Cheap Fire Pit Ideas

Learn how to build a fire pit on a shoestring budget with simple designs and recycled materials. We’ll show you how.

Fire Pit Design with Metal Bucket

Fire Pit Design with Metal Bucket

Corrugated metal is used to build a privacy wall and create a backdrop for a fun gathering space. To make the unusual fire pit, a gas line was run through the recycled metal bucket then filled with lava rock.

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Build a fire pit that doesn’t demand a huge investment by trying a cheap fire pit idea. Creating a fire pit on a small budget is a great option when funds are tight, but it’s also the perfect fit when you’re not sure how much you’ll use a fire pit. Creating a cheap fire pit is a great way to evaluate a potential site and finesse the proper size pit you need—before investing heavily in this outdoor feature.

One cheap fire pit idea is to create it on a non-flammable surface, like dry soil, sand, or gravel. You can build a fire without a ring, but you’ll find it’s easier to contain the logs and keep them from shifting toward fireside seating by digging a small depression to hold the fire. You don’t have to dig it deeply. Removing turf and an inch or two of soil works fine. If you plan to burn multiple fires, you might want to create a more formal in ground fire pit that includes several inches of stone for drainage.

It also helps to rig some sort of ring to enclose the burning materials. You can use a circle of stones that you source from your yard or somewhere you have permission to harvest rocks. Or you might consider forming a ring from recycled bricks you have on hand. Draft leftover paver stones and cinder blocks from home improvement projects to create temporary fire pits. For the safest fires, do your best to ensure any leftover materials are fire-rated before burning.

You can also purchase fire pit rings to encircle a fire. These rings run the gamut from a cheap plain iron option, to more eye-catching and expensive steel designs containing cut-out shapes. A pricier choice would be a fire ring crafted from powder coated steel.

Consider repurposing and up-cycling materials for a cheap fire pit. The only requirement is that you choose items that won’t burn or melt. A tractor tire rim laid on its side forms a suitable fire ring that’s a cinch to set up. Encircle it with stones for stability and to add a layer between guests and the hot metal ring. For an eye-catching in ground fire pit, bury the drum from a washing machine. Add a circle of stones on soil to set off the pit.

Another place to save big bucks on your fire pit is in the area surrounding the pit. A grassy surface is the cheapest option. Gravel provides another low-cost option. As your budget permits, you can convert the grass to gravel, or the gravel to a more permanent surface, such as flagstone or pavers.

But you’ll save the most money by determining what the local regulations are concerning backyard fire pits before you get started. Every community is different. Some require permits, while others demand an on-site inspection. Doing due diligence before you start building a fire pit can prevent expensive fines later.

You’ll also save yourself potential expenses when you site and use your fire pit following best fire pit safety practices. Place your fire pit at least 20 feet from nearby combustible surfaces. Never leave a fire unattended, and always keep a fire extinguisher on hand when burning.

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