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What You Need to Know About DIY Sunken Fire Pit

square sunken fire pit.
What You Need to Know About DIY Sunken Fire Pit

Meet the Author and Your Future Designer: Julio Arco is a passionate architect with years of experience in architecture, interior design, urban design, and housing. He studied at prestigious universities across North America and Europe. 


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What You Need to Know About DIY Sunken Fire Pit

Do It Yourself Sunken Fire Pit Ideas – Introduction Video

What You Need to Know About Building a Sunken Fire Pit- When it comes to backyard landscaping, few features are as impressive as an outdoor sunken fire pit. If you’re considering building one of your own, there are a few things you need to know first.

This article will provide all the information you need to build your own backyard sunken seating area and share some sunken fire pit ideas. You’ll also learn about the planning stages of the finished product. So whether you’re just getting started or you’re already well on your way, read on for everything you need to know about a DIY sunken fire pit!

diy sunken fire pit ideas.

First of all, what exactly is a sunken Fire Pit

As the name suggests, it is simply a pit that has been dug into the ground and then lined with stone, brick, or concrete. The result is a pit that sits below ground level, which gives it a unique look and feel.

Not only does this make for a great conversation piece, but it can also serve as a functional outdoor space for entertaining family and friends or simply relaxing in your backyard.

Of course, building it is not a simple task. In fact, it’s a fairly involved project that will require some planning and preparation on your part.

But don’t let that dissuade you – with a little hard work, you can easily build a sunken firepit that will be the envy of your neighborhood. Here’s what you need to know:  

diy sunken fire pit.

1.- Planning Stage

Now that you have decided to install a sunken firepit area in your backyard, it is time to start planning. You may be wondering what the first steps are, and below are some important things to consider as you begin the planning process.

You may start by asking yourself, What is the purpose of the fire pit? One of the first things you need to consider is what you will use in this area. Are you looking for a conversation pit to relax and entertain guests? Or do you want a space for cooking? Once you have determined its purpose, you can begin to think about its design. Consider you might also need a sunken outdoor seating area.

sunken fire pit with seating.

2.- Choosing a Location

Choosing a location for it is the first design idea to think of. You want to make sure it’s not too close to your house or other buildings. You also want to ensure it’s in a spot with plenty of sun and is away from any trees or branches that could catch fire.

3.- Determining the Size and Shape

You also need to consider the size of your pit and the type of wood you’ll be burning.

If you’re using a small pit, you’ll need less wood than if you’re using a large one. And if you’re using a wood-burning option, you’ll need to make sure the wood is dry so it doesn’t produce too much smoke.

There are a few shapes you can choose from, but the most popular are square sunken fire pit and round fire pit. Once you have determined the size and shape of it, you can begin to think about its design.

sunken patio.

4.- Designing Stage

Designing the perfect sunken fire pit for your backyard oasis is all about finding the right combination of function and style. There are a few important considerations to keep in mind when planning it.

First, think about how you will use the space. If you envision entertaining large groups, you’ll need a fire pit that is both stylish and spacious. A smaller one might be the right choice if you’re looking for a more intimate setting.

If you share this area with someone else, you should also consider their needs. If you have children, for example, you might want to choose a lower ground fire design so they can easily reach the flames.

Budget is also important, as they can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. By thinking about your needs and wants, you can find the option for your backyard. 

sunken fire pit area.

5.- Choosing Materials

When choosing materials for your design, it is important to consider both function and aesthetics. For example, a natural stone fire pit area can create a beautiful and unique look, but it may be more difficult to clean than brick or concrete.

You should also consider your budget, as some materials can be more expensive than others. Ultimately, the best materials will depend on your personal preferences and the overall style of your outdoor space.

sunken patio.

6.- How to Build a Sunken Fire Pit

1.- Collect Materials and Equipment

A fire pit kit may be purchased or created from scratch. Building one in-ground needs the proper equipment and supplies. The number of materials required to construct the paver patio may vary depending on the square footage of your area.

2.- Lay Out the Location

Select a level place with a decent view in your backyard. At least 15 feet should separate the position of your DIY in-ground fire pit from any nearby plants, trees, or structures.

3.- Dig In-Ground Fire Pit Hole

Follow the first circle outlined in Step 1 while excavating the hole. Make the hole about 18 inches deep. Prepare a wheelbarrow or tarp to transport the excavated earth. Once the hole has been excavated, go to Step 1’s second, bigger circle.

Dig this second circle to the depth of the pavers you’ve selected. You should slope the paver patio slightly away from the fire pit, and this will prevent rainfall from entering the pit. Check the angle of the pavers as you dig using line levels, string, and stakes.

4.- Add Drainage

Important to the construction of a DIY in-ground fire pit is sufficient drainage. One with inadequate drainage will become a mosquito breeding area. It may also support the growth of mold and other organisms. Utilize one of the following drainage methods based on your requirements:

Simply excavate a hole in the middle of it if the earth drains properly or if there is minimal precipitation. The hole should have a diameter of 12 inches and a depth of 18 inches. Fill this crater with gravel.

sunken firepit area.

5.- Build the Fire Pit

The next stage involves laying the blocks. Begin at the center of the fire pit and work your way out. You should apply mortar to the joints to provide extra stability.

6.- Build a Paver Patio

The last stage is to pave the space. This will offer chairs and other outdoor furniture with a sturdy surface, and it may also protect your grass from heat damage.

Select the paving stones you desire and lay them out in a design. It is recommended that you utilize a border to contain the pavers. After the paving stones have been laid, fill in the gaps with sand.

7.- Install a Metal Ring

A metal ring will help to contain the flames and prevent them from damaging your pavers, and it will also make it easier to light the fire pit.

Place the metal ring in the middle of the fire pit. If desired, you may also add a layer of lava rock to further contain the flames.

8.- Light It Up!

Now that your DIY project is complete, it’s time to enjoy it! Gather some wood, light a match, and enjoy the warmth of your backyard oasis. Don’t forget to roast some marshmallows! For a more detailed guide, we recommend The Home Depot’s guide on How to Build an In-Ground Fire Pit. 

sunken fire pit in decking.

7.- Adding Finishing Touches 

The last step is to add the finishing touches. This may include making it yours by adding personalized elements such as cool chairs, colorful throw pillows, or even a cover.

Don’t forget to add plants; this will help to create a relaxing ambiance and make this area the perfect backyard retreat. However, if you have pets, make sure to select plants that are pet-friendly and avoid toxic plants at all costs.

You may also want to add some lighting to your area, and this will allow you to enjoy it even after the sun goes down. String lights, lanterns, or even tiki torches are all great options.

Finally, don’t forget to stock up on wood so you can enjoy your sunken fire pit all season long!

sunken outdoor seating.

Building a Sunken Fire Pit – FAQ

How deep should I make my sunken fire pit?

The hole should be about 18 inches deep.

Do I need to add drainage to my sunken fire pit?

It is important to add drainage to prevent mosquito breeding and the growth of mold and other organisms.

What type of pavers should I use for my sunken fire pit?

There are many different types of pavers to choose from, so it really depends on your personal preference. Some popular options include brick, stone, or concrete pavers.

Can I build a small sunken fire pit with seating and a fire pit myself?

Yes, however, we recommend that you consult with a professional if you have any questions or concerns.

When can I use my sunken fire pit?

You can use it as soon as it is completed. However, we recommend waiting 24 hours after applying mortar to the joints to allow it to be properly set.

sunken firepit area.
What You Need to Know About DIY Sunken Fire Pit

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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