A fire pit brings people together like few other things can. There is something about the hypnotic effect of the flames that just draws people in. The fire also seems to keep the bugs away.
Long nights with good conversation and maybe some good music playing in the background are a staple of summer in Michigan. And we haven't even gotten to the s'mores yet!
A well-built fire pit can be an outdoor gathering space well into autumn. When the air is cool and crisp and the fire is stoked to perfection, nights just don't get much better.
Decades ago, a fire pit was little more than a hole in the ground with some stones around it. Today, however, they look and perform better.
Contemporary Fire Pits
Modern fire pits can be as ornate as you like. They can be constructed from a variety of different materials. They can even be built with surrounding walls and/or benches.
Upscale fire pits are often referred to as "fire features" and can be made from granite and have polished glass on the inside to add even more sparkle.
If you like the old-school approach, you can opt for a traditional wood-burning fire pit. If you like a little more convenience, you can go with gas-powered options that you can even ignite from your smartphone.
In this post, we are going to look at the ins and outs of building a fire pit, so you can get a good idea of what options best suit your needs.
Wood or Gas?
One of your very first considerations is whether you want a wood-burning fire pit or a gas-burning fire pit.
We find that homeowners tend to lean towards gas fire pits nowadays. The advantages are pretty hard to ignore. No stocking wood. No ashes to clean up. No smoke, as the gas burns cleanly. Just ignite the fire from a switch or, in some cases, your smartphone.
Gas-burning fire pits have some additional installation steps, though, as they will require trenches to be dug for laying gas lines and electricity. The electricity is required for the electric igniters required for gas-burners, which are similar to the igniter on a gas stove top.
Naturally, some people will prefer a wood-burning fire pit and the rustic charm it offers. From the smell of the burning wood, to the soft glow of hot embers, to the crackling sound of a well-built fire, a wood-burning fire pit keeps tradition alive.
If you decide on a wood-burning fire pit, then you don't need to worry about the trenches for gas and electricity like you do with a gas-burner.
Modern Fire Pit Designs
If you decide on a wood-burning fire pit, the design can be as straightforward as a ring of small-to-medium size boulders around a gravel base. Of course, it could also be as grand as a full on outdoor fireplace that sports brick or even natural stone.
That said, the design options for both wood-burners and gas-burners are only limited by creativity. Choose from brick, to marble, to natural stone, to slate, and even tile.
If you go with the natural stone, an option is to design your fire pit to coordinate with any other stonework you might already have in place.
Modern concrete fire bowls are a popular option, as they can come with a number of different finishes, including oil-rubbed bronze or warm copper, just to name a couple.
In some instances, homeowners even opt for artist-crafted fire pits. These pieces look like art even when they don't have a fire going.
If you go with a gas-burning fire pit, you can fill it with colored glass and/or lava rock for natural beauty that adds another dynamic to your fire.
In short, you have a lot of choices.
Positioning Your Fire Pit
There are several options for positioning your new fire pit and they all have unique advantages. For instance you can place your wood-burning fire pit away from the house and out in the yard. Having it in a "destination" can lend to a more rustic feel as you roast marshmallows away from the shadows the house.
If you opt for a fireplace style fire pit, you can make it the centerpiece of a pergola or covered porch.
You could even position a gas-burning fire pit on your patio and right next to an (outdoor) kitchen. Then you and your friends can cook out and enjoy the a beautiful fire while you do.
If you have a pool, a fire pit by the pool can add lovely lighting for evening swims or a unique environment for entertaining.
Fire Pit Installation Times
One question we get often is, "How long will it take to install my fire pit?" And it really comes down to the size and style of your fire pit design.
A straightforward wood-burning fire pit of stone of brick can probably be finished in just a few days. If you are going with a gas-burner and/or a fairly involved design, a week or two is a safe amount of time.
Local Burning Laws and Ordinances
Before you spend time figuring out exactly what you want in a new fire pit, check your local city and township legislation regarding open flames in residential environments.
There are often rules regarding the size of fire pits, how far fire pits need to be from structures, and whether fire extinguishers are required. Knowing these things beforehand can save you a lot of time in not having to re-plan your fire pit.
Summer and autumn are great times to enjoy a fire pit. In addition to the cozy heat they radiate, there is something about the atmosphere a fire pit creates that just can't be duplicated by anything else. Just add some friends and family, and you and your new fire pit are ready to make some wonderful memories.
If you are looking to add a beautiful new fire pit to your landscaping, E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply offers professional landscaping services in the Jackson, MI area. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at (517) 990-0110.