Adding a fire pit is the No. 1 most requested feature by homeowners for their outdoor landscape design. A fire pit will compliment any outdoor space perfectly because they can be very simple or extravagant custom designs. Young and old all love to enjoy time spent by a beautiful fire. Not only do fire pits offer a beautiful display but they are also a welcomed heat source for those cool evening outdoors. A fire pit can extend the use of your backyard long into the fall and winter.
Ok so the decision is simple, yes you do want a fire pit but you just have no clue where to begin. You don’t want to just go out in your yard and start digging a hole. There does need to be a little bit of planning to go into the process of adding a fire pit, especially if you want something more dressy or extravagant than just a fire bowl. Choices are endless when it comes to style, size, and materials.
Here are a few things to take into consideration to help you pick the perfect style fire pit for your outdoor space and also tips for using it safely!
Check if Fire Pits are Allowed
First and foremost you need to check with local environmental authorities to ensure that you are allowed to build or use a fire pit in your landscape. Many areas do not allow outdoor or indoor fire pits and fireplaces due to the pollution that the burning gives off. Make sure and check first so you do not find out later that you were not supposed to have a fire pit and run the risk of tickets or fines.
Fire Pit Budget
Then once you know you are able to add a fire pit in your area is figure out how much you would like to spend. Cost can be as low as $100 if you are looking for something simple like a fire bowl or creating a DIY custom build. But it can also be upwards of several thousand dollars for custom built depending on how large and extravagant you decide to go.
Permanent vs. Portable
Are you looking for something that is permanent or do you want a fire pit that you can use at home as well as on the go? This is another important factor that you will need to decide before looking at fire pits. Portable fire pits are made from lightweight materials like copper or stainless steel and are easily transported. A fire table is also another semi-permanent option. They tend to be about the height of a coffee table and usually have a little weight to them so they are not as ideal for taking on the road. But if you just want to be able to rearrange your patio from time to time a fire table is no trouble. Permanent fire pits are so much more than just a hole dug in the ground like back in the day. Now you can buy a beautiful sturdy fire pit from a big box store, have one custom built, or you can build your own with DIY kits.
Gas or Wood Burning
There are many options for fuel sources when it comes to fire features however gas and wood are the most commonly used. Wood fueled fires just have a true outdoor smell to them with that familiar crackle and smoke. You do not get that with a gas fire pit. Gas fire pits are very easy to operate, you do not have to worry about messing with fire starters or newspaper. Just turn on the gas supply and ignite just like a stove top. Fuel type is completely a personal preference. It is all about the type of atmosphere you want to create.
Type of Construction Materials
Whether you purchase a portable fire pit or you build your own the materials will make all of the difference. Copper and Stainless steel fire pits are going to be lightweight but still hold up to the elements when purchasing a fire pit ring or portable fire pit. Custom or DIY kits can consist of a stainless steel base to build around. You will want to use materials that are rust resistant as well as heat resistant. When using stone or concrete to build with make sure that everything is rated for high temps. This will ensure that your craftsmanship will hold up for years to come without cracking under the high temperatures.
Location of the Fire Pit
The location of the fire pit is important to the overall appearance of your backyard. You should have at least 10 feet between your fire pit and any surrounding structures. Allow for approximately a 6 foot diameter around the fire pit for guests to sit safely. If your property has a view consider strategically placing the fire pit so you can still enjoy the view.
Fire-Safe surface for Placement
A non-combustible surface is essential for placing your fire pit on. The best placement is on a non-combustible surface such as concrete, stone, gravel, brick, or other fire resistant composites. You do not want to use them on a wood deck because flying embers can cause the potential for damage to the surface.
No matter if your fire is big or small safety should always be your No. 1 concern! Keep the following things in mind when having a fire…
- Do not use flammable liquids like gas or lighter fluids to start or restart a fire
- Check the direction of the wind before lighting
- Use a screen when burning with wood to keep embers down
- Avoid burning soft woods like pine or cedar because they can “pop” and throw sparks
- Be cautious if wearing loose-fit clothing
- Properly maintain for fire pit checking for loose fitting hardware and regularly remove ashes and debris
- Clean your fire pit regularly with a metal brush, soap, and water