Spring has almost sprung, which means it’s finally time to start prepping your outdoor space for the season ahead. Nothing adds coziness and light to a backyard setting quite like a fire pit, and we’re taking a look at how to choose the perfect one for your needs and giving you some patio fire pit ideas, too!

firepit by the pool

Advantages of Fire Pits

Fire pits are a smart addition to your outdoor space for several reasons. Not only are they the perfect gathering spot for entertaining your friends and family, but they can also be used to cook and grill everything from s’mores to hot dogs. Some styles even function as pizza ovens for additional culinary options. Fire tables are especially great for entertaining in the evenings and can comfortably accommodate multiple people.

fire bowl with shapesHow to Choose a Fire Pit Style

Contemporary fire pits come in a wide range of styles to suit your preferences to a T. Smaller designs like fire bowls are ideal for compact backyards and are oftentimes portable for placement versatility. Prefer a bolder style? Consider a stationary fire pit table in a rectangular shape.

The finish of your fire pit is another consideration that can dramatically change the look and feel of your outdoor space. Keep things sleek with a matte black design, or add some shimmer and shine with silver, copper, or bronze styles instead. Decorative details like ceramic tiles, mosaic surfaces, and themed cutouts lend extra charm, as well.

Whichever fire pit you choose, these backyard accents add a gorgeous touch to your landscape and come in various styles to help you personalize your great outdoors as you see fit.


How to Choose a Fire Pit Size

The best fire pit size is largely determined by the size of your backyard, deck, or patio. If you’re working with limited space, then a portable fire bowl is likely your best bet. If you have plenty of room, then you can opt for a larger-scale design instead. As a general guideline, most fire pits measure somewhere between 20-45 inches in diameter.


Types of Fire Pit Fuel

The majority of fire pits utilize either gas, propane, or wood for their fuel. Deciding which one is best for you depends on different factors. Wood-burning fire pits require a stockpile of logs and kindling, but they tend to cost less to operate long-term. Fire pits that use gas have to be connected to your home’s natural gas line by a professional, which incurs extra charges. That being said, they’re typically inexpensive to operate. Propane fire pits are usually fed via tanks and cost significantly more upfront, but they also boast twice the power of gas fire pits.

Fire Pit Materials

One of the most important considerations when choosing a fire pit for your backyard is its material. Stainless steel is an expensive but practical option thanks to its resistance to the elements, and it comes in a variety of finishes to better suit your style. It’s also a lightweight choice for those who prefer portability.

Stone designs, on the other hand, are best left to stationary pieces due to their heavier weights. Powder-coated copper has gained popularity in recent years and is also a smart option for resisting rust. It does, however, develop a patina over time.

If price is the deciding factor, cast iron and aluminum fire pits are certainly worth considering. These sturdy designs are rust-resistant, as well, but generally cost less than stainless steel or stone. They’re also a great choice if you plan on using your fire pit for cooking, as both materials are good at conducting heat.


Fire Pit Accessories

Help your fire pit function at its best with the help of fire pit accessories. Spark screens and domes add peace of mind by preventing burning embers from spraying outward, while wood grates help circulate air for more efficient combustion. Firewood racks and baskets can prove especially handy for refueling wood-burning fire pits, as well.

These handy accessories sometimes even come with the fire pit, so be sure to check the complete product listing to see what’s included in the price.


Special Considerations

Before you commit to a fire pit, it’s a good idea to check your local laws to ensure that you’re abiding by any established ordinances. Contact your homeowners association or municipality for any restrictions or code requirements currently in place that pertain to outdoor fire pits or burning wood in general. The EPA’s Burn Wise program is full of practical information and tips that can help you make the most of the fire pit you choose.

Safety Recommendations for Fire Pits

While lovely, fire pits require proper management in order to maintain your home’s overall safety.

Wood-burning designs aren’t appropriate for covered porches, covered decks, or other areas with overhangs, and fire pits should never be used indoors. Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of where you place your fire pit. Always keep it a safe distance from your home and other structures like sheds and garages, and avoid windy locations or areas with lots of shrubbery or low-hanging trees.

As a general rule, try to place your fire put on a fireproof surface like tile, cement, or stone. It’s also smart to ensure that every member of your household knows how to use the fire pit safely. Finally, never leave children and pets unattended near the fire pit area.

A new fire pit can instantly create a cozy setting for outdoor get-togethers with those you love. Browse our complete assortment of fire pit styles for the perfect addition to your backyard.

Over time, we''ve compiled a vast reference library filled with helpful hints and enticing ideas for the home. Lose yourself in these online "stacks" and find the perfect solution for your space – no Dewey Decimal System required.

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