Twenty years ago, if you wanted a backyard fire pit, you needed a large yard, and you needed to double-check a lot of local fire codes. Depending on where you lived, and the time of year you may have needed a burning permit from the city or county you lived in. Then you also had to put in a fair amount of back-breaking labor doing things like digging holes, moving rocks, and installing bricks. All with precise measurements.
Over the years, manufacturers have been advancing manufacturing techniques and refining materials to improve safety. This also allowed for some people to move the firepit from the soil of the backyard to their deck or patio. Once this happened, design options started to expand to the point that your landscaping or outdoor decorating concept factored in the fire pit with the overall look.
Depending on your particular taste and the outdoor space available to you, there are a few different themes to consider for choosing the best outdoor fire pit.
The Rustic Fire Pit
This is arguably the most common type of fire pit. It’s the old classic stone circle with room around it to seat four to perhaps six adults. It also tends to be the cheapest type of fire pit for do-it-yourselfers to build. Still, you shouldn’t let the rustic simplicity of this concept lure you into thinking it has to be plain or dirty.
Even if you choose natural stone for the fire ring, you can tastefully surround it with natural flagstone, or decorative aggregate stones. Even a stamped concrete patio surrounding the fire ring can really add some visual feel. Placing some type of stone or concrete surface around the fire pit will also prevent chairs from sinking into the soft earth, which can be a real issue if it’s rained recently.
While we’re on the topic of seating. Just because it’s a rustic fire pit doesn’t mean you have to use folding camp chairs, turned over stumps, and cheap resin furniture. Natural wood Adirondack chairs and stamped concrete benches can be very tasteful, and add to the natural ambiance. A few potted plants or nearby decorative trees can also help create a little bit of a north woods feel, even if you’re sitting smack in the middle of the city.
A Fire Brazier Or Fire Pit Table
Modern-day material manufacturing has opened the door for increased innovation in artificial firepits, brazier, and fire tables that are safe enough to live on your deck or patio. Just make sure to double-check the fine print on your home owner’s insurance and any local HOA rules about them. They can be safe, cozy, and small scale.
Artificial Stone & Fire Rated Brick
Natural rock can be a little bit fickle when introduced to a hot open flame. In fact, some types of natural rock are porous enough that simple rainwater can saturate its microscopic pores. When it’s rapidly heated by a hot fire, the water hidden deep inside the rock can cause it to crack or even shatter. There have even been people who were badly injured by shattering natural stones.
Thankfully, modern-day materials and manufacturing have advanced to the point that there are all kinds of artificial stones and bricks that are fully capable of enduring very high temperatures. They also tend to be visually stunning, while allowing you to create a fire pit that matches your specific vision and styling cues.
An Outdoor Fire Pit Grill
Our ancient ancestors loved to cook meat over an open flame. Somewhere along the line, we lost touch with the beloved aroma, and flavor of fire kissed meat. Just because we brought most of our cooking indoors, doesn’t mean that the backyard fire pit has to be limited to flaming roasted marshmallows and sticks of hot dogs that are black on one side and cold in the middle.
In fact, there are some great outdoor fire pits that are made from durable materials that let them stand up to the weather all four seasons throw at them. Some manufacturers have even engineered units that can be turned into grills with the simple installation of griddle plates, grill grates, or even a flame rotisserie. Most of these manufacturers have access to high-end materials and the designers who know how to make them look good. So, not only are they functional they’re also appealing to the eye. Not to mention a great conversation starter for times when you’re entertaining guests.
The Fire Trough
When you come to think of it, there’s nothing that says your outdoor fire pit has to be a “Pit” at all. At the same time, who says you have to be held to only burning natural wood or lump charcoal. Indeed, there are some very tasteful fire troughs and other outdoor fire features that are set up to burn natural gas or propane. Not only do they enhance your outdoor décor, but they also provide ambiance when you entertain.
Fire And Water Features
Parody and irony tend to play well in contemporary design concepts. So, adding a water feature like a reflecting pool, koi pond or a fountain to your fire pit area can certainly add to the ambiance of your outdoor entertainment space. Water features also tend to have a great deal of artistry to them, which promotes conversation.