Earlier in the spring I came across a DIY fire pit post from another blogger. I pinned it and convinced Dear Husband that this fire pit would make a perfect addition to our back yard.
I’m happy to announce that our DIY fire pit is a success! We have had a few fires and many s’mores.
My original idea was to fill in the seating area with pea gravel. But after some calls to local dirt and gravel suppliers I realized pea gravel delivery is no small task. Plus, we would have had to dig out the grass or kill it and after seeing how hard the dirt was just from digging out the small pit, I wasn’t willing to go to that much work. Grassy seating area it is!
DIY Fire Pit Instructions
These instructions are for a pit approximately 4 feet in diameter. I say “approximately” because we bought enough stones to make it 4 ft pit but after digging and setting the first layer of stones, we realized we should have dug just a few inches wider. Each layer is one stone smaller than it should be. By the time we realized not all of the stones would fit we were too far in and tired to remove the first layer of stones and dig out some more dirt. I’ve never been much for precision anyway. I bet the guys who built Stone Heng missed the mark by a few inches and were like…”awww…f-it. Who ordered these blocks so huge? Their effing heavy! Just leave it; no one will notice anyway”
52 Retaining Wall stones $2.25/ea
3 tubes Loctite Landscape Adhesive $4.97/ea
3 bags .5 cu ft pea gravel $3.48/ea
Step 1: Pick a spot that isn’t too close to any trees or have any branches hanging near it. Pick a spot that is level (mostly). Once you have found the perfect spot measure 4 feet across and mark both ends with spay paint. Put a stick in the ground in the center of the two marks you just made. Use a string tied to the center stick to help guide you around your circle, connecting the two dots with spray paint.
Step 2: Start digging. A sharp shooter shovel works really well to make a nice clean cut into the dirt along your line. Dig down about 6-8 inches and remove all the dirt. Make the bottom of your pit as smooth and level as you can by using a board to scrape away the bumps and clods of dirt.
Step 3: Lay your first layer of stones around the edge of your pit. You may have to add or take away a little dirt under the stones to make sure they are level. There will be space between the stones and the wall of dirt. That’s okay.
So here’s how this played out for us. We put down the first circle and wondered why we could only fit 12 stones. We knew that the size of these stones made a 4 ft. circle with 13 stones. Well, when I dug out my pit I dug on the inside of my spray paint mark. I should have dug on the outside of the mark. Just those few inches all the way around made it so we could only fit 12 stones. At that point I was getting tired and not willing to pull out the stones and dig out a few inches all the way around. We adjusted the stones little by little until 12 made a circle and they were all touching.
Step 4: It’s time to stack the next layer of stones. Before you place the first stone, apply a few generous dollops of landscape adhesive (you will need a caulk gun). Stagger the blocks so that one block is on top of the joint where two blocks come together. Glue, stack, glue, stack, glue, stack. This process goes faster if you have a partner.
Continue until you have stacked 4 levels of stones. We had enough stones to make 5 layers. After making a fire, making s’mores and staring at it with my head cocked to one side, we decided 4 levels of stones is the perfect amount.
Step 5 (optional): Line the bottom with bricks. We had bricks left over from when we put up a fence that needed brick columns. Having a smooth, hard surface will make it a little bit easier to shovel out the ashes.
Step 6: Fill in the space between the stones and the inside of wall of dirt with pea gravel. Put down enough pea gravel to create a little border all around the bottom of your fire pit. It just looks nice and keeps grass in check.
You may be wondering…where did you find those cute red chairs? And where did you get those cool tree stumps that make perfect side tables? The chairs are from Lowes and were only $19 each. The tree stumps are from a friend who lost a big oak tree in the last ice storm and had to chop it down. Next time you have a huge ice storm, drive around town a week or so later and you will see these awesome logs sitting out in front of houses waiting for the city to pick them up.
This photo was taken before we decided 5 layers of stone was too much. Thankfully we didn’t glue down the top layer.
We have loved using our fire pit this summer. Roasting s’mores or relaxing with my sweetie; either way it was completely worth the effort.