A garden fire pit provides a heat source on chilly evenings that allows you to enjoy sitting outside well into fall. Building your own fire pit is a simple task for most people.

  1. Decide how big you want your fire pit to be – 4 feet by 2 feet works well

  2. Buy a grill tray or trays preferably made of stainless steel – These are for cooking on

  3. Buy two steel trays slightly smaller than the internal dimensions of your fire pit – You will need to be able to lift out these trays to remove ash. Old roasting tins will do even.

  4. Buy a grate or grates to stand the fuel wood on – Buy used grates if you can to keep costs down

  5. If your grill cooking trays are 30 inches long then the supports for them must be about 26 inches apart – The grill tray will then have 2 inches of support at both ends

  6. If your fire pit is to be 4 feet by 2 feet then dig a hole about one foot deep by 5 feet by 3 feet – This gives you a 6 inch gravel border all round your fire pit

  7. Cut lengths of plastic pipe and lay them so each one has one end in the centre of the hole and one end sticking out about 3 inches above ground level near the outside of the hole – these will provide air underneath your fire pit

  8. Fill the hole with stones, topping it off with gravel; leave the ends of the plastic pipes protruding from the gravel by about half an inch – cut off any surplus pipe

  9. Lay hollow concrete blocks on the gravel, leaving an outside border of about 6 inches, there is no need to cement them down. Leave half inch gaps between the blocks all around – to allow air to get underneath the fire

  10. Check the two ash trays fit in

  11. Lay a second, staggered row of blocks above the first one, cementing them together and to the first layer as you go

  12. Check the two ash trays fit in

  13. Put half bricks on the bottom of your fire pit to stand the ash trays on

  14. Place the ash trays on the half brick

  15. Stand the fire grates on the ash trays

  16. Check everything is stable

  17. Lay your cooking grill trays on the top and you are ready to go

If you are using your fire pit as a heat source and as a barbecue simultaneously always fill the upwind end with charcoal or the flames from the burning wood will not let you near enough to cook your food.

It might be better to burn wood for a while, get the fire pit good and hot, but let the flames die down. Cook your meal over the glowing wood embers, then put more wood onto one end of the embers to provide flames for heat. Leave the other half of your fire pit just glowing, so you can cook an extra burger or two if anyone is hungry.