Summer is here! Our days are longer, the sun is shining and good times are upon us. The ultimate starter pack for a fun-filled summer is a good bonfire surrounded by great friends, music, and maybe some smores.
If you have a cottage or live in a municipality or town that allows for contained outdoor fires you can build an outdoor fireplace yourself without an expensive price tag. If you want to find if you do live in an area that allows for contained outdoor fires use Google or consult your local fire code to see if fire pits are allowed. If they are allowed, you need to find out next what the regulations are for its location, most cities require fire pits to be a certain distance away from a structure.
Now let’s dive into this easy 8 Step DIY Backyard Fireplace guide!
1. Get Ready
Now that you have found out that you can have a fire pit and where it is allowed to go you can gather the supplies needed for this outdoor project! You can get almost all the supplies from your local Home Depot, Lowes or even Walmart!
You, Will, Require the Following Supplies:
- FireBricks for the inner fire pit wall
- Bricks* (retaining wall bricks, concrete pavers, or specially designed fire pit bricks)
- Twine or string
- Tape measure
- Large shovel
- Outdoor fire-resistant mortar
*You want to buy bricks that are sturdy and long lasting like retaining wall bricks or concrete pavers. Most home improvement stores have bricks that are specially designed for fire pits. If the store carries these you want to buy them! You want to purchase firebricks as well as these will lay on the inner layer of the pit as an extra safety measure.
2. Create a circle
Once you’ve picked a spot for your fire pit that is up to code you want to then insert a stake into the ground where the center of the pit will be.
Then you want to tie one end of the string or twine to the stake and measure how wide you want your circle to be.
Note: a fire pit typically has a diameter of about 4-5 feet.
Once you’re happy with the diameter you want to cut the string and tie the other end to the handle of a trowel. With the string or twine taut, drag the sharp end of the trowel around in a circle, creating a line in the grass.
3. Get Digging!
Take your large shovel and start to dig out the grass inside the circle. The whole needs to be at least 6-12 inches for safety reasons. It’s important for you to call the city to send an inspector before you start digging to ensure that you will not hit any utility lines lying below the spot you’ve selected.
4. Get Flattening Tamp down the dirt
Use a tamp or the bottom of your shovel to start tamping down the dirt.
5. Use the Level to Ensure the Circle is Flat
Get on the ground with your level to ensure that the surface is flat. Bricks will only lay properly if the ground is level. If the ground is not level you’ll need to grab your tamp or shovel and keep patting until it is flat. Note, it may take 3-4 small adjustments to get it just right.
6. Grab Your Gravel
Open the gravel bags and dump them on to the pit, you want to put at least a couple of inches of gravel onto the dirt. Once you’ve put on a solid amount you want to begin to spread the gravel around evenly.
7. Begin to Arrange the Bricks
Once the gravel has been spread and is relatively flat you want to grab your bricks. Begin arranging your bricks into a circle. Once you have created your circle you can begin to start stacking them into layers. You can stop stacking the walls when your fire pit wall is at least 12 inches tall.
After the circle is complete we recommend you put in an inner layer of firebricks. These bricks are heat resistant and will keep the fire more maintained.
You also want to use an outdoor fire-resistant mortar between the bricks for extra stability. This step is optional especially if the bricks are heavy enough to make a solid stack but we recommend it for added safety.
8. Relax and Enjoy Your New Fire Pit!
Now that your fire pit is built you just need to gather the rest in order to have the perfect summer evening!