Originally Published on March 26, 2020. Last Updated on August 9, 2023.
What’s on your remodeling or construction wish list? Many families pine for a pool in the sun. Others dream of a sprawling deck for barbecues and sunbathing. Regardless of the size of your backyard, most homeowners share one dream in common: that of a roaring fire pit.
Fire pits create a rustic, relaxed focal point for your backyard. Orienting outdoor furniture, lighting, and elements like lattice walls and more substantial structures to radiate outward from your fire pit immediately ground your design and gives you room to play.
Fire pits serve as a social gathering place regardless of the season. In the crisp autumn evenings, you and your family can gather around the flame, roast marshmallows, and tell ghost stories late into the night. During a sunny summer day, fire pits allow you to put the finishing touches on your famous barbecue recipe while watching the kids splash around in the pool.
With so many shapes, materials, designs, and construction methods to choose from, where do you begin? We’ve collected our favorite DIY projects and ready-to-buy fire pit ideas so you don’t have to pour over Pinterest any longer.
Fire Pit Ideas You Can Build
When you collect and place the materials yourself, the design possibilities with a fire pit are nearly limitless. With some planning, precision, and plenty of hard work, you can carve an outdoor fire pit from scratch in any corner of the yard. DIY projects are more labor-intensive but usually translate to lower costs.
Round Stone Fire Pit
Stone fire pits are among the most affordable options for DIY fire pits in your backyard. When ordering your material, choose palletized stone for a uniform shape and size. Using a piece of rebar and string, determine the intended width of your fire pit area. Use spray paint to make a large circle. Excavate the area to a depth of about six inches. Make a second circle inside of that area with the circumference of your actual fire pit.
Pour premixed cement in the area in between the inner and outer circles and allow it to dry. Applying mortar as you go, lay the first round of fire bricks, the second and third round of fire bricks, and then carefully lay your pavers before finishing your seating area. Check out a step-by-step guide to guarantee your stone fire pit has a timeless appeal.
Square Concrete Fire Pit
Concrete fire features are becoming increasingly popular for sleek, contemporary outdoor aesthetics. These can also be more elevated, so your s’mores station is level with your outstretched hand as you lounge in a deep seating sofa. Square concrete fire pits entail many steps: first, you’ll want to construct the interior and exterior forms using fir boards. Add reinforcement and install wire or mesh matting to protect against the elements.
Once you complete this step, pour your concrete to the top of the form. Carefully strip the forms once the concrete dries and add touches like a smooth finish or a layer of slate along the top of the concrete. Fill the center with gravel about halfway to the top, and then secure your bowl. Finally, fill the remainder of the space with decorative rocks of your choosing. If this is the style that speaks to you, follow a detailed guide to make your DIY concrete fire pit a reality.
Inground Stone and Brick Fire Pit
Inground fire pits blend seamlessly into the scenescape of your backyard. While this can be a safety issue if you have small kids or pets roaming around, installing an inground fire pit can add casual elegance to any space. This type of fire pit can cost you less than $100, depending on where you buy supplies.
First, dig a hole four feet deep and 12 feet in diameter, ensuring the sides are slightly angled out. Fill the hole with approximately 15 gallons of lava rocks. Set the bricks vertically around the rim of the hole, keeping them tilted on their sides. Shovel sod away from the edge of your pit in the circular area where you’ll set up seating and side tables.
Arrange flat, decorative stones around the edge of the pit to cover the bricks. Fill in the top area in and around the flat stones with dirt, and you’re ready to build a fire! Check out photos and instructions to create your inground fire pit correctly.
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— Neil K., POLYWOOD Customer
Fire Pit Ideas You Can Buy
Is a hands-on construction project not realistic? Whether you don’t have the time, skillset, or motivation to build a fire pit from scratch, there are several types of attractive fire pits that you can purchase for your backyard based on your budget. These options can elevate your design while adding a functional fire pit to your outdoor entertainment options.
Use the color scheme of the outdoor furniture you already own to dictate the ideal shade for a simple, affordable concrete basin fire pit. The floating effect of a freestanding bowl creates an unforgettable visual statement and accentuates circular patios and flat or small spaces. All you need before you order your concrete basin is the shade of your existing chairs or the hue you intend to buy. Homogenous color, especially when contrasted with your housing or decking materials, is a simple solution for cohesion.
Whether you have a modern home with clean edges or a rambling wood cabin, the arresting sight of a hanging cauldron fire pit and grill will impress any visitor. Steel cauldron fire pits typically boast a tall triangular frame supporting a spherical cauldron that looks like it sprang into your backyard from a smithy or forge. These units, especially the larger-sized cauldrons, can be costly. For the right family and the right home, the artistry is worth the cost.
Propane-Powered Fire Pit Tables
Many homes with limited yard space or simple patios instead of traditional yards are turning to small metalwork standalone fire pit tables that are powered by propane. These chic, relatively inexpensive fire pit tables often come with a side table that secretly houses the propane tank. Depending on the type of metal used and the craftsmanship, these fire pit tables can run for just a couple hundred dollars.
Fire Pit Tables from POLYWOOD®
When you want a sizable fire pit table without the hours of labor or the regular maintenance, consider a fire pit table that brings the warmth of a roaring fire to your backyard with an adjustable flame. Available in square and round designs, our signature fire pit tables fit between four and six Adirondack chairs to serve as the centerpiece of your entertainment area.
Constructed from durable HDPE lumber, our fire pit tables are weather resistant and won’t crack or rot. While we provide a cover to help protect your burner bowl in inclement weather, the rain won’t harm your fire table: water will quickly drain from the bowl without a problem.
With a little inspiration and a design that speaks to you, you can forge ahead and complete a DIY fire pit or save yourself some work and order one that matches your vision. Fire pit tables allow the entire family to gather for meals, games, drinks, stories, s’mores, and countless new memories. Once you put the finishing touches on your fire pit, determine what type of furniture best suits your space, whether you’re furnishing a desert retreat or a lake house.