two rectangular beams. A 3 link chain is welded on the grate at the center and is connected to a cable that runs parallel alongside the rectangular beams. At the top, the cables are attached to pulleys. A ½ inch steel bar slides through each pulley and also the rectangular beams.
View from the side:
A lockable hand crank on the outside allows you to adjust the height of the cooking grate.
Lighting and exhaust:
There are two switches.
One is for the two adjustable overhead lights for evening grilling. Each light can be adjusted to one’s liking; one on the cooking grate and the other over the extra wood or coals to the right.
The other switch is for the exhaust fan which is located inside the vent at the top.
When using the rotisserie, the cooking grate is moved to the top.
Motor: Stainless steel casing gear rotisserie motor, load weight up to 50 lb test.
Bar: Stainless steel 1/2´´diameter x 4 ft length. The bar is 17´´from the bottom.
Forks: Stainless steel heavy duty, 4-prong meat forks.
For smoking or indirect cooking, a metal box is positioned on top of the cooking grate.
Material: 16 gauge steel
Dimensions: 30´´ length x 20´´ wide x 11´´ height.
Thanks again to Ken for sharing his beautiful Parrilla homemade grill with us! If you would like to see his original plans for this grill, see the build a grill page.
Other Homemade Fire Pit Options
Don’t like the fire pits you’ve seen so far but still would rather not buy a pre-made fire pit? Here are a few more creative options for how to build a fire pit that may work for you!
Do you want a cheap fire pit? Want to build a homemade fire pit but don’t have any construction skills? A DIY fire pit is easy and cheap if you just get creative! Here you’ll find interesting new ideas for how to build a fire pit without spending a lot of money and without a lot of work. If you get really creative you can even make a barbecue pit that you can grill food on!
Here’s a creative fire pit that didn’t cost a penny for the folks on this great farm!
- Tractor Tire Rim Fire Pit – Yup! Its as simple as that! Find yourself a big rim from a tractor tire and lay it down on its side. Finding one might be a bit easier for you country folks. But if you live in the city, you can often find junk dealers or junk heaps where you can find an old rusty tire rim or buy one for dirt cheap. Just lay that rim down on its side on a non-flammable surface (concrete, gravel or dirt works fine). Surround it with large stones or bricks, what ever you have available, to keep it from moving around. If you are on a surface that you don’t want to “blacken” then just lay down a piece of fire-resistant metal underneath first to protect your floor. Thats it! Throw in your wood and kindling and you’ll have yourself a nice bon fire in no time! If you can find a grill grate that is slightly larger than the top of the tire rim, you can lay it on top and grill a delicious meal right on your cheap fire pit. Important note: if you are going to build a fire without a mesh lid to protect from flying embers which could ignite flammable materials nearby, make sure to place your fire pit far away from structures or trees which could catch fire!
- Washing Machine Drum Fire Pit – One Flame Gorilla© visitor told me that he made a fire pit out of the inside drum of a discarded washing machine. He simply buried it about 12 inches and placed stones around it and voila! a free, easy fire pit to enjoy! Getting creative like that is a perfect way to save money and still have a functional and fun outdoor fire pit.
- Stone fire pit – The ultimate in cheap fire pits. If you have a big enough space and the area is free of flammable stuff, simply dig a small depression in the dirt or gravel, surround it with stones and throw in your firewood! Its as simple as that. Again, be sure there are no flammable materials around which could be ignited by the fire or flying embers. If you choose the size of your rocks well (you’ll need big ones) and you make the size right, you can even lay a grill grate on top of your homemade fire pit to barbecue great food over your fire!
Firepits are great focal points and can add extra value to your home and property. It can provide ambient lighting for events as well as be a focal point in your house which will definitely spark interest amongst your guests. Most of all, it is a wonderful place wherein you can continue making memories with family as well as create traditions with stories being told over marshmallow’s on sticks, melting over some good milk chocolate sandwiched between crispy graham crackers!
If you’re unsure about how to start going about the construction aspect of your dream fire pit design, then these different types of homemade fire pits can definitely help lead you in the right direction. There are a lot of options and it does not matter if you are a DIY person or not. You can simply scan this list of Homemade DIY Fire Pit Ideas and start on which build you see comfortable and fun to begin with.