Warm, cozy, welcoming, we bet that these are the words you want to hear this time of the year.
For some people, fall can be downcast and dreary. But it can also be romantic and magical. The red and gold leaves, the breeze, and family gatherings. We all have nostalgic connections to autumns of our past.
One way to heat up the season is by installing a fire pit in your yard. You can make it even better if you make it from scratch. Here are five examples of DIY fire pits that you can build this fall. We will weigh the pros and cons of each and give a short tutorial for each.
1 – Concrete cast fire pit
The first do-it-yourself pit we will look at is a concrete cast fire pit. You can mold these into a variety of shapes and sizes. But the one we are going to look at is shaped like a bowl.
The project can be intimidating at first. However, don’t fear. It isn’t that challenging to pull off.
Depending on your skill level and its design, the final product can look extremely neat. With some careful work, it might not look handmade at all. Instead, it will look modern and sleek.
- Requires little maintenance
- Looks store-bought and professional
- Can make it portable
- Prone to cracks from the heat
First, you should note that fireplace gel will probably work better for this pit than a wood or coal fire. The material is porous. So water can seep into it. When the flames heat the bowl, it will make the water expand. Unfortunately, this could cause the concrete to crack.
You could mold the cast the concrete in a large bowl. But most people won’t have a suitable one lying around.
Alternatively, you can use a mold to create the right shape. Lay down a tarp and draw a circle on its surface. Use wet sand to create a half-spherical shape in the outline.
Mix the concrete following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then mold it around the mound of sand. You can do this in layers so that it is two to three inches thick by the end.
Stick thin pieces of pipe or straw through the surface to allow rainwater to drain once it’s finished.
Place a plank or board on top of the concrete to create a level surface.
Finally, you just need it to let it dry for at least forty-eight hours. Afterward, you can lift it from the tarp and sand the surface until smooth.
Place the gel canisters at the bottom. You could then cover those with heat-resistant stones.
2 – Re-purposed washing machine drum
Are you a fan of recycling?
If this is the case, you could always upcycle household items to create a DIY fire pit. One of the best options for this is a metal washing machine drum.
This project is an excellent choice for you if you some broken appliances lying around. Otherwise, you can always go looking for one at a scrapyard or secondhand store. Besides this, you might find a loose replacement drum from a manufacturer.
As long as you pay some attention to its appearance, you can create an attractive and modern looking fire pit.
- More environmentally friendly
- Limited size
- Set shape
- Need some power tools
To start, you have to remove the drum from the old washing machine. Take a look at this article for more instructions on removing the tub from a top loader.
You need to make sure that the entire container is metal. In case there are any plastic parts attached to it you need to remove it. You can use an angle grinder.
Also, use it to get rid of any sharp corners or rust. You might want to grab some sandpaper too. Next, it would be useful to weld some legs to the bottom of the tub.
Afterward, you have to apply some high heat-resistant paint to protect its surface. Black usually works best.
3 – Sunken stone and brick fire pit
Another fantastic option is to build a sunken fire pit. Overall, this is a great choice if you have a lawn but don’t have that much space. On top of this, it is a super easy and inexpensive project.
You can get creative with building the base for this pit. There are endless customization options. We are going to look at how you can create one with brick and stone. Occasionally you will need to perform some maintenance if only to put the parts back in place.
Its design will consist of bricks placed in a sun pattern with walls around the edges. The pebbles will fill in the gaps.
One more benefit is that this type of fire pit tends to be safer as long as you make sure that no one accidentally steps into it.
- Highly customizable
- Low effort
- Might need some
- Need to dig a hole
- Fixed in place
- Need to bend to work in it
The first thing to do is measure out the size of the hole you need. Pick a spot and lay down ten or so bricks to create an almost sun-like pattern. Once you’ve done this, draw a circle the breadth of one block away from the edge. You can do this with spray paint.
Secondly, you need to dig a hole. Make it as deep the length of a brick that is placed on its head with room to lay one flat on the top.
Third, you can lay down the bricks. Luckily you don’t have to use any mortar. Just lay down the sun pattern in the middle then place bricks on their heads as a wall around the rim. Then lay other blocks flat on top of them to create a neat edge.
Now all that’s left to do is to use heat resistant pebbles to fill the holes.
4 – Cinder block fire pit
Although brick is a fantastic material to build fire pits, this isn’t your only choice. If you want to, you could instead use cinder blocks.
These can be a relatively unchallenging and ready-made solution.
Once again, you can choose a variety of different layouts and design. Each can create an entirely different aesthetic effect.
For this guide, we are going to look at a neat square design. In the end, it can look simple yet stylish.
- Low maintenance
- Needs many materials
- Relatively expensive
- Need to dig a hole
You need to look for fire-rated cinder blocks. Not all of them are created equal or able to resist the heat. They also need to be perfect rectangles.
Once again, you need to start by marking out an area. The size you need depends on the dimensions of the specific blocks that you will use. Place the pieces in a square with two on each side and half of one block on each side overlapping with another row.
Next, you can dig the hole. Make it deep enough the first layer of flat blocks only barely sticks out over the edge.
Following this, you can lay down the first flat blocks and mix the mortar. Build a smaller square with cinder blocks that you turn on their side. And fix them in place.
You can then lay more blocks laying flat on top of these. For support, you might need to install more sideways bricks underneath them. The final effect will be of two large squares, one underneath and one on top with a smaller one in between.
To improve its drainage, throw a two-inch layer of lava rock into the cavity.
This specific fire pit is a more permanent installation. However, if you leave out the mortar, you can make it a temporary addition that you can move around or modify.
5 – Loose stone fire pit
The final DIY fire pit we will look at is even easier to build. You can create a fire pit out of bare stone.
The project can be the one for you if you love playing with textures and using different natural elements in your home and backyard.
You can choose any heat-resistant stone of your choice. They only need to be the same shape and size so that you can stack them neatly on top of each other.
In the end, the fire pit will look fashionable, yet have some rustic charm. It can remind you of those camping memories from your childhood.
- Natural elements
- Easy to construct
- Stone can be expensive
- Difficult to move
- Need to dig a hole
The installation will be made up of the circular pit in the middle, which is surrounded by a covered surface. To create the base, you will need large, flat stone blocks. You need to lay them down to form a square with a smaller open square in the middle.
Now you can start building the pit itself. Begin to layer your bare stone into a circle. You want it to be at least four stones deep.
After this, you should place heatproof pebbles or gravel around the pit. For appearance’s sake, you want to make it more or less level with the blocks around it. Also, put a layer inside the stone circle.
Throw about three inches of sand on top of the pebbles in the pit. And you are all done.
Because we didn’t use mortar or concrete, you can move or modify the pit if you want to. But because there are so many loose pieces, it can be quite a time-consuming process.
No matter which of these projects you choose, you always have to make safety your top priority. Unfortunately, any fire pit is a potential fire hazard. So you need to protect you, your family, and your property from harm.
Thankfully, there are a few simple measures you can take to prevent any problems in the future. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Always, always supervise children near a fire pit. Instruct them to stay at least 10 feet away from it.
- Never leave any fire unattended. There should always be an adult around to keep an eye on things.
- Inform your insurance company about the pit. Check whether the policy will cover any possible damage.
- On top of this, contact your local government and fire department to make sure that it is allowed.
- Don’t let intoxicated people near the flames. Statistics show that alcohol and drug use is a major contributing factor in 61% of adult burns.
- Keep the area around the fire pit clear. You should clear away everything flammable away for several feet around it.
- One small spark can lead to a big problem. Therefore, you need to be careful whenever there is wind or even a breeze.
- Buy an extinguisher and keep at close at hand. So you can just grab it in an emergency.
- Remember that the embers could stay hot for a day or even longer. That’s why you have to warn your family to take care even after the flames have died. You can help it to cool down more quickly by spreading out the coals afterward.
Besides these tips, it won’t hurt to know more about burn injuries and how to treat them. For some basic first aid information for burns take a look at this article.
Warming up on chilly nights
Any of these fire pits can make an excellent addition to your mobile home’s backyard. They’ll help you create the perfect retreat to hang out around and roast some s’mores. So don’t let the cold keep you down this autumn.
We are crazy for fall. If you are as well, check out mobile home landscaping: 15 things you can do for fall and trending fall themes for your mobile home & how to get the look.