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Home and Garden

Building a DIY Firebowl in Your Backyard

Have you ever wanted to have a roaring outdoor fire but didn’t want to risk the safety of your home or the surrounding trees by lighting an open flame? A DIY firebowl is the perfect solution if you want to light up your backyard in style this summer. They’re also easy and affordable to create, so long as you follow these simple steps. A firebowl is essentially a pit that has been lined with rocks and filled with ash, soil, and charcoal. Once lit, the natural soil will smolder without catching fire, creating a safe place for you and your friends to enjoy bonfires for many years to come. Read on for more information about building a firebowl in your own backyard!


What You’ll Need

– Shovel: You’ll need to dig a large pit in your backyard to hold all of the components of the firebowl. A shovel will be your best bet for a clean and efficient digging process. – Tarp: A tarp will be necessary to protect your lawn from the potential damage of digging, as well as to protect the firebowl contents from precipitation. – Rocks: To line the bottom and sides of the firebowl, large rocks are best. You’ll have to decide how many rocks and what size rocks to use depending on the shape of your firebowl, but a good rule of thumb is five rocks per foot. – Charcoal: The charcoal layer sits on top of the rock layer – it’s the layer that will smolder in the open air and create the smoke that will keep your firebowl burning for hours. – Soil or Ash: The soil or ash layer sits on top of the charcoal and will smolder just like the charcoal once lit. The soil or ash will also provide an aesthetic effect once the fire has died down, but any type of soil will do the job just fine. – Vent: A vent will be necessary to bring fresh air into the firebowl, but also keep the fire contained. You’ll want to get a metal vent to avoid burning through a flimsy piece of wood. – Shovel: A good old-fashioned shovel will be necessary to create your firebowl once you’ve completed all the layers.


Build the Firebowl Base

The first step in the process is building the base, which you’ll do by digging a hole in the ground in your backyard. The hole should be about 2.5 feet deep and 1 foot wide. The hole’s dimensions will depend on the size of your firebowl, so make sure to measure the dimensions of your chosen bowl before you dig. Once the hole has been dug, line the bottom with rocks to prevent the firebowl from sinking into the soil over time. You’ll want to pack the rocks tightly into the hole to create a sturdy base for the rest of the firebowl.


Add the Rock Layer

Once the rocks have been placed in the firebowl base, it’s time to add the rock layer. The rock layer will be built on top of the rock base you created in the previous step, and it will also line the sides of the firebowl. This layer will provide stability as well as aesthetic appeal. Once the rock layer has been placed, it’s time to add the charcoal. The charcoal layer will provide fuel for the fire, but it will also smolder without catching fire, thereby creating smoke that will protect the soil and ash layers below it from catching fire. To add the charcoal, simply pile it on top of the rock layer, making sure to leave some space between the charcoal and the sides of the firebowl.


Install the Vent

Now it’s time to install the vent for your firebowl. The vent can be made from any type of metal, but make sure to avoid flimsy woods like cedar or pine, as those woods may catch fire if the metal becomes too hot. Once the vent has been installed, it’s time to measure out and add the soil or ash layer. The soil or ash layer will smolder just like the charcoal layer, and it will provide an aesthetic effect once the fire has died down. To measure and add the soil or ash, begin by pouring soil into the firebowl through a large measuring cup. Once you’ve added enough soil to cover the charcoal layer and a bit more, it’s time to add the last layer: the ashen layer.


The Final Touch: Dark Coals and Dirt

The final touch to your DIY firebowl is to add the ashen layer. Ashen is the layer of unburned fuel sitting on top of the charcoal, which will provide the most aesthetic effect once the fire has died down. To add the ashen layer, simply pour unburned charcoal into the firebowl. The unburned layer will look dark grey and may even have some unburned pieces of wood in it. Once the ashen layer has been added, it’s time to finish the firebowl by adding the last layer: dirt. To add the dirt to the firebowl, begin by pouring enough dirt into the firebowl to cover the last remaining layers: the ashen layer and the charcoal. The dirt will also provide a thermal barrier between the hot metal vent and the soil and ash layers below it. Once the dirt has been added, you’re ready to start the fire!


Don’t Forget the Shades and Misters!

Although it may seem silly, you might want to invest in some gardening sunglasses for when the fire is lit. The heat from the fire can be intense, so it’s best to protect your eyes from the brightness of the flames. You can also use a mister to keep the firebowl watered and prevent the dirt from drying out and becoming dusty. Finally, if you’re in an area that is prone to high levels of humidity, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the firebowl and make sure that the soil layer doesn’t become too saturated. A little bit of moisture won’t hurt the fire, but too much water could damage the components of your firebowl and could even lead to bacteria and mold forming in the soil layer.



A firebowl is the perfect way to enjoy an outdoor fire without having to worry about safety or damage to your surroundings. They’re easy to create, so long as you follow these steps and use the right materials. With a firebowl, you can enjoy many outdoor fires without having to worry about the safety of your home or the surrounding trees.

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