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Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Build a Multi Purpose Fire Pit for Your Backyard

an in ground fire pit
Today backyard family get togethers and parties have multitudes of choices for not only things to do, but also ways to get the fun times done.  One of the things that families can do together is to build a fire and sit around playing music or chatting and even have grandpa tell a scary story or two for the kids around the fire.

Talking about building a fire is one thing, but it should be done safely. Having a fire pit is one safe way to have that fun we're talking about.  Fire pits come in many different sizes and shapes.  You can purchase them just about any where theres a discount store.

Customize It 

Or, you can build your own and have it customized to your liking.  In this guide, rather than calling it an article, I'm going to tell you how to build your own outdoor fire pit.  There are 2 types of fire pits:
  • Wood, or Charcoal burning
  • And Gas Fire Pits
The type that you will learn how to build is wood.  I'm partial to the wood or charcoal pits cause they are just better in terms of the wood smells and it looks better.  To me a gas fire outside is just fake.  But, hey they serve the purpose so whatever your choice is you can't go wrong.

Choose Your Style and Shape 

Anyways, lets get on with building our fire pit out in the backyard.  Our fire pit will be built as an "in ground" one. You can of course have an above ground one also. The style of our pit could be endless.  Specifically in terms of decoration, type of brick or stone to use with it.  Even colors are endless.  You decide on the look of your pit.

Some shapes of pits include but are not limited to:
  • Round and Bowl shaped
  • Rectangular
  • Square
  • Octagon 
  • And Pentagon shaped

Your imagination here is unlimited.  Choose your shape then determine what size you want it to be.  For this How To I will use the standard square shape.  When determining your size to build, your first idea would be to find a safe place away from your house or even your deck if it is made of wood.  We don't want any wild fires going on so we choose a place out in the middle of the yard.

A fire pit deck
If You Build It, They will come

Away from any low hanging trees or wires, bushes, etc.. Now that we've found our place to build it let's measure out a 3 foot by 3 foot square. Here again it can be as large or small as you want.  Just take safety into consideration. After our measurements for size we mark those corners of the square off.  Now before we begin to dig out our fire pit, how far down should we dig it?

Dig your fire pits no deeper than 3/4 of your arms length.  Why that deep? Because every so often you'll need to clean it out.  Clean out the ashes, dirt and so on.  This way you don't have to climb down in it to clean it out. You'll still be able to reach to the bottom of it with your arm or even a broom and pick up pan.

Using a standard garden shovel we dig our fire pit within the measurements we marked off.  Taking care to only dig about 1 1/2' deep.  Or 3/4 arms length.  After digging out your pit make sure that the sides of the pit are level and smooth. Removing any rocks or stones that would keep the sides and bottom from being level.

The reason you do this is when you place your bricks or stone in there to make the sides and bottom, it will also be level and perpendicular.  You can even use sand to help you level the bottom of it.  Now that you have your pit dug out and a big pile of dirt laying up there, its time to install the interior of the fire pit.  At this time you should already have your chosen bricks or rock or stone to use on the inside.

You can use cement to strengthen the sides and bottom of it but I don't see the need, since the fire will be in the ground anyway.  For this case we just use regular landscaping rock or brick.  Then just lay the first layer of brick in the bottom around the sides.

Now fill in the rest of the bottom or floor of the pit. To make it fit right you may have to cut some of the bricks.  Use a masonry saw for this.  Once you have your pit floor completed, begin laying and stacking the brick around the sides of the pit.

Depending on how you want to make it at the corners you can either join them together or overlap them.  But to join them you'll have to make custom cuts to the bricks.  Continue filling up the sides of the pit by stacking your bricks.

Once you've reached the top of the fire pit, you may notice that the actual fire place will be smaller.  But thats ok, we have a nice small fire pit to enjoy.  From here you can do things like creating a deck out around the fire pit.  Again your imagination is the limit.

A finished square fire pit
Wrap Up

Sounds fairly simple doesn't it.  Well it is, except for the work involved to do it.  This guide is about a 2 day project as far as the actual building of it.  In the title of this guide I mentioned a Multi Purpose Fire Pit. Not only does this pit make a cool addition to your backyard, but you can also have a custom made grill grate or rack created for it.

So you can use it to grill out on as well as a fireplace. Not to mention it works great for the kids to roast marshmallows on to.  Enjoy your new Fire Pit.

Thanks for coming by....


Nice info about using our backyard for fireplace, its really useful idea i am going to do that in coming winter.

I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.

Wow, this is really interesting! A little camping at the backyard once in a while with fire pits, that's a very nice idea! :)

Thanks everybody for the comments. Tell us about your fun times in your backyard around your fire pit or grill out. What was your most exciting experience?

Great article on fire pits. I appreciate the information. Time for me to get started on my own.

Hope it helped you John....thanks for commenting.

Great post you have here on How to Build a Multi Purpose Fire Pit for Your Backyard.. I am not strong enough on the topic. I love the way you explained things. thanks for sharing.

Thanks a lot about this tips. I will make a fire pit soon.

@Ecommerce Developers....Glad you found the article useful.

@Fast Five....They make a nice addition to your backyard. We love ours!

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@Derlierprossy.....Thanks Derlier......glad you got some good information from the article. Thats my aim is to give valuable information to my readers.

Thanks for the comment, come back!


Fire pits are fantastic. We light a fire most Friday or Saturday nights. Our neighbors see the flames starting up and head on over with chairs and coolers in tow! We have a marrrvelous time. The kids make some-mores and sometimes, somebody will cook their dinner over the flames! It's all very casual - no planning - no supplying food - no cleanup. Everybody brings their own and cleans up after themselves. It's truly fun!

We are thinking of putting in a fire pit. You have good info here and I really like the advise of not digging it too deep so you can clean it out. Our friends have a pit and we have spent many an evening talking the night away. We make sure we wear old clothes and jackets though - besides getting that wood-burning smell in your clothes, sparks can burn/melt holes in many of our modern day fabrics!

Tremendous, magnificent, marvelous, extraordinary, amazing are the word this post deserve. This made me think that verity can be created from scratch.
Regards: gas fires UK

My dad had an electric fricklin firelight fireplace. I bought it for him when I was in the Navy. I imagine it got ruined when hurricane Ike rolled into town. I need to remember to ask my brother about it.
Regards: gas fires UK

@Fetamy John.....Thanks for the comments John.....come back and see us!