What backyard isn’t complete without a cozy fire pit! I’m here to show you a super easy DIY fire pit that you can do with very few tools or skills! My family is lucky to have a large back yard so for years we have been debating where the perfect spot to put the fire pit would be. Follow along as I share how we created our simple outdoor Brick Fire Pit!
Choosing the fire pit location
Some of the things we were considering for the fire pit location were:
- Direction of the evening sun (it gets chilly at night time in Alberta quite quickly so we wanted sun exposure)
- Shelter from the wind (northwest winds are most prevalent in the summer so we wanted a spot where the trees would protect us from the wind)
- Distance from the house … this was my most important consideration. I hate when the smoke blows into the house, but I wanted the fire pit close enough that it was convenient to go back to the house to grab food and condiments for wiener roasts.
So this Spring we finally decided on where the fire pit would go! Originally the fire pit idea I had was to build a massive stone fireplace, but after getting a quote a few years ago that is would have cost over $10,000 I started to think of new ideas. I do love a minimal style so I wanted something easy, affordable and maintainable. Another important consideration was that I wanted a fire pit that the lawnmower could easily mow around without having to weed whip! So we figured a simple DIY fire pit was the solution!
A fire pit feature that my husband and I wanted was for it to be sunk into the ground because we feel it puts off more heat when sitting around it. I have also been loving incorporating brick features on our property like the brick pillars at the end of the driveway and our brick patio (patio pavers but they look like whitewashed red bricks).
WHy we Chose to construct the fire pit from bricks
You cannot find solid bricks anymore, they all have 3 holes in them so they are not as solid and durable as they once were! Checking out my local salvage shop Uniquities was my first stop. They had pallets of Salvaged bricks from France! The bricks had the perfect white and creamy patina that I was envisioning and they were on sale!!
EASY OUTdoor DIY Fire pit tutorial
Below is my 5 step Fire Pit Tutorial. I would say this project is Easy to Medium Difficulty. I have listed all of the material and tools that I used to complete this project. Leave me a comment if you have any questions or if you try this project I would love to see it!
1. Bricks or a Solid Stone (not the new light weight bricks with holes in them)
2. Regular Sand (or dirt if sand is not available)
3. Polymeric Sand
4. Plastic Edging
5. 8" spikes for holding down plastic edging
6. Strong Glue
7. Grass Seed
8. Spray Paint
2. Rubber Mallet
5. String & Spike for drawing circle outline of fire pit.
STEP 1: Determine the Size
So to construct the fire pit we first determined the size of the fire pit. We laid out the bricks so we could get a visual. Next, strip away the sod and some of the top soil. Use anything that is convenient to pound into the centre of the fire pit (in this case a crow bar). Then attach a spike and string to make a circular outline in the dirt, this allows you to get a perfect circle.
Our idea was to have our DIY fire pit be approximately 46” in diameter. My husband dug out the dirt and then dug down approximately 12”. When working with items like salvaged bricks be lenient on the diameter because you will be unlikely to get the perfect diameter.
STEP 2: Creating the Base
From a previous project we had some extra bricks with the 3 holes in them that were laying around. You could however use whatever brick or stone you are using for the rest of the project. We used these extra bricks to form the base of the fire pit in the dirt. Stand the bricks up vertically and then use a rubber mallet to sink them into the walls and floor of the fire pit.
Next, we filled the bottom of the fire pit with approx. 4” of sand (we stole the sand from our kiddos sand pile hehe) you could also just add dirt to the bottom as well. Fill in the bottom to give the vertical bricks some support.
We also used a layer of sand on top of the bricks to create a more level surface for placing the bricks on. You can be as picky as you would like with this step… we used a level a couple of times but didn’t get too particular.
STEP 3: Create the shape of the fire pit
The next step was to place the bricks to make the circular shape of the fire pit. Once we got the bricks all laid in you may find they don’t fit perfectly so you may need to adjust your circle slightly. Or the bonus with using salvaged bricks was that each brick was unique so we just swapped a couple out until we got the right fit.
Use the rubber mallet again to tamp the bricks down. The idea was to have the bricks be level with the grass so we could mow the grass without weed whipping. This is where the outer row of bricks came in. We placed bricks in the same formation around the first row of bricks. This row was sunk down as well so that dirt can be pushed up against the bricks and the grass can grow at approximately the same height as the bricks.
STEP 4: Use polymeric sand to hold your bricks together
A product I learned about while doing our patio was Polymeric Sand! Old patio pavers used to be filled with regular sand and the grass could grow between the pavers and the pavers could shift. Polymeric Sand is like a flexible concrete. It allows the pavers to shift slightly but the grass has never grown up between them.
Another product I learned about while doing the patio was the plastic edging. This edging helps keep the bricks in place and also holds the polymeric sand in.
Invest the time & use a boarder to hold the bricks in place
I placed the plastic trim around the bricks and used 8” spikes to secure the plastic border.
Dump the polymeric sand onto the bricks and then use a brush to sweep it into the little cracks. I also brushed the sand off of the top of the bricks because I didn’t’ want the sand covering the bricks. If any of the sand is left on the top of the bricks it will stay there and will be very hard to remove later on.
To activate the polymeric sand requires water! I lightly began watering down the bricks and the sand began to solidify. Water the bricks down again after about 10 minutes and then leave them. The sand takes about 3 days to fully cure and harden so try to avoid moving the stones or placing heavy objects on them for a few days!
STEP 5: Adding the 2nd Row
Once the base was completed, we wanted to give the fire pit a bit of character and a place to rest wiener sticks while cooking. You won't be able to put the sand in between the bricks on the second level because there would be no border to hold the sand in. I also liked the look of seeing the gaps in the bricks.
Lay out the upper layer of bricks to get the proper spacing. To keep the bricks from shifting I glued them down with PL premium glue. I did not overdo the glue as I figured if the bricks ever came off, I could just easily apply a bit more glue.
Then, backfill with black dirt up to the trim and brick and you can reseed with grass.
There you have it, an easy DIY fire pit. I love that with this design you can make any size fire pit you would like. You can also use any type of brick you would like as well.
Now, this fire pit took us a few months to complete. We were just winging it and coming up with the design on our own and didn’t know what products we would all need. You should be able to find the plastic trim at you local Hardware Store. We were getting spare chunks from a landscape friend and we didn’t get enough the first time. However, if you had all of your products prepared you could probably take on this project in an afternoon!
You can also check out the unique wood burning fireplace that Deb has redone in her back yard.
I hope this project allows you to get out and enjoy time outside with your family this summer and fall!
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