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Humans have had a fascination with fire from the dawn of time. Fire has always been a source of heat and used for cooking. Fast forward thousands of years, and fire still enthralls us. Nothing is more comforting or relaxing than sitting around a fire pit and becoming almost hypnotized by the dancing flames. Here you will find all the information you need to know about fire pits with our essential fire pit buyer’s guide, and how you can make the most out of your fire pit.

We’ve also become a little more cautious with open fires, especially in suburban settings. This is where a fire pit can help. Fire pits contain the flames, making them ideal for camping or your favourite outdoor area. So if you love spending your free time outdoors, it’s time to consider owning your own fire pit

What Is A Fire Pit?

A fire pit is, quite simply, a container to light an open fire in and keep the flames contained so it won’t spread out. Fire pits are available in a range of materials, including bricks, or it can be a bowl or other receptacle made of metal. Alternatively, you can use a hole in the ground as a make-do fire pit.  

What Is A Fire Pit Used For?

A good fire pit is a thing of beauty that is versatile and practical. You can use fire pits to create a lovely, warm, cosy outdoor area where you can gather with family and friends around an open fire. You can also use a fire pit for cooking. The best is when you combine the two. You can start by using a fire pit for cooking dinner. Then, as the cool night air sets in, you can add a few more logs and gather them around your fire pit for relaxing warmth and ambience. 

What To Consider When Buying A Fire Pit

Before you rush out to buy your fire pit, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. Some of these considerations include the following:

Where do you want to put your fire pit?

The size of your garden may very well be the main consideration for where you will put your fire pit. For example, do you have a patio? Is there a level space in your yard for a fire pit? Will you create an entertaining area for your fire pit? Of course, you have more options if you live in a rural area. However, even if you live in a built-up neighbourhood, you can still have a fire pit in your yard.

How much space do you have? 

Safety should always be a top priority when lighting a fire, and fire pits are no different. If you have a small yard, a fire pit would be best placed somewhere in the middle of the yard, away from any buildings or low-hanging trees. Fire pits come in various sizes, so you can choose the perfect size for your space. 

Portable or fixed fire pit? 

If you want your garden’s fire pit to be a permanent fixture, you can have one built-in. However, many people also like to take them to their community garden plots, holiday homes or when they go camping. In addition, many fire pits are compact and quite light in weight, so you can take them with you anywhere.

What materials are best for a fire pit?

 Opt for fireproof bricks or stone for a permanent or sunken fire pit. Cast iron or steel are great choices if you want a fire pit that you can move around or store when it’s not in use. 

Fire Pits By Size

Fire pits are available in various shapes and sizes, which is ideal as we don’t all have the same space. However, before you rush out to buy your fire pit, consider the space you have and whether your fire pit will be exclusively for use in your yard or if you also plan on taking it with you when you go camping. Here’s a short guide to fire pit sizes for your consideration.

Small

small fire pit

Small fire pits are a perfect addition for those with small yards and even courtyards. A small fire pit size is around 60 cm, and they are ideal for creating a dedicated area in your yard for getting cosy around an open fire. These tend to be lightweight, so you can also move them around the yard or take them with you when you go camping or holiday homes. 

Medium

medium fire pit

If you find a small fire pit isn’t enough for your needs, but you don’t need to get anything too big, a medium-sized fire pit is a great option. They are slightly larger than small fire pits, making them conveniently portable. Medium fire pits can range in size from 60cm to 75cm and may offer a little more space for a few extra lawn chairs.

Large

large fire pit

At around 75cm, a large fire pit can produce a considerable amount of heat, depending on the fuel you use. This size is perfect for large families who love to entertain, and you can also use them as a BBQ, which is awesome. It not only has the capability of radiating lots of warmth, but it can light up an area with larger flames. A larger fire pit is suitable for larger yards and those with more open outdoor spaces. 

Extra Large

extra large fire pit

For those who want their fire pit to be the focal point of their garden, an extra large fire pit is worth considering. This size of approximately 90cm commands a dedicated area, so you may want to consider a paved area or a deck that is liberally enhanced with lots of cosy garden furniture. You can create a beautiful ambience and the perfect setting for an evening of great company and end-of-week drinks. If you want to add some food to the occasion, this size also doubles as a generous BBQ. 

Fire Pit Materials

As with most products, you get what you pay for, and fire pits are no exception. There are a few different materials that you can choose from when looking for a fire pit. However, the temptation to save a little money and get a cheaper one may cost you more when you need to replace it sooner than expected. While the materials used to make fire pits are standard, the quality of the materials and the craftsmanship should be your main consideration.

Steel

Steel is one of the most practical materials used to make fire pits, as it can be heated and moulded into the desired shape. They are easily lit with some type of fire lighter and a bundle of kindling. Once the flames start, you can add small logs as needed. However, when it comes to fire pits, steel can be tricky. Like most metals, steel can rust if it is exposed to moisture, and this will affect the longevity of your fire pit. Always look for a steel pit that has been treated with a powder coating. The thickness of the steel is also an issue. If the fire pit is too thin, the heat from the flames may warp the shape of the fire pit. However, steel is still a great option as it can be lightweight (depending on the size), and the designs are usually quite stylish. 

Cast Iron

Cast iron looks great and is relatively easy to work with when making fire pits. This metal retains heat really well and should last for quite a while. It’s easy to light a fire in a cast iron fire pit. However, cast iron is also prone to rust, so you need to cover or store it when it’s not in use and take good care of it. 

Tile

A tile fire pit looks stunning, and when you light a fire in its depths, this type of pit will generate a considerable amount of heat. These fire pits tend to be larger and heavier, which makes them more of a fixed feature in your garden. The sides usually have ventilation holes of some type to allow air to circulate, and you can light them in much the same way as most fire pits but with a little more depth. 

Stone

If you want a fire pit that is pretty much a permanent fixture in your garden, stone is a great material to use. However, you will need to choose the right stone as not all types can withstand the immense heat produced by a fire. Stone allows you to get creative, and you can shape your fire pit in any way you like, such as a circle, square, rectangle or even a triangle. You light a fire in the base of the pit and add split wood and logs as needed. 

Fire Pit Accessories

Your fire pit will be something you will love to use, especially on those cool summer nights. Make the most of your fire pit by including a few fire pit accessories. From lids to protect your investment to the perfect fire pit fuel, look at ways to ensure you get the maximum enjoyment from your fire pit. 

Fire Pit Lids

fire pit lid

A fire pit lid is simply a cover for your fire pit. It’s always best to get a cover directly from the company that manufactured the fire pit you have for a nice, tight fit. Fire pit lids are essential for protecting the inside of your fire pit when you’re not using it, but also to prevent ash and embers from blowing out when you’re ready to call it a night and don’t want to wait until the fire pit cools completely. 

Fire Pit Cooking Grills

fire pit fire grill

You already own a fire pit, so you most likely don’t want to also spend money on a large, bulky BBQ. So, Fire pit cooking grills are an essential accessory to a fire pit. They instantly and conveniently transform a fire pit into a BBQ. From simple grills to a hanging tripod, you can cook dinner for your guests before spending the rest of the evening huddled around the fire. 

Fire Pit Fuel

fire pit fuel bundle

Most people think you can grab any loose logs and twigs to get a fire going in your fire pit, but you need to consider how well certain woods can burn and how much smoke they produce. By getting the right fire pit fuel, you can ensure a roaring fire without too much smoke. This is important for your comfort as well as your health if you intend to cook over your fire pit. 

Fire Pit Tools

fire pit shovel

Some of the most important accessories to own with a fire pit are fire pit tools. These are essential to any fire pit as they help with cleaning and maintaining a fire. Not only will these tools make it easier to control and maintain the fire in your pit but, more importantly, they prevent you from getting your hands too close to the heat and flames, which prevents nasty burns. 

Benefits Of A Fire Pit

If you still aren’t convinced that you and your family can benefit from owning a garden fire pit, there are some definite benefits to consider. Apart from adding a stunning focal feature to your garden, here are just a few great benefits:

  • You can extend your outdoor entertainment season.
  • You can encourage more family time outdoors away from screens.
  • Fire pits add ambience and can be very romantic.
  • You’ll be more inclined to spend more time outdoors cooking with family and friends.
  • The open fire in the pit is entertaining. Who doesn’t like having drinks around an open flame?
  • A fire pit gives you just enough light and plenty of warmth at night. 

FAQs

Do You Need Planning Permission For A Fire Pit?

In most areas around the UK, you don’t need planning permission for a fire pit. However, it is important to understand that while you may love an open fire, your neighbours may not. Also, you are restricted as to what you can burn, and you certainly need to consider the type and amount of smoke your fire pit produces and ensure it won’t become a nuisance to others. 

What Type OF Fire Pit Lasts Longest?

No matter what type of fire pit you have, the one that will last the longest is the one that you take care of. The right care and maintenance will ensure your fire pit can last for many years. However, always choose a good quality fire pit that will definitely last for a long time with a little extra care. 

What To Burn In A Fire Pit

The only thing you should ever burn in a fire pit is wood. However, not all types of wood are the same. Some wood has a higher moisture content, and this usually means more smoke. The last thing you want is a whole lot of smoke that will annoy you, your guests and your neighbours. Some of the best types of wood to burn in a fire pit include:

  • Pine
  • Oak
  • Ash
  • Maple 
  • Beech

Avoid burning willow or driftwood as these may have a high moisture content which will produce a lot of smoke. Green wood or any wood that hasn’t been seasoned or properly dried is also a bad choice. Also, avoid wood from construction sites as this wood has usually been treated with chemicals which will not only create more smoke but also emit a nasty chemical odour as well. 

Choosing Your Fire Pit

A fire pit is definitely something you will come to love, especially if you enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors. It’s a must for entertaining as it creates a great ambience, and, in many cases, a fire pit can also double as a BBQ. Choose a good quality fire pit from a trusted manufacturer. Make sure you give your fire pit the care it deserves, and you will be using your fire pit for many, many years. 

Sources

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/landscaping/21016659/how-to-build-a-fire-pit 

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Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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