Building your own fire pit to bring comfort and ambiance to your backyard year-round is easier than you might think. A DIY fire pit is all about having the freedom to design exactly what you want. Cool winter days will seem longer and your backyard will be transformed into a cozy and inviting atmosphere for friends and family. This is especially true if you decide on a decorative concrete fire pit.
We’ve put together this list of five incredible DIY concrete fire pit ideas and how to build them. However, remember to check with your city’s fire regulations before building anything. You’ll also want to remember to keep 10 meters away from any structures and avoid placing your fire pit beneath any tree branches. We’ve included sources beneath each tutorial for more in-depth instructions.
1. Easy Cinder Block Fire Pit
This fire pit should be at the top of your list if hard labor isn’t your cup of tea. It’s about as simple as it gets, and it’s budget-friendly.
- 8 cinder blocks
- 8 flat cinder blocks
- 4 24″ x 24″ concrete pavers
- Water sealant spray (Optional)
Step 1: Lay the foundation
You need to make sure the foundation is solid, otherwise, it can shift over time. Lay the four concrete pavers in a 2 x 2 square formation.
Step 2: Lay the large cinder blocks
Lay the foundation using eight large cinder blocks into a single square layer. Ensure the cinder block holes are vertical so you can’t see them from the outside.
Step 3: Lay the flat cinder blocks
Next, lay the flat cinder blocks on top of the foundation. Be sure to stagger the two layers rather than just laying a block on top of another block.
Step 4: Spray with water sealant
This step is optional, though you may wish to seal the blocks with water sealant.
And voila! All you need to do now is build the fire, grab a seat, and enjoy your new budget-friendly homemade fire pit.
Source: The Dirty Loft
2. Gel Fire Bowl
This is another easy one. You’ll have to lay a little concrete, but this idea is so much simpler than you think.
- Oversized salad bowl
- Slightly smaller salad bowl
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Chicken wire or mesh
- Gel fire canister
- Smooth rocks
Step 1: Create the form
Place your smaller salad bowl inside the oversized bowl to create the form for the fire pit. The idea is that you’ll be filling concrete in between the space of the two bowls.
Step 2: Coat with non-stick spray
Spray the interior of the large salad bowl with Pam non-stick cooking spray. You’ll also want to coat the outside of the smaller bowl with spray since it’ll be in contact with the concrete.
Step 3: Mix the concrete
Next, get another large bowl to mix the concrete. An extra-large plastic lunch container will work perfectly. Keep in mind that the more water you add to the concrete, the smoother the finish will be.
Step 4: Pour the concrete
Pour the concrete into the large salad bowl once you’re satisfied with how it’s been mixed. Give it another good stir to make sure there are no air bubbles, then push your smaller bowl directly into the concrete. Don’t forget to weigh it down with something heavy, such as a 10-pound weight or a large rock. Give the outside a few taps to ensure that no new air bubbles have formed.
Step 5: Let it dry overnight
Remove the two bowls once you’ve let the concrete set overnight. You should be left with a perfect semicircle-shaped bowl. Take a razor blade to remove any excess concrete if the top isn’t smooth to your liking.
Step 6: Set up the fire
Take the gel fire canister and place it inside the concrete pot. Cover it with mesh or chicken wire to create separation between the fire and the rocks. You’ll likely need to cut the wire to the correct shape to fit inside the fire bowl. Then, gently pour a couple of packs of smooth rocks into your new fire pit to complete the look. Now all you need to do is light it with a long-reach lighter.
Source: Modern Builds
3. Round Concrete Stone Fire Pit
You won’t have to set any concrete for this fire pit, but you’ll need to be creative with laying stone. This is an affordable and simple idea that looks great.
- Concrete stone
- A can of spray paint
- Masonry adhesive
- Rubber mallet
- Shovel or another digging tool
Step 1: Create the outline for your fire pit
Lay the concrete stones where you want your firepit to be, marking the outline in spray paint. Remove a few stones to mark where they used to be to avoid getting paint on the stones, then remove them so you can connect the dots to form the circular outline.
Step 2: Dig in
Now comes the fun part – if you like a good workout. Dig the 6″ hole for your fire pit. You can always get a friend or family member to help speed up the process.
Step 3: Fill it up
You want the pit to drain properly during those rainy days, so make sure to fill it with about six inches of gravel, or until the hole is level with the ground again.
Step 4: Construct your fire pit
Finally, lay the stones around the gravel. This is where the rubber mallet comes in handy. You’ll need it to make sure the first layer of stones fits closely together. Gently tap the stones into place, fitting them snugly against each other and the gravel circle. When laying down the second layer, put a thin layer of masonry adhesive on the bottom of each concrete stone to ensure they’re held in place. You don’t want them perfectly even with the previous row – stagger the stones. You’ll do the same with the third and final row.
Source: A Beautiful Mess
4. Concrete Tree Ring Fireplace
Do you know where you can get your hands on some concrete tree rings? If so, you’re in luck.
- 14″ Webster-style portable charcoal grill
- 4 sections of 14″ tree rings
- 6 sections of 24″ tree rings
- Gravel, small stones, or decorative rocks
Step 1: Build the inner ring
First, construct the inner form with the 14″ tree rings. You can spray some weed killer and place the fire pit on your grass or opt for building it on your patio. The pattern on the concrete rings fits very well together, and you’ll need two layers to reach the desired height.
Step 2: Construct the outer ring
Next, start building the exterior form of your fire pit using the 24″ tree rings. You’ll require six sections, also built in two layers like the inner ring. The 24″ rings have a tab to lock them together, creating a stable structure for your fire pit.
Step 3: Fill with gravel or rock
There will be a 3″ gap between your inner and exterior form, which you’ll fill with your chosen gravel or decorative rock.
Step 4: Install the grill
We recommend installing the Weber Smokey Joe grill because it’s the perfect fit, but you can use any similar 14″ charcoal grill. If it has legs attached, be sure to remove them.
And that’s it! Just remove the lid of the grill whenever you want to light it up. Plus, you can conveniently put your fire out in no time with the lid.
Source: Instructables Workshop
5. Tumbled Concrete Fire Pit
Are you in a hurry to entertain guests? This is another simple option for homeowners dying to get their fire pit up and running within one afternoon.
- 48 mini tumbled wall blocks (concrete) at 3.5″ x 7″
- 48 tumbled wall blocks (concrete) at 10.25″ x 7″
- 6 bags of river rock
- Rake, shovel, and garden hoe
- Weed killer
Step 1: Lay the foundation
To create the foundation, you’ll need to create a pattern by alternating the large and mini tumbled concrete wall blocks until you form a broad circle. This will be the base of your fire pit. Make sure you’re laying the foundation on even ground.
Step 2: Build the fire pit sides
Create two more tiers on top of your base layer. Make sure the mini blocks are placed in the middle of the larger blocks when building the pattern for a staggered effect. Do this until you complete a total of three tiers.
Step 3: Bring out the weed killer
Make sure to spray weed killer around the base of your fire pit. You’ll want to do this because you’ll be laying rock surrounding the circumference of the fire pit.
Step 4: Laying the rock
Once the weeds have been removed, lay the river rock around your fire pit. This will also help hold the foundation in place.
Step 5: Add the river rock inside the pit
Pour the rest of your river rock into the center of the fire pit. This will give it a more polished and modern look while helping with drainage.
Happy backyard camping!
We hope these five incredible DIY fire pit ideas inspire you to head out into your yard to create your own. As you can see, there’s no need for heavy woodworking and masonry – anyone can do them with ease. Plus, they can be enjoyed throughout every season and for years to come.
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To keep your tabletop fire bowl in peak condition throughout the year, there are a variety of tips you’ll want to keep in mind. The ongoing maintenance of a tabletop fire bowl will have it working all year-round on your patio or outdoor space.
Fire pits are becoming a more common landscaping endeavor that homeowners are including in their backyards. Everyone likes the nice and relaxing glow of a flame at the end of a busy day or week at work, and it makes for great decor in your outdoor space. Inviting guests over to your backyard is always made more enjoyable with a bit of heat and natural lighting to gather around.
Tabletop fire bowls can also add a lot of resale value to your home and outdoor living space, so if you’re planning on moving out in a few years, getting one in your backyard will pay off dividends into the future. To have your tabletop fire bowl looking and working to its potential, you’ll need to keep it routinely maintained.
Maintenance Tips For Your Tabletop Fire Bowl
If you’re thinking about starting maintenance for your tabletop fire bowl, you’ll want to become familiar with all of the parts in it. Pull out your owner’s manual and familiarize yourself with all of the hardware that you might be potentially making tweaks to. Check all of the gas and propane connections, and perform some of these maintenance tips around once a month.
Your owner’s manual will most likely suggest what cleaning products you should be using for your fire bowl, and you’ll typically want to stick with the products they recommend. If you have a ceramic tabletop fire bowl and you’re using stainless steel or metal products to clean it, things could start to turn ugly pretty fast.
Before cleaning, ensure that you’re wearing eye protection to lower the chances of getting something like ash particles in your eyes. You’ll also want to put a good pair of gloves on and get a good mask with a dust filter in it.
If your tabletop fire bowl is metallic, get a dry scrub brush and start to brush out any loose dirt or debris that is lodged in any of the parts. The solution you’ll want to use is about a quarter of a cup of baking soda and around a gallon of warm water. Ensure to clean the screen and the grates, and remember to give everything a good rinse after you’re finished with scrubbing.
If your tabletop fire bowl is ceramic, you’ll want to use a combination of dish liquid and hot water. Around half of a cup of dish liquid and around two gallons of warm water should do the trick. After you’ve mixed in your dish liquid with the water, get a scrub brush and start brushing the surfaces. Having a hose nearby makes things much easier, and if you have a pressure washer, even better.
Wood-Burning Fire Pits
If you have a wood-burning fire pit, you won’t want to use any type of accelerants as part of your cleaning routine. These products can cause damage and also pose a safety risk to anyone around the outdoor fire pit. You’ll want to ensure to get rid of any creosote in your fire pit. Creosote results from burning wood and is known to be quite flammable.
To get rid of creosote, get a good brush and you can simply clean it with the baking soda solution that you used to clean your metal tabletop fire bowl. Some people wonder if they can safely use water to clear up a fire at the end of the night. The use of water to drown out a fire is advised against because it could warp the material in your fire bowl.
Another negative factor of using water is the amount of smoke that will result from it days after you dowsed out the fire. None of your neighbors will want to be dealing with the smoldering smoke as a result of you putting your fire out with water for the next week. Especially if you have a large bowl, the burner may smoke for much longer than a smaller bowl.
When you use a tabletop fire bowl, you’ll want to make sure that there are no plastic products anywhere near it. Doing this can cause toxic fumes to arise, and if plastic begins to melt, it’s very difficult to clean it up.
Gas Tabletop Fire Bowls
Gas tabletop fire bowls are so much easier to keep maintained in comparison to ones that require wood to fuel them. While a tabletop fire bowl might be an annoyance to clean up at the end of a week, it’ll also prolong its lifespan and make sure that it is fully functional the next time you want to use it. No one wants to have guests over to a rusty and filthy fire bowl. This might have people thinking that you don’t take care of your yard or products.
Always Turn Off The Gas Before Cleaning
Before cleaning your tabletop fire bowl, you’ll want to make sure that the gas line is shut off. For tabletop fire bowls that operate through a propane tank, disconnect the tank from the fire bowl. Place the tank well away from the fire bowl in an area that has a good amount of ventilation circulating through it.
Keep It Covered
When your tabletop fire bowl isn’t in use, you’ll want to keep a cover over it until you’re ready to use it again. A vinyl cover won’t cost you much money, and it will ensure that no dirt or debris will find its way into your fire bowl during the periods of time that you’re not using it. Periodically, you’ll want to check to make sure that the gas connections aren’t leaking.
Getting a simple cover for your fire bowl is something that will prevent that amount of maintenance you’ll be having to do. Without a cover, you’ll have to be pulling random objects out of it all of the time. The wind can easily blow twigs, leaves, and branches into the fire bowl, but not if you have a cover on top of it.
If you’re thinking about getting a cover for your fire bowl, always make sure to wait until things cool off before putting it on. No one wants to make the mistake of their vinyl covers melting to the fire bowl.
Before using your tabletop fire bowl, make sure that there is no debris in the burner pan. All of the drain vents should be free and clear of bugs and other objects. Before using it, consider taking off the fire glass to do a quick inspection to make sure there isn’t any residue or debris in the fire bowl itself.
If your tabletop fire bowl functions on gas, you’ll want to resist the urge to burn other objects in it. Throwing wood into your fire bowl could turn things bad pretty quickly. No one wants to be dealing with the risk of their house burning down over something like relaxing outside in front of their fire bowl. Always make sure to adhere to the instructions in the manual for the safest operations.
Sometimes people wonder if they can cook things with their tabletop fire bowls. If the manufacturer states against it with your particular fire bowl, you’ll want to avoid doing so. You’ll also want to steer clear of using lighter fluid in your fire bowl. This could turn the fire into something that’s beyond your control faster than you’d think.
If your fire bowl is metal, rust can tend to creep its nasty face into it after a period of time. You’ll always want to periodically check your fire bowl for signs of rust. If you do happen to spot rust, get some sandpaper and take care of it as soon as you can. A good wire brush will also prevent it from spreading further around the fire bowl.
There are rust-resistant sealants that you can also purchase to lower the chances of the rust from getting out of control.
If your fire bowl is manufactured from concrete or stone, you’ll want to ensure that there are no cracks forming. If you do notice a small crack anywhere on the surface, address the issue as soon as you can. Over time, cracks can start to form near the pipe, and if you notice that happening on yours, you might want to consider contacting a professional to come and take a look at it.
When you’re not using your fire bowl, make sure to keep the gas line shut off. In addition, do a routine check on your gas line to make sure that there are no leaks. Sometimes people get a water and soap solution and administer it to the gas line. They will then turn the gas line on and see if there are any bubbles throughout the line.
Keeping your tabletop fire bowl maintained might take a little bit of extra work throughout the year, but it will make sure that it’s always ready to be used the next time you’re in the mood for it. Following these basic maintenance tips will have your fire bowl ready to be lighted up in all seasons of the year.
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The best way to enjoy your backyard patio during the fall and winter seasons is to add a firepit! Maybe you’ve dabbled in creating your own fire pit before or have been on the hunt for an electrical fire pit to place in the middle of your patio seating setup. A DIY smokeless fire pit is your solution.
The problem with regular fire pits is the heavy smoke they produce. If you’ve ever been camping or tried sitting around a fire pit in someone’s backyard, you know the feeling of smoke watering your eyes and the strong stench it comes with. You want to relax and catch up with friends, but the smoke just gets too much to handle.
Electrical fire pits will cost you big bucks and won’t provide the best warmth during cold months. So, what do you do? Consider building your own DIY smokeless fire pits! It’s not too challenging to build, and it can be done in one weekend.
You can enjoy nights out with family and friends in the comfort of your backyard. No more smoke tearing up your eyes, no more smoke smell sticking to your clothing, and no more moving your chairs away from the pit!
In this article, we will discuss how a smokeless fire pit works, the three most popular methods to build one, and a step-by-step guide to one of the methods! Gear up for a new DIY project that you and your family will cherish this winter season!
How do Smokeless Fire Pits Work?
Wood fuels regular fire pits, which emit a lot of smoke. A smokeless fire pit captures the burning wood’s smoke in a double-walled structure. In that structure, it re-burns to prevent less smoke from emitting into the air.
Airflow from air holes at the bottom of the fire pit keeps the fire going. Warm air – which is oxygen – moves up from the bottom of the fire pit to the top through small holes. Warm oxygen mixes with the smoke, causing it to re-burn. This re-burning is considered clean and eliminates any smoke!
Three Popular Methods to Build a Smokeless Fire Pit
The three most popular methods to build your very own smokeless firepit are:
- The Charcoal Method
- The Dakota Fire Hole Method
- The Upside-down Campfire Method
The Charcoal Method
This method uses bricks, charcoal, a Firestarter, newspaper, and tinder!
Quick How-To Guide:
- Place your bricks in a way that will trap as much heat.
- Lodge a piece of newspaper inside the bricks and place three pieces of tinder inside the pit.
- Add three more pieces of tinder in a separate triangle figure on top of the first triangle.
- Pour some fire starter in the fire pit.
- Slowly add charcoal once the fire starts to get bright.
The Dakota Fire Hole Method
For this method, all you need are charcoal, kindling, and a shovel!
Quick How-to Guide:
- Use your shovel to dig a hole around one foot deep into the ground.
- Add a ventilation shaft that leads to the surface. Dig a hole a foot away from the tunnel, downwind from the fire hole.
- Connect the ventilation shaft to the fire hole.
- Build a fire with charcoal, kindling, and wood in the fire hole.
- Use a grid of new saplings to hold any cooking equipment that you are using above the hole.
The Upside-down Campfire Method
The materials needed for this method are logs of different sizes, kindling, and paper.
Quick How-to Guide:
- Stack the smaller logs on top of the larger ones.
- Top your pile with a good amount of kindling.
- Take your piece of paper, crumple it, and place it on top of the stack.
- Light the paper on fire. The paper’s fire will begin to run downward.
Step-by-step Guide to Build Your Own DIY Smokeless Fire Pit
1. No matter where you live, check the rules on open fires within your region
You want to confirm from the fire department any rules about backyard fires. This is important, especially with highly populated cities and countryside that are prone to wildfires. You may need to notify officials or obtain a permit every time you plan on having an outdoor fire. Just check to be sure!
2. Collect all the materials and equipment needed to start building your DIY fire pit
The equipment needed includes:
- Concrete blocks, bricks, or paving stones
- A stake
- Fire bricks
- Measuring tape
- A shovel
- A tamp
Try to keep your fire pit’s construction within a 42-inch diameter. This way, it won’t be too big, and sufficient heat will be passed to people sitting around.
3. Make your markings
Decide where to build your fire pit. Make sure to position it away from any buildings and trees. Try to position it 20-25 inches away from structures like your patio and wooden deck.
Jam your stake into the ground to mark the center of where you will build the fire pit.
Now, attach a string half the size of the diameter you want to have. Tie chalk to the other end of the string. Drag the string as you outline the area you want for your firepit.
4. Start digging the hole for the DIY smokeless fire pit
For a standard fire pit, dig 6”; for a deeper one, dig down 12”. Remove the stake once you’ve finished the marking. Using a shovel, dig out the topsoil and grass. Measure to make sure you’ve dug enough before proceeding to the next step.
5. Level the dirt
Use your tamp to stamp down on the dirt to level it. Keep this up for the entire pit. Use your level to make sure that the surface of your pit is even.
6. Pour gravel into the hole
Pour gravel into the hole up to the hole’s surface. Use your stamp to press down on the gravel and level its surface evenly. Pack it entirely so that it doesn’t move or get displaced.
Displacement will result in low-quality block construction. So, make sure the gravel is packed together and tight before moving on to the next time.
7. Lay down your blocks, bricks, or paving stones
You can now begin laying down the first layer of bricks, blocks, or paving stones. Use your level simultaneously to ensure even placement. If you have leftover gravel, you can insert chunks underneath some blocks for precise placing. Stones are a great foundation for a DIY smokeless fire pit.
8. Stack layers
Add a second and third layer to finish up the structure of your fire pit. While laying down the blocks, offset them so that your smokeless hole will be sturdy and durable. If you want to seal your blocks with fire-resistant mortar (more on that in the next step), leave a few spaces open to act as vents for your fire pit. This will allow air to move in and minimize the amount of smoke your fire pit will give off. And there will always be enough oxygen to keep your fire going strong.
9. Install fire ring and fire bricks
If you are using paving stones or blocks, you don’t need to use fire-resistant mortar or adhesive. But it may not be long-lasting. A fire ring or fire bricks will increase your fire pit’s durability to last a very long time.
Place your fire bricks after the construction of the outer wall of your fire pit. Use fire-resistant mortar to attach the fire bricks to the outer wall. Leave a few spaces to allow for enough airflow and oxygen so that smoke is minimized and gives room for sufficient combustion. Wait for the fire-resistant mortar to dry fully before you begin using your fire pit.
10. Use the best method to build a DIY smokeless fire pit
With this fire pit, you can now use the charcoal or upside-down campfire method to build your fire! These methods will allow you and your family to sit comfy close to the campfire, feel the heat, and not have to worry about any smoke inhalation! You can refer to the steps in the previous section of this article or search for detailed videos on how to start your preferred method step-by-step.
A smokeless fire pit would be the perfect addition to your backyard patio or patio kitchen this winter season! The problem with most fire pits is that it emits smoke that tears up your eyes, stink up your clothes, and is very irritating to sit through. This smoke pushes people away from the fire pit and is a straight-up mood killer!
If you are a DIY lover and want to create the perfect ambiance in your backyard patio seating area, you should look into building your own DIY smokeless fire pit! It is fairly simple to build with the right materials, and even easier to start up a smokeless fire in it!
In this article, we covered the top-three methods to start a DIY smokeless fire pit.
Hope this DIY project keeps your family warm and comfy, allowing you to cherish the memories you make together this winter season and laid out a step-by-step guide to building your smokeless fire pit to enjoy with your family and guests!
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