DIY Fire Pit


Having a fire pit in our backyard will be fun for my family of five, three of which are young boys. We love to spend time going to football games, playing sports, and anything outside. Aside from sports my boys enjoy the camping scene and to be more specific they really enjoy roasting marshmallows, hotdogs and making smores over a campfire.

So, I decided we should have a fire pit in our backyard for some outdoor fun. This is the first phase of the outdoor living area we want to have. My plans are to add a slab bench, some outdoor chairs and some other outdoor furniture for the patio.

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Fire Pit fire

Digging the hole and stacking blocks

When deciding on the fire pit location, make sure the location is away from the house or any other building structures. Staying away from overhead trees is a good idea as well. The first thing you want to do when you figure out a good spot is to lay out your blocks.

Whether you decide to make a round pit, a square pit or some other design, lay out the blocks and use your shovel to break the ground around the outside and inside of the blocks. In the build video you’ll see me use spray paint to get an exact location of where to remove the grass.

painting the layout

Once you have the location finalized and marked out, remove all the grass where the blocks will sit. The inside of the pit will need to be dug out approximately half the depth as the pit will be tall.

removing grass for the fire pit

One thing I will recommend doing is to use a set of post hole diggers to dig a post sized hole in the center of your fire pit deep enough to hold a 20-40 pound bag of pea gravel. Fill the post hole with pea gravel and smooth out whatever is left.

digging a drainage hole

pea gravel hole

Next, you’ll want to use paver base in the bottom of the fire pit to give you a nice solid base. I ended up using four or five bags of paver base and packed it down with a hard rake and my feet.

paver base

packing down the paver base

Start laying out your first layer of blocks while keeping them level and for each layer of blocks you add use a construction adhesive to hold everything in place.

leveling blocks

using construction adhesive

I recommend offsetting each layer so that each layer of blocks aren’t sitting in line with the blocks below it. Instead, each block will be positioned over where two blocks meet. This will look much better in my opinion.

installing last block

After you get the blocks in place you can now start adding your fire brick (or you may choose to use a metal fire ring) by lining them up and using the construction adhesive to hold them in place. You might end up with an odd space left and in that situation you’ll either have to cut the fire brick to fit or try to break off bits and pieces to fill the gap.

installing fire brick

gluing fire brick

After your fire brick or fire ring is in place empty three or four bags of lava rock in the pit to give it a nice look and feel.

adding lava rock to the fire pit

The Design

Deciding on a design is probably the hardest part other than actually digging a hole. I simply went with a round pit due to already having several rounded retainer wall blocks.

I’ve seen pits that are square, some rectangular and even oval. The difference is the type of block you use. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the rounded retainer block style for a square fire pit, but you could actually use the rectangular blocks for a round pit. The options are there and there are plenty of them. The shape is only part of the design, the type of block is also part of the design. There are many different shapes and colors.

My advice here is to do some research and take a look on the internet at other fire pits and come up with something you like and feel comfortable building yourself.

Round fire pit

Materials used

The main materials used in this project were the blocks. As I stated earlier in the post, I used rounded retainer blocks because I already had several on hand. I got the majority of the materials at Lowes, but you could order everything from Amazon. Some of the materials aren’t feasible to order online as they weigh a lot and the shipping would be expensive, but I will list the materials I used and provide links for those that need them.

Retaining wall blocks:

Fire Bricks:

Pea Gravel:

Paver Base:

Lava Rock:

Construction Adhesive:

See our other project plans:

Tools used in this project

(*the project mentioned in this article can be built with limited tools)

Yard Tools:

• Shovel:

• Hard Rake:

• Post Hole Digger:

• Caulk Gun:

Measuring, Marking and Layout:

• Lefty/Righty 16′ tape measure, FastCap:

• Level:

• Marking Paint:


• Safety glasses, 3M:

• Fire extinguisher:

• First aid kit:

Video Equipment and Electronics:

• DSLR camera and mic, Canon/Rode:

• Camera battery pack, Canon:

• Wireless mic, Rode:

• Mic wind muff:

• Tripod, Manfrotto:

• Mic for voiceover, Snowball:

• Backpack for laptop (modified for camera):

• Memory card, 64gb:

• Memory card waterproof case:

• Laptop, MacBook:

• Network Attached Storage, 6TB:

Other tools I use


*Most of the links listed above are Amazon Affiliate links

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