Sunday Funday: A DIY Fire Pit

A few Sundays ago, the sun was out and we had the urge to be outside! Chris is currently dreaming up deck plans, but that wasn't going to be constructed in a Sunday. So, we decided to build a permanent fire pit! 

We started out by looking at a variety of different tutorials online. A simple search on Pinterest or Google will yield a variety of different options varying from simple to elaborate fire pit setups. We decided a more simple approach would work for us and decided we can always get fancier later if we want.

Fire pit kits at places like Home Depot will cost you about $300. Although these do come with a metal insert, it seemed like a lot of money. Instead, we spent about $80 ($81.29 to be exact) and were able to construct a perfectly functional fire pit.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 45 - Landscape Retaining Wall Stones ($1.30/piece @ Home Depot)

These babies will require some heavy lifting! Chris had to load and unload these from the pallet to the cart, the cart to the car, the car to the backyard! They are 22 pounds a piece, so he definitely got a work out in during this part of the project.

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  • 6 bags -  Paver Base ($2.98/bag @ Home Depot)

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  • 1 tube - Landscape Adhesive ($4.97/tube @ Home Depot)

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After reading the various tutorials, we decided to combine information and devise our own strategy. First, Chris put a stick in the center of the area where we wanted the fire pit to be. Then he measured out a piece of string to 1.5 feet. He tied it to the stick and then to a can of spray paint. Then he walked in a circle to create an outline for the pit. This created a guideline for a 3 foot diameter fire pit. 

Tutorials advised to then dig a 4-6 inch hole. Keep the extra dirt in case you need it to help level out the first row of stones. We then filled the hole with the paver base and smoothed it out. Now you are ready to start laying the landscape stones.

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You will see that each of the stones we bought has a cement lip. You will want to remove that part off using a chisel and hammer to get the stones to lay more flush with each other. There may also be stones without this feature that you can purchase. These stones were the cheapest option! Chris made sure the bottom row stones were all level by using a level and packing some dirt and paver underneath to raise the ones he needed to.

You will see that our stones don't perfectly touch each other in all areas. If you look at the fire pit kits, you'll see the stones are designed to fit together more tightly. You can certainly play around with the layout of the stones a bit before you commit on the size of your fire pit. If having the pieces perfectly fit together is a priority, you could accomplish that using these stones by making a smaller circle. Looking back on it, we didn't spend much time thinking about which way to lay down the stones, but ultimately it turned out okay.

We continued layering the stones and used the landscape adhesive to secure the top layer of stone. In a few short hours, we had a working fire pit for a very reasonable price! 

We put it to use for the first time this past weekend at Chris's Dad's 60th Birthday Party! It was a hit with our guests and we can't wait to use it more this Spring and Summer!

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