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One sure way to brighten your evening is with an outdoor fire feature. Whether you’re cooking marshmallows with the whole family or snuggled up under a blanket for two, outdoor fireplaces create ambience and keep you and your guests warm.

Fireplace popularity has gone beyond just indoor fireplaces, and has made it into the backyard living space. Installing an outdoor fire feature allows homeowners to extend the use of their outdoor space into cooler weather seasons.

While elaborately constructed outdoor fireplaces can be expensive, there are many great options for creating a fire feature without breaking the bank. To enhance your outdoor living area you can build your own fire circle or purchase a ready to go free standing fire pit or ring.

Here we’ll explore some of the budget friendly fire pit options that you can incorporate in your backyard space.

DIY Firepit with Stone

A circle of stones with a teepee shape pile of sticks gently burning is often an image that comes to mind when thinking of a fire circle. A firepit like this can be very inexpensive (essentially free). This type of pit can be built with stones you find. Essentially, all you need is a shovel and some large stones to line your circle. Smaller stones or gravel could be used in the center of the firepit for both appearance and drainage.

  1. First, select a location for your firecircle. You will need to take several factors into consideration before constructing your pit:
    1. Is the fire circle location far enough away from buildings, trees, or other structures? This includes overhead space too. For safety, look to make sure there aren’t branches or power lines directly above where you’re going to place the firepit.
    2. Is the ground level enough to seat people safely? Select a place where people can access the fire circle and comfortably sit in chairs around the fire. If level ground is scarce you may need to do some excavating.
  2. How big do I want my firecircle to be? If you only have a small space to work with you can make a small ring, but if you have ample space you may be interested in creating a larger ring. Many fire pits range from 3 to 5 feet in diameter.
  3. After you choose the best location for your fire feature you will need to dig the shape of your circle. Dig down 6 to 12 inches into the ground to establish a base for your firepit.
  4. Once the circle is prepared you will need to place stones around the hole. Stack them against the wall of the circle until the circle is complete. Lining the pit with gravel is optional.

Landscaping Pavers and Stone Facade Fire Pits

Landscaping wall blocks are an alternative to using stones found in nature. Available at major hardware stores and landscaping companies pavers can create a lovely and inexpensive fire pit. Pavers come in a variety of sizes and colors to compliment your design aesthetic. This type of pit often offers a more uniform look than one built with stones found in nature.

Blocks used for landscaping can be easily stacked to make a durable and safe place to make a fire. You can determine the best height and width of a fire circle that suits your outdoor living space. Grill tops can be added for cooking up a few burgers for dinner followed by s’mores for dessert.

Landscaping retaining wall blocks cost an average of $1 to $4 per block. You can build a circle, square, or rectangle fire pit. Because the landscaping blocks are uniform in size, your design can be as creative or as simple as you like. The cost of a fire pit made from landscaping blocks could easily be less than $100, a small investment that can take your outdoor living space to the next level for years to come.

Metal Rings

Decorative metal fire pit rings can be an impressive statement piece that are budget friendly. Home improvement stores and outdoor living stores carry such products and they typically cost in the $40 to $200 price range. Fire pit rings are available in a variety of widths ranging from 36 to 60 inches more or less.

There are rings available with decorative details often including scenes from nature. Pine trees, deer, cabin scenes and horses are among many of the favorites. There are even custom rings available that can be personalized with your own design.

Self Contained Fire Pits

Free standing fire pits that use wood or propane are another way to add a fire feature. Unlike the metal ring and stone fire pits, many of these freestanding fire pits can be placed on concrete or stone patios. There are many designs and materials available and here are just a few of the different options:

  • Stone Facade
  • Steel
  • Galvanized Metal
  • Chimeneas
  • Hanging Tripod Fire Pit
  • Features that use actual wood
  • Propane fueled features
  • Glass pieces instead of logs

While the price of a self contained fire feature is going to cost more than a DIY stone fire pit, there are options in every price range from inexpensive to expensive. A simple freestanding fire pit can cost around $100, while more elaborate fire pit designs may cost in the $500 range and up.

Design Your Outdoor Fire Pit Space

Creating a layout for your outdoor living space is an important part of design. Functionality and safety can be optimized with proper planning. Identifying your budget can also play a role in what materials and accessories you want to use in your outdoor living area. Consider how the space is going to be used and find the fire feature that will make your backyard the space you’ve been dreaming of.