Nothing brings on the nostalgia of summer quite like the smells and sounds of a bonfire. Whether it makes you think of roasting marshmallows or spending time with friends, an outdoor fire pit is an excellent addition to any home.
But before you dive in, there are a few details you should take into consideration before installing a fire pit. With these few tips, we promise you’ll have an outdoor fire pit area you’ll enjoy for years to come!
Fire Pit Design Tips
Outdoor fire pits are simple—they’re just a circle of stones, right? Wrong!
There are a lot of intricacies and details you need to consider when it comes to building an outdoor fire pit effectively, safely, and efficiently. It may be tempting just to start laying stone down on your patio, but you could actually face a fine if you don’t do everything properly!
Here are a few design tips our years of experience as stone masons have taught us here at Dutchies Stoneworks.
Know Your Local Codes & Ordinances
When we mentioned fines, we weren’t joking! Your local municipality likely has stringent codes, guidelines, and ordinances for building an outdoor fire pit. Because it’s definitely better to be safe and to stick to code rather than risk a fire you can’t control or fines you don’t want to pay.
For example, most ordinances require that fire pits are at least 10 feet away (sometimes even more) from any structure or flammable object. A few other standard rules pertain to the size of the fire, what type of materials you can burn, the type of barrier allowed, and even how long the fire can be burning. So make sure you check with your local township to see what you can and cannot do before you start any projects.
Determine Your Budget
Depending on what you’re looking for in an outdoor fire pit, you’ll want to make sure you have a realistic budget in mind. Before you get too carried away with dreams of a large fire pit area, consider what you want out of the space and how it will affect your wallet.
If you already have a quality stone patio, then adding on a stone fire pit will not be as costly. On the other hand, if you want to install a patio with your outdoor fire pit, your budget may have to stretch a bit more. The best thing you can do is talk to our experts at Dutchies Stoneworks and see what will work best for you.
Consider the Direction that the Wind Blows
Most people know that wind and fire do not work too well together—or more like they work too well together. But when you’re building an outdoor fire pit, it’s essential to think about the location and how windy it is on your property.
If you have the choice, don’t place your fire pit on the top of a hill where it’s likely to be much windier. Also, one side of your house may get more gust action than the other depending on the layout of your home. If you’re not sure, consider adding natural wind walls around your patio with tall plants or trees or give a professional a call.
Consider Size and Seating Needs
Once you have a budget, now you can think about the size of your outdoor living area. Do you plan on using it frequently with a lot of friends and family? Or will it be a place of solitude and relaxation in the evenings? Depending on its function, the size and seating arrangements of your fire pit will change.
Unlike with metal or movable fire pits, professionally installed stone fire pits are not as quickly changed. As a result, you’ll want to make sure your fire pit area is large enough to accommodate all of your needs. If you plan on hosting parties, make sure the area around your pit is far enough away that people can still be comfortable. Check out our gallery for some inspiration!
Speaking of being far enough away from a fire pit, you’ll want to make sure every aspect of your backyard fire is safe. Not only does that mean making sure everything is up to code and regulation, but also that it’s built correctly. You don’t want any stray embers or sparks causing an issue!
If you’re unsure or are concerned, we highly recommend talking to professionals like us. We’ve been doing this for years and know all the right things to ask.
Now that the design aspects are out of the way, here are a few more outdoor fire pit tips we think you’ll enjoy.
First, use non-treated woodworking scraps as kindling for your fire. Using wood that’s all the same size makes lighting and maintaining the flame much easier. Plus, using those leftover scraps is better than letting them go to waste.
Another one of our favorite tips is to recycle some of your ash into your garden. When sprinkled on top of your soil, ash can keep pesky snails and slugs out of your vegetables. Also, you can till the ash into the ground to help fertilize the ground for certain types of vegetables and flowers.
Need Help With Your Outdoor Fire Pit?
For over 15 years, Dutchies Stoneworks has been bringing elegance to backyards with quality stone masonry. As professionals in the industry, we can take all the stress of your outdoor living area off of your hands.
Let us help you design and build your dream outdoor fire pit! Give us a call or contact us online to get started with your project.