Fire pits are becoming quite the popular backyard feature and it isn’t hard to see why. Who doesn’t like the idea of cozy nights spent around the warmth of a glowing fire with family and friends? As well, making a delicious dinner on the fire pit is a great way to keep the house cool during summer. That said, fire pits aren’t just for summer – when fall approaches and the nights start to get colder and longer, fire pits provide a nice warm place to gather with loved ones.
There are so many activities that can be done around a fire pit that you and your family will never get bored.
If you don’t already have a fire pit in your backyard, what are you waiting for?
The options for fire pits are as plentiful as the activities you can do around one.
When choosing a fire pit for your backyard, here are some factors to consider:
- How much time and money you want to spend?
- Where will you place the fire pit?
- Do you want a pit that is portable or one that is permanent?
- What kind of fuel do you prefer to use? (Wood, gas, propane, and gel fuels are common options.)
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to add a nice fire pit to your yard. There are many styles, sizes, and materials to choose from, so consider how much space you have, your budget, and of course, local ordinances. (Some municipalities ban open burning of any kind.)
If you prefer to build things yourself, there are plenty of DIY fire pit options available. You can build a simple stone fire pit like the one in this video: DIY Experts Share How-to Build an Outdoor Fire Pit. If you would like a more elegant fire pit and don’t mind taking on larger DIY projects, something like this fire pit with built-in circular seating might be an option for you: Circular seating and fire pit construction with block and composite.
Another option is to have a professional build a fire pit for you. A contractor will make sure the job is done properly and in accordance with local codes.
No matter which option you choose, it is important to be aware of any local burning or building restrictions before you get started.
Here are some fire pit safety tips to keep in mind.
Backyard fire pits can be a safe addition to your outdoor space, but there are some precautions to consider. Here are some ways to ensure your fire pit is safe:
- Keep fire pits at least 15 feet away from your house, other structures, and combustible materials.
- Be sure to regularly clear leaves and other flammable materials from the area around your fire pit.
- Your fire pit should be located in an open space, like on your patio or a cleared part of your landscape. Don’t place it on a wood deck.
- Avoid lighting the pit during extremely windy weather, as the embers might go somewhere you don’t want them.
- Make sure you have a bucket of water, hose, or extinguisher nearby before lighting the fire.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothing near the fire, or flammable materials like nylon.
- Watch children and pets near fire pits. Supervise them at all times.
- Keep the flame small: The larger it is, the bigger the chance for it to get out of hand.
- Never use gasoline to start the fire.
- Softwood like cedar and pine tend to throw sparks, so avoid using them or use caution.
- Learn how to properly extinguish fires as well as how to safely dispose of ashes.
- Keep a fire blanket and a good fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
- Stay up to date on any burn bans or ordinances that might be in effect in your region.
Safe fire pit surfaces include brick, stone, gravel, concrete, or some type of fire resistant composite material. Fire pits should never be placed on wood decks as this is a serious fire hazard. Generally, fire pits are constructed on a gravel or stone base.
Some safety concerns will be dependent upon the type of fuel you use, as HomeAdvisor explains:
Generally gas and wood are the most common types of fuel for outdoor fire pits. Those looking for a true experience often prefer burning real wood however that requires close supervision to keep the flames going, in addition to a sufficient supply of firewood. Besides real wood, the other fuel option for fire pits is gas. The use of gas or propane means that the fire will start instantly, but you don’t get the traditional smoke and crackling noises of a wood fire. There are some fire pits that can be purchased that allow for switching between wood and gas. Gas and propane should only be used in devices that are built for them. Flammable fluids such as gas or lighter fluid should never be used to light wood fires.
Now that we’ve covered the basics and have discussed safety, it’s time to have some fun!
Here are 8 ways to enjoy your fire pit.
Tell stories. Gather your family and friends around for storytime fun. Try making some stories up on the spot, or going around a circle and having each person add a line – the sillier the better. Have a budding artist in your family? Ask them to draw pictures to go with the story.
Play board games. Grab those long-forgotten games from the back of the closet and bring them outside. This giant Checkers/Tic-Tac-Toe game is perfect for the backyard.
Enjoy some music. Or, have a karaoke party. If you have instruments, make your own music.
Cook dinner. This can be as simple as cooking in foil packets, making kebabs, or using your fire pit as a grill to prepare full meals.
Skywatch. Watch the stars and learn about the constellations. These links provide information on what, when, and how to observe night sky events: Best Night Sky Events and Night Sky – What you can see this month.
What do you think?
Do you have a fire pit? What kinds of activities do you think would be fun to do with one? Please share your ideas in the comments!