A fire pit is a way for outdoorsy types to get some use out of the backyard during the cold winter months. At other times of the year, it also makes a nice gathering place for roasting weenies and marshmallows, talking with friends, or telling ghost stories. Just imagine sitting in a circle on your patio without a fire — pretty boring, right? Everyone would quickly lose interest and walk away. A fire pit provides warmth, sparks creativity, and discussion ignites passions and can be mesmerizing…
Unless you are only interested in digging a hole in the ground to roast a pig for a backyard luau, a fire pit can be a focal point of your yard. Styles of fire pits available include basic metal fire bowls to elaborate, multi-level and multifunctional units that are combination fire pits and beverage coolers.
Other possibilities include square models that resemble low tables, with room upon which to set a drink or plate.
Check with your homeowner’s association, city or county for restrictions pertaining to outdoor fire pits, fireplaces or burning wood. Some regions impose fines for violations. In addition to safety and property restrictions, a municipality may have wood-burning or fire pit laws for those tending fires under the age of 18.
Scientists and environmental…
Fuel: Wood, Propane or Gas
If you love the sound of a crackling fire and an aroma that will linger on your clothes and in your hair, then wood might be the choice for you. Average-sized logs are 24 inches, so make sure the pit can accommodate them.
Propane or natural gas pits can be used on open porches with overhead roofs, and are generally neater, with no pile of wood, ashes, smoke or debris with which to contend.
Permanent or Portable?
Location, Location, Location
Again, check local ordinances regarding placement of a fireplace or fire pit along with “recreational” fires. Code requirements may dictate the location of a backyard pit and will influence the way in which you operate your outdoor fire feature.
While it may seem obvious, fire pits should never be used indoors, according to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA). Other places not to place the pit: on a wooden deck, anywhere that is considered too close to your house or another…
Common sense prevails, but it never hurts to review safe practices when tending a recreational fire in your own backyard pit. Make sure every household member knows the rules and don’t leave children alone with the fire.