Outdoor fire pits are extremely popular with homeowners today. They add warmth and light and create a cozy ambiance for entertaining in any outdoor setting. In cold weather areas like northern New Jersey, fire pits provide a warm comfortable setting for your backyard on chilly winter evenings.
Outdoor fire pits are popular because they don’t have many restrictions. They are easy to build, reasonably priced and can be located almost anywhere in your backyard or on your patio or deck. Unlike outdoor fireplaces, they sit low to the ground without tall chimneys that can often block scenic views. Their small profile makes them a great outdoor feature for homes with large backyards as well as small homes with limited outdoor space.
The Basics of Outdoor Fire Pits
An outdoor fire pit is basically a hole, below ground or above ground, with raised walls that surround the opening. Since the pit area contains fire (like a fireplace firebox), it must be made with authentic firebrick or a regulated fireproof material for safety. For added safety, the fire pit should include a steel ring liner, similar to those used in campgrounds and park campfires, that protects building materials from excessive heat. Even natural materials like stone, rock and concrete can crack and dry out over time from too much heat. They will eventually break down and start to crumble.
Outdoor fire pits should be built low to the ground with walls that are at least 12-inches high. For stability, the base should be anchored below ground and lined with gravel for proper drainage. If you plan to have outdoor seating around your fire pit and you just want to put your feet up, build your fire pit 12- to 14-inches high. If you plan to use the fire pit for seating, 18- to 20-inches high is best.
Fire pits can be wood burning or fueled by gas. Gas pits require a gas line that must be trenched and piped to a connection point at the house. This makes them a little more expensive to operate, but they are easier to use and maintain. Outdoor fire pits can be built in any shape and size. Most fire pits that are dug into the ground are round, but many above ground fire pits seen on patios and decks are often rectangular or square. Building materials typically include natural stone, rock, brick and concrete.
Although building an outdoor fire pit can be a DIY project, hiring a professional contractor is recommended to ensure maximum safety for your property.
10 Great Fire Pits For Your Backyard
Now that you know the basic requirements of outdoor fire pits and how they work, take a look at some amazing fire pit designs that you could install in your backyard.
1. Stone Serenity
Modern, simplistic and sleek, this particular fire pit designed by Borst Landscape & Design is great for those who want the beauty of a fire pit without all the mess. It’s gas powered and filled with beautiful shattered glass ( but can be filled with fake logs if you choose). This fire pit is smokeless, so it’s easy on all people enjoying it outdoors. It can be turned on or off remotely from inside the house. Installation for this pit is quick, so you’ll be enjoying the brilliant night color of the shatter glass in no time!
2. Natural Setting
For small backyards, round fire pits that are dug into the ground offer a natural looking setting. The fire pit can be surrounded by rocks, bricks or stones that compliment your patio and landscape without being too obvious. This type of unobtrusive fire pit is great for cozy conversations or roasting marshmallows on a chilly night with the kids. Circle the fire pit with comfortable outdoor chairs and that’s all you need for a relaxing evening.
3. Dining and Relaxing
Outdoor fire pits are great in backyard settings that have a patio and outdoor kitchen adjacent to the house. Raised fire pits provide a comfortable patio environment for entertaining guests or just relaxing after dinner around the fire. This fire pit is built out of limestone like the patio that also includes an outdoor dining area and outdoor kitchen.
4. Contemporary Style
There are some beautiful gas outdoor fire pits that compliment any contemporary home with stylish materials. Some of these fire pits have an electronic ignition option so you can light them with the push of a remote control button if you don’t want to use a match. You just need a gas line and an outdoor area that creates a perfect outdoor gathering spot.
5. Simple Sophistication
Create a simple, sophisticated outdoor setting by using the same material for your patio and fire pit. This dark gray natural slate offers subtle color and shading variations throughout the stones, but the overall area feels natural and organic. The dark slate color provides a nice contrast to the landscape around the patio area and blends in naturally to the surroundings.
6. Organic Steel
There’s something naturally appealing about the combination of steel and fire. This steel wood burning fire pit would make a sculptural statement on any patio. The linear shapes and organic materials would compliment any style home and landscape. The raised firescreen adds dimension and height while repeating the strong linear shapes.
7. Traditional Elegance
If you have a traditional home, a custom-built fire pit could be made to compliment your outdoor furniture. In this case, the custom fire pit base blends beautifully with traditional wrought iron chairs and planters that also display fire like outdoor torches. It’s an elegant, yet very comfortable outdoor setting for you Bergen County, NJ home.
8. Urban Chic
Above-ground rectangular outdoor fire pits can make quite a strong statement. They can be custom-built in larger sizes in beautiful materials for outdoor patios and decks. This stainless steel and concrete fire pit will certainly add a lot of ambiance and style to any outdoor setting. For a more traditional look, you can build the same fire pit in brick or natural stone.
9. Fire and Waterfalls
Outdoor fire pits can be placed near fountains and swimming pools for amazing effects. If your Bergen County home has a swimming pool, you should take a look at this great fire pit with waterfalls that empty into the pool. Not only does this create warmth for swimmers, but it creates a stunning ambiance and relaxing atmosphere for the pool area at night. Who wouldn’t want to go for a swim?
10. Fire and Fountains
Create a beautiful outdoor setting with a fire pit that doubles as a dazzling fountain. Placed in the center of this terrace area with built-in seating made from the same materials, this is the perfect place for entertaining. This relaxing area is great for conservation and quiet family time.