I have always thought of fire as ‘man’s first tv’. It is so easy to stare at a campfire and be entertained! A fire also brings people together in a circle to face each other and interact. It’s the perfect addition to your outdoor living area!
Portable or permanent?
A ready-made firepit is cousin to the outdoor grill. It is a metal structure that holds fire burning from wood or gas. A permanent, ready-made firepit will be hooked up to your home’s gas line. That is a major installation. You will need a contractor to install it. These are larger pits than the portable versions, and may include sides and a broad surround to use as a tabletop or seating.
Chairs, chaises and end tables will be in one place. There is no flexibility. When you opt for a permanent, ready-made firepit, be sure to design the area as you would a living room with enough room for people to move about easily.
A portable firepit can be moved from back yard to front yard, or even to the beach or a friend’s party. Seating is flexible and the entire arrangement of the outdoor living and dining area can be adjusted for different events and number of people.
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A built-in firepit is the perfect DIY project. Unleash your creativity with a sunken or raised pit of stone, brick or concrete. Add some built-in seating for a permanent outdoor gathering place around the fire.
A firepit can be part of an entire outdoor kitchen with a cooktop, sink, fridge, cabinets and countertop, and table and chairs. Think of it as the fireplace in your indoor living room. This is a pretty ambitious project, but for the serious DIY-er, it would be fun!
A beautiful handmade firepit can be a work of art. Make it a focal point with a serpentine path leading to it. Line the path with white night-blooming flowers, or heavily scented roses or herbs, such as lavender, mint and rosemary.
No matter what type of firepit you use, it can be used as a grill, too, just like a campfire. It can be a combination fireplace and campfire.
Decide if you want a cover over your firepit area. A simple arbor-type structure can define the area. A solid roof will protect you from the elements, and this may be a necessity in places where it rains a lot. There is nothing like sitting by a protected fire while it’s raining out. That feels like camping to me!
Those pesky details
Find out if you need a permit or a licensed contractor or plumber to do your installation. Make sure you can build fires before you spark one up. Here in the desert, fires are frequently banned during drought years, or at least until the summer rains come (if they do!).
If you choose wood as your fuel, designate a section of the patio or yard as a handy place to store it. Not too far from the pit, but not so close people are tripping over it. Wood makes a mess, too, so keep that in mind when you are designing your patio.
Warmth in the fall
When summer cools off, you can still use your outdoor living area if you have a firepit. How fun to put on a warm jacket and cozy up to the fire! Grilling is exciting for kids once school has started. They keep enjoying summer with backyard cookouts, even though the long days of school and homework have begun. Let them hang onto their favorite season with a firepit. Let yourself hang onto summer, too, with a simple firepit.