Backyard Fire Pit

What does $20 plus a couple hours on a Sunday night equal?  A permanent fire pit!

Now that I'm feeling better, and the weather's finally nice out, Mike and I got antsy to do some outdoor projects over the weekend.  Mike and I spent Sunday inside and out working on projects all day and around 4:00 pm I mentioned it would be nice to build the fire pit today.  Weird thing was, Mike admitted he was thinking the same thing!

We bought one of those store-bought fire pits for the crawfish boil last year and, after one season it was already rusty and beat up.

Here's what it looked like new.

Not only was it looking crappy, when we set it up for the party, we forgot to put anything underneath it and it killed the grass.  We tried to fill it in with some grass seed, but we've been living with this bald spot ever since. 

We have fires pretty regular, and when the store bought one didn't cut it, we figured we would build a permanent one.  Before we landscaped we had been using a metal ring that we found in the yard when we moved in.  After all our grass came in, we hauled it to a friend's piece of land to be used later.  (After deciding to start the project last night, we drove the 45 minutes to go pick it up). We kept this in mind for the base of our design.

A week or so ago, Mike was given a bunch of bags of pea gravel from his job.  Sometimes for contractors it's not worth saving materials, so they just throw it away instead of reloading and storing it somewhere.  Obviously, Mike is the opposite, and gladly hauled away the bags.  We figured we could use it somewhere.

Since we had a metal ring and some gravel we decided we go simple and surround the metal ring with the stone.  On the way back from picking up the ring, we stopped at Lowe's and picked up some fiberglass edging, (the only cost for the project, since we had everything else).

Since the ring was 3' in diameter, we decided on 1.5' of stone around, so we started by marking out the outer edge by pounding a stake in the middle and using a string 3', (1.5' for the radius of the ring + 1.5' of stone).  Mike used some spray paint to mark it.

Then he grabbed the edger and cut around the circle.  He tied the string around the edger, just to keep it from getting wonky.

Once the edge was cut we worked together to clean it out.  Mike scrapped everything, then I loaded it into the wheelbarrow.

We were then left with a big bare circle.

In the middle of the oh-so-fun task of digging everything up, we came across an old friend, the clean-out for the downspout drains that go back to the dry well we built.  (You can see it here during the garage project.)

Mike was not very happy to have this on the corner of the fire pit, but at least we now know for sure where it is!

We placed the metal ring in the center of the pit.

Then added a layer of stone.  Maybe an inch or two.  We wanted to build it up to add the edging, since it's shorter than the center ring.  It also allowed for better tweaking of the edging since it's more giving than the dirt.

After the edging was installed, we filled it completely with stone.

We backfilled around the edging with some of the topsoil we dug up, and will put some grass seed down.  The stone is smaller than we would have chosen for this project, but it was free and you can't beat that.  We're going to live with it and see how it works during fires and for mowing around.  We talked about removing an inch or so of small gravel and getting a bag or two of bigger stone if needed.

Overall, I love it!  I always knew we would add a permanent fire pit in the yard, and I'm happy that we were able to do it in one evening for less than $20.

We already have plans with my sister and her boyfriend tonight, so maybe I'll pick up some marshmallows to break it in!


  1. I love hanging out around a fire pit on cool nights. The fall season is my favorite because the nights are just cold enough to appreciate the fire, but not too frigid; the smell that comes with fall is also a great experience. Did you build the fire ring, or buy it?

    1. It was already in the yard when we bought the house. This was one of the few useful things, we had some weird things left by the previous owner, like a giant wood shark head lawn ornament!