Firepit seating area

How to Build an Affordable Outdoor Fire Pit

A wood burning fire pit is a great entertainment highlight in the backyard and creates another seating area. Even when it is not in use, it is nice to look at. Here is how we build ours on a budget.


First we draw a circle with spray paint onto the lawn to mark the boundary of the firepit area. I simply attached a rope to a stake in the middle and used it as a guide to paint the circle. We used a diameter of about 14′.

Then we build concrete border which will contain the gravel later on. We simply used some thin MDF panels I cut into strips with the table saw and used them to create a molding form. We stabilized them with stakes in the ground. Then, we poured in the concrete, section by section.

DIY concrete curbs and border

We marked the middle of the circle to install the firepit. Also, we made sure the ground was level by using some sand prior to installing the stones.

Building the Fire Pit Using a Fire Bowl

We used a 30″ fire bowl we ordered from Amazon, but you may find a used one for even cheaper on Facebook Marketplace. For a nice, permanent look we used limestone concrete retaining wall blocks from Lowes to build around the fire bowl. We needed 33 blocks for 3 rows around the 30″ bowl.

Firepit DIY

Filling the Pit Area with Gravel

We used limestone gravel to surround the fire pit which provides safety and an interesting texture next to the concrete slabs. It was also the cheapest option, because any pavers or flagstone would still require a base layer of gravel. We needed about one cubic yard of gravel to fill the circle around the fire pit (13ft diameter in total). We rented a flatbed truck from Home Depot to pick-up the gravel from a nearby local landscaping supplier. This is much cheaper than buying the gravel by the bag.

cheap way to get gravel

To finish off the fire pit area, we placed hammocks and plastic Adirondack Chairs (from Home Depot) around the fire pit to provide another dedicated area for lounging and chatting. It is an inviting and comfortable space with or without a fire. Check out my other post to find out more about backyard entertaining ideas.

Firepit DIY

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