45 Fire Pit Ideas with Rocks and Stones: Cheap and Easy

Fire Pit Ideas with Rocks and Stones
Cheap and easy DIY fire pits made with rocks and stones

When it comes to fire pit ideas using rocks, I envision an array of shapes and sizes, from small pebbles to large boulders. I think of natural elements like river rocks and flagstones, often creating a primitive or rough-hewn look. While many refer to these as stone fire pits, I distinguish ‘stones’ as landscaping stones and man-made pavers, whereas ‘rocks’ suggest naturally occurring, uniquely shaped pieces. Regardless of terminology—rock or stone—here you’ll discover inventive ideas to suit every style.

Most rock fire pit designs are rustic and circular, making them ideal for vacation homes, country cottages, and log houses. If you have access to rocks on your property or leftover patio stones, building these pits can be relatively inexpensive and straightforward. You can use mortar to secure the stones if necessary. The process is generally easy because precision isn’t crucial for achieving a rustic look. The main challenge lies in sourcing your building materials.

It’s worth noting that adding a metal fire ring or fire pit bowl to your design can greatly simplify the construction process. Simply arrange rocks around the ring or beneath the bowl. Below, you’ll find several design examples and images to inspire you.


General Ideas and Tips for Building a Rock Fire Pit

When excavating for new construction, save every rock and boulder. Not only will this cut costs when building your fire pit, but these materials can also be used in other landscaping projects.

A rustic fire pit can be constructed from rocks of any size and shape, provided you have enough mortar.

Keep in mind that large natural rocks and landscaping boulders can be pricey.

Small rocks are more affordable and can be stacked to create a decent-sized fire pit.

If you’re laying a patio, save your leftover flagstones, cobblestones, and other natural stones or pavers for a future fire pit project.

Among all the stone options, man-made pavers are the most cost-effective choice for building an economical outdoor fire pit. While it may not have a rustic appeal, it’s the easiest to assemble.


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Rustic Designs

When it comes to rustic fire pit ideas, pairing your fire pit with a flagstone patio will always create a rustic vibe. Whether it’s a flagstone fire pit or a rock fire pit you install, the rugged shapes of the patio will complement the pit beautifully. Here they’ve used a simple circle of natural boulders to create the fire pit and surrounded it with flagstones. Allowing the grass to grow between the stones adds to the rustic feeling, making the patio seem like it’s been there for ages.

Boulder fire pit idea for a round flagstone patio

This rustic design is similar but they’ve placed the flagstone closer together to prevent the grass from growing. The patio will be easier to maintain this way since they won’t have to mow the grass. I love how the wooden bench fits perfectly with the rustic theme with its live edge seat and simple log legs. The red chairs add a pop of color to the backyard and help accentuate this scenic hangout spot.


Primitive Fire Pits

Creating a primitive-looking stone fire pit is a simple DIY project you can complete quickly. The hardest part is usually moving your materials, especially if you’re using large rocks. Here they’ve decided to partially bury big rocks to create a semicircle fire pit. Since they’ve covered the area with small rocks and added a steel pan in the bottom, they don’t need a full surround for this rock fire pit idea. The rocks having unique shapes give this design that primitive look.

Bonfire in a backyard

If you’re wondering how to put rocks around a fire pit, it can be as simple as tossing a bunch of rocks together to form a circle. If you’re going for a primitive style with your fire pit, you don’t really want a bunch of symmetrical rocks stacked in a perfect circle.

Fireplace from stones on the grass

Since this fire pit is surrounded by grass, they’ve added a small border of rocks and mortar around the main fire pit. This will reduce the risk of fire since the sides of the fire pit are short which makes it easier for embers to escape.

You can also make a surround of bricks around a primitive fire pit. This is a cheap and easy alternative to using rocks and mortar since the bricks fit snuggly enough together that you won’t have to purchase any mortar. Alternating brick colors in a pattern such as this also adds another design element to your backyard fire pit.

sitting area made of wood and pebbles

Another idea is to use pebbles or gravel as a border. Surround the main fire pit with smaller boulders and place larger boulders around the gravel to keep them in place. Adding wooden seating like simple logs not only provides a place to sit and enjoy the fire but also contributes to the primitive, natural feel of the design.

Large flagstone clad patio design for campfire setting

This primitive fire pit has been added to the center of the lower, lakeside patio. The use of various natural stones, flagstone, and large river rocks helps maintain the unique look of this more intricate patio design. If you want to add more formal seating, opt for wooden chairs which won’t clash with the primitive stonework.


Use River Rocks

River rocks have smooth, circular shapes that complement the circular shape of a fire pit wonderfully. You’ll want to use larger, flatter river rocks to make stacking them easier. If you want to build the walls higher than a few inches, it’s best to use mortar to hold the rocks together.

River rocks come in a variety of colors, so choose stones that go with the color of your patio or house to create a more cohesive look. Cool neutral tones like gray go best with cool colors like green, blue, and purple. Warm neutrals like brown work well with red, yellow, and orange.

a stone fairy ring or fire ring surrounded by grass

River rocks also work great for lining the bottom of a fire pit while large size rocks can be used to build an entire pit. You can mix river rocks with other, more angular stones to add more texture to the overall design.


Use Landscaping Rocks and Natural Stone / Natural Rock

Bonfire in a fire pit at sunset in Central Kentucky countryside

You can use almost any type of landscape stone for your local garden center to create a backyard fire pit. These look like granite cobblestone which are sometimes called cobble pavers. Here they’ve used mostly gray square stones of various sizes with a few other shapes and colors mixed in.

these look like granite cobblestones also called cobble pavers

Cobblestones are man-made granite rocks. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors which will allow you to build a fire pit that matches the style of your backyard décor.

cobblestone fire pit

The creator of this idea says, “Beautiful cobblestone. I bought it to use for a DIY fire pit in our backyard and it looks beautiful.” This fire pit is simple to create and won’t break the bank!

Round soapstone pit design

Soapstone looks similar to granite cobblestone with its unpolished surfaces and angular shape. Soapstone typically has warmer neutral tones versus granite which is primarily gray and white in color.

multicolored above ground fire pit

Sandstone is another alternative to using granite cobblestone and tends to have a mixture of grays and browns throughout.

Above ground round flagstone pit

Another landscape stone you can use to build your fire pit is slate. This fire pit was made by first installing a circle of bricks and mortar in the center. Slate stones are then stacked around the outside of the bricks and along the top to give it a more natural look.

Concrete blocks or pavers have more uniform shapes than other landscape stones since they are created by pouring concrete into molds. This makes them easier to stack without the need for mortar to hold them together.


Large Rocks / Big Rocks / Boulders

Amazing DIY flagstone patio with stone clad fire pit and patio lounge chairs

Large boulders can be a bit more expensive than other landscaping rocks, but boy do they make a statement piece in the center of your patio! If you want your fire pit to be the center of attention, use large boulders to make it stand out from the rest of your stone patio.

TIPS: To create an organic-looking fire pit from boulders, it’s best to bury a third of the boulder into the ground so they can sit upright. They look best when the height of each boulder is randomized to ensure an asymmetrical look to the top of the fire pit. Make sure each boulder is sitting straight up to ensure they have a natural appearance. If the boulders and pointing in various directions the fire pit can end up looking unnatural.

You can find large boulders at home improvement stores, nurseries, or at your local landscaping supply store.

TIPS: It’s best to try and purchase all of your stones at one time. Sometimes different lots or shipments of the exact same stone from the same vendor can have slight variations in color. Buy all of your stones at once to ensure color uniformity.

Where can you find such nicely rounded and smooth rocks? Try to look for quartzite landscaping rocks or quartzite boulder rocks (see image below). They lend a more natural look to your garden. They will also hold the warmth of the fire longer.


Boulder fire pit and benches on a gravel patio

If you have large rocks on your property, you can use boulders to make a cost-free fire pit. Boulders and rocks you find in your yard are the cheapest to build with. These types of pits are ideal for a rustic setting or a remote vacation home. Boulders have the added benefit of retaining heat exceptionally well, keeping you warm and cozy while you sit around the fire.

Boulder cast into concrete to make a firepit

A cheap alternative to natural boulders is to use cast boulders made from concrete for a built-in fire pit. They’re made by pouring concrete into a pre-made mold to create a natural-looking rock at a lower cost. When it comes to fire pit ideas with big rocks, you can also use these large stones as extra seating around the fire pit or to help delineate the fire pit area from the rest of your backyard.


Simple and Easy Flagstone Pits

Natural flagstone is a popular rock choice for gardens, patios, walkways, and stepping stones. They’re ideal for creating natural-looking hardscapes since each piece has a unique shape and color.

TIPS: If you don’t have a vehicle large enough to transport the amount of flagstone needed to build your dream fire pit, consider having a pallet delivered to your home instead. 

A fire pit made of flagstone is guaranteed to have a rustic appearance. Though most people don’t commonly think of using flagstone to build a fire pit, these examples show that it’s possible. Perhaps you just finished building a patio in your backyard and have some stone left over. You can use them to create a fire pit just like they did in the image above. This can save you money and ensure your fire pit matches your new patio seamlessly!

Flagstone DIY barbeque pit idea

Fire pits aren’t just for getting warm and roasting marshmallows. You can turn a fire pit into a large charcoal grill by using a horseshoe shape and adding a grate across the top. The horseshoe shape leaves one side of the circular fire pit open so you can easily add wood or charcoal below the cooking grate. This is a fantastic idea that will allow you to get even more use out of your backyard fire pit.

DIY firepit ideas

Using pea gravel alongside your flagstone can help add more texture to the design and save money versus installing a flagstone patio. Here they’ve created a large pea gravel area around the fire pit and used the same rocks on the pit bottom to tie it together. You can even add some color by using a different color of pea gravel such as dark gray to make the fire pit stand out.

Amazing flagstone fire pit design

This artsy-looking fire pit is sure to be a showstopper with its one-of-a-kind design. While it may seem simple enough since it just looks like a bunch of flagstones stacked vertically instead of horizontally, this is actually a very laborious job to take on. Finding the perfect flagstone pieces to fit together to create this doughnut shape can take quite a bit of artistic ability and patience, but the end result is stunning!


Simple Fire Pit Setups for Cooking

outdoor fireplace with barbecue equipment

Here are a few ideas you can use if you want to cook a meal over your new fire pit. Who doesn’t want to make their pit more functional? By installing a grill grate you can easily use the fire to cook a meal while enjoying the fire. This tripod grill grate is a great option since it’s easy to set up and then remove when you’re not using it.

Fire pit for barbecue in Swiss Alps

A hanging grill grate is another option you can use for cooking over the fire. This heavy-duty grill grate is installed permanently in the stone surround to support its large stature. If you would prefer a removable grate, there are plenty of smaller hanging grates you can use that are easier to install and remove as desired.


Camping Fire Pit

Having a fire when you camp is pretty much a requirement if you want to have the complete camping experience. However, not all camping sites have a fire pit. To create your own quick and easy camping fire pit, simply grab a few rocks and arrange them in a semicircle. You can then place a grill grate over the top to sit pots and pans on.

TIPS: It’s best to leave an opening on one side of the fire pit so you can add more wood to the fire as needed.


Use a Metal Ring

A metal ring, also called a fire ring, can make building your fire pit easier by giving you a circular shape to work from that will also help support the surrounding rocks. Fire rings also provide heat protection for the surrounding stonework. This will help the fire pit last longer and prevent it from starting to crumble over time due to repeated exposure to high heat from the fire.

You can see how the fire ring here is helping to support the surrounding river rocks. Leaning the rocks against the metal ring ensures they won’t tumble over.

Close-up of a place for a fire pit made of cast iron and stones. Wooden benches near the fire

People get very creative with rock fire pit designs, as rock is a very versatile material. Here they’ve installed the fire ring on top of a pile of rocks to create a taller fire pit.


Masonry Ideas

This gorgeous design balances out the random shapes of the flagstone by using them throughout the design, matching the patio, walkway, and fire pit. The continual pattern flowing through the backyard creates uniformity despite the unique shape of each stone.

How is this beautiful pit made? The key is mortar which holds the flagstone in place, filling in the spaces between the rocks. The dark-colored mortar helps accentuate the shape and colors of the pit. You can find all sorts of different colored mortar online. You can see a close-up of the mortar in the image below where it is being used to hold together concrete stone veneer.

Concrete stone veneers are primarily composed of concrete and are made to have the look and feel of natural stone products. Each concrete piece is installed with mortar either over a pre-existing fire pit or a pre-installed metal lathe.

TIPS: When installing concrete stone veneer, make sure you use the recommended type of mortar to ensure your fire pit is stable for years to come.

This pit is made using random fieldstones which looks fantastic with a gravel fire pit area surrounding it. Since fieldstone doesn’t have flat surfaces or uniform shapes, it’s essential that you use mortar to hold the stones in place.

You can also build a fire pit using stones and mortar with a metal bowl in the center. The metal bowl will help protect the mortar from intense heat which will make it last longer without cracking and crumbling.

An alternative to using a metal bowl is to build your fire pit with an inner brick ring. This will make the fire pit easier to clean out since the inner brick ring has a smooth surface.

If you use enough mortar, you can incorporate pretty much any size and shape of rocks to create a reasonably pleasant-looking fire pit design. If you’re trying to build a cheap DIY fire pit using whatever rocks you have lying around, mortar can be your best friend.

Rural log cabin with a rustic firepit seating area

This fire pit design combines a square shape with rounded rocks that is absolutely charming. It has the enchanting vibe of an old stone cottage that pairs well with the log home’s rustic style. They’ve poured a large pad of pebbles around the pit to separate it from the mulch to reduce the risk of unwanted fire which is smart. The gray pebbles also help tie in with the rock retaining wall separating the garden from the seating area. As a final touch, they’ve added rock seating in the form of a large boulder across from the wood benches to further intertwine the use of wood and stone throughout this yard.


Fire Pit Seating Ideas with Rocks

Now that you’ve seen a plethora of stone fire pit ideas, let’s talk about seating. After all, to truly appreciate your fire pit you’ll want to be able to take a load off and relax by the fire. One of the easiest seating options to utilize is boulders. Large natural boulders like the ones used above can be pricey and require heavy equipment to move them into place. For a cheaper DIY option, consider using faux boulders which are cost effective and way easier to move.

This large, sunken cobblestone fire pit is surrounded by granite seating. These boulders are made of hand-cut, natural granite that has a tumbled appearance which looks amazing with the cobblestone!

fire pit, beautiful stone work

Adding a retaining wall with seating can serve dual purposes for your fire pit area. It not only provides a place to sit but also separates the fire pit area from the rest of the yard. 

fire pit and amphitheater

If you build a taller retaining wall around a fire pit, you can build a bench in front of it to create a pretty comfy seating area. The wood bench is more comfortable to sit on and the retaining wall acts as a chair back so you can lean back and relax.

Here’s an example of a sunken seating area built from random fieldstones. A sunken fire pit area feels more cozy and intimate. It can also keep your fire pit from blocking the view of other appealing features present in your backyard garden.

a photo of stone and rocks camp fire left at the local nature reserve

If you’re on a tight budget, you can keep your fire pit and seating to a minimum. Just check out this primitive seating area design. It features one large flat stone in the center for the fire and a few smaller flat stones around it for seating. While this design might not be fancy, it will get the job done.

Beautiful outdoor design uses boulders as seats - a perfect idea for a garden fire pit seating

Shown above is a simple but beautiful outdoor design that uses large stackable fieldstone boulders as seats. This would be a perfect idea for a garden fire pit seating. The mix of pea gravel and ornamental grasses match perfectly with the style of the pit and seating area. Source: TerremotoLandscape

A fire pit seating area enhanced with lights

Image credit: earthturfwood.com

Natural stone and large, irregular flagstones set the scene for an intimate, cozy hangout. We love the addition of a few small wall lights that lead the way for guests to find their seating.

You can create gabion cage seating by filling a gabion cage with large rocks and installing a simple wood slab bench on top. This will give your fire pit area a more modern industrial look.

About Dakota Crawford 45 Articles
Dakota Crawford is a freelance science writer who covers gardening, forestry, wildlife, and entomology. She earned three degrees from The University of Georgia: Bachelor of Science in Wildlife, Master of Science in Forest Resources, and Master of Science in Entomology.