5 Things You Can Put at the Bottom of a Backyard Fire Pit

backyard fire pit

A backyard fire pit is a great hardscape you can add to your backyard. You can either buy it or build your own. Although, it isn’t easy to build and maintain. You must consider some factors and be familiar with the whole setup.

There are a few materials you can put at the bottom of your fire pit. The most popular ones are sand, gravel, magma lava rocks, dirt, and firepit glass. Among those, firepit glass is recommended to be used since it is a way safer option than magma stones, sand, or other materials.

Firepit glass is usually designed to be put at the bottom of a fire pit. It has high heat resistance, and thus, zero chance of exploding.

In this article, we will discuss the qualities of the materials you can use at the bottom of your backyard fire pit and we will determine which one is the best. We will also write some fire safety guidelines to keep you and your family safe from tragic accidents.


5 Materials to Put in the Bottom of Your Fire Pit

A fire pit is a great backyard feature that makes your outdoor space warmer during the winter. Whether you have a permanent or portable fire pit, you’ll have to make sure that it contains the fire while burning.

When purchasing or building a backyard fire pit, the first thing to go through is the manufacturer’s instructions. Some of them recommend using at least 1 or 2 inches of sand at the bottom layer to cover the fire pit, while others prefer not using sand, which can save you a lot of time and money, especially if your fire pit is designed without it.

Of course, there are other materials you can use at the bottom of your fire pit and that come with their own qualities.

1. Sand

Sand is the most common and most versatile material you can use at the bottom of your fire pit. It is cheap, easy to install, and provides great heat absorption. A layer of sand is designed to protect the metal used at the bottom of your fire pit. It is great at absorbing heat and equally distributes it throughout the pit.

If you’re not using sand at the bottom of your pit, the heat will be concentrated in a specific area, which can deteriorate the metal and burn your fire pit completely. Besides, sand also prevents wear and tears on a specific part of your fire pit.

One disadvantage of this material, however, is that ashes can easily mix with sand and create a kind of mud that is hard to remove and clean. Once you’re done removing it, you’ll need to add a new layer of sand.

2. Dirt

Dirt is another material you can use at the bottom of a fire pit. It is also available everywhere. It is easy to use, heat-resistant, and free. You can dig dirt in your backyard and put it at the bottom of the pit. Though dirt is convenient, it features less heat resistance than sand.

Using dirt under your fire pit can be troublesome too since it mixes with sand, making it difficult to clean. With a shovel, cleaning it requires a bit of time and effort. Not only that, but you also have to refill the dirt every time you set your pit on fire.

If your fire pit has holes at the bottom, using dirt is a bad idea as it will fill the holes and prevent airflow.


One way of making your fire pit more aesthetically pleasing is by adding colorful glass at the bottom of your pit. But, can you use any kind of glass in a fire pit? Read our article to find out. 


3. Gravel

Gravel is another material you can use at the bottom of your fire pit. It is commonly available for cheap. It is a great idea to use this material. Just put enough of it to cover 10% of the fire pit.

By doing so, your fire pit will work efficiently and you will be able to put more if you intend to later on. Although gravel can be convenient, it isn’t designed for nor accustomed to high temperatures, especially if you are considering using it with sand.

Gravel doesn’t go well if you add it to fire glass or magma lava stones as there’s a chance that it might explode. Thus, make sure to use materials that are compatible with gravel.

4. Magma Lava Rocks

Magma lava rocks are another option to add at the bottom of your fire pit, and it is expensive. Although ideally designed to be put at the bottom of fire pits, it can be difficult to find. However, you can try looking for some at online stores at a reasonable price.

Magma lava rocks are extraordinarily conducive to heat. Unlike other stones, they don’t break or crack easily. Thus, you have nothing to worry about when using them since they can safely withstand the heat at the bottom of your fire pit. Magma lava rocks are a reliable, long-lasting option. Although, they require high maintenance unless you have a gas-powered fire pit.

5. Fire pit Glass

Among the other materials mentioned is fire pit glass, which is the most expensive option. It is a durable and man-made fire pit material. With its unique and exotic look, it is also the best material to put under a fire pit. Fire pit glass comes in different colors and patterns. However, it doesn’t radiate heat, unlike lava rocks.

Fire pit glass is a way safer option than magma stones, sand, or other materials. This material is usually designed to be put at the bottom of a pit. Its heat resistance is off the chart and has zero chance of exploding due to high temperatures.

To keep your fire pit protected, fire pit glass is the best material. With its several designs and colors, choose the one that best suits your fire pit. Make sure to check out different stores before purchasing and selecting the ones that match the design of your fire pit.

Fire needs oxygen to light up. Without it, there’ll be no fire. To serve this purpose, there exist some fire pits you can build in your backyard, and some of them feature holes under them since they provide decent airflow. Even the air at the top makes the fire pit easily.

Although, if there aren’t any holes in the fire pit, the air is still going to flow efficiently due to the fire pits’ shapes. Although some people might consider adding sand at the bottom, doing so would only restrict the amount of air around the pit.


Fire Safety

When installing your backyard fire pit, you have to make sure that it is set in an appropriate location. Firepit safety starts when you choose the right area for your fire pit. Ideally, the standard distance is 10 to 20 feet away from trees, shrubs, and your house.

Precautions must always be taken whenever fire is involved. Fire mixed with a partying atmosphere, overflowing drinks, and open fire can cause alarming accidents. Before you use your firepit, follow these general safety guidelines:

  • Check with your insurance company as a disclosure of the firepit might be a requirement of the policy.
  • Always use safety gloves and thongs when handling a fire pit.
  • Make sure to put up a fire screen around the fire pit to keep the embers and sparks from jumping off the pit.
  • Check the weather forecast before lighting your backyard fire pit.
  • Avoid lighting fire pits in windy conditions as it will blow ashes and embers out of the fire bowl.
  • Stay up to date with burn ordinances and bans that your local unit has implemented and that could affect different times of the year.
  • Have a garden hose or continuous water supply as a defense against fire.
  • Have a Class A fire extinguisher and read the instructions carefully before using it.
  • Supervise your children when your backyard fire pit is being used.
  • Clear your area, especially of combustible materials like dry leaves, papers, and other debris. Also, keep plastic materials away from the pit as these can easily burn and melt. Their fumes could release toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans.
  • Make sure your backyard fire pit has enough airflow.

Always make sure a fire extinguisher or water is accessible when flames exceed out of the fire pit. Keeping water in open materials, such as bottles or basins, is the best safety precaution. Watch closely and keep track of how the fire travels. Finally, when you’re done using the fire pit, ensure that you completely douse off the fire.


There are certain materials that you can add to your fire pit to either make it more effective or more beautiful. If you want better heating, use lava rocks, but if you want something that is pleasing to the eyes, get fire glass instead. If you want to switch from one material to the other, you may be thinking “can you replace lava rocks with fire glass?“. Read our article to find out. 



A backyard fire pit is a great addition to your garden to have fun and enjoy friends and family events. It plays an important role in the landscape of your yard, and you must choose the materials you’ll be using in it wisely. Whether you are making one from scratch or buying something pre-made, it is important to make sure that your fire pit is made of good quality materials to prevent accidents and injuries. 

One of the things that you should carefully consider is the material that you will be placing at the bottom of your fire pit. Out of all the materials that we discussed in this article, choose one that will suit your needs and preferences. Now that you know what materials you may add at the bottom of your fire pit, you can enjoy your fire pit all year round. And don’t forget to add some furniture to complete your outdoor landscape look!

Recent Posts