A backyard fire feature can transform your property.
In the summertime, it lets you enjoy your yard on cooler nights. Gather around the fire with your family to watch fireworks while roasting marshmallows. When colder weather comes, it gives you a chance to stay outdoors later in the season.
Although we’re in the midst of winter, it’s not too early to start thinking about the kind of fire feature you’d like to add to your Bucks or Montgomery County property. If you’re ready to add a fire feature to your backyard, here are a few things to consider.
Choose your style and know the dimensions
There are a few different styles for fire pits, from bowls to squared-off versions that look like short tables. Bowl pits tend to be portable, allowing you to move your fire feature around the backyard. If you’re looking for something more permanent, opt for the square fire pit, which is stationary.
Fire pits can be anywhere from 20 to 45 inches in diameter. Bowl pits are smaller – just over two feet in diameter at their largest – and are perfect for more compact spaces.
Pick your fuel
Fire pits tend to fall into two categories when it comes to fuel. Some use gas/propane, and some burn wood. Wood has its benefits: it burns hotter than gas, is more cost-effective, and you’ll get the smell of a real campfire.
Where do we put it?
If you choose a portable fire feature, your best bet is keeping it on top of a natural, fire resistance surface: gravel, stone, brick, concrete, slate, etc. Putting a fire pit on a wooden deck can be dangerous. If you have a permanent fire feature, it will like sit atop a base of gravel in your backyard.
Before you build, check with your community’s zoning department, as many municipalities place restrictions on homeowners who want to install fire features. Some communities require them to be built at least 10 feet from any structures, while others will want an inspection by fire officials. And some towns simply don’t allow fire pits. Research your municipality in Bucks or Montgomery County to learn more about fire feature restrictions in your area.
Even if you don’t get a visit from your local fire marshal, it’s important to take safety precautions when you use a fire pit. Follow these tips when using your fire feature:
- Before you light a fire, know which way the wind is blowing.
- Don’t use flammable liquids such as lighter fluid or gasoline to light or relight fires.
- Don’t wear flammable garments, or anything loose-fitting, around the fire pit.
- Soft woods such as pine and cedar can pop and give off sparks. Use hardwoods instead.
- Dispose of ashes safely. After 24 hours have passed, left-over ashes should be cooled, dampened and stored in metal container that is only used for ash storage. Do not store ashes in wooden or cardboard containers, or dispose of them in a compost pile.
- Check with your insurance company to see how a fire pit will affect your rates.
If you’re looking to brighten your backyard with a fire feature, Woodward Landscape Supply can help.