If your preferred method of heat looks more caveman than HVAC, you’ve probably considered the cost of a fire pit. Most homeowners pay around $850 for an installed fire pit in the backyard, but costs vary widely from project to project. Expect to pay no less than $200 and up to $5,000 for custom design and installation.
Whether your plans for this outdoor fire pit are decadent or DIY, there is an option for you. Read on to discover how much you can expect to pay to harness the power of fire in your backyard.
In this article:
- Average Costs
- Cost Estimator by Size
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- DIY Cost
- Cost by Location
Average Fire Pit Costs in 2023
|National Average Cost||$850|
|Typical Price Range||$240 – $2,400|
|Extreme Low-End Cost||$200|
|Extreme High-End Cost||$5,000|
Fire pits are great for relaxing and socializing outdoors, and they don’t have to be too expensive. If you’re looking to save money, you may want to consider a prefabricated above-ground fire pit. Custom-built fire pits are more expensive but typically have a longer lifespan.
Fire Pit Cost Estimator By Size
Fire pits generally range from 3 to 6 feet in diameter, but you can easily customize yours to fit your space. Fire pits aren’t necessarily priced based on size, but you can expect larger ones to cost more because they’ll use more material and take longer for a pro to install.
The cost estimates in the table below can give you a rough idea of how much your fire pit will cost depending on its size.
|Fire Pit Diameter||Average Cost (Materials and Installation)|
|36 inches (3 feet)||$550|
|40 inches (3 ⅓ feet)||$730|
|44 inches (3 ⅔ feet)||$900|
|48 inches (4 feet)||$1,120|
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Size isn’t everything. Other variables that affect the cost of a fire pit include:
Fire Pit Types
There are as many fire pit styles to choose from as there are stars in the sky – almost. Not sure which to choose? First determine where you’ll put the fire pit, what its purpose will be (aesthetics only, heat, or grilling), and how many people should fit around it. Then choose the style that is right for you.
Fire pits are most often divided into three categories:
- Portable fire pits start at about $50 for a basic metal circle (fire bowl) with a grate and spark cover, and the costs increase from there. Other portable options include fire pit tables, campfire-style tripods with metal bowls and grates, and even tabletop gas models.
- Above-ground fire pits typically cost $130 to $1,500. Many prefabricated above-ground fire pits are already assembled and do not require installation. However, you should clear any grass or weeds before placing a fire pit on the ground.
- In-ground fire pits have a great aesthetic. They’re the most expensive option, typically costing $1,000 to $3,000, but they’re safer and longer-lasting than above-ground pits.
|Fire Pit Type||Typical Cost|
|Portable||$50 – $600|
|Above-ground||$130 – $1,500|
|In-ground||$1,000 – $3,000|
The type of fuel your fire pit runs on can also affect the cost of installation. In the table below, find the typical cost to install a fire pit that runs on each of the most common fuel types.
|Fuel Source||Typical Cost|
|Charcoal||$250 – $350|
|Propane||$300 – $950|
|Wood||$300 – $1,000|
|Electric||$350 – $1,500|
|Natural Gas||$400 – $3,000|
When choosing a fuel type, keep in mind:
- Wood burning fire pits: For fuel, expect to pay about $300 per cord of wood (128 cubic feet). If you don’t need quite that much wood, you can buy an ⅛ cord, ¼ cord, ½ cord, or ¾ cord. Know exactly how much wood you’re getting because scams abound, and terms such as “truck full” lack standardization.
- Natural gas fire pits are expensive but very efficient. They don’t get hot enough to cook anything, but they’re safer than traditional fire-burning pits.
- Charcoal fire pits are cheap, but they take a long time to heat up and are difficult to clean.
- Electric fire pits are safer than traditional backyard fire pits, and they allow you to control flame intensity with the click of a button.
- Propane fire pits are affordable at first but require an ongoing supply of propane.
The total cost of your fire pit also depends on the material used to construct it. Please see pricing for the most common materials in the table below.
|Concrete||$175 – $900|
|Stainless Steel||$250 – $1,200|
|Brick Paver||$300 – $2,200|
|Natural Stone||$350 – $3,000|
You probably want a material that fits your budget, meets your needs, and matches your landscape design. Here is some additional information to consider about these options:
- Concrete block fire pits are the most affordable option. They typically burn wood, charcoal, or gas.
- Stainless steel fire pits last a long time and are difficult to damage. Stainless steel is corrosion- and rust-resistant. However, the metal gets very hot, and it stays hot even after the fire goes out.
- Brick paver fire pits can crack in the extreme heat of a fire, so it is important to line the inside with a heat-resistant material. Firebricks are a paver type that can withstand more heat than traditional brick pavers and do not run the risk of cracking.
- Stone fire pits are typically the most expensive. They are often made from granite, marble, or slate and have a rustic aesthetic that will add to your curb appeal.
Prefab vs. Custom
You can get mass-produced prefabricated fire pits at retailers like Amazon or big box stores like Home Depot. They typically cost much less than custom-built fire pits, and you can install them yourself.
But you get what you pay for. Custom-built pits tend to be of higher quality and last much longer. A custom built-in fire pit can last a lifetime. On the other hand, the typical prefab fire pit only lasts a few years before needing a replacement.
You may want to add these extras to your fire pit for an additional cost:
- Fire glass adds style and ambiance to gas fire pits and typically costs $19 per 10-pound bag.
- Lava rocks start at about $26 per 10-pound bag and add to the atmosphere surrounding your fire pit.
- Gas lines or electric lines may have to be added for some fire pits, for which you would need to hire a professional electrician. Electricians typically charge $45 to $100 per hour.
- Safety screens typically cost $40 to $250 and are a must for homeowners with small children or pets who haven’t learned how to stay safe around fire yet.
If you’re in the market for a fire feature, you may also be interested in these related services to enhance your landscape and increase home value:
- Pergola Installation
- Gazebo Installation
- Patio Installation
- Sprinkler System Installation
- Solar Panel Installation
A pergola is an outdoor structure with a grid-style roof that lets in partial sun. A typical pergola costs about $4,000, but the exact price depends on size, material, and complexity.
|National Average Cost for a Pergola||$4,000|
|Typical Price Range for a Pergola||$2,100 – $6,000|
|Extreme Low-End Cost for a Pergola||$1,050|
|Extreme High-End Cost for a Pergola||$11,000|
Gazebos are a type of outdoor structure with a solid roof that are great for shaded seating areas. Gazebos cost about $7,600 to install, on average, and add to your home’s value.
|National Average Cost for a Gazebo||$7,600|
|Typical Price Range for a Gazebo||$5,358 – $9,058|
|Extreme Low-End Cost for a Gazebo||$325|
|Extreme High-End Cost for a Gazebo||$27,000|
Many homeowners install patios and fire pits at the same time. This extends your outdoor living opportunities into both summer and winter. On average, patio installation costs about $4,000.
|National Average Cost for a Patio||$4,000|
|Typical Price Range for a Patio||$2,363 – $5,909|
|Extreme Low-End Cost for a Patio||$1,212|
|Extreme High-End Cost for a Patio||$8,431|
Sprinkler System Installation
Sprinklers are a convenient and efficient way to water your lawn. Expect a new sprinkler system to cost about $3,150.
|National Average Cost for a Sprinkler System||$3,150|
|Typical Price Range for a Sprinkler System||$2,400 – $4,200|
|Extreme Low-End Cost for a Sprinkler System||$825|
|Extreme High-End Cost for a Sprinkler System||$8,300|
Solar Panel Installation
Solar panels reduce your overall energy costs, help the environment, and typically pay for themselves in 6 to 10 years. The upfront cost of solar panel installation is usually around $20,000, but don’t worry if you don’t have the cash handy. There are many financing options, including low-interest state-sponsored loans.
|National Average Cost for Solar Panel Installation||$20,000|
|Typical Price Range for Solar Panel Installation||$15,000 – $26,000|
|Extreme Low End Cost for Solar Panel Installation||$5,000|
|Extreme High End Cost for Solar Panel Installation||$50,000|
Cost of a DIY Fire Pit
DIY fire pits are one of the most inexpensive ways to add to your outdoor living space. There are a plethora of fire pit options and style choices. Decide the location, purpose, and how many people your pit will need to handle, then get to work.
If you have spare wood and a shovel, you can build a wood fire pit for $0. Another option is a fire pit kit. Kits average $625 and often include paver blocks, a steel ring, a grate, and concrete glue. You will need to supply the digging tools, paver base, and sand. Whatever kind of fire pit you build, remember never to use sedimentary rock, as these rocks can trap air and explode.
For the sake of illustration, we’ll assume you’ve purchased a simple DIY kit that comes with the blocks, concrete glue, round steel insert, and grate. To build a fire pit, you will also need the tools in the table below.
Please see typical material costs in the table below.
|Fire pit kit||$625|
|Paver base||$4.30 for 0.5 cubic ft. bag|
|Lava rock||$4.30 for 0.5 cubic ft. bag|
How to Install a DIY Fire Pit in 12 Steps
For these instructions, we’ll assume you’re building on your lawn.
Note: If you’re building on an existing patio, you may consider placing fire brick on the bottom of the patio inside the fire ring. Some installers say this isn’t necessary, though, and lay granite or lava rock for drainage.
Step 1: Remove sod.
Step 2: Dig to the appropriate depth.
Step 3: Tamp the ground to level.
Step 4: Lay a paver base one inch at a time. Tamp with a tamping tool.
Step 5: Repeat the step above until you reach the desired depth.
Step 6: Lay the first row of stones surrounding the pit.
Step 7: Make sure each stone is level by length and width.
Step 8: Start the second row, staggering the joints.
Step 9: Keep level. Apply adhesive as you go.
Step 10: Repeat until all rows are set in place.
Step 11: Insert metal ring.
Step 12: Place lava rock or granite stone in the pit. Fill to the bottom edge of the ring.
DIY Cost vs. Professional Service
Whether you are building a fire pit on the beach or in a wooded wilderness, a no-cost setup is possible. If you have wood or can use other products you have on hand (an existing propane tank and burner unit, for example), you’re good to go. On the other hand, a kit averages around $625 plus sand and base, or you can have one professionally installed for around $850.
Cost of a Fire Pit By Location
Your geographic location can affect the cost of your fire pit because:
- Higher costs of living lead to higher labor costs. Areas with a high cost of living should expect to pay more than the average price. Similarly, areas with a low cost of living may see price savings.
- It is cheaper to use materials that are locally available than it is to ship them from other locations. The further the materials ship, the higher the cost.
- Some locations require a permit to install a fire pit. This will increase your overall cost.
Here are a few safety tips for installing a fire pit:
• Build the fire pit at least 10 to 15 feet away from the house.
• Use safety screens to contain sparks.
• Consider running a water line (or having a fire extinguisher) near the fire pit in case of an emergency.
• Clear any nearby brush or tree cover.
• Remove ashes as needed.
• For your (financial) safety: Ask your insurance provider if the fire pit will be covered under your homeowners policy.
Be sure to:
• Check your local fire and building codes.
• Check HOA requirements.
• Ask if you’ll need a permit.
• Be aware of any burn bans in your area.
• Call 811 before you dig.
If you’re handy and want to install a fire pit yourself, but don’t want to build it from scratch, it may be worth it to buy a fire pit kit. However, you won’t save as much money as you would building from scratch, and your work won’t be as high-quality as a professional fire pit installation.
If you’re eager to harness fire in your backyard, expect to pay an average of $850 for a professional installation or as little as $0 for a DIY version (if you already have some basic construction materials). As we’ve seen, corralling fire can be as simple or complex as you want to make it, with options for a range of budgets and style preferences.
If DIY isn’t your preferred method of home improvement, hire a professional, and have your home fire burning in no time.
Michelle Selzer contributed to this article.
Main Photo by: pxhere