In two previous posts, we told the story of how Sally and Steve, a couple from Northeast Ohio, went about removing their rarely used hot tub, installing a natural gas fire pit and accessorizing their patio. Here, we'll tell you about safety considerations when planning an architectural structure over a fire pit.

Once Sally and Steve finished their patio makeover, complete with a new HPC fire pit and patio furniture, they couldn't leave well enough alone. At least Sally couldn't, crying, "Waaaah! I want a pergolaaaaa!!!" She had been browsing the Internet and looking at patio features on HGTV, Hearth & Home and Patio & Hearth Products and thought one a pergola might be really nice.

In addition to the hominess and warmth that a fire pit adds to your outdoor living space, installing a structure above your fire feature will further enhance the environment, taking it to a new level.

"Steve is willing to add an architectural structure to our patio, but makes the valid point that we need to do our homework and plan the process carefully. Just like we did when we planned the first phase of our patio makeover," said Sally. "And our first and foremost priority is safety."

Whether you install an HPC fire pit with match-lit, push-button flame sensing, or new state-of the-art remote electronic ignition, the installation instructions that come with your fire feature include diagrams and specific information on clearances for combustible materials. We always recommend you hire a licensed professional to do the work for such applications.

If you plan to add any kind of structure above your fire pit – pergola, overhang, roof, shade screen -- be sure that your contractor understands the clearances required for gas fire features. One such contractor is Two Brothers Brick Paving. Two Brothers has experience in integrating overhead structures with fire pits, and understands the many variables that go into determining clearances (BTU output, LP versus natural gas, etc.), and will offer great advice.

"Visions of pergolas are dancing in Sally's head," says Steve. "And to be honest, I think it would be pretty awesome, too. But we have to plan the work, then work the plan."

Stand by for the next chapter of this unfolding patio makeover story.


Proper clearances for overhead structures featuring an LP fire pit

Proper clearances for overhead structures featuring a natural gas fire pit.


This beautiful backyard paradise was designed and installed by Stonewall Design & Construction and reflects the proper specs and clearances for a pergola.