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What to Put in the Bottom of a Fire Pit

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With winter creeping in, there’s nothing better than enjoying an evening in front of a fire pit.

Having a firepit in your backyard allows you to enjoy your outdoor space despite the dropping temperatures.

We use our fire pit as much as possible once the temperatures drop.

One of our favorite uses is to roast oysters with the titan adjustable swivel grill set inside our fire pit during the winter months.

Building a fire pit is quite simple and there is a range of materials that you can use for the bottom of your fire pit including sand, dirt, stones, gravel, lava rocks, and fire glass.

In this article, we will take a close look at the materials that can be used in the bottom of a fire pit.

We will also provide you with some tips about fire safety tips for when you start to use your fire pit. 

What Materials Can Be Used for the Bottom of a Fire Pit?

There are several materials that can be used for the bottom of a fire pit. This list highlights the best things that you can consider:

  • Sand 
  • Dirt
  • Stones
  • Gravel 
  • Lava Rocks
  • Fire Glass
  • Concrete Slabs 


Sand is probably the most popular material used at a fire pit’s bottom.

It is also the cheapest option available. Almost any type of sand will make an excellent material at the bottom of a fire pit. 

Sand is very easy to use, requires next to no maintenance, and it stops the fire from spreading.

Sand also absorbs the heat from the fire and keeps anything below the fire protected from damage. 

The best thing about sand as a fire pit material is that it lasts extremely long.

The sand can stay in place for decades and can also keep your firepit looking great.

There are several creative fire pit ideas you can create.


Dirt is very similar to sand in many ways and it makes a great choice for the bottom of a firepit.

The main advantage of choosing dirt is that you can find it pretty much anywhere. This is what we have in our own firepit.

The only difference with dirt is that some of the organic matter in the dirt will burn.

This will eventually start to look pretty bad and may need to be replaced often. 


A bed of stones is a safe option for the bottom of a fire pit. Stones are also very easy to find.

As long as you can find small stones to create a stable fire bed, you will have the perfect bottom of the fire pit to use. 

A big advantage of stones is that you can use them as an additional layer of protection for the ground beneath the fire pit.

For example, placing stones above dirt or sand can act as an additional protective layer. Stones can also look very beautiful at the bottom of a fire pit. 


Gravel consists of small, shredded rocks that are easy to spread over an area.

Gravel works very well for the bottom of a fire pit. Similar to stones, it doesn’t have any downsides to them.

It helps keep the pit heated and prevents the base from burning. 

Some types of gravel can look very beautiful and appealing so can even improve the look of your fire pit.

Gravel is very easy to pour and easy to maintain. Gravel also works with sand and dirt so you can use both for an even more effective fire base. 

Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are specifically made for use as fire retardants.

However, they still work great at keeping the area heated. 

Lava rocks have a very rustic and natural look and and can really add to the appearance of the fire pit.

Lava rocks are made from volcanoes. These rocks do not decompose nor require yearly replacement.

They are a uniquely reddish-brown color that looks great. 

The porous surface of the lava rocks allows for water drainage, keeping your lava rocks dry while also protecting the bottom of your fire pit from the surface heat.

Fire Glass

When it comes to improving the appearance of your fire pit, there is nothing better than the unique appearance of fire glass. 

Fire glass is glass-like stones that look like an expensive type of gravel. They come in various colors and styles and most varieties are small in size – similar to shredded rocks. 

An advantage of fire glass is that it is a bit flammable, but it doesn’t spread fire.

When used in the bottom of a fire pit, it keeps the heat concentrated and helps keep the fire burning for hours. 

This material also never wears off, so the amazing appearance will last for years and years.

It requires very little maintenance and can easily protect the ground or the bowl beneath the fire. 

Fire Pit Safety Tips 

Below is a list of safety fire tips when using your fire pit:

  • Avoid using any fire accelerants such as gasoline or lighter fluid
  • Keep children and pets away from the fire
  • Avoid burning garbage or paper on your fire pit
  • When the ashes are dry and cool, scoop them out and dispose of them
  • Avoid positioning your fire pit in hazard-prone zones 
  • Never leave the fire unattended
  • Invest in some fire safety equipment

Be sure to checkout our article where we teach you how to properly extinguish your fire pit’s fire safely.

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, there are many materials that you can use at the bottom of a fire pit. Sand is the most popular option but there are also many other materials that work just great.

If you are planning on building a fire pit, it is important to ensure that you choose an appropriate base to prevent the ground or the bottom of the pit from becoming damaged by the fire.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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