Starry winter nights and an outdoor fire pit is a match made in heaven. It’s a luxury anyone can afford as there are many designs you can build yourself. Simple above ground fire pits can be made by stacking bricks, flagstones or pavers. (See many images below to get an idea.) In-ground or underground fire pits are a bit more challenging as you need to dig a hole or sink the pit into your patio. We’ve hand-picked these top 40 DIY ideas for every taste and style so you should be able to find one to incorporate into your backyard.
In-ground fire pits are a visual delight. They bury the pit underground so that the flames appear to rise from the ground itself. They are also much less dangerous than above ground fire pits, as these are usually quite a safe distance away from overhanging branches and trees.
Underground fire pits are subtle by nature. These aren’t meant to be the center of attention but serve as the perfect gathering spot for bonfire night. If you have a grassy backyard, these are simpler to create, and all it really takes is a hole in the ground and some lining materials.
You can create a wonderful patio sunken fire pit using flagstones. Keep your DIY design simple by lining it with retaining wall blocks or bricks. Complete the area with a designated flagstone patio or cover it with gravel or soil. Add some chairs around the pit, and you have a perfectly cozy yet earthy seating area for your yard.
If all of this seems too plain for your taste, then let your creativity glow. You can add a metal bowl in the pit to add visual appeal to your idea. Place lava rocks over your pit base and fill it up to the surface or fill it up with sand. Over time, the sand combined with ashes creates an aesthetically pleasing design.
If you still aren’t satisfied, you can instead create a stacked fire pit. Stacked pits are layered above the ground and do create attractive centerpieces that can be incorporated in any patio setting.
You can use natural rocks to create a stack above ground to define the pit area. They give an earthy appearance that makes the pit look like it’s a part of the surroundings and is meant to blend with nature.
You can use flagstones to create bolder pieces. Fill them up with twigs or place a metal bowl as a firepit. Stacked firepits offer a lot more design variety. Create a single retaining wall meant to act as protection against the wind or create a full structure intended to serve as the base for the fire pit.
You can even use DIY kits and concrete blocks to create beautiful sunken or stacked fire pits. In fact, you can combine the two and build a windbreaker wall on one side of your in-ground fire pit. Whether you want to create a stacked brick clad fire pit or use flagstone instead, the result will be exciting nonetheless.
There’s an option for everyone. Even if you’re on a very small budget and are looking for cheap ideas, you can build a fully functional fire pit using leftover construction material. Here are 40 pictures to help you choose from the many DIY ideas and designs.
This rustic pit is built with larger rocks, put together like a puzzle. A masonry fire area really does elevate your backyard ambience.
This would be a super simple fire area to build. Bricks hold the heat and the patio stones and gravel give it an interesting aesthetic.
Another masonry pit – this one is a little more ordered, less rustic and looks more formal thanks to the ordered patio stone floor.
Another way to go is the built-in pit, flush to ground level. This one is made with clay bricks and a rough rock border. There’s gravel on the bottom to provide a base for your fire.
You can turn your patio fire spot into a cooking pit with the addition of a grill or grate — just find one that suits the dimensions of your pit and of the food you want to cook outdoors.
This inground pit uses only bricks and gravel, the bricks in a delightful sun shape on the bottom. The bricks will hold the heat and keep you hanging at the fir longer. This is a simple build, you could do it in a day.
More sunny days design, or is it a flower? Once again, utilizing bricks and building inground for your pit is a great way to design the fire feature in your backyard or patio area. And it will extend your outdoor season.
A rustic lakeside fire feature — who doesn’t like to sit down by the lake as the sun is going down? And as we all know, late summer nights can be cooler – you want a fire for sure. This pit uses large rocks as heat holders, and is a flat paved bottom, not as deep as most. And as an added safety (and design) feature, there are two rows of bricks running around the circular shape of the pit. If sparks should fly, the bricks won’t catch fire.
With an adjustable-height grill, your outdoor, inground fire feature becomes an awesome barbeque area. And wood-fired food always tastes so good. The smoke gives it just that extra flavor it needs, especially if you are lucky enough to find hickory or mesquite. And if not, add some “smoke chips” — chips of hickory or mesquite, prepackaged and widely available at lawn and garden centers. In fact, widely available at any store that sells barbeque accessories. Sprinkle them on your wood and there’s your extra flavor.
This pit, built with two sizes and two colors of brick (quite artistic), goes the extra mile. They’ve added a metal liner around the inside edge.
This great fire feature is simple and elegant with windows that not only provide a sight line to the dancing flames, but allow extra heat to escape the pit. It looks very upscale and yet, it’s nothing more than simple bricks. Well done!
This one is made using flat rocks, layered on top of each other and building a horseshoe-shaped pit with an eye to barbequing. There’s a great deal of space for the food this way.
Just a simple seating area for two and a simple pit, part inground and part above ground. But it’s always nice to have a fire.
This is one of the more artistic firepits. It almost looks like a donut-shaped waterfall with the rock placement. Thin rocks have been positioned artistically on their edges to present a stunning design, really. And inside the ring is the iron pot that holds the fire. It’s a really nice one.
No matter which design you choose, if you’re building an inground firepit, the first step is always digging the hole and making sure the edges are all aligned and smooth.
Once again, there’s a metal bowl in the center – it’s much more efficient to clean out the ashes this way and you are double protected. This above-ground pit is created from thicker rocks, chosen deliberately to fit together in this fashion. The rocks would be a good heat retention source.
This inground pit was madewith coordinated terra cotta stones and brick liner. It’s a large fire area – for big outdoor parties.
This simple fire area was made by stacking shale-type rocks, flatter, unmatched pieces. And it looks great sitting on the shale patio stone floor. We love the natural log benches and flower pot planters. Who couldn’t find a little Zen here?
Here’s a handy photo DIY to show you the steps you’ll have to take to create your own backyard fire pit. First, you need to measure out and mark a circular area you want to use for the pit. Be sure it’s the size you want – this is where it all begins. Next, time to dig it out. Probably the least fun part! You’ll need to line your pit – in this case, they have used standard terra cotta colored bricks. And then the hearth area has been designed with wavy flagstones, and loose rocks in between. Note how there are terra cotta rocks to pick up the color of the brick liner and first row around the pit. Now you are entirely ready to cook over fire. Call some of your friends and have an outdoor get-together to celebrate.
This is a clever design. Square patio stones, piled on top of each other in a half circle really makes a woven pattern on the inside and stair-like design at the ends. Very well thought out!
They’ve chosen a more unusual patio stone shape on this pit for their terra cotta bricks and it gives the area a bit more interest. This is a wide, shallow pit but it’s still well-lined. And off to one side, a little area for cooking. Well, not so little, you see the number of cast iron pots on the grill. But it’s an offshoot, the way you see a hot tub attached to a pool. Part of the area, but separate.
This above-ground firepit is higher than most, allowing the liner to be a deep metal bowl with a grate for cooking. The fire sits high in the pit, thanks to the bowl. In fact, why don’t we call this one a fire bowl inside a pit? Interesting DIY.
This inground pit is full of rocks – back to the sauna model – and they’ll sure retain the heat and keep it warm. The ring is a simple decoration of standard terra cotta bricks. Quite an easy DIY, this one.
This in-ground pit is the same sort of theory, but the rocks are circled around the edge of the pit. And the bricks are also in-ground. This one looks more like a traditional campfire design.
The multicolored rocks have been fit very snugly in this above-ground pit. And they match the flagstones that make up the ground area. We love the little shelter area for the extra wood. That would make stoking the fire a much easier job.
This is a great design, and it will really make your pit the star of your yard or patio. Once again, we have rocks in the pit as a heat retainer and a bit of a buffer for the walls.
Another simple pit, above ground and with gravel both inside and out. You could DIY this one in a matter of hours.
Some thought and care was taken with the design of this fire pit. It’s quite pleasing to the eye!
This above-ground pit is more complicated – it’s actually stonemasonry and the rocks are bonded together with cement.
This builder has used cement on the interior lining, to secure the bricks for the pit portion. The sides are layered stones, and the top is smooth and fitted like tiles.
This inground pit has a well-defined “hearth” area, and it keeps stray embers from starting unwanted fires. It makes for not only a very safe fire area but also a very pleasing design.
Sometimes, simple can be best for your needs. Just dig a hole, layer your bricks, and voila. A semi-inground pit.
Another inground fire pit and this one is rigged with brick columns so you can cook in it. You can even make tea!
Of course, an above-ground pit is easier on your back, not as much bending over. And always, always, open any tin can before heating. Just saying.
Another simple pit, but a very coordinated design. Grass has been allowed to grow through the top patio stones. This one is an easy DIY.
Another stairway to a great fire pit design. We love this creative approach and the back wall will limit the fire’s exposure to wind.
Smaller bricks on the liner layer, and larger, fitted patio stones for the hearth. Use your imagination.
Wow – this is almost a pizza oven! We love this fire pit (and the view is quite nice, too).
Another fire bowl style pit, and this one is super simple, you can DIY it in under half an hour. Ideal for a temporary camping site!
This is another simple pit, built right on top of the patio. With the raised fire area, there is no danger of scorching your patio stones.
A lovely seating area, and a lovely way to end a small dinner party, or just to end the day. Take your beverage of choice, and gather round the fire to tell your stories. As humans have been doing for centuries.