How to Build a Fire Pit for Less Than $100

It’s not that hard to build a basic outdoor fire pit. You can do it in an afternoon, with a little elbow grease and less than $100.

This simple fire pit design can be completed in an afternoon for less than $100. And, you'll still have money and time left to host friends for a bonfire and beers.

How to Build a Fire Pit 01:26

Find out how to build a backyard fire pit for less than $100.

Materials + Tools

  • shovel
  • level
  • retaining wall blocks (we used about 36)
  • metal fire pit ring
  • 7” square concrete pavers or fire brick for the bottom of the pit (we used about 15)
  • pea gravel to fill in the spaces (about .5 cubic feet)
  • all-purpose sand (one bag should do it)

Step 1: Plan Location and Layout

A fire pit should be built at least 15 feet from any structure and close to a water source. Ideally, you’ll want it on level ground. That will make building it much easier and sitting around it more comfortable.

Step 2: Determine the Size

The size of your fire pit will be determined by your metal fire ring. Place the ring and retaining-wall blocks on the ground to figure out the size of the fire pit. Mark the outside of the circle with the edge of a shovel.

Step 3: Dig a Hole

Move the retaining wall blocks out of the way and dig inside the marked hole. Make the hole at least 7” deep.

Step 4: Line Hole With Sand

Add a 1” layer of all-purpose sand in the hole and tamp it down flat. You may want to use a level to make sure it's all on the same plain.

Step 5: Add Base Row

Lay the bottom row of blocks inside the hole. Place the outside of the block on the very edge of the sand.

Step 6: Place Metal Ring

Place the metal ring on the sand inside the base row of blocks.

Step 7: Insert Bricks into Fire Pit Floor

Lay the pavers or fireplace bricks in the bottom of the fire pit. Cover as much area as possible.

Step 8: Add Pea Gravel

Fill the gaps between the blocks and the pavers with pea gravel.

Step 9: Place Remaining Rows of Blocks

Stack the outer blocks to your desired height. Stagger the seams of each layer.

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