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{DIY} Cheap & Easy Fire Pit for Under £25!

How to Build a Fire Pit for Under £25

This post is either stupidly late since summer has been and gone - or perfectly timed, in preparation for Bonfire Night. You choose which ;) Building a fire pit was something I'd planned loooooong ago - seriously, over 2 years ago it appeared on this garden planning post. And finally, I have built one! Our plans for the garden have changed slightly over the years, but a fire pit was always a must have for us. We love spending time in the garden and being Britain, the weather often doesn't allow it. A fire pit would give us the warmth we needed to enjoy the garden almost all year round. We also wanted something that could double-up as a BBQ purely because we find storing BBQs a pain in the damn arse and we don't really have the room to keep one. And so, I created this.

You Will Need:
  • Bricks
  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Mixing Bucket
  • Masonry Paint
  • Wire Mesh
  • Tin Snips
  • Gravel
  • Wood
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver

Step 1 - Planning

This is probably the most important step. If you're having the firepit near wood like ours, you need to consider how close it can safely be. If you do want it to be quite close, like ours, it needs to be tall enough to contain any flames that may blow in the wind. If you plan on using it as a BBQ, you also want to consider the size of food you'll be cooking and how much you want to cook at one time as this will also determine the size of the pit. Ours is quite small, but you could easily fit around 8 burgers at one time on there. You'll also want to test out the build with bricks too with a 'dry run' - often it's easier to make a shape that doesn't require any cut bricks, particularly if you're a little lazy like I am.

building a brick firepit
laying out bricks for fire pit


Step 2 - Laying Foundations

I built this firepit a while back when we spent a few months without a car, which meant I couldn't get hold of concrete without paying ridiculous over-priced delivery costs. So again, like the raised planter - I've used a super thick bed of mortar as a substitute. Ideally you would use a deep base of concrete.

I created a trench where the bottom layer of bricks will sit (half of these will be on-top of existing concrete and not in the ground in our case) and then I filled it with a thick bed of mortar before laying the bricks on top. There's only a small section of fire pit that sits on the ground so I don't think will cause us any issues.

building bricks on soil
how to create a brick fire pit
laying bricks for fire pit

Step 3 - Laying Bricks with Gaps for Ventilation

Once the first layer of bricks are set into the foundations you can then begin laying the rest of the bricks. Add a bed of mortar and drop the brick onto it, making sure it's firmly pressed down and straight with a spirit level. I'm using engineered bricks from Grants parents recent conservatory demolition, so I've filled the holes with mortar too. These can be bought in most DIY stores, but you can also use reclaimed bricks (often given away for free online) too.

It is important that you leave ventilation gaps within the bricks. You can drill holes afterwards, but I think it looks a little neater to just leave a couple of gaps between bricks without mortar. This will enable your fire to stay fuelled with good air intake and circulation. I've added just two small gaps and they are on the side facing away from the pallet seating.

brick fire pit diy
brick fire pit near pallet seating
fire pit ventilation gaps
how to build a fire pit
fire pit in garden near seating


Step 4 - Rendering

You don't need to render the firepit if you don't want, I just prefer the modern and sleek finish it gives. It's also a good option if  your bricklaying is a little messy too.

Rendering is much like plastering, but the mix is quite different. I haven't bothered with a scratch coat in any of the rendering I've done so far, and it's all held up absolutely fine. I use a standard mortar mix, pushing it onto the brickwork with a trowel and trying to achieve the smoothest finish I can. I tend to do one side at a time, letting it dry before attempting the next side. This really helps when creating sharp corners along the edges. You can always fill in any little indents and imperfections once it's firmed up a little - much like plastering, so don't worry about getting it perfect straight off. Don't forget to leave those ventilation gaps empty though!

rendering a fire pit
rendering in the garden
fire pit with ventilation holes
rendering diy
how to create a fire pit
cheap fire pit ideas

Once the render is a little bit dry, I take a damp sponge and rub it all over. This gets rid of any trowel lines and blends out any imperfections. Once it's completely dry, I then sand it down to a smoother finish. My rendering skills aren't perfect, but I think it looks okay!

sponging render
sanding render
diy bbq bricks


Step 5 - Paint & Add Gravel

Once the render is dry you can go ahead and paint it. You need to use exterior masonry paint and I always find tester sizes are more than enough. I was really after a deep grey which I couldn't find in a tester pot, so I've made my own from two tester pots in white and grey.

create your own masonry paint
painting a fire pit
grey fire pit in garden

You don't want to be burning logs directly onto soil, so I've added a layer of gravel onto the base. It looks quite decorative here but once you've had the firepit going a few times, you'll never really see the gravel again.

gravel in the bottom of fire pit

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So that's it for the firepit, you can go ahead and light up some logs. But if you want to also use it as a BBQ then here's how...

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Step 6 - Cut Wire Mesh to Size

Obviously you don't want your sausages sitting on the coal, so you'll need to some kind of wire rack for them. I'm using a sheet of wire mesh for this. It's cheap and easy to cut to size. From one single sheet I was able to make three 'separate racks which means they can be replaced throughout the year.

To cut to size you can either use tin snips or pliers. We've cut it larger than it needs to be and then folded the corners in, which will stop food rolling off. To fit it into the fire pit, we've simply rested it on two bricks either side. I did intend on using some kind of hooks screwed into the brick, but this was an easier and cheaper fuss free solution. Just make sure your bricks are level or your sausages will end up rolling to one side!

how to create a bbq in the garden
making a grill for bbq
diy bbq tray
DIY brick bbq


Step 7 - Create Table Top

The table top is a great use of the firepit when it's not in use, but it also helps keep the inside of it dry. When it's much colder in the UK, the rain doesn't really dry up for a long time - so if you do intend on using this in colder months, you will need some kind of cover. Logs and coal don't burn very well in wet conditions!

So the table top I'm making will sit flush onto the fire pit. I've used gravel boards for this as they were the perfect width and they're externally treated too. I cut to size and secured with a smaller cut of wood underneath, making sure it could slot into the opening of the fire pit for a flush fit.



Step 8 - Enjoy!

And you're done! You can now enjoy breakfast on the coffee table in the morning, lunch on the BBQ in the afternoon and a glass of wine by the firepit at night. I freaking love it!

pallet seating in garden with coffee table
fire pit with table in garden
DIY fire pit with table top
coffee table for the garden
garden ideas with tables
pallet seating with table
DIY bbq in garden
BBQ with pallet seating
how to build your own BBQ for the garden
Easy DIY for BBQ
garden BBQ inspiration
fire pit i the garden
fire pit with pallet seating around
fire pit in garden with seats
DIY building a fire pit
modern grey fire pit in garden
DIY garden with pallet seating
garden inspiration fire pits
cheap and easy fire pit DIY
garden design ideas with fire pit
how to build a fire pit

Sorry for the photo spam - can you tell I'm just a little bit in love with it? Let me know what you think - Would  you create something similar in your garden?

And, if you'd like to see a full tutorial on the pallet seating, please click here!

Costs

(rounded to the nearest pound)

New Tools Purchased:
None

Materials Used:
Bricks - free from Grants parents house
Mortar £6
Paint £5
Gravel £2
Wire Mesh £7
Gravel-board £4

Total: £24


SHOP the Look:
Lights from Lights4Fun
Cushions from Homebase
Plant Pots from Ikea

DIY Cheap and Easy Fire Pit
how to build a brick fire pit

1 comment

  1. What a brilliant idea, I'm just imagining a gazebo or garden building to huddle in when the fire goes out and watch the embers die from a safe shelter... Really good hack, thanks for the advice!

    ReplyDelete