Fire PitThere’s something about an open fire that just feels right. Whether it’s the sight of the flickering flames, the warmth of the fire or the scent of burning wood, almost everybody enjoys sitting around an open fire. Fortunately for some of us, we don’t have to be camping in the woods to enjoy a fire; we can build a fire pit in our yard and enjoy a fire whenever we want.

Building a fire pit isn’t expensive or overly hard, and it’s well within the skill set of virtually any DIY’er. Here’s how to go about building your own backyard fire pit.

Check local building codes and find a location.

  • Before starting to build your fire pit, check with your city or town hall to find out if there are any restrictions on building a fire pit in your area. Some areas do restrict open fires, so it’s best to check before you build.
  • Assuming you can legally have a fire pit, choose a good location for it. You want your pit to be on relatively level ground, well away from your house, trees, shrubs and any outbuildings. Also, have the local utilities come and mark the locations of their facilities on your property so you don’t damage them while building your fire pit.

Build your fire pit.

  • After you’ve found the perfect location, mark the outline of the pit on the ground with spray paint or even flour. (A garden hose makes a great circle template.) A manageable size for your fire pit would be a circle about 2 to 3 feet in diameter.
  • Now comes the hardest part;, you need to dig the pit area down about 12 inches. After digging the soil out, half fill the hole with about 6 inches of pea gravel to form a fireproof base that will drain well.
  • For a natural look, line the sides of the pit with stones from your area or you can simply use concrete pavers from a home store to form the sides.
  • Next, add another two to three inches of sand to hold the rocks or pavers in place, then dry stack on another course of stones or pavers to build up the sides. Dry stacking is the better way to build your walls since, over time, mortar or adhesives will crack and break down from the heat of the fire.
  • That’s it. Now all you have to do is wait for a calm day and enjoy your first fire in your own backyard fire pit.

Stay safe around your fire pit.

  • Make sure you have a ready source of water close to your fire pit whenever you’re enjoying a fire.
  • Never leave the fire unattended, and be sure you put it completely out when it’s time to go in.
  • Always keep a watchful eye on any children around the fire. Don’t let them run close to the fire, it’s too easy to slip and fall in.