Landscape Design: Planning and Building an Outdoor Fire Pit

May 8, 2019
Father and son hanging out near an outdoor firepit in their yard

As spring comes closer, you might be thinking of ways to maximize your yard and transform it to a cozy and comfortable outdoor space for having casual dinners or bonding with friends until the wee hours of the night. A fire pit makes the perfect central area for these activities.

Building a fire pit would seem easy. You only need to stack up stones or dig a hole in the ground and then place firewood inside the pit. But, there are risk factors present in a DIY fire pit and it is better that you leave construction up to the professionals. A residential landscape architect will help you design the fire pit of your dreams and ensure that it is safe and functional.

Here are some design considerations that you and your landscape architect will be going through before fire pit construction begins:


Fire pits come in several styles and sizes. The style you choose depends on the amount of space you have and where you will be installing it.

    • Fire pit table: This is similar to an outdoor coffee table, except that it has a fire pit in the middle. The legs of the table are elevated and there is a flat space surrounding the pit for you to place your drinks and food. Fire tables are often larger than other styles, making them more difficult to move.
    • Fire bowl: Like tables, fire bowls can be elevated to help dissipate heat. They can also be placed directly on the ground.
    • Fire ring: This round-shaped pit resemble a traditional campfire. It is lightweight and easy to move. Fire rings can sit directly on the ground, or they can be fitted onto a fire bowl.

Fuel Source

The most common fuel source for a backyard pit is wood because it is affordable, natural, and casts the warm glow of a classic campfire. However, wood burning fire pits have a few downsides. You might have a hard time igniting it and the smoke coming from the fire can sometimes hurt the eyes.

Another fuel source option is gas. Gas-powered fire pits make use of propane tanks or can be connected to your home’s gas source, and they often have bowl fillers made of stones, lava rocks or glass beads. Unlike wood fire pits, you can have better control over how much fire you want to set up. Gas fire pits, however, are more expensive and produce less heat than wood-burning pits.


Firepit made from bricks and concrete

Most fire pits are made of metal so they are easy to clean and move. In addition, below are popular options that you can choose from:

    • Copper: This rust-hued material has a warm, shiny look but can take on a green patina when left outdoors for a long time. Unless you like the patina, you need to constantly have your copper fire pit cleaned to keep its original color.
    • Cast Iron: This type of material is heavy, making it difficult to knock over. If you don’t plan on moving your fire pit, this material is an ideal choice.
    • Stone: Like cast-iron, a stone fire pit is a suitable choice if you plan to leave the pit in one place. Stone fire pits are easier to clean than metal pits which can become rusty.

Choosing the right fire pit may be an overwhelming decision with so many styles available. With the above factors in mind, you can select which one suits your taste and complements your outdoor decor.

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