how to build a fire pit

How to Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard for $50 or Less

Boy Scouts may have taught you to make fire with nothing but a couple of twigs—but if it’s ambience you’re after, we’d recommend something a bit more permanent. Follow these simple tips on how to build a fire pit in your own backyard without breaking the bank (or the law).

1. Do your due diligence.
Check the laws around fire pits in your city: Some may mandate that the pit be a certain distance from the property line, while others require a permit—which usually just entails simple paperwork. Also keep in mind that your homeowner’s insurance policy may ask you to disclose that you have a fire pit. Now for the fun stuff…

2. Gather your supplies.
To build a fire pit, you’ll need:
• 30-60 bricks, depending on the desired height of your pit: ~$0.50 each
• 1 bag of sand or gravel: ~$5 each
Landscape block adhesive: ~$6 (optional)
• Slate or field stone pavers for a decorative border: Prices vary (optional)

Editor’s Tip: Before heading to Lowe’s or Home Depot, scour your property and garage for any leftover materials from the construction of your house.

3. Find a spot.
Use common sense. Your fire pit should be a safe distance from your house and any flammable or combustible materials. And before you settle on a location, look up: There should be a clearing to the sky without any tree branches obscuring it. If your yard is small and tree-full, consider cutting some branches.

4. Break ground.
Dig a circular hole, approximately 3 ft. in diameter and 10 in. deep. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of sand or gravel until the dirt is fully covered.

5. Lay your bricks. How to Build a Fire Pit
First, place a layer of bricks vertically along the perimeter of the hole. Then lay three to six subsequent rows of bricks, horizontally, until they reach the desired height. For added stability, you can glue the bricks together—but our experts say it’s not necessary, as long as you occasionally check the pit’s structural integrity.

6. Optional: Surround the fire pit with found stones or pavers.
In addition to a nice decorative touch, this adds a protective buffer to keep marshmallow-roasting folks from getting too close.

7. Collect kindling and firewood, strike a match, and let ’er rip.
Hopefully you learned how to construct and light a fire at summer camp. A base of dry twigs and brush is ideal for ignition, and a few dry logs should keep your fire blazing for hours.

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