A Built-in Fire Pit: Styles, Options and Tips

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A Built-in Fire Pit: Styles, Options and Tips

A well-designed built-in fire pit is not only a beautiful focal point in your garden but also an outdoor setting in which to gather around and enjoy cool autumn evenings. Many styles and features are available to create the fire pit you want. In this article, we describe in closer detail some of our recent fire pit projects, and also include additional tips.

A Gallery of Fire Pits

A stand-alone fire pit area sited at the far end of the backyard, in front of the garage.

A stand-alone fire pit is a good idea if you want to make use of an underused area or to create a new destination in your back yard. The fire pit area above has been sited at the far corner of the backyard, in front of the garage, and surrounded by new plantings that will fill in to create a lush backdrop. Its location away from the house and neighbors offers more privacy. As for materials, the fire pit is made of Brussels Dimensional Walls in Limestone color, with rockfaced Ledgestone coping in Buff color.  It sits on a crushed river gravel circle edged with a sailor course border of Brussels Block XL pavers, also in Limestone color. Brussels is a material composed of precast modular concrete units, available in a variety of colors. Ledgestone is also made of modular concrete, and closely resemble either Limestone or Bluestone.


Modular Fire Pit in Gravel Circle Edged with Brussels Block Pavers

This is a wood-burning fire pit area situated in an underused corner of the backyard. It is composed entirely of Brussels material in Limestone. Notice it is coped with Brussels XL with a fullnose (or rounded) edge, which reinforces the roundness of the hardscaping. A 2-inch layer of Bluestone chip gravel, a natural stone, acts as the pavement for the chairs. Bluestone chip gravel is about three times the cost of inexpensive crushed river gravel, having a more refined texture and distinctive blue color. The gravel is contained by a soldier course border of Brussels Block standard size pavers. Sky blue Adirondack chairs make this gathering spot a real focal point in the backyard.


firepit looking out

This is a gas-burning fire pit area incorporated into a large patio against the house, centered off the width of the property. It is composed of Brussels Dimensional in Limestone, and coped with rockfaced Ledgestone, Bluestone color. Surrounded by a large panel of natural, Full Range Ashlar Pattern Bluestone, and flanked at the corners with a pair of matching seat walls, it is the most prominent feature of the backyard. A outdoor television will be mounted on the house, directly opposite of the fire pit area, adding extra entertainment value.


Stand-Alone Modular Fire Pit in Crushed River Gravel and Stell Edging with Flagstone Insets for Chairs

This is a wood-burning fire pit area situated in a shady location near the back gate. The fire pit wall is Roman Pisa, another precast modular concrete product, in a blend of Nevada and Sierra colors, and coped with rockfaced Ledgestone, Buff color. Ledgestone is also a modular concrete product, available in two finishes resembling natural Limestone or Bluestone. The fire pit sits in a circle of inexpensive crushed river gravel, installed at a 2-inch depth, with insets of Flagstone for placing lounging chairs. Steel edging was selected to contain the gravel, an affordable option. All materials blend together to brighten the shady spot.


Stand-Alone Modular Fire Pit in Bluestone Chip Circle with Brick Edge

Above is a wood-burning fire pit of Brussels Dimensional walls with Brussels XL coping, all in Limestone color. The fire pit sits in a clay paver-edged circle of crushed Bluestone chip gravel installed at a 2-inch depth. The color combination of warm red bricks against the cool blue gravel is striking. The patio and walk in this backyard are also made of the same clay pavers used in the circle edge.


Masonry Gas-Fired Firepit Clad in Natural Stone, in Sunken Bluestone Chip Firepit Area Contained in Custom Bluestone Coping

This gas-burning fire pit area is integrated into a large raised stone terrace, located closer to the house and accessed by stepping down off to the side. The fire pit is made of Old Quarry modular walls clad with natural Limestone. The same Limestone is repeated in the seat wall that runs the perimeter of the terrace. Custom rockfaced Bluestone copings are used in the firepit; custom Thermal Bluestone copings edge the Bluestone chip gravel circle.


Modular Match-Lit Firepit with Gas Valve and Curved Seat Wall

Above is a modular gas-burning fire pit area with seat wall, incorporated into a rear patio. It is located closer to the garage at the end of the property. The fire pit is Brussels Dimensional walls, in Limestone color, with rockfaced Ledgestone coping in Limestone color. The seat wall is Brussels Dimensional in Limestone color. A seat wall is built to withstand the elements and lasts much longer than outdoor furniture, which often requires winter storage. The overall setting is inviting when viewed from inside the house.


Modular Gas-Fired Fire Pit in Concrete Paver Patio

Above is a modular fire pit of Brussels Dimensional walls. Limestone color, with rockfaced Ledgestone coping in Bluestone color.  The fire pit sits at a 45-degree angle in a small backyard, largely paved with Richcliff concrete pavers edge with clay pavers. A small backyard has more functionality when most of it is paved; perimeter plantings add beauty and softness to the space.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For an ultimate destination, consider a gathering area like the one above, which encloses a sunken fire pit with a half circle seat wall with seat back. Integrated off to the side and stepping down a large, curvy raised patio, the walls are Old Quarry, another modular concrete product in Sierra color, with rockfaced Ledgestone coping in Buff color. The generous size of the seat wall allows room for a large party and creates a surface for placing food, drink, blankets and other items.


Wood-Burning, Gas Start or Gas Burning 

Many folks love the natural glow, woodsy aroma and crackling sounds produced by a wood-burning fire pit. Depending on the outdoor conditions, effort will be required to start the fire. To make lighting a fire easier, you can have a gas starter installed. This will require a separate gas line hooked up to your fire pit. You simply prepare a wood-burning fire like normal, then start the gas and ignite. Once the fire is going, you can turn off the gas and enjoy a wood burning fire. Either way, you will have to stoke the fire to keep it going. You will also have to clean out and dispose of the ashes periodically, as ash build-up is damaging.

 If you would rather not deal with the hassles of a wood-burning fire, you can also opt for a gas burning fire pit, which is easy to ignite, uses fireproof rock or glass, clean burning and does not produce smoke or messy ash to clean up afterwards. It will require a separate gas line hooked up to your fire pit. Should you select a gas-starting or gas-burning fire pit, extra care must be taken to make sure the gas line is cleared out before winter arrives. Water can collect in the gas line and freeze, causing damage. To prevent this, clean the burners and valves regularly and have the gas line professionally checked once a year.


Essential Fire Pit Accessories

Round Pittopper. Photo credit: Pittopper.

Round Pittopper. Photo credit: Pittopper.

It’s a good idea to invest in a fire pit cover to help keep leaves, debris, rain and snow out of your fire pit. We like the covers made by Ohio-based manufacturer PiTTopper, as they are made right here in the Midwest of durable steel, with many styles offered in a durable powder coat finish, as shown in the photo above. More versatile than vinyl or canvas cover, a flat, steel cover turns the fire pit into table for food, drinks, magazines, card games and such when the fire pit is not in use.

A wood-burning fire will need to be stoked to keep the fire going. Use a forged steel poker to accomplish this task. Cover your fire with a fire pit screen to contains flying embers and sparks that may cause injury or harm. The ones made of steel are longer lasting.

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