At the end of a full day of hard work, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting around a fire with your favorite people and roasting marshmallows while you chat, sing campfire songs, or stargaze. If you’re fortunate enough to live where you have the space, a fire pit can be a wonderful addition to your yard. Here are some things to consider before you get to work.
Be Certain You’re Up to Speed on Local Regulations
The first thing you should do before you even begin to consider materials, size, etc. is to contact your local municipality’s planning office to ask about regulations for your area. Your city or town will have rules about how far a fire pit needs to be from your home, property lines, or flammable structures and trees.
If you’re in a homeowners’ association, they might have rules you’ll need to follow, as well. Usually, doing a general internet search isn’t enough, since rules can vary so widely by region, but your municipality may have fire pit regulations spelled out on their website.
Nothing will ruin your first night around the fire like having a neighbor call the police to report you, so make sure you’ve done the research first, in order to avoid fines or having to rip out your new pit.
Below Ground or Above?
Have you considered whether you want your fire pit to sit above the ground or below? There’s no single right answer, but you may have a preference depending on how you plan to use it.
Aboveground fire pits are probably safer if you have children or pets running around your yard since a pit below ground won’t have a barrier around the flame. Belowground pits are generally a little safer where the flames are concerned though since embers are less likely to escape, so if your yard is smaller or you live in a dry area, a pit below ground may be more appealing.
Constructing either option can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, so it’s really a matter of personal preference.
How Much Time and Money Do You Want to Invest?
A fire pit can be as cheap and simple as a metal bowl from the hardware store or it can be a stone feature that matches your patio and has built-in benches surrounding it. You can also get a kit that puts you somewhere in the middle of these options. Make sure you decide on your budget before you begin because the cost can quickly get out of control if you haven’t researched all the parts involved in your choice.
If you just want something functional, a simple option will do the trick. Fire doesn’t care if it’s in a metal bowl or a simple hole with fireproof stones on the bottom. These options are cheap and easy enough that you could have a fire pit installed today.
If you want a feature that matches your home, be prepared to do some more work. You might want your fire pit to be surrounded by a border of patio stones to accentuate it and give you a designated place to set out chairs.
More permanent and attractive fire pits should have a foundation of some sort to help keep the pit from cracking, even if it’s just a layer of gravel paver base. A stone pit will also need an inner wall built of something like fire brick or stainless steel to protect the pavers of the outer wall from drying out and cracking over time.
You can create a fire pit for your home that will be functional, beautiful, and as much work and money as you are willing to put into it. We’d love to hear from you. What kind of fire pit are you building this summer? Let us know in the comments!