Backyard fire pits make a great addition to any outdoor area, giving an extra level of ambiance to
any yard. There’s just something appealing about settling down around an open fire and enjoying
the evening air. Of course, you get a fantastic way to enjoy toasted marshmallows and company.
However, adding a backyard fire pit takes a little more than just deciding you want one. Here are
some things to consider as you work on upgrading your outdoor space.
Depending on where you live, there may be laws about open burning. Before you decide what
kind of fire pit you want, make sure you’re not going to violate any ordinances by setting one up
that’s the wrong size or scope.
You don’t have to break the bank to have a top-notch fire pit in your yard. Many DIY options
only take about $200 to set up a small fire pit, and some simple pre-purchasable options are also
inexpensive. If you choose to go that route, have an expert give it a second look for safety.
Besides the pit itself, you’ll also want to account for any potential seating you’re planning on
having. One of our team can help you determine what’s best for you.
Permanent vs. Portable
Some fire pit options allow you to take the whole set up on the go, which can be great for outings
that aren’t always at your home. These fire pits come in different types of materials, from cast
iron to copper and stainless steel. The materials will play a role in both the price and the weight.
If you want to work with a built-in design, you’ll want to match the rest of your yard’s design for
the best fit. Building it yourself allows better flexibility in matching materials, while you can
also pick up building kits that contain everything you need. For complete customization, work
with a landscape professional to help design and build it exactly the way you want.
Wood vs. Gas
When most of us think about campfires, we picture logs crackling in the fire. Using real wood
allows for the true campfire smell and ambiance, which gives any yard an unmistakable
atmosphere. If you go for this option, you’ll need to maintain a steady supply of firewood. You’ll
also want a screen to help catch any stray sparks.
Where to Put It
No matter if you have a portable or a permanent fire pit, location is still essential. For safety
purposes, keep at least 10 feet between the pit and any other structures, like your home, sheds, or
fences. Some communities require this as well, so you should always aim for this distance when
setting up shop.
This is another point where local ordinances come into play – you may need an inspection to
approve your fire pit location to ensure safety.
If you do have a portable fire pit, you’ll always want to place it on a fire-resistant surface. Some
of the best options are concrete, gravel, slate, stone, and brick, which won't start a blaze when
sparks fly. For the same reasons, you’ll want to have a base of gravel for any permanent fire pits.
Owning a fire pit also comes with a responsibility to maintain safety. Besides some of the tips
mentioned above, you’ll also want to:
- Always have a fire extinguisher/water ready before you start the fire
- Don’t use flammable fluids to light or relight fires
- Avoid using softwoods susceptible to sparking, like pine or cedar
- Check wind direction when starting the fire
- Keep seating at least two feet away from the pit
- Keep children and pets at a distance of at least three feet
- Don’t wear flammable or loose-fitting clothing when enjoying a fire pit
With these thoughts in mind, you’ll have no difficulty in making the best decisions for installing
a fire pit in your yard. Get ready to start the s’mores!