How to build a sunken fire pit

Written by daniel ames
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How to build a sunken fire pit
Sunken fire pits require little maintenance (Fire image by Luke Haverkamp from

A sunken fire pit is a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy sitting around a campfire in the evening. Unlike an above-ground fireplace, which can be costly and requires regular maintenance, a sunken fire pit can be created with a small budget and is cost-effective to maintain. A sunken fire pit can provide years of enjoyment for you and your family, and it can be built with a few simple tools and a bit of know-how.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Rocks
  • Gravel
  • Sand

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  1. 1

    Pick a location convenient to your backyard. Choose an area that has room for plenty of people to sit and is free from overhanging branches and shrubs.

  2. 2

    Mark the centre of your sunken fire pit. Measure out an equal distance from the centre in four directions, and mark those spots as well. For an average-size sunken fire pit, measure out 18 inches from the centre.

  3. 3

    Dig to a depth of about 12 inches. In the centre of your sunken fire pit, dig another hole about six inches wide and fill it with a material such as gravel or small stones for drainage.

  4. 4

    Cover the bottom of your fire pit with at least two inches of sand.

  5. 5

    Surround your fire pit with a row of rustic river stones, or pavers from a building supply store. Keep a supply of fresh firewood, covered against the elements, nearby.

Tips and warnings

  • Make your sunken fire pit level by using a carpenter's level.
  • Check for any buried wires or cables before you dig.

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