What To Put In Bottom Of Fire Pit: Everything You Need To Consider

If you want to have a backyard gathering, why not build a fire pit so everyone can enjoy it? It is a great way to spend quality time with family and friends and add value to your home when it comes time for sale.

To be sufficiently satisfied with your outdoor pit fire, there are a few considerations you need to take. These include the type and placement of the pit, the fuel used, and what should go in the bottom of it.

Knowing The Bottom Of A Fire Pit

knowing the bottom of a fire pit

The bottom of a fire pit is the ground and surface you will use to burn. It is important to consider what goes in the fire pit as it can greatly impact the function of a fireplace.

A well-built base is a key to a fire pit. Unless you have one, your fire will either not light or produce a lot of smoke when it does. Even if you manage to get it going, the bottom is among some of the first steps to consider setting up an outdoor fire pit.

A fire pit is usually used for short-term purposes, like camping or simple outdoor activities. When building a fire pit, it’s important to dig up an adequate size hole and fill it with the appropriate material.

Tips For Building A Firepit

tips for building a firepit

The design of your fire pit can be quite similar to that of other models. Stone fire pits make for a beautiful addition to any garden and are easy to maintain. Keep these things in mind before purchasing one, and start enjoying the backyard again!

Get Approval

Fire pits are difficult to install in communities with ordinances restricting the size, materials used, location, and fuel; it is important to contact local planning offices and homeowner’s associations before installing one.

Consider Accessibility

Building your own fire pit offers you choosing a wide variety of materials for customization. The size for the pit should measure 36 by 44 inches and 12-inches to 14-inches in height with the wall base up to top.

Keep Away From Hazard Prone Zones

Position your fire pit on level ground at least 15 feet away from buildings and at the very minimum 10 feet away from a property line to get the best results.

Use the Right Materials

The inner walls of a fireplace need to be made of fireproof building materials, and the outer walls need to be heat resistants, such as brick, stone, or others.

When placing your fire pit, make sure it is not made of flammable materials or non-porous materials that might hold water. Pea gravel, river rocks, concrete blocks–anything like this has the potential to explode.

Install Steel Rings

To prevent the material of the inner ring from drying out when exposed to heat, line it with steel.

Consider Fuel Types

If you want a fire pit that won’t produce smoke, sparks, or embers, consider one that uses ethanol, propane, or natural gas. Wood-burning pits may not have an accessible fuel line, but they produce all three of these additional elements to be aware of.

What To Use In The Bottom Of The Fire Pit?

what to use in the bottom of the fire pit

The materials used in the bottom of the fire pit will vary greatly depending on what is available. There are many things to consider before installing a fire pit, such as:

Good Looks

While not as important in comparison to the other factors, your fire pit should still look good from a design perspective. Choose materials that are appealing so that it seamlessly blends into your backyard design, and be sure to find one that complements your outdoor patio and overall feel of the space.


Whatever you decide for the bottom of your pit, it’s key that it doesn’t catch fire. Usually, people pick rocks and sand since they are non-combustible. Grass, mulch, and wood are best avoided because they could flare up also produce fires.

Ground Protection

In addition to choosing a site for your fire pit, you may also wish to select a protective material. This precaution will save the ground from getting burned during removal at a later date.

City’s Building Code

There are specific materials that must be used for your fire pit in some areas. For example, fill may be limited to gravel or sand. Other materials cannot be placed into the fire pit and need to be approved before using them. To avoid any possible issues with making a fire pit, later on, these restrictions should always be followed.

How to Build a Bottom of Fire Pit Safely?

how to build a bottom of fire pit safely

Now that we know about the various materials you can use for your fire pit’s bottom, here are some tips on building one correctly.

Use A Bowl If Possible

Even if dirt and other materials are just fine for the bottom of your fire pit, you can still place a bowl underneath to help keep things safe.

Metal bowls will provide a safe place to put the fuel material (firewood, fire glass, coal) and prevent the fire from touching the bottom. If something does go wrong, you have extra protection with something else on the bottom.

Build Over Concrete

Most people build their fire pits over the soil. The best alternative is to build it over concrete.

Soil is not an appropriate bottom for a wood fire pit and will result in the soil being burned and damaged over time, while concrete withstands the heat without the risk of catching on fire.

If you wish to use concrete slabs as the bottom, it is unnecessary to keep reading this tip.

Place It Far from Flammable Items

The very bottom of a fire pit is where your fire will start and will end.

It would be best if you did not place a fire pit closer than 10 feet to any combustible surface. This includes things like trees, bushes, and shrubs; gardens or landscaping mulch; grassy areas; wooden structures like fences or railings; landscaping plastic items such as window box covers and artificial plants (which contain polymers that can easily ignite);

Things To Put Under A Fire Pit

things to put under a fire pit

A backyard fire pit can be turned into a cozy place to enjoy evenings by the bonfire. To avoid harming your yard, use these tips for sparing your grass and ground cover from heat damage during a metal fire pit.

Brick Pavers

The best way to prevent the fire from scorching your grass is by lifting it high off the ground with a brick platform.

The distance created by the brick pavers provides a heat shield and also offers a flat surface. Please make sure the larger size of the bricks pavers leave enough room to support your bottom of the fire pit so it is sturdy and won’t fall through.

Putting pavers in a grid formation all the way around your fire pit will keep it away from grass and be easy to build for an affordable price.

Fire Pit Pads

When you have a fire pit on the ground or your deck, use a protective mat designed for fire pits to minimize potential risk.

You can find lightweight and portable mats made from heat-resistant materials for your DIY fire pit. Lay it down before placing the fire pit on top. This mat will protect your surface and is affordable to purchase instead of buying an expensive permanent custom product.

Fire Pit Heat Shields

A heat shield protects you from the radiant heat of your fire pit, reflecting over 90% of all heat. There is no need to assemble it or wet anything; install it in place.

The heat shield can withstand temperatures of up to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will protect your grass from being damaged.

Materials To Use In The Bottom Of A Fire Pit

Let’s go over some of the best materials to consider for the bottom of a fire pit.


sand are materials to use in the bottom of a fire pit

One of the most common things that people use at the bottom of a fire pit is sand. That’s because it provides a decent level of insulation and warmth, as well as acting as a heat break to stop the fire from spreading quickly.

Sand is perfect for absorbing the heat from your fire pit and creates one of the best pits to have. Furthermore, to make your fire pit a bit more exotic, you might want to add some gravel with the sand.

You never want to add any flammable materials that have a chance of exploding. This is true whenever you decide to make a fire pit, so always keep that in mind.

After all, sand is not the safest material to put in the bottom of your fire pit either. These materials dissipate heat at a high temperature and can cause various issues from time to time.

So, the recommendation is to use other materials for a fire pit, if at all possible. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t still use sand in the bottom of the fire pit! Silica sand will work there, too, since it absorbs heat without any issue, and that’s just what you could want in this case.


dirt are materials to use in the bottom of a fire pit

This is another option for use in the bottom of a fire pit. Dirt is a cheap, readily available material that can be easily dug out of your yard or garden area.

Although dirt is not a bad choice for the bottom of your fire pit, it does offer a lesser level of heat resistance when compared to sand.

If you use dirt at the bottom of the fire pit, it will not be long before it gets mixed with the sand. When this occurs, the problem arises when trying to scrape everything off. You have to get a shovel and clean out all the dirt that has combined with sand.

It is not that difficult, but you have to put in considerable effort every time. Not only that, but you will need to refill the dirt before start fire in the pit.

Furthermore, if there are already holes at the bottom of your fire pit, you can’t use dirt. Dirt will only get in the way and not allow airflow through those same holes.


stones are materials to use in the bottom of a fire pit

One of the safest alternatives for the bottom of the fire pit is a bed of stones. The bottom layer, typically made of stone, will absorb heat to save you maintenance effort and daily dangers.

What sets these stones apart is that they’re easy to find. As long as they’re small enough so they stone can form a stable stone bed, you have found the perfect bottom for your pit.

One of the advantages of stones is that they can materially increase the protection for areas below. Placing them over sand or dirt, for example, may provide a significant safety buffer to your other fire features and keep your fire going with no drawbacks.


gravel are materials to use in the bottom of a fire pit

A great option for the bottom of a fire pit is gravel. Gravel can be purchased from any hardware store, and it’s perfect because if you don’t want to spend too much on this project, it won’t put a huge dent in your budget.

If you want to skip the effort of adding gravel to your fire pit, only fill it with enough to cover 10% of the total surface area.

This will ensure that the fire pit works perfectly, and you always have the option to put in some more later on.

The one downside of gravel is that it becomes less effective when dealing with high temperatures, especially when compared to sand.

For instance, if you are going to use fire glass or magma lava stones in your pit, it might be worth considering not using gravel. You might have a high chance of these exploding at the bottom.

What’s the best thing to do? Well, use materials designed for gravel.

Magma Lava Rocks

magma lava rocks are materials to use in the bottom of a fire pit

Magma lava rocks are the perfect option. However, they might be difficult to find. When selecting the material for the bottom of a fire pit, you should consider magma lava rocks, which offer the best results. I think they are going to be the perfect shade of pink. You can use them at the bottom of your fire pit!

Lava rocks can enhance the look of your fire pit because they give you a sophisticated and exotic feel.

The design of your fire pit could make the difference between a great-looking hit or a not-so-perfect one. You have to be especially cautious when using magma lava stone as the centerpiece of your design.

However, there’s no need to worry as these stones have already been tested and proven ability to withstand the heat of volcanic lava, so it is still safe in a fire pit too. If you want a reliable option that’s long-lasting and will never need to be replaced, consider purchasing magma lava rocks.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to this. You’ll have difficulty finding lava magma rocks in most places, and they’re usually more expensive than other types of fire pit stones.

Magma lava rocks are relatively affordable and can be purchased online in many stores.

Understandably, the prices of magma lava rocks are higher than those for sand, dirt, or gravel − sand and dirt are practically free.

Fire Glass

fire glass are materials to use in the bottom of a fire pit

Nothing compares with fire glass when the goal is to increase a patio’s appeal by using exotic fire pit materials.

The name is derived from the glass-like appearance of these small stones. Fire Glass looks like expensive rock, and that would be pretty close to the truth.

These small shiny stones come in many colors and shapes, although typically little, like shredded glass or rock. The advantage over other materials is that they’re a bit flammable.

Despite many misconceptions, fire glass can be an equally effective – if not better – option for fire pits. Why? Fire glass will keep the heat concentrated and prevents it from spreading by insulating the bottom of your pit.

One of the best aspects about fire glass is that it never wears off, maintaining its attractive looks for decades. You won’t have to do any maintenance with them. And you’ll still get protection from the heat below ground or on the bowl’s surface.

Concrete Slabs

concrete slabs are materials to use in the bottom of a fire pit

One alternative to consider would be concrete slabs at the bottom of your fire pit. They’re more expensive and harder to use, but concrete slabs are the safest option.

The concrete makes a durable and non-flammable surface, which protects the ground from burning.

Apart from that, a poured concrete fire pit will last for years and produce enough heat to stoke the fire pit flames for hours.

Concrete slabs can be a tricky and expensive option as the bottom of your fire pit, but they are worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

fireplace in the backyard with cobblestones and gardens surrounding

Is It Necessary To Put Sand In The Bottom Of the Firepit?

Some metal fire pits recommend 1 or 2 inches of sand at the bottom, while other brands may not require it. One of the main benefits of using sand is that it will absorb heat and gather the heat evenly across your fire pit.

Can You Dig A Hole For A Fire Pit?

The depth of your fire pit can depend on what you want. If you’re looking for a simple pit, dig down about 6 to 8 inches and call it good. You may want to deepen the pit if you’re after something more substantial; however, don’t make it too deep, or else it will be difficult for you to enjoy watching the fire.

How Do You Line A Fire Pit?

Set up your fire pit by pouring sand in the bottom and lining the outside with sand as well. You should keep at least two feet of open space between the edge of your pet and any other part of your yard, including grass.

Is Pea Gravel Safe For Fire Pit?

If you usually enjoy the look of pea gravel, this is a safe option to use for the ring’s foundation. As long as it does not exceed 20 inches high, there should be enough room to keep your fire burning well. When using your new backyard fire pit, please always practice good fire safety techniques.

Can I Use The Bare Ground?

Yes, a fire pit is feasible on the ground. However, you’ll want to consider a few factors first and foremost for your best results.

For example, it’s important to make sure your soil is dry enough for the kindling to burn properly. In addition, placing the fire pit in an area that is easy to dig will make your life much easier.

You will need to dig a few inches into the ground to provide adequate space for your fuel and kindling to burn. More so, prepare the ground in advance to give it enough time to dry from any accumulated moisture.

As A Result

So, did you learn how to decide what material goes in the bottom of your fire pit? There are several options to consider, each one with its own merits and detriments.

When building a fire pit, it’s important to pick something that stays within your budget and delivers your desired performance.

When you know what to pick, it’s time to get building! That fire pit won’t build itself.

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