Learn how to build a fire pit and enjoy warmth in your garden on chilly nights, or use it as an extra grill for smoky flavoured food. We've got good news for you: DIY fire fits are easy, you just need some good quality bricks. This project is for a square fire pit, which is much easier to build than a round one and requires fewer steps. Of course, if you decide that a DIY fire pit isn't your thing after all, you can always buy one (keep scrolling for some suggestions of fire pits currently on sale).
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- Find out about bonfires – so you know what to burn and how not to annoy next door
How to build a fire pit
You will need:
- Clay bricks, enough for four layers
- a digging spade
- Gravel, enough to fill your fire pit by about a third, plus extra for the centre
- A spirit level
- Kindling and fire wood
1. Decide on the size of your fire pit. Anything between 50cm x 50cm and 1m x 1m is fine; anything under will be difficult to fire up, and larger will look too big in most gardens.
2. Begin by laying out the perimeter of your fire pit on an area of level ground in your garden. Use a spirit level to determine where is best, but also make sure you're not building your fire pit next to trees or bushes – or, of course, artificial grass, fences or the house or shed.
3. Lay the bricks next to each, allowing for 5mm gaps. Then, lay a second, outer perimeter just outside the inner one, making sure you lay the bricks in such a way that the gaps between the bricks in the inner outline and the those in the outer don't overlap.
4. Now mark the turf around this layer of your fire pit. Remove the ricks and dig up the turf. Level out the soil by walking over it or with a trowel; check that it's level with a spirit level.
5. Make a small well of around 30cm in diameter in the centre of your fire pit and fill with gravel.
6. Reconstruct the first layer of your fire pit around the perimeter. Now lay the second layer, perpendicular to the first, not parallel. Then lay the third layer in the same direction as the first, and the fourth level in the same direction as the second.
7. Cover the bottom of your fire pit with gravel, about 5cm deep, including the hole in the centre. Your fire pit is ready to be lit up.
8. Position kindling in the centre, forming a teepee. Once it's burning well, add larger logs. Don't pile them too high – the fire should be level with the top layer of your fire pit and not much higher.
Fire pit tips: how to get a fire going
If you've never lit a fire before, you may wonder how to do it successfully, but it's actually pretty easy. Bear the following in mind when building the fire inside your fire pit:
- Use only completely dry wood: it's best to buy logs rather than using random wood for this reason; wet wood won't burn well and will produce too much smoke.
- Keep adding kindling: if your fire keeps going out, keep adding kindling until it really takes. This may take a good while depending on what type of wood you're using.
- Add more oxygen by poking your fire with a metal fire poker.
- Want something a bit more advanced? Browse our guide to the best chimeneas