Don't spend the whole summer planning your dream fire pit or there could be frost on the ground before it's ready to roar. Start your DIY now and you won't miss a single day of prime bonfire season.
Plus, there's this: A pro-built fire pit costs about $4,500 with a return of about $3,500, according to the "Remodeling Impact Report" from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Now think of your return if you DIY it instead. (Here's how to do it the money-saving way.)
Some ideas to motivate you:
#1 Old-Timey Rock Fire Pit
If you live near rocky terrain, you can forage for rocks and stack them into a pit that looks like it came from the 19th century, instead of from a big-box store kit.
#2 Koi Pond Turned Fire Pit
If you've decided the koi are more trouble than they're worth, re-home them and turn the fish pond into a fire pit. Drain it, fill it with sand, and top with a layer of lava rock (or azure fire glass if you want to keep the look of water).
Use the money you save on fish food, algae killer, and chlorine remover to buy firewood and marshmallows.
#3 Easy-Peasy Tree Ring Pit
Want to DIY a fire pit, but would rather read software user agreements than spend a weekend stacking and mortaring?
Pick up some concrete tree rings, and you can make a fire pit in about an hour.
Stack the rings into an inner and outer wall. Use rings with a scalloped top so you can turn the top rings upside down and lock them with the bottom ones, Lego-style. Put landscaping rocks between them to make the fire pit sturdier.
And the genius hack: Use a small, round charcoal grill as a liner. Let the bonfire begin.
#4 A Great Big Seat By the Fire
If you've got a gaggle of friends, build modular wooden seating so there's room for everybody around the fire. You'll need to be handy with math and power tools to build this bench, but the fire pit's a cinch: It's made of dry-stack retaining wall blocks. That's it.
If building benches with angled edges is above your pay grade, just buy some regular benches and arrange in a circle. You made the fire pit. That's plenty.
#5 A Room with a View
Why stop at a fire pit? Go for a full-on outdoor room in a cozy corner of the yard, with a flagstone path, comfy chairs, and side tables.
This fire pit is super simple: a hole lined with sand and ringed with dry stack pavers.
#6 New Fire Pit, Old Materials
Why buy new stuff when you may be able to scavenge perfectly good ones from your yard?
Got a paved path you don't want? A patio that's too big or in the wrong place? Pick up the stones and use them to make the fire pit you're craving.
Nearly all of the materials in this fire pit and patio came from other hardscape features in the yard. Those benches? Salvaged wood beams from a razed building.
Scour Craigslist and other marketplaces for used pavers, flagstone, or salvaged wood you can use for a fire pit. Other people's old stuff works, too.