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Build a Cozy Firepit in Your Backyard

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 120 Projects

A fire-pit is a backyard focal point and gathering spot. The one featured here is constructed around a metal liner, which will keep the fire pit walls from overheating and cracking if cooled suddenly by rain or a bucket of water. The liner here is a section of 36-inch-diameter corrugated culvert pipe. Check local codes for stipulations on pit area size. Many codes require a 20-foot-diameter pit area.

Ashlar wall stones add character to the fire pit walls, but you can use any type of stone, including cast concrete retaining wall blocks. You’ll want to prep the base for the seating area as you dig the fire pit to be sure both rest on the same level plane.


Some pointers to consider when using your fire pit include: 

  1. Make sure there are no bans or restrictions in effect
  2. Evaluate wind conditions and avoid building a fire if winds are heavy and/or blowing toward your home
  3. Keep shovels, sand, water, and a fire extinguisher nearby
  4. Extinguish fire with water and never leave the fire pit unattended


  1. Backyard_Fire_Pit_04Outline the location for your firepit and the firepit safety area by drawing concentric circles with landscape paint using a string and pole for guidance. 

  2. Backyard_Fire_Pit_05Remove a 4"-deep layer of sod and dirt in the firepit and safety areas (the depth of the excavation depends on what materials you’re installing in the safety zone.)

  3. Backyard_Fire_Pit_06Dig a 4"-deep trench for the perimeter stones that will ring the pit liner.

  4. Backyard_Fire_Pit_07
    Fill the trench for the perimeter stones with compactable gravel and tamp thoroughly. Then scatter gravel to within 21/2" of the paver edging top throughout the project area. It is not necessary to tamp this layer at this time.

  5. Backyard_Fire_Pit_08Place your metal fire ring so it is level on the gravel layer and centered around the center pipe.

  6. Backyard_Fire_Pit_09Arrange the first course of wall blocks around the fire ring. Keep gaps even and check with a level, adding or removing gravel as needed.

  7. Backyard_Fire_Pit_10Install the second course of retaining wall block, taking care to evenly stagger the vertical joints on the first and second courses. Add the remaining courses

  8. Backyard_Fire_Pit_11

    Compact the compactable gravel in the seating/safety area using a rental plate vibrator.

  9. Backyard_Fire_Pit_01Place and compact a layer of top-dressing rock in the seating/safety area to complete the firepit.

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