Inspirational Spaces

Outdoor Fireplace Ideas On A Budget: Create a Warm and Cozy Hang Out in your Yard

Imagine sitting outside on a cool evening, gathered around a crackling fire with family and friends. The warmth and ambiance of an outdoor fireplace can create the perfect setting for creating memories and enjoying the outdoors. You may think that having your own outdoor fireplace is out of reach due to budget constraints, but that’s not necessarily the case. Let me introduce you to some creative and affordable options that will allow you to have your very own outdoor fireplace without breaking the bank.

You’ll be able to enjoy the cozy warmth of an outdoor fireplace while staying within your budget; plus, we’ll share some eco-friendly and low-cost fuel options to keep those flames burning bright. So let’s dive in and discover how you can create an amazing outdoor fireplace without spending a fortune.

The Cozy Appeal of Outdoor Fireplaces

The appeal of outdoor fireplaces is undeniable. For me anyway, there’s little that sounds more perfect than sitting under a starlit sky, surrounded by the crackling flames of an outdoor fireplace. In this cozy haven, worries melt away like marshmallows on a s’more.

Having an outdoor fireplace is like having an outdoor living room. It’s adding another living area to your home, and you can take this as far as you like. Put your BBQ in the same spot and you have an outdoor kitchen and dining area too! With some clever outdoor fireplace design ideas, you can create a rustic outdoor fireplace that fits your budget. 

To make your outdoor fireplace truly stand out, create a focal point in your backyard. Design an outdoor fire pit area surrounded by comfortable seating for family and friends to gather around. Whether you’re roasting marshmallows or simply enjoying the warmth, an outdoor fireplace will transform your patio into an inviting retreat without breaking the bank.

On A Budget? No Problem. There are Plenty of DIY Ideas

Don’t have to break the bank to still enjoy a cozy outdoor fire. When it comes to creating an outdoor fireplace on a budget, there are plenty of affordable options available. By being resourceful and creative, you can transform your backyard into a warm and inviting space without spending a lot; after all, the star of a fire pit is the fire itself! Consider using reclaimed materials or repurposing items you already have to build your own fire pit. You can also find budget-friendly options at local home improvement stores or online retailers. 

Here’s a list of the best outdoor fireplace ideas when you’re on a budget:

  • Basic materials
    • Cinder block
    • Natural stone
    • Brick
  • Repurposed materials
    • Truck tire rim
    • Dryer drum
    • Metal drum
  • Fire ring or fire bowl
  • Chiminea

Simple Backyard Fireplace Made with Stone

Fire pit ideas range from traditional round pits to more unusual designs, but the principles remain the same. The goal is to build somewhere where the fire is contained, so there is no concern about it spreading. Depending on what you have to hand, building a simple fire pit with basic materials like bricks or cinder blocks may be extremely cost-effective. If you have large stones in your yard or garden you could use those, or perhaps you can source free or cheap unused cinder blocks from a construction. You might have a neighbour looking to get rid of some bricks. 

Building your own fire pit with cinder blocks or bricks is a relatively straightforward DIY project. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Materials you’ll need:

  • Cinder blocks or fire bricks (for longevity choose blocks specifically designed for outdoor use, but any brick or stone could be used)
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Tamper or hand compactor
  • Fire-resistant adhesive (optional)
  • Gravel or paver base material
  • Firewood or fire pit fuel

Step 1: Choose the location: Select a suitable location for your fire pit. Ensure it is away from any flammable structures or materials, and comply with any local regulations or safety requirements.

Step 2: Prepare the site: Clear the area of any debris, grass, or vegetation. Level the ground using a shovel and a level to ensure the fire pit sits evenly.

Step 3: Lay the foundation: If you’re using cinder blocks, place the first layer of blocks on the prepared ground. Use a level to ensure they are level and stable. If using bricks, arrange them in a circular or square shape to create the base.

Step 4: Build subsequent layers: Add additional layers of cinder blocks or bricks on top of the first layer to increase the height of the fire pit. Stagger the blocks/bricks on each layer to add stability. Use a level to make sure each layer is even.

Step 5: Optional adhesive (for cinder blocks): If you want extra stability and security, you can use fire-resistant adhesive between the blocks to bond them together. This step is optional, but it can make the fire pit more durable.

Step 6: Fill with gravel or paver base: Inside the fire pit, fill the bottom with a few inches of gravel or paver base material. This helps with drainage and provides a stable surface for the fire.

Step 7: Test the stability: After completing the desired height, check the stability of the fire pit by gently pushing on the sides. If it feels wobbly, adjust the blocks/bricks until it becomes steady.

Step 8: Light the fire pit: Now that your basic fire pit is constructed, fill it with firewood or your chosen fire pit fuel. Use proper fire safety precautions when lighting and tending to the fire.

Step 9: Regular maintenance: Ensure you regularly clean the fire pit, remove ashes, and inspect the blocks/bricks for any damage. Make sure to follow safety guidelines whenever you use the fire pit.

If you think your cinder blocks are rather grey and not that great to look at, consider digging into the ground a little and having your first row of bricks build up to ground level, rather than all being above ground.

Eco-Friendly Repurposed Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

If you like a rustic, weathered look, or love the idea of recycling, using repurposed materials is a great eco-friendly way to build an outdoor fireplace. It’s not hard to transform an old metal drum or wheel rim into a fire pit! 

Building a fire pit out of an old wheel rim is a creative and resourceful way to repurpose materials. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you construct a fire pit using an old wheel rim:

Materials you’ll need:

  • Old wheel rim (preferably steel, without any rubber or plastic parts)
  • Metal grate or mesh (to cover the top of the wheel rim)
  • Steel or metal legs (optional but recommended for stability)
  • Heat-resistant paint (optional, for aesthetics and rust prevention)
  • Firewood or fire pit fuel

Step 1: Prepare the area: Choose a safe and suitable location for your fire pit, away from flammable objects or structures. Ensure the ground is level and free of any debris.

Step 2: Clean the wheel rim: Thoroughly clean the old wheel rim to remove any dirt, grease, or debris. You can use soap and water, or a wire brush to scrub the surface clean.

Step 3: Paint (optional): If you want to give the wheel rim a fresh look and protect it from rust, you can paint it with heat-resistant paint. Choose a paint suitable for high-temperature applications.

Step 4: Position the wheel rim: Place the cleaned or painted wheel rim in the chosen location. If you have steel or metal legs, attach them securely to the bottom of the wheel rim to elevate it slightly above the ground. This will provide better airflow for the fire.

Step 5: Add the grate or mesh: Place a metal grate or mesh inside the wheel rim. This will prevent large embers or burning material from escaping while allowing air to flow into the fire (make sure there’s nothing flammable underneath!)

Step 6: Test for stability: Make sure the fire pit is stable and secure in its position. If using legs, ensure they are properly installed and can support the weight of the wheel rim and the fire.

Step 7: Start the fire: Fill the inside of the wheel rim with firewood or your preferred fire pit fuel. Light the fire and enjoy your new wheel rim fire pit.

Step 8: Practice fire safety: Always practice fire safety when using your fire pit. Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby, and never leave the fire unattended. Make sure to fully extinguish the fire before leaving the area.

You can combine the wheel rim with some bricks or stone if you like; use the wheel rim as the centre of the firepit, and surround it with decorative stones.

Use a Fire Ring or Portable Fire Bowl to Make Your Outdoor Fireplace

A fire bowl or fire ring is another great easy option to set up an outdoor fireplace area. Fire bowls are lightweight and easy to move around, making them ideal for small spaces or if you want to take the cozy ambiance with you on camping trips or beach outings. They are relatively inexpensive, or if you like you can make your own!

Images: http://www.wayfair.ca

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a homemade fire bowl:

Materials you’ll need:

  • Large metal bowl or container (choose a material that can withstand high temperatures, such as steel or cast iron)
  • Metal grate or mesh (optional – to cover the top of the bowl)
  • Steel or metal legs (optional but recommended for stability)
  • Drill with metal drill bits
  • Fire-resistant paint (optional, for aesthetics and rust prevention)
  • Firewood or fire pit fuel

Step 1: Select the bowl: Choose a large metal bowl or container that will serve as the fire bowl. The bowl should be deep enough to hold a sufficient amount of firewood and fuel while providing enough space for the flames.

Step 2: Prepare the bowl: If the bowl has any coatings, paint, or finishes, clean it thoroughly and remove any non-metallic components. You can use sandpaper to roughen up the surface for better adhesion if you plan to paint it.

Step 3: Drill drainage holes (if needed): If your bowl doesn’t have any drainage holes at the bottom, you can drill a few small holes to allow for proper water drainage and prevent water from accumulating when the bowl is not in use.

Step 4: Attach legs (optional): If you prefer to elevate the fire bowl above the ground, you can attach steel or metal legs to the bottom of the bowl. This will provide better airflow and create a more stable base for the fire bowl.

Step 5: Paint (optional): If you want to give your fire bowl a fresh look and protect it from rust, you can paint it with high-temperature, fire-resistant paint. Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions for application and curing.

Step 6: Place the grate or mesh: Set a metal grate or mesh over the top of the fire bowl. This will prevent larger embers from escaping while allowing air to flow into the fire for better combustion.

Step 7: Test for stability: Ensure that the fire bowl is stable and secure, especially if you’ve added legs. Make sure it can support the weight of the firewood and withstand the heat.

Step 8: Start the fire: Fill the fire bowl with firewood or your preferred fire pit fuel. Light the fire, and you’re ready to enjoy your homemade fire bowl.

Step 9: Practice fire safety: Always exercise caution and follow fire safety guidelines when using your fire bowl. Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby, and never leave the fire unattended. Fully extinguish the fire before leaving the area.

Making your own fire bowl allows you to customize it to your preferences and can be a great addition to your outdoor space for relaxation and gatherings.

Freestanding Cozy Outdoor Chimenea Options

One option you may consider for creating a warm and inviting outdoor space without breaking the bank and without needing a lot of DIY or landscaping is by exploring buying a chimenea. These firepit ‘chimneys’ generally come in either metal or a terracotta clay. They have a wonderful rustic feel!

Here are four chimenea options to consider:

Freestanding Chimeneas: These stand-alone fireplaces come in various materials such as clay, cast iron, or steel, and can be easily moved around your outdoor space.

Prefabricated Outdoor Fireplace Kits: These kits include all the necessary components for building an outdoor fireplace at a fraction of the cost. They often come with detailed instructions, making installation easier.

Gas Chimeneas: Gas-powered chimineas provide convenience and ease of use while still offering warmth and ambiance.

By considering these budget-friendly chiminea options, you can enjoy the cozy warmth of an outdoor fireplace without breaking your budget or dealing with complicated building codes.

The Final Touch: Comfortable Firepit Seating

When creating an outdoor living space it’s important to consider the seating area around your fire pit, and just because you’re being budget-friendly doesn’t mean it can’t be comfortable! Of course the truly rustic version might be logs, or large stones. But you might want something a bit more comfortable long-term for your outdoor entertaining….. Opt for versatile and cost-effective options such as Adirondack chairs or stackable patio chairs; most home improvement stores have a wide range of outdoor furniture with budget-friendly options.

Another budget-friendly option is to repurpose wooden crates or old pallets by adding cushions or pillows for a DIY seating solution. By incorporating these affordable fire pit seating ideas into your patio, you can create an inviting atmosphere without breaking the bank.

Fuel Options: Eco-Friendly and Low Cost Ideas

Looking for an eco-friendly and wallet-friendly way to keep your fire pit roaring? While wood is the obvious, easy choice, if you have to buy in your firewood it can be not as wallet-friendly as you might like. Here are a few ideas for fuel sources which may be cheaper.

  • Wood Scraps: Gather leftover wood scraps from construction sites or fallen branches from your yard to create a sustainable and cost-effective fuel source.
  • Charcoal Briquettes: Made from recycled materials, charcoal briquettes provide a longer burn time and emit less smoke, making them an excellent eco-conscious choice.
  • Compressed Sawdust Logs. Made from recycled wood products, these burn very efficiently.
  • Propane. This is a slightly different fuel source, as if you’re going to use it you’ll need a fireplace that runs on propane, but it can be a very easy, affordable way to fuel an outdoor firepit.

By choosing these fuel options for your outdoor fireplace, you can create an inviting atmosphere without breaking the bank or harming the planet.

Why Do We Love an Outdoor Fire Pit?

There’s an obvious answer here; we have a primitive connection to sitting around a fire in the evening, with family and friends or even just by ourselves. It’s essence is safety: fire protects, it cooks, it warms. Creating an outdoor fireplace is also part of biophilic design: bringing elements of nature into the built environment. It’s all about our desire to connect with nature.

By incorporating outdoor fireplaces, we not only provide a functional and aesthetically pleasing space but also tap into our primal connection with fire and the outdoors. The crackling sound, the warmth, and the flickering flames of a fireplace evoke a sense of comfort and relaxation, reminiscent of gathering around a campfire in the wilderness (only we don’t have to hike into the wilderness to find it). This connection to nature contributes to our overall well-being, reducing stress and promoting a sense of tranquility. Outdoor fireplaces thus serve as a key element of biophilic design, enhancing our connection with the natural world while creating inviting and rejuvenating outdoor spaces.

Rustic or Elegant, Build an Outdoor Fireplace to Fit Your Space and Enjoy the Outdoors

So, pick one of the ideas above and create that outdoor haven, and start enjoying cozy nights by the roaring fire!