Looking to make a round concrete fire pit for your backyard? If you’re planning to do the work yourself, I’d recommend getting a fire-pit kit, like the 48-inch Necessories Grand 48-inch Firepit Kit shown above ($529; Home Depot).
This kit includes enough heat-resistant, cast-concrete blocks for a circular pit three courses high, and a powder-coated steel liner. To build it, you need 6 1⁄2 cubic feet of crushed stone, 2 cubic feet of paver base, 5 cubic feet of lava rocks, and a couple of tubes of low-VOC adhesive, such as Gorilla Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive (Gorilla Glue). The blocks all have a roughly trapezoidal shape; there’s no need to cut them.
Steps for building a fire pit from a kit:
- Determine a good location for a fire pit. Be sure there are no trees overhead or any other structures that could catch fire from floating embers.
- Use the center ring of the kit and the first course of blocks to determine how wide the hole needs to be.
- Cut a circle a few inches around the outside of the course of blocks with the shovel. Using the shovel, pull up the top layer of grass and set it aside on a tarp so it can be reused to backfill the hole later.
- Once the outside circle is outlined, remove the center ring and the course of blocks and dig a hole about 8” deep.
- Compact the ground using a hand tamper until the base is perfectly solid.
- Pour a layer of crushed stone into the hole. Compact it using the hand tamper.
- Repeat this process with the crushed stone until the hole is almost completely filled.
- Mix a little of the crushed stone with the stone dust. Pour that over the base and rake it smooth.
- Place the center ring back in the center of the base to use as a template for the first course.
- Place the first block in the correct location. Use a level and adjust the block with a rubber mallet to ensure it’s perfectly level. Take some time to get it perfectly positioned, as that block will serve as a guide for all the other blocks.
- Place the rest of the blocks in the first course around the center of the fire pit. Check each one for level, using that first block as a reference.
- Dry fit the next row of blocks on top of the first course. Once the fit is just right, individually pull up each block, add a bead of construction adhesive underneath, and place the block back down. Doing it this way will ensure that all the blocks fit correctly and there isn’t an uneven gap at the end of the circle.
- Repeat this process for the third course.
- The kit comes with lava rock for the bottom of the fire pit. Pour this into the center hole and spread it out evenly.
- Take the grass for the tarp and use it to patch any leftover holes around the outside of the fire pit.
Mark installed a Necessories Grand 48-inch Firepit Kit, which can be found at The Home Depot.
For the base, Mark used crushed stone and pack, which can be found at landscape supply stores.
The other tools Mark used to install the fire pit, including the shovel, level, and rubber mallet, can all be found at home centers.