Since the Flintstones era, humans have gravitated towards fire. There’s something innate about lounging around a blaze with family or friends, barbecuing up whatever meaty goodness you scored at Costco. It’s understandable why homeowners today desire some sort of fire element in their backyards. It’s practically instinct.
With countless design options available, fire pits are a popular choice. Ranging in size from basic tiki torches to contemporary troughs, there’s something for every homeowner and every budget. It’s important to assess what’s out there by considering what will meet your needs.
Vessel fire pits, for example, are elevated containers (typically bowl-shaped) that won’t muss up your lawn or scorch your patio. They come in a variety of finishes, including cast-iron or aluminum, copper, steel, mosaic tile, brick or stone, and can be as grand or as diminutive as you like. Many also come with screens or decorative covers that block smoke and ashes. Before purchasing, check whether the vessel is gas-fired or wood-burning.
Ground fire pits are just that – built either into the ground or on top of it. Homeowners seeking a custom look often consult a landscape architect or a mason, but there are many who choose to do it themselves with a quick trip to their local hardware store. Scoop up a metal ring and some retainer blocks, and you’re in business.
Another factor to consider is what will surround your fire pit. Banquettes can be built around a custom version, but you can also coordinate with an existing space by arranging lounge chairs or benches centered on the pit. To create a dramatic focal point, some homeowners install a pergola overhead or combine elements by placing the pit near a pool or spa.
Keep in mind that metal conducts heat (read: this thing can cause burns), so be cautious, especially when children are around. And never choose a location near anything flammable, including your home and hanging limbs. It’s also a good idea to situate your fire pit near a hose or fountain for quick water access. For more on fire pit safety, click here.
Backyard fire pits aren’t just a sizzling outdoor trend – prehistory dictates they’ll be a coveted home feature until Earth ceases to exist. Something tells me the caveman who discovered combustion is over-the-moon about it.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia's Online Associate Editor and social butterfly. She's had several mishaps with fire, most notably setting the dining table ablaze on Thanksgiving.