Want a Cozy Space to Entertain Your Guests? Build a Firepit in 5 Steps

by Colette Winnard 07/12/2020

Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

Just about everyone loves cozying up to a roaring fire and kicking back to relax in the cool night’s air. Far too many, however, leave that for camping once or twice a year at most. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can build a firepit in five easy steps, beautifying your backyard and creating a comfy space for your guests. Here’s how to get started.  

Draw Up Your Design

Your first step is thinking about the design you want for your firepit. Although circular firepits are the most popular, you can build yours in any shape imaginable, including:

  • Square
  • Rectangle
  • Octagon
  • Teardrop
  • Draw up several designs using your preferred wall materials as a guide, ensuring they will snugly fit together. Make sure to note how large you want to make your firepit, so you can pick up the right amount of materials.

    Gather Your Tools & Materials

    You have many material options for the walls of your firepit. Concrete blocks are used most often, though pavers, bricks and natural stone work as well.

    Compare the size of your selected materials to your firepit design, and then calculate how many blocks, bricks or stones to buy. If you are building a 4 foot square firepit, for example, then you would need about 36 – 16 inch long concrete blocks to build the walls in three layers. No matter what materials you select, grab enough materials to make the walls at least 24 inches tall.

    Then, gather the rest of the supplies, including:

  • Leveling sand
  • Lava rocks
  • Spray marking chalk
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Level
  • Mallet
  • With those items on hand, you are ready to get to work.

    Create the Perfect Space

    As you look around your backyard for the perfect space for the firepit, confirm it is at least 25 feet away from all combustible structures and vegetation. Then, use the tape measure and spray marking chalk to outline the design. With the shovel, dig down six inches, starting about two inches out from the perimeter. Verify the ground is reasonably level, then pour in the bag of leveling sand and rake it flat.

    Stack Up Your Wall Materials

    Working from your sketch, arrange the first row of wall materials within the prepared area and verify they are level. You can add more leveling sand to bring up low spots or tap the edges with a mallet to even out high spots. Once the first row is level, add the additional layers to the wall using an offset pattern from the one below.

    Add Lava Rocks to the Center

    Once the walls of your firepit are complete, all that is left to do is add a bag of lava rocks to the center. Beyond looking nice, the lava rocks will help hold the wood steady as it burns and promote drainage when not in use.

    Upon completing this project, surround the firepit with Adirondack chairs, benches or other outdoor furniture pieces that fit your fancy. Then, light up your first fire and enjoy.