Guide: Building a Back Yard Fire Pit

April 24, 2023

A backyard fire pit provides an inviting and cozy space to gather around with family and friends, creating a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere for all. As a versatile and functional addition to any outdoor space, a fire pit can elevate your backyard’s ambiance, serve as a cooking area, and even act as a source of warmth during chilly evenings. This guide will walk you through the process of building a safe and stylish fire pit to enhance your outdoor living experience.


Step 1: Choose the Right Location

When selecting the ideal spot for your fire pit, safety should be the top priority. Choose a level, well-draining area that is at least 10-20 feet away from your house, trees, and any other flammable structures or materials. Additionally, ensure the chosen location abides by your local ordinances and regulations, as some municipalities require specific permits or have restrictions on open fires.


Step 2: Determine the Size and Shape

The size and shape of your fire pit should be determined based on the available space and your personal preferences. While round fire pits are popular, square and rectangular designs can also offer a unique aesthetic. Ideally, the fire pit should be about 36-44 inches in diameter, providing enough room for people to gather around while maintaining a safe distance from the flames.


Step 3: Choose Your Building Materials

The materials used to construct your fire pit will significantly impact its appearance and durability. Some common materials include:

  • Concrete blocks: These are readily available, easy to work with, and provide a clean, modern look.
  • Natural stone: This option adds a rustic, natural touch to your fire pit and can be sourced locally or purchased from a stone supplier.
  • Bricks: With their classic charm, bricks are a popular choice for fire pits, and they can be found in various colors and styles to match your outdoor decor.


Step 4: Excavate the Area

Once you have determined the location, size, shape, and materials for your fire pit, it’s time to prepare the area. Start by marking the perimeter with spray paint or landscape flags, then excavate the area to a depth of 6-8 inches. Ensure the base is level and compact the soil using a hand tamper or plate compactor.


Step 5: Install the Base

To provide a stable foundation for your fire pit, install a 3-4 inch layer of gravel or crushed stone, ensuring it is level and compacted. This layer aids in drainage, preventing water from pooling at the base of your fire pit.


Step 6: Build the Walls

Begin building the walls of your fire pit by placing your chosen materials around the perimeter. Depending on your design, you may need to use construction adhesive or mortar to secure the layers in place. As you build the walls, ensure they are level and straight. Generally, fire pits should be 12-20 inches high for safety and comfort.


Step 7: Add the Finishing Touches

Complete your fire pit by adding a metal fire ring or fire pit insert to protect the materials from direct heat exposure, prolonging their lifespan. Finally, fill the bottom with a 2-4 inch layer of lava rock or fire glass to create an attractive and heat-resistant surface.


Building a backyard fire pit is a rewarding and relatively straightforward project that can enhance your outdoor living space. By carefully selecting the location, size, shape, and materials, you can create a safe and stylish fire pit that will provide years of enjoyment. RiverBend Materials is proud to be a trusted supplier of quality building materials, helping homeowners bring their backyard fire pit visions to life.