Have you recently gotten a fire pit for your backyard? If you have, congratulations, first and foremost!
Now, you’re likely asking what to put around a fire pit. Knowing how to use the space around your fire pit effectively is important to get the most out of the experience in a safe way.
The most common things to have around a fire pit are chairs, a fire ring, or a dug hole.
Read on to learn more about how to use the space around your fire pit the right way.
The most important thing you need around your fire pit is space.
How much space, though?
The answer depends on the type of fire pit you have in your backyard. You usually need more space around wood fire pits than gas fire pits.
In both cases, you should use tape or chalk to mark your fire pit’s size and position. Then, make sure there’s at least seven feet of space all around the fire pit.
Following this rule of thumb will give you and your guests enough room to move and sit around the fire pit safely and comfortably.
Your planned seating arrangement will also help inform your fire pit spacing decision.
First, leave enough room for placing chairs around the fire pit. The seven feet we recommended will also give you and your loved ones flexibility to move your chairs closer or further from the fire pit depending on where you feel most comfortable.
If you’re unsure how much space to leave around your fire pit, remember that you’re better off having too much space instead of too little.
Let’s get into the nitty gritty of your fire pit seating arrangement.
Sure, you want your evening around the fire pit to be as cozy as possible. But, you also want to avoid any nasty mishaps happening to your friends or family.
If you have a wood fire pit, the safe distance for the surrounding chairs is around 2.5 feet away from the fire pit’s outer edge.
For gas fire pits, you can put the chairs a little closer. We recommend 2 inches of real estate between the seats and your fire pit.
This is because gas fire pits burn more steadily than wood ones, and there’s no risk of sudden flare-ups. Wood fire pits burn at higher temperatures too, so you should sit further away from them.
Also, the further away you are from a wood fire pit, the less smoke you’ll breathe in.
It’s not a matter of whether you can dig a hole for your fire pit, but rather a matter of whether you should.
If you’re on a budget, digging a hole around your fire pit is a great option. You won’t need much to do so. A shovel and a couple of hours of your time are more than enough. You might want to add some gravel or sand to control the flame.
Also, You can go the extra mile and use decorative rocks to give your in-ground fire pit a more homey feel.
Not only is digging a hole for your fire pit a cost-effective way to use the space around it, but it also offers more safety.
An underground fire pit will have flames that are easier to contain. Unless you have a lot of dry leaves or any flammable materials in the hole, the fire won’t spread if it ever gets out of control.
Digging a hole around your fire pit could become a decision you regret, though. Once you dig the hole and set up your in-ground fire pit, there’s no turning back if you don’t like its position or how it looks.
If you thought having a fire pit ring was a must, you thought wrong.
Having one does have its perks if you use your fire pit if you use it as a grill or for other cooking devices. They’re also great as a layer of safety because they protect you and your loved ones from the potential hazard of hot embers given off by the fire pit.
For those who simply use their fire pit for warmth and as a way to make toasted s’mores and marshmallows, you don’t really need a fire pit ring.
In fact, getting one can pose some dangers too.
As mentioned, fire pit rings trap embers and slow down the heat’s distribution. This can make it easier for the fire to spread to unwanted places.
For example, if a log rolls out of the ring’s perimeter and goes unnoticed, it’ll take longer for it to stop burning. This gives it more time to light objects that are close by on fire.
Using galvanized steel for a fire pit isn’t a good idea.
Although galvanized steel has a layer of zinc that keeps corrosion at bay, it poses significant health concerns.
When you expose galvanized steel to high temperatures, the zinc coating is vaporized and produces zinc oxide. This substance has harmful fumes that are damaging to your health.
Breathing in these fumes can lead to dizziness, nausea, and respiratory problems. So, you can only imagine the damage they cause when you inhale them frequently.
To avoid these risks, go for fire pits with stainless steel or cast iron construction. These materials can handle heat a lot better and don’t give off toxic fumes.
Here are some questions people commonly have about fire pits:
Most people cover their outdoor fire pits with vinyl covers. These covers are budget-friendly and offer effective water resistance. When buying your vinyl cover, make sure it’s made of commercial-grade vinyl.
If you place your fire pit directly on the grass in your backyard, it’ll definitely ruin it. Some people go for concrete or brick flooring, but the smoke stains make it look unpleasant after a while. This is why wood chips or gravel are the ideal choice.
If you have a friend who always complains about how their fire pit is making their clothes and hair smell bad, they likely have a wood fire pit.
If you want to avoid this, get a gas fire pit instead. These fire pits are odorless because of how cleanly propane burns.
If you ever sense a smell that resembles rotten eggs coming from your gas fire pit, it means the gas is leaking.
In such cases, schedule a professional to have a look because gas leakages can be dangerous if left unaddressed.
Do you live in an area with a lot of mosquitos and pesky bugs? If you do, getting a wood fire pit is a great choice. The smoke they produce keeps all sorts of insects at bay.
Gas fire pits don’t have the same effect because they don’t produce smoke. They can actually attract mosquitos because of the carbon dioxide and heat they give off.
If you’re wondering what to put around a fire pit, you have a lot of options.
The most obvious choice is to leave some space around the fire pit to make it safe and comfortable to gather around. You’ll also need chairs to sit on and enjoy the heat of the flames on those cold winter nights.
Other ideas for what to have around your fire pit include a fire pit ring and digging a hole for your fire pit.
All that’s left now is for you to consider the options and make the best choice for you!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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