DIY fire pit for the backyard

Making a DIY fire pit for the backyard for the backyard has been one of my favorite parts of summer. The work was easy to make it, it did not take that long, and we are getting so  much use of it! Sometimes the DIY projects can have a ton of steps and be really detailed, but this one my friends is none of those things. You need some muscle to carry the stones and a place to make it. That is it!

DIY fire pit tutorial

This week we are in the thick of some crazy hot and humid weather. Most days the kids and I spend either in the air conditioned house, or swimming in a pool or lake. Anything longer outside and you become sticky with sweat so quickly. Not what I call fun. I love me some summer, but the humidity for about two weeks straight is a little much for me. The nice part is, once the sun starts to go down there is a beautiful reprieve, the breeze becomes a little cooler, and the air does not feel so thick. Which is why the DIY fire pit for the backyard has been amazing! We spend all day hiding out inside, then come out of hibernation to relax in the beautiful summer evening, now by the fire!

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I shared my love for everything outdoors when I shared my outdoor home tour. This space becomes an extension of our home in the summer, and I have been tweaking it all summer long with a few new additions.

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One of the things we did last summer, was remove stone borders around all of our trees. They were there when we purchased the home, and they are a pain to have around all of the trees when mowing the lawn. So, we had a ton of stones on the side of the house. Most we actually gave to a friend who is using them in his backyard, but we kept just enough to make a fire pit!

how to make a fire pit

This is a really simple stone fire pit tutorial. I did zero cutting, zero painting, really nothing DIY. In fact a lot of it was not even done by me. I used good ‘ole fashioned child labor for a lot of this. Oh yeah, I went there. Before the “tiny helpers” got to work I arranged the stones in a circle where I wanted the fire pit to go.

stones for fire pit

These particular stones we had have a little ledge, which work great for this purpose. I situated them on top of each other in a way for the ledge to lock into place with the stone above.

DIY fire pit

I did not have the stones be flush against each other, leaving little crevices between the stones. Everything I know about bonfires, and I know a lot growing up in Southern California. Many nights my friends and I ended up on the beach, with a bonfire going and swimming in the ocean under the stars. I miss San Diego all the time, and am always trying to make Wisconsin feel like home to me. Since I cannot replicate the ocean, I do it in little ways like this fire pit. Anyways, what I know about bonfires, is that you need air flow to the fire. So I left room between the stones for air to move through. I decided to do 4 layers of the stones.

kids helping DIY projects

This is where the child labor comes in, I put them (and their kid toys) to good use. We all ran to a home improvement store for spray paint for a different project and ended up purchasing stepping stones and rocks for the fire pit. Honestly, the stepping stones were not planned. But when I was walking around aimlessly in the store, as I do often…. I saw these great flat stones that were on sale for 50 cents a piece! Say what?! Load ’em up!

The issue was getting them from the car that was in the driveway to the backyard. My kids have this awesome little 4 wheeler with a tiny trailer. I thought it would be a great idea, and my sweaty, tired self did not want to carry the stones. So, this is where the child labor came in. Really, they were very eager, and you will notice in the picture each child drove some stones. Not one was going to be left out of this job.

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It was a family affair. Very exciting stuff around here!

stepping stones in grass

The plan was for the stones to work as a border around the fire pit and a small walkway from the patio to the fire pit. I thought it was a great way to tie it all together. On a side note, because this was not planned I had to estimate how many stones this would take to know the amount to purchase. I am happy to report that I got it right! Dale was convinced he would have to run back to the store, I was stubborn confident enough knowing I was right all along.

rocks in fire pit

Gavin, who is 5 has a pretty massive obsession with rocks. Seriously, for his birthday he got a book of rocks and I have never seen a boy more happy. When the rocks went into the center of the fire pit he was having to physically hold himself back from jumping in head first to swim in the rocks. I got two large bags of garden rocks, as a barrier between the grass and the fire. Gavin was sneaking rocks into his pocket as I was working on this. He literally could not stop himself.

making a fire pit

My kids are pro DIYers, they have grown up around it. I feel like since I have three kids two will be fellow DIYers and one will be the rebel who buys everything done from the store or hires someone else to do it. There is one in every family.

stone fire pit how to

I loved how this fire pit looked. The stone border and walkway was such a happy, spontaneous thing to do.

stone over grass

I could have stopped with this DIY fire pit for the backyard project. But I saw one problem, the stepping stones were so thick that they sit about 1 inch above the grass. I thought it could look better, and also worried about the kids running and hitting their tiny toes on the popped up edge of the stone.

stones in grass

This is easily fixable though, it did take a little time and effort, but nothing too complicated. I let the stones sit for about two weeks as is in the grass. This allowed time and gravity to take over, smashing all of the grass under each stone. Leaving a visible place the stones sit.

stone impression

I dug, shoveled and pulled the grass and dirt out of the bare spot. Making enough of a hole for the thick stones to sit flush with the grass, actually they are slightly below the grass line now.

stone walkway

Once that was done, I used some of the dirt pulled out and put them around the stones. To make sure they fit nice and snug.

stone fire pit

Then this DIY fire pit for the backyard is officially done! My kids put their 4 wheeler to use, Gavin stole a few rocks, and I am one step closer to having my Midwest home feel a little more California-ish with nighttime bonfires under the stars.

stone details

DIY fire pit how to

I like that this fire pit is close to the patio area. We can lounge in the seating area, at the table or bring the chairs to the grass.

backyard home ideas

I shared over the weekend how we use this outdoor space at night, and I love the magical glow to it.

house at night

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Here is the crew after their hard work. They are eagerly smiling because I was holding the smores hostage, they had to pose before I brought out the yummy goodness. You do what you have to do to get those memories on camera, and sometimes what you have to do is withhold smores.

DIY stone fire pit

I love this DIY fire pit for the backyard because of what it adds to our backyard, our summer fun, and memories. But also because it was so simple. Aside from some heavy lifting it is as simple as plopping down the stones and putting them in place. I feel like a lot of times home projects can feel daunting, however this one is a really easy one. It may not help the humidity, that is simply a side effect of summer. It does make those summer nights feel just a little more magical with a soft glow of a bonfire, giggling kids chasing fireflies and memories spent under the stars. Have I mentioned that I love summer? Warm days, humidity overload and all. I will take it and adore the lazy days of summer.

Do you have a favorite tradition of summer that you love to do? 

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22 Comment

  1. Your kids are SO cute, I love how you got them involved! The fire pit is awesome, I’m sure a lot of Smores will be eaten there!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thank you so much Roxanne! We have had to teach the kids that a bonfire does not mean we have to have smores. It has been a tough lesson 🙂

  2. I love the way that turned out! What a gorgeous outdoor sitting area!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thank you!

  3. Your fire pit is beautiful and I love the stepping stones too! What a great way to enjoy the summer evenings!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thanks, we are really enjoying it this summer!

  4. Rosey says: Reply

    I love summer too. And the firepit turned out really great. 🙂

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thank you so much, summer is my favorite time of year and I am trying to enjoy as much of it as I can.

  5. Oh wow! Stunning! Your backyard looks great. The fire pit makes a nice addition.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thank you!

  6. Jenny says: Reply

    I love having a fire pit. This one looks easy to make and it’s attractive.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      How fun! This one was super easy to make.

  7. Nice fire pit. I’ve been thinking of building our own in our new backyard and this is similar to what I want to do.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      You should, it is so nice to have and it was really easy to make.

  8. Your backyard is amazing! Seems like a great place to have grilling and BBQ parties!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thanks! We really enjoy our backyard this time of year.

  9. Marci says: Reply

    I LOVE this idea and it must feel so much more satisfying knowing that you did it yourself. Pinning!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      It does feel good knowing I did it myself, with some eager little helpers too 🙂

  10. Tamara says: Reply

    This is a big dream of mine. Our house’s previous owners had one, but it’s just a big old mess now. We need a new one and I was thinking we’d DIY it.

    1. Emily says: Reply

      These are so simple to make.

  11. We made one quite similar a few years back, but I love your stepping stones. I also love that bench! The kids were such great helpers! You will really enjoy it – we love ours!

    1. Emily says: Reply

      Thank you so much, we love the fire pit! I made the bench from wood pallets and my kids call it the rainbow bench.

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