Diy fire pit patio ideas

George Refsteck

Here’s what not to do: Build the pit under low-hanging limbs or power lines. Also, avoid putting it over or near a septic tank, leaching field, well head, or property line. Local laws will almost certainly require you to position a structure of this type a given distance from your neighbor’s plot, not to mention your own home.

Diy fire pit patio ideas

Check the codes at the town hall or the fire department.

After my buddy—Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics‘ senior home editor—and I had located the ideal spot in my yard, we drove a stake at the approximate middle of the pit, looped a mason’s line around the stake, and then tied the line around a can of white landscape spray paint, with which I created a inch-diameter circle. This is large enough to accommodate the pit, whose exterior diameter is 66 inches, and a surrounding inch band of River Jacks gravel.

NowLet’s Make Some Seats

Lajos Geenen

I wanted to install seating near the fire pit and thought a couple of rustic log benches would fit the bill.

Diy fire pit patio ideas

Since I heat my home with firewood, I always own a few logs on hand: The straightest of these became the seats.

Some Tools You’ll Need for Building a Fire Pit

Landscape Construction Adhesive

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Inch Level

Crick Tool Masonry Level


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1/2-Inch Wood Chisel

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To create a base for the pit and gravel, we dug a hole 4 inches deep bordered by the painted circle and dumped in enough crushed rock to fill a few wheelbarrows.

(I used 2A Modified, a common road-building material in my area; check for something similar at your local rock yard.) After raking the rock to a depth of about 2 inches, we compacted it with a hand tamper.

For aesthetic reasons and to ensure the fire-pit blocks align properly, it’s significant to build the pit’s walls on a level surface. So we marked a inch-diameter circle (a couple inches wider than the outer wall of the pit) on the compacted rock, then used a 4-foot mason’s level to check the surface.

Diy fire pit patio ideas

We weren’t as fussy about leveling the relax of the rock, since it would be covered just by the gravel.

One Final Thing: Building the Fire


To make a teepee fire, stack kindling, then stand wood over it. The vertical wood forms a chimney, and the draft through it produces a quick, boiling fire that looks beautiful and makes a little pile of embers.

The log cabin, or ladder, burns slowly and is better for cooking.

The teepee’s embers can start a log cabin fire.

Halve the Logs

I halved two logs lengthwise by driving several wood-splitting wedges into them.

Diy fire pit patio ideas

While I did this, Roy dropped a large pinch-point digging bar into the crack, holding the log in position and using the bar as a lever to finish the split.

Plane the Surface

Then we leveled and smoothed the flat surfaces using a Bosch planer, making a series of 1/inch-deep diagonal passes and then going straight below the log. You could do this with a large belt sander and the coarsest-grit belt you can get.

Notch the Bench

My favorite part of building half-log benches is making the crescent-shaped notch in the base logs.

It’s surprisingly simple to do.

Diy fire pit patio ideas

We placed the seat facedown on the ground and held a base log perpendicular to the curved part of the seat.

Notch the Base Logs

We chiseled and sawed as necessary, keeping in mind that the crescent doesn’t own to be a perfect fit—just shut enough to hold the seat securely. Final, we placed the seats around the pit.


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