05 Aug How to Build a Fire Pit DIY
Any outdoor kitchen would be beautifully complemented by a seating area surrounding a fire pit. Whether you’re making urban s’mores on a weeknight or enjoying a romantic glass of wine under the stars, a fire pit is a wonderful addition to your design. This could be a job for a professional, but if you’re feeling confident in your contractor skills we are here to help with this guide on how to build your own fire pit. We don’t recommend novice DIYers to embark on this project, it does have installation risks since you’ll be working with flammable materials. We’d advise you to hire a plumber to install and check your gas lines, and for you to check all local building codes before you begin this project.
Before you break ground, find the right location for your fire pit and seating area. Fire pits are a beautiful luxury, but it is important to remember you are still playing with a dangerous element. Find an open area away from your home and overing hanging trees or vines. A fire pit produces an open flame, find a location that will not allow that flame to jump out of the pit. Your second consideration should be wind, find a location that is sheltered from high winds while being well vented. Windy areas can make a fire pit undesirable by blowing smoke in your face or by blowing out the flame. There is nothing alluring about a sputtering fire pit or smoke inhalation. The final factor to keep in mind is foot traffic. If you have an existing path, visually lead your guests out to the fire pit with pathway lights alternately spaced about 3 feet apart. Without a path, you’ll want to at least have step stones and in ground lighting to encourage guests to relax in this new area. This feature of your landscape can definitely be a destination location, so don’t worry about a longer walking distance when picking the right place.
- Once you selected the location, outline the circle for both the pit and the seating area. You’ll want a 360 degree seating area around your fire pit to encourage relaxing conversation and to allow more people to enjoy the space.
- For safety, make sure the seating area is at least 30 inches away from the edge of the pit. You can always move closer to the flames, but if the seating is installed too close moving it back is a greater challenge.
- Level the ground where the seating area will be installed, and create a small mound where you intend to place the pit. The center of the pit should be slightly elevated to allow for proper drainage. Proper drainage will save your fire ring from potential rust that would occur after the first rainy season. You want to avoid pooling water in your fire pit to increase the longevity of this feature.
- If you intend to install pavers for this area, you can certainly place a drain at the center of the pit, in which case you’ll want to have the ground sloped down towards the center of the drain. The biggest thing is to avoid pooling water on cement or pavers so the area doesn’t get mold or sediment build up.
- To install proper drains, dig a trench from your pit towards a safe area to allow the water to run off.
- All drainage caps and pipes should be made of cast iron or galvanized steel to avoid damage from the high temperature levels.
- Chart the distance from your pit to your home’s natural gas line. Note* you could use a propane tank to fuel your pit, but with the amount of fuel needed for this feature would cause you to refill the tank at an excessive pace.
- Safety Check: Turn off the natural gas to your home before you or your hired plumber begins any work with the gas lines.
- Begin by digging a trench about a foot deep to run the gas line from your home to the fire pit. You could utilize the same trench you dug for the drainage, and then split off as the gas line goes towards the house and the drainage runs towards your flower beds or sewage area.
- Purchase a gas line with two shut off valves, a fire ring with holes drilled along the inside or outside of the ring, fire pan, and material to build the pit itself.
- Note* Do not purchase a fire ring with holes along the top of the ring. The holes will inevitably fill with ash or rain water.
- For convenience you can easily purchase a fire pit installation kit.
- For the pit build you can use cinder blocks, poured concrete, bricks, and any other noncombustible material. Build your fire pit about 24 to 28 inches high, and place the fire pan about 4 to 5 inches beneath the lip of the pit.
- Drill a hole in one of the bricks that is about an inch and half thick to install the flange on the exterior of the pit to the gas line within the pit. The flange will work like a fireplace key to turn on and off the gas at the pit.
- Check that the construction is level throughout the building process.
- After the pit is built, connect the flange in place on the outside of the pit to the gas line inside the pit, then twist the other end of the gas line to the base of the fire ring in the center of your fire pan.
- Last, run the gas line through the trench and connect it to your home’s natural gas port. Make sure the line has an emergency shut off valve at the house to allow for safe testing and for proper maintenance.
- Safety Check: For your own safety, we recommend calling in your local gas plumber to check your work prior to turning the natural gas back on. If you choose to check it on your own, use soapy water to check the connections for leaks. If there is a leak, the water will bubble at the location.
- Fill the metal pan with fire pit glass or stones to create a decorative feature, and enjoy your new fire pit.