It's Opening Day which means Spring is upon us. You have probably been looking at home improvement ideas and are gearing up to complete them all Winter. If you are looking into an outdoor fire pit or an outdoor fire feature there are some key points to consider.
Before all else choose your fuel and the atmosphere you want to create. There are pros and cons to all fuel types that are outlined below.
Pros - Wood burning fire pits are cheap, easy and effective if you are hunting for heat. They beat all gas burning fire pits hands down on heat.
Cons - They produce smoke and embers that can cause fires outside of the fire pit (trust me, I have set myself on fire once or twice) and the smell stays in hair and on clothes till they are washed. This is actually the least environmentally friendly fuel source for these reasons. You will have to cut the wood yourself and the outdoor fire pit will also need to be cleaned out regularly to remove the ash.
Liquid Propane (LP)
Pros - LP is a very effective fuel source and can be found almost anywhere for sale. It allows for mobility, LP comes in tanks that will allow you to move your fire pit if desired.
Cons - It is the most expensive of the fuel choices coming in a about 5X the price of natural gas and wood you have to cut yourself, so figuring in your hours makes it a bit pricey. This fuel source also creates soot, not a lot, but enough to cover your media and require periodic cleaning of the pit and media. If you are using a smaller LP tank this can limit you to the size of the fire pit you can install, if you hook it to a large fire pit you will freeze your tank up.
Natural Gas (NG)
Pros - It is the cheapest and cleanest of the 3 fuel sources and readily available in most cites. It burns great without sooting up the media.
Cons - This gas source will have to be hooked to the house NG system making moving the fire pit not very practical, this step will also need to be completed by a licensed plumber.
Now for where to put the fire pit. The #1 up-most important question here is safety. Make sure the fire pit has no hanging branches, debris, very dry plants or grass around it. Using a hardscape around the fire pit is a good go to for safety and aesthetics. It can draw the eye and make the area a defined space for relaxing or hanging out with friends.
Weather you are using a complete fire pit insert, or a wood burning fire pit think through your design. Do you want it to match the locations around it or should it stand alone? How crazy or tone down should the design be?
Whatever you choose have an idea of what you want the finished fire pit to look like before you start The size and shape of the fire pit will follow the design you have in your head. Keep these points in mind and have fun designing your backyard living space! You will be cooking Smores and watching baseball games in the comfort of your back yard in no time.
If you need some inspiration you can always view our galley for everything from mild to wild fire pit designs.