How to Build a Fire Pit Area with River Rock

Here is a quick guide on how to build the perfect fire pit area with river rock. If you are looking for some great guidelines and instructions, keep reading!

The “homemade rock fire pit” is a simple and inexpensive way to create an area for enjoying fires. This is also a great project for those who want to learn how to build with rocks.

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Do you want to devote a space in your yard to a built-in fire pit? Do you wish to get rid of undesirable grass as well? In this post, we’ll teach you how to accomplish both, resulting in a stunning fire pit area that you’ll enjoy for many years.


For safety reasons, a non-flammable substance must be placed around the fire pit. Pea gravel, recycled concrete, crushed granite, lava rocks, and river rocks are all examples of rock aggregates that suit this criteria. Any of the materials described are suitable for use in a fire pit area and will survive for a long time. We picked smooth river rock since it has the greatest appearance of all the options. 


River rock is attractive and long-lasting, but it may be costly. We visited a nearby garden shop that sells bulk landscaping supplies including soil, mulch, and several sorts of rock aggregates. The river rock was priced at $125 a cubic yard, plus a delivery fee. We anticipated that 2.5 cubic yards would be required for our project, which would have cost us about $400 including delivery.


I began exploring for alternative locations to get river rock and found upon a firm that sold rock aggregate and was linked with the railroad. Their river rock was substantially less expensive per cubic yard and had a superior appearance, as well as a cheaper cost per cubic yard. Many landscaping supplies, particularly highly heavy ones like earth or rock, are best purchased in bulk when you have a wide area.


Preparing the region for the arrival of your rock.


Depending on where you choose to place the river rock, you may need to do a lot or very little preparation. The majority of people’s backyards contain grass, which will have to be removed before the river rock is deposited on top of it. 

The grass will grow through the rock until you remove it or cover it with a sturdy barrier. Weeds should not be allowed to grow through your river stones. You may use a thick barrier, such as cardboard, to cover the grass, then damp it down before placing the rock on top. The grass underneath the cardboard will die.

The space we chose for the fire pit had an above ground pool that had been removed in our instance. The grass under the pool was already dead, but there was still grass in the remaining space, which I had to clear. Because you’ll have to dig underneath the grass to loosen it and pull out the roots, this is a time-consuming job. 

Fortunately, I only had approximately 20 square feet to dig up, so I was able to do it by hand. You may hire a sod cutter if you have a bigger area. You just walk behind the equipment while it eliminates the grass and leaves a reasonably flat piece of soil, making sod removal a breeze. 


After you’ve prepared the space, it’s time to add the river rock. The amount of effort necessary to install and scatter the rock in the designated area will be determined by access to the region. In our situation, the rock could be dumped immediately on our fire pit area by the delivery vehicle. Due to how heavily the truck was laden with the granite, the vehicle did create significant divots in the grass from turning and backing up. 


It was much simpler to scatter the rock since I was able to drop it in the fire pit. If dumping the rock in the backyard is not feasible, you will have to transport all of the rock by hand to the backyard. A wheelbarrow or dump cart will be the most convenient method to transfer the rock.

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I spent two to three hours spreading river stones around the lined-out space, leaving approximately a foot on the edge to build landscaping edging to create a half circle. The bigger river rock, which was difficult to move with an iron rake, was acquired. Filling a bucket on the tallest portion of the pile and letting gravity handle the rest worked best for me. I used a shovel to move the remainder of the rock once the pile was lower.

Options for Fire Pit Edging

You should have some form of material to utilize on the border or edge of the fire pit area to keep the river stones contained. Plastic or rubber edging are two options for landscaping edging. Because it’s so pliable, you can make a variety of forms, including tight circles. It’s reasonably priced and simple to set up. There is an aluminum edge that looks like the plastic border but is more durable. It’s bendable as well, although not as much as plastic. The metal will not rust since it is made of aluminum. You may also use brick, pavers, or concrete for a more solid bordering effect. 

We went with metal edging because we loved the aesthetic and durability of aluminum edging, as well as how easy it was to install. The metal edging is more expensive than the plastic edging available at your local Lowes or Home Depot, but it looks so much nicer in my view.

It’s malleable, so you can stretch it into various forms, which was ideal for our half circle. The metal edging throughout the perimeter took a couple of hours to install. I carried the river rock up to the edging after the edging was built to fill the whole dirt area with rock.

In the garden, the river stones and metal edging look fantastic. Our paver fire pit, which will be built next week, will provide the final touch. I’m looking forward to our first campfire! Did you know that depending on how well you maintain your fire pit, it might survive for a long time?


A fire pit is a great way to add ambiance and warmth to your backyard. The “heat resistant rocks for fire pit” will make it easier to build a fire in the cold weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use river rocks for fire pit?

A: This is a question about fire pits, not the game.

What kind of rock do you put around a fire pit?

A: You must have a fire pit with rocks surrounding it.

How do you keep river rocks in place?

A: This is a difficult question to answer.

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