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Green Valley Mail

DIY Fire Pit

With summertime approaching, there is nothing more fun than sitting around a fire pit with your friends or family! Well, maybe a tropical trip! Fire pits are a great way to add some fun to a yard! With a little hard work and some elbow grease, you’ll have one in no time. We put one in at our last home and loved it, I can’t wait to do it again! 


  • Landscaping fabric
  • 106 (approximately) – red brick (or rock, railroad ties, or border of choice. You can source this from online and Freecycle too)
  • 2 ton (approximately) – pea gravel


  • Square point shovel or sod cutter
  • Spray paint – any bright color (or marking spray)
  • Garden stake or anything to mark center
  • Twine or rope
  • Garden rake
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden/work gloves
  • Utility knife

Step 1
First, find center of where you want your pit to be. Second, insert in a stake into that center point. Next, tie twine around your stake the length of the radius (We decided to increase the size of our area and create a circle and wanted 18ft. diameter = 9ft twine). Then, use spray paint to walk around the circle while spraying an outline. Basically, like using a giant compass.

Step 2
Remove the sod from inside the painted circle. Use your square point shovel or a manual sod cutter. For this though, it wasn’t bad to remove it by hand. Start at the circle edge, cut through the sod and then make a wedge shape (pie slice) with your shovel. Make a shallow cut trying to keep the shovel parallel to the ground to only get sod and not dirt. Once you get started you can move quickly. Make sure to keep your center stake in while digging.

Step 3
Using your garden rake and shovel, grade the area level as best as you can. You don’t want standing water or trip hazards. Create your fire ring by using a second piece of twine tied to the center stake and measuring out 24″ from center. Use your spray paint again and make a smaller circle. Place one layer of your red brick on that circle (approximately 48 bricks for total ring). Our fire ring will be 3 bricks high, but only lay one layer down at this point to move on to the next step.

Step 4
Grab your roll of landscaping fabric. Beginning at one edge of the circle, cut a length of fabric and trim it to fit the shape. Place your red brick on the fabric edge as you go making sure to overlap the fabric about 4″ or more to get plenty of coverage. Tuck it under your fire ring bricks as well. We chose red brick because the previous owner of our home used it to edge different places in our yard and we want it to match. It also is very affordable, and many have them sitting around you can snag for free. The brick should be placed just a bit higher than level with the grass as it will settle over time. That will create less trip hazards and make for a nice flush finish.

Step 5
Once your fabric and brick is in place, it is time for your gravel! So, pea gravel it is. We even considered using asphalt shavings or crushed limestone to create a packed surface before adding our top layer. However, we really didn’t feel the need to as we have used the landscaping fabric with much success for many years in other areas. If a stray weed pops up, we just spray with vinegar. Safe, natural, and easy. Dump your gravel on and spread with the back side of your garden rake for even coverage. Our DIY fire pit used approximately 2 ton of pea gravel to fill the area 2″ deep.

Step 6
Time for fun – Add furniture and accessories.

Enjoy summer nights around a beautiful fire pit area! You can you any fire ring, old washing machine tub, pavers, or stone you would like. Just make sure you dig down around a foot of you make a flat fire pit! That way you have plenty of room for firewood! Also, check with your city for code restrictions and permits. 

Tonia Loy

Tonia Loy was the Mail Lifestyle Columnist covering Food, Arts & Crafts, and Do-It-Yourself topics from January 2021 until August 2021. She is from Peoria, Illinois, and is the owner of Great Cake Adventure Bakery. She attended ICC and NIU for art and design.