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Backyard Fire Pit

Jul 31, 2008
Having a backyard fire pit is an idea that has been around for years. Backyard fire pits have definitely evolved from the original hole in the ground type. They are now decorative accessories that create an outdoor living area that you can share with family and friends. There are many options available for you to choose from and produce the ultimate warming glow of firelight in your backyard.

Metal Fire Pits

The basic model for a metal fire pit is a large steel ring with decorative cutouts for ventilation and flame viewing. The steel rings can be purchased at most home and garden centers for less than $100. The ring is placed on the ground or in an area that has either sand or stone and the fire is built in the center of the ring. The ring is designed to contain the fire. You could also choose a metal bowl that sets on legs. The bowls are approximately 2 to 3 feet in diameter and are made from copper, steel or aluminum. A metal bowl backyard fire pit ranges from $100 to $500 and can be set anywhere on the patio or lawn. Be aware that the metal bowls will get extremely hot and models with shorter legs could pose a fire hazard if set on a surface that is flammable, such as a wood deck or dry grass. Some of the metal bowl models will come with grills for cooking or wire mesh screens to keep the burning embers from flying around and inside the bowl.

Masonry and Stone

If you want a more permanent, formal backyard fire pit than you might want to consider going with a stone or masonry pit. These fire pits can be as small or as large as you desire or what your backyard area can comfortably support. The fires that you have in these fire pits should never be more than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. You'll want to check and see if there are any specific building or fire codes that you need to conform to prior to building a permanent fire pit. Because brick, concrete block, slate or sandstone is a porous material they can get hot enough for moisture inside the material to cause them to crack or even in extreme cases, explode. You can prevent this from happening by using granite or other nonporous rock to construct stone backyard fire pits or make an inner ring of firebrick that is several feet inside the brick or masonry outer ring.

Gas Fire Pits

You should consider a gas fire pit, which is like a gas barbeque or grill, and runs on either propane or natural gas. Most gas backyard fire pit kits will come with faux logs, lava rocks and sometimes even decorative colored glass. You should avoid inexpensive backyard fire pit gas models that have nothing more than metal tubes with holes for the flames. Typically these types of gas fire pits are not UL-approved and could cause you problems. The nice thing about gas fire pits is that they don't need as much clearance from flammable surfaces as the open flame fire pits and they can usually be used in suburban or urban areas where wood fire are restricted. Backyard fire pits that are gas can be turn on and off instantly. Clean up is also minimal because gas fire pits don't produce ash or embers. There are so many different styles to choose from that you surely can find one model that fits into the backyard fire pit design you have in mind. The disadvantages of a gas fire pit is that you can't cook on them, you typically have to have quite a bit of gas to get the same affect as a wood fire and they are generally more expensive. A gas backyard fire pit can cost between several hundred to several thousand dollars and doesn't quite have the same effect or smell as a wood fire.

Regardless of which style of backyard fire pit you decide to go with, there is no denying the effect of a crackling fire in the great outdoors. It is not only beautiful but there is no way to wind down from a long day than to gaze into a glowing ember, cozy within the warmth of a backyard fire pit.
About the Author
Jayme Hanson operates an information site about Best Landscaping Ideas. Articles include information on Container Plant Ideas, Small Backyard Designs and Patio Deck Ideas.
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