How to build a DIY fire pit (the SAFE way)

Hello my friends! We are deep in the back to school trenches and I’m not happy about it. I’ve enjoyed this summer more than most and am not ready to see it end! I love the slower pace of summer days and will miss having our kiddo home all day. 
Eventually I know I’ll appreciate the schedule again, and of course I’m always super excited about the fall season! We’re even more excited about cooler temps now that we have our new patio! 
I shared how the patio looked the day of installation a couple weeks ago: 
Large concrete patio with round fire pit seating
I’ve been working my tail off getting it set up — we LOVE it and have already spent so much time out there. 
One big project I had to hold off on was the DIY fire pit. They advised we wait a bit because it is so heavy. I could barely stand holding off because we had some really cool nights that would have been perfect for it! (And of course as soon as I got it done it got hot again.)
We got a quote for a small stone retaining wall around the circular fire pit area as well as a fire pit with stone that matched our house. The quote came back at almost DOUBLE what the PATIO cost. Lordt. 
Soooo we decided to do it ourselves with a kit and it was crazy easy. It doesn’t look custom, but it does the job — burns wood. 😉
Here’s the kit we got from Menards
DIY fire pit kit Menards
It is 3 1/2 feet wide and was only $150. WAY better! It comes with the stones, glue and the metal ring. I figured it would be easy to build, but it was even easier than I thought! I’ll share some specific tips at the end of the post, but here are the basic steps. 
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I put the ring together first, and centered it on the hole the construction crew added for the pit: 
How to build your own (safe) fire pit
I realized after I was done that it wasn’t centered at all but OH WELL. 
Our concrete company included that small hole so they could add a drainage pipe — brilliant! Any water drains out to the back of the patio. If you are considering a patio with a fire pit, I highly recommend this! 
The instructions called for 20 stone wedges on the first ring, but I only needed 19. If I had added one more I think it would have been too wide for the metal insert: 
DIY outdoor fire pit tutorial
Quick tip — when I started that base ring of stones, I was butting the sides up to each other completely, which made for too small of a ring. I had to pull them out quite a bit and only place the long ends against each other so it made the circle bigger. Hope that makes sense!
This kit only calls for three levels of stone — the second level is centered over two stones so they are staggered instead of right on top of each other. 
The final ring goes back to the same as the first: 
How to install a DIY fire pit
As you can see, I didn’t get the centering just right. It’s OK. 🙂 After the third layer of stones, you add the metal ring back in and you’re almost done! 
We added three bags of pea gravel to fill in the hole in the concrete and then up to the bottom of the metal ring :
DIY outdoor stone fire pit
That’s it! The total cost was $160 for the set and the gravel. It’s plenty big, but if we find we want something grander in the future, we can just purchase a bigger metal ring and then add more stones to make it wider. 
Have you built your own fire pit? Any fun treats or meals you make over the fire? This ring comes with an option for a grilling grate, so we may add that later on. 
Here are a few tips if you want to try this project on your own! 
  • Per the instructions, you shouldn’t burn a fire directly on concrete. 
  • A metal ring is necessary when DIYing a fire pit — the stones can crack or explode if in direct contact with the fire.
  • We added enough gravel so that none of the stone was showing inside — they are all covered with either the gravel or the metal ring. 

I hope to show you the progress on the patio later this week, and I’ll share this whole spot then!

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How to build a DIY fire pit (the SAFE way)