Beachy low maintenance backyard fire pit tutorial you can do yourself!

Aug 29 2016
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Well with September fast approaching it dawned on me that it was either going to be now or next summer to show you guys all the work on the yard we did this spring so this is the beginning of several posts about our yard. Why haven’t I told you about our fire pit sooner? Well, here’s the thing about yards: they just never look nice enough! We won’t be fertilizing or spraying for weeds or anything like that around here – we live on a farm and I WILL NOT put chemicals on my yard nor will I kill a single dandelion intentionally. This yard is NEVER gonna look like we hired a landscaper and that’s just the way it is and I am totally happy with that. However, there were several serious dead spots I wanted to grow in and then we had three floods. (Seriously the storms we got hit by this summer was like nothing I’ve ever seen before in all my years living in northern MN) So, up until now, everything looked pretty rough and if it wasn’t for my husband our yard would probably never get mowed and this place would look like the apocalypse happened which would also have been ok with me. Anyway, I may not be good at cutting the grass but I did want a decent fire pit to hang out at! Here’s the thing though, we had NO money to put in to a fire pit so that meant I had to get really creative!

UPDATE: December 27, 2017 Joe and I are now divorced but I won’t be making attempts to remove him from posts/projects he helped me with such as this one. I absolutely LOVE this fire pit design and would encourage anyone to try it out for their own yard, its safe, easy to mow around and feels wonderful under bare feet!

First thing I thought of first was function: I hated having to move all of our yard furniture every time we mowed so I wanted something our furniture could sit on. Second thing was safety, I wanted a fire pit we didn’t have to worry about still smoldering a little bit when we went to bed. Also, I didn’t want a fire pit that (if not used) would fill full of grass and weeds. Everything pointed to the fact that my dad had a leftover pile of beach sand on his property that he wanted us to get rid of for him. Well, that basically did it: we were gonna make ourselves a beach and it was going to be a totally awesome totally free backyard transformation!

(A note here: I say “FREE” but this project was a HUGE amount of manual time and labor!)

Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoor

We started by sticking a stake in the middle of our current “fire pit”, tying a rope to it and going in a big circle around the whole pit with a can of spray paint. We measured the paths using the “width” of the landscape fabric we had on hand. (Another leftover we found in the barn.) And decided to do a path from our driveway (along the side of the house/our little garden) to converge with the path at our deck and then go on to the fire pit. And then, we started removing/digging out the sod and we did that through two days and countless blisters…

Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoorTutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoorTutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoor Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoor

With the sod removed we laid down the landscapers fabric. We happened to have a neighbor with a tractor who watched us in all of our digging and asked if we wanted him to bring the sand over for us. I almost kissed the man. After so much digging the idea of manually loading up the sand in the back of Joe’s truck and then manually unloading it was one of the worst things I could think of – though I was totally resigned to it. So, with all of the sand brought over we just had to spread it around over the fabric and we were done!

I vastly under estimated the manual labor that this took out of us when we started. With my golf course managerial past I was used to soft soil, this stuff was older then I am. Just getting the sod cut in manageable pieces was a struggle and then trying to separate it from the dirt beneath it was much more difficult then I had ever anticipated. Also a huge part of the labor was hauling all of the sod away, we shook it out of dirt as much as possible and used the excess dirt to even out the yard around the pit. (After the renovation our yard was full of holes and bare patches from trucks etc. literally an ankle breaking situation) We also seeded everything once the sand was spread out and proceeded to water it whenever it looked like it needed it all spring. And that’s it!

Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoor

There are some real cool things about this fire pit that I absolutely love. When Joe mows he goes right over the sand paths and the sand doesn’t move at all – we don’t have to move a single thing! It is incredibly low maintenance, I’ve had to do only about ten minutes of weeding combined all summer long (the grass doesn’t get in through the weed fabric no, it crawls in from the outside under the sand and really annoys me but its very easy to remove.) I love taking my shoes off and settling in by the fire, it really does feel like we’re on a beach! We have to walk across our entire deck (and up a flight of stairs) before getting to the house so we haven’t had any problems tracking in sand at all.

Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoor Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoor

I would imagine that this would also be fun for folks with little kids as it would also double as a sand box! We don’t have kids so I imagine myself on a beach with a bottle of wine whenever we have a fire out here! Drawbacks? After enjoying this fire pit all summer I really can’t say I have any though this summer we were slammed by the worst thunderstorms I’ve ever seen in this part of the country in my entire life. At one point we got over 13 inches of rain in just a few days and were only missed by 80 mile an hour straight line winds by mere miles more than once! Normally, we don’t get a lot of rain in the summer so our fire pit flooded several times. What does that mean? It means a bunch of sand washed into the pit essentially filling our fire hole up lol so, several times, we had to go out there and dig the hole again which really isn’t big deal. However, it has had Joe mention that at some point he wants to put stone around the pit itself and I can’t say as I blame him. So, that may happen some day but, for now, we love our beachy fire pit! And, the cost is only that of getting a load of sand and buying a bundle of landscaping fabric!

Like my sun loungers? Yup I made them out of old goose hunting chairs and outdoor table cloths!

Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoorCreate a beachy out door bon fire pit in your back yard for almost nothing cheap easy diy do it yourself landscaping

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  1. October 26, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Boy, one thing is for sure, you guys are not afraid of labor. Your pit was a labor of love–so glad you’ve gotten good use out of it. Thanks so much for sharing your posts with us at Vintage Charm 🙂

    • October 26, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks and, for sure! lol it was a big job but it did turn out to be work it 🙂

  2. November 15, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    It looks amazing Tarah, you guys must spend a lot of time there in summer enjoying all the hard work you’ve put into the house and making the fire pit. Glad to see the sun loungers too. They’re one of my favorite projects 😉

    • November 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Thank you so much Michelle, it is one of my very favorite spots!!

  3. December 7, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    What a great idea and fun relaxing spot, you can be barefoot and enjoy the sand without travelling far! Thank you so much for sharing at Sweet Inspiration this week!

    • December 8, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you Katrin, can’t wait until we can use it again next summer!

  4. December 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    That sure was a lot of work Tarah but so worth it because in the future it will save you tons of work to have to de-weed and do all that other non-fun stuff. Your chairs look great around the fire pit too!

    • December 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you Mary! Gosh how I miss summer already!!

  5. December 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    This is amazing! I am just inspired every time I see something you’ve done. Thanks for sharing at Over the Moon. We look forward to seeing what you share with us next week.

    • December 15, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you so much Shelley, I can’t wait for spring so we can use it again!

  6. Jann Olson
    December 28, 2016 at 3:09 am

    A lot of work, but the results are so fun! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    • December 28, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks Jann! Can’t wait for summer so we can use it again!

  7. January 4, 2017 at 12:50 am

    It looks great! That’s amazing that you did it yourselves…

    • January 4, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks!! It was a lot of work but so worth it!

  8. January 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    OMG! What a cool chill spot. Love it! Once the warm weather comes back I would be there all the time! Lol thanks for sharing on #HappyNowLinkUp

    • January 4, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      I can’t wait until summer so we can start using it again! My hubby mentioned having a bonfire the other night but its -15 outside right now, too cold even for a fire in my opinion lol!

  9. January 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I’m enamored with your beachy fire pit with the charming barn in the background. I could spend hours there relaxing. Congrats, you’re featured this week at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party.

    • January 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Thank you Susan!!! I can’t wait for summer when we can use it again!

  10. January 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    This looks like such an awesome firepit area! And the fact that it can be mowed over is perfect. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  11. January 7, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Hi Tarah, my husband would so love this! He grew up in South Africa where sandpits and barbeques were a big thing for socializing around. Alas, we do not have room for such a beauty of a firepit.I am sure you will have many a fun family hour spent around yours.



    • January 9, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      Thank you Debbie! It was a lot of work but I just loved walking down to the fire barefoot in all that soft sand 🙂 We’ll see how it survives the winter!

  12. January 9, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    That landscaping fabric works so well! I used it the first time last year. Love it! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

    • January 9, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks for coming by Sherry!

  13. January 20, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    This looks great! 🙂

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  14. March 24, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I want to make a new fire pit and don’t have a lot of extra money so I’m really glad you shared this!

    • March 24, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks Angela, it really worked great last summer, just watch out and make sure when you mow around it that you don’t blow the grass clippings on to the sand because they will start growing!

  15. July 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    That backyard is amazing. I think I could fit my whole house and backyard on it.

    • July 12, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      lol Thanks Elise! Thank goodness my husband mows it so I don’t have to 🙂

  16. July 12, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I love your little beach what a great idea for a fire pit Tarah but those summer storms sound horrendous I will never moan about Irish summers again !!

    • July 12, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Thank you, we love our little beach too 🙂 So low maintenance!

  17. July 16, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    This is such a nice setting now, soft sand on the feet, beautiful barn in the background, loungers all around the fire. Looks like a perfect summer spot Tarahlynn.

    • July 17, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Thank you Leanna, all winter long I gaze down at it with longing lol I never quite feel like we’ve used it enough when its covered in snow but it really is my favorite little getaway in the summer time.

  18. September 15, 2017 at 5:05 am

    This is such a great idea and I love the barn in the background! You will be the featured post this week at the Friday at the fire station link-up! 🙂

  19. March 15, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    What a fantastic project!!

  20. March 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    That is cool! Plus, your backyard is so pretty!
    Thank you for joining The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

  21. March 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    That’s such a good idea! I wish we had the space and the weather for one of those. You’ve got me reminiscing of our holiday to Wales – toasting marshmallows round the Camp Smokey fire pit. Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam

    • March 19, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Thanks Annette, I can’t wait for this winter to finally get over with so I can enjoy my fire pit again!

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