DIY fire pit: ideas and how to make it step-by-step

Create your own homemade fire pit for toasting marshmallows or hosting a braai.

Updated September 10, 2019

diy fire pit in the garden

Key steps:

To make your own fire pit follow these key steps:

  1. Decide where to place your pit and dig a shallow trench.
  2. Insulate the base and sides.
  3. Place firebricks around the edges, leaving air holes.
  4. Brick up the outside and wait for it to dry.

If you are a proud owner of a backyard then you might be thinking about setting up your own fire pit for summer braais and fun al fresco evenings with friends. Fire pits can be pretty expensive if you decide to purchase them but you might be pleased to know that it is possible to create one with your own hands! Here we share step-by-step instructions on how to make a fire pit, including lots of fun fire pit ideas.

 Once you’ve built your DIY fire pit, be sure to clean it out regularly with an anti-bacterial spray to prevent the build-up of germs. Only clean your fire pit when it is cool.

How to build a fire pit in 10 steps

A homemade fire pit is a great addition to any back garden. Whether you want to toast marshmallows or simply bask in its heat, here’s the easiest way to build a fire pit:

  1. Mark out the area where you want to build your pit.
  2. Dig down approximately 20cm and level the ground underneath.
  3. Lay a base. This is usually concrete but you can use other materials providing they're fire-proof.
  4. Create a wooden mould for the outside of your fire pit if building the walls from concrete.
  5. If you’re using brick walls, arrange the bricks around the outside of the fire pit at approximately 2 bricks deep.
  6. Line the inside of the walled area you've marked out with firebricks. 
  7. Leave a few air holes to allow air to circulate for safety and join the firebricks together with fire-resistant mortar.
  8. Pour cement into your wooden mould or use more fire-resistant mortar to secure the bricks of your outer walls.
  9. Finish the outside walls with an extra layer of bricks to give a professional finish. Remove the wooden mould once dry.
  10. Test your fire pit for safety before use - make sure everything is fully dry and wait at least 48 hours before using it.

Building a fire pit: Common mistakes to avoid

Now you know how to make your own DIY fire pit in 10 steps, you should have everything you need to get start. Just remember to follow all necessary safety preacautions and remember these golden rules of what not to do:

  • DON'T try and build a DIY fire pit on your own. Get help to ensure everything is secure and safe.
  • DON'T ignore the professionals. If you've never worked with bricks and mortar before you will need their advice.
  • DON'T use the pit before it's dry. It may be tempting to use it immediately but you should wait at least 48 hours.

Now you know how to build a fire pit with bricks you’ll be able to put together this fantastic garden feature in no time. For other cool ideas for your back garden, check out our backyard garden inspiration article for inspiration.

 Don’t start a fire in your pit until you know it is safe and secure - wait at least 48 hours after building it. Always have a good quality fire extinguisher to hand!
Originally published September 3, 2019