Almost everyone has experienced sitting around a campfire or around a backyard fire pit if you have not then you are missing out of one of the most relaxing and enjoyable experiences.
Sitting around the fire and watching the flames can actually be a form of meditation and many that practice the living arts regard it as such.
Besides being an excellent source for the warmth you can also use a fire pit for cooking outdoors, as a way to get rid of bugs and it is a great way to entertain your guests.
There are a plethora of options for creating your own fire pit and we will discuss those here, so before you break out the credit card read all the options you have available and the different types of fire pits.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so for each fire pit system we feature below we will also have an image to help understand them better.
Also at the very bottom, there is also a video that walks you through each system.
The portable fire pit
The portable option is probably the most popular and the type that you may have experienced in someone else’s backyard at some point.
The portable fire pit is the most economical way to get your own fire in your backyard, in the fall you will see a lot of ads by your local home improvement stores promoting units that can range from $50.00 to $1000’s of dollars.
It is referred to as portable because as the name implies you can move it around your backyard living space as needed, this is a great feature because your needs may change with the seasons.
Most of the portable type fire pits will have wheels on them making it very easy to move it around the backyard or patio area.
You can also take it with you when you go camping or even to your local park if your city will allow it, it is wise to check before lighting the flame.
While on the subject it would be a good idea to become familiar with your local city ordinance regarding fire pits before investing in one.
Most portable fire pits are wood-burning so you will more than likely want to secure a source for good firewood, we will cover firewood in more detail below.
A portable unit is an excellent option that will not cost a lot and if used properly will be safe.
The in ground fire pit
The in-ground pit is as the name implies in the ground, with this type of fire pit a circular hole is dug in the ground and it can be lined with stones or you can use a fire bowl.
Once that is done you can place stones or rocks of your choice around the fire hole for safety and making it aesthetically pleasing.
With this system you are only limited by your imagination as to how fancy you want the surround that circles the fire hole, you can use cheap pavers or some very exotic decorative stones.
The fire bowl will not be expensive however, depending on what time of stones or rocks you use it will end up costing a bit more than a portable fire pit like the ones mentioned above.
The type you go with may be determined by how your outdoor living space is laid out, you want to make sure the flames from your fire is not going to be too close to any structures that can catch fire.
As always safety first!
The permanent fire pit
Once again the name gives away what type this is; the permanent fire pit can’t be moved and is usually part of the home décor and planning when the home is built.
If you are going to add a permanent fire pit in your backyard area you will more than likely need a professional to draw up a set of blueprints and cost sheets.
Many of these units are gas burning which will involve a specialist to run the gas lines and make sure the fire pit is to code for your local area.
However, you can have a permanent fire pit that is wood burning and therefore would not require any gas lines.
Either system can also be used for outdoor cooking because they can also take on the look and feel of an indoor fireplace.
All that is required is to have some type of grate that you can use to cook on while taking advantage of the flames.
This is a great feature in the hot summer months when you don’t want to heat up your house from cooking on the stove or using the oven.
The wood burning fire pit
We have discussed different types of fire pit devices but there are several ways to get a flame and one of the most popular is using firewood.
The wood-burning fire has a soothing charm about it and has since our ancestors huddled around a fire in their cave dwellings.
Imagination how safe and warm they must have felt with the cold wind howling outside and they were protected and warm.
Not only did the burning wood give off heat but it would also discourage predators from getting to close to their fire.
Even in the modern age, a wood-burning fire has a way of relaxing us and giving us a sense of calm even if we don’t have to worry about invading predators.
The gas burning fire pit
The gas burning fire pits or outdoor fireplaces are a convenience of the modern age just flip a switch and voila you have flames.
With gas systems, there is usually little or no clean up so for the person that wants the flames but not all the messy clean up after it is the ideal solution.
Flames from a gas pit may not have the same romantic feel as crackling wood in an open flame fire but it will still provide warmth.
The one outstanding feature of the gas pit is they are offered in some amazing models that will make your outdoor living space pop!
The sky is the limit and sometimes the budget may go out the window because some of the gas units can be very expensive.
The DIY fire pit
Are you the handy type that likes to build things with your own hands?
If that is the case then a do it yourself fire pit may be an ideal solution for you and you can make it as simple as a few rocks in a circle or an elaborate pit with decorative stones.
Your only limitation for a DIY fire pit is your imagination so if you have some mad skills you can create a one of a kind masterpiece that your neighbors will envy.
Another advantage of a DIY fire pit is you can set your own budget, if you want to invest in a $100.00 project then you can easily do that by searching your local home improvement store for the right items that fit your budget.
The fire pit wood
Not all fire pits will burn just anything so you will want to avoid the temptation of throwing in some of your paper trash from the house.
When you are selecting wood for your fire pits the most important element is selecting a wood that is aged and completely dried.
Too wet and it will be difficult to light and will have everyone running in different directions trying to get away from all the smoke.
Seasoned wood will burn clean and give off the most heat without creating a lot of smoke that may not be pleasant for your neighbors.
Taking care of your fire pit
Regardless of what type of system you have, it will require some maintenance, if it is a gas system then the only cleanup required will be if you use a grate for cooking.
If you have a portable wood-burning pit the most important step of maintaining your pit so it will last many seasons is to remove the ashes after each use.
Also if by chance you use water to put out the flames you will want to remove the wet ashes as soon as possible.
You do not want to let them set in your unit for days or weeks unless you want a rusted out fire pit that will not last long.
Lastly, the most important accessory you can get for your backyard fire pit is a cover; if you clean and cover your unit you will be able to enjoy it for many seasons worry-free.
Finally no matter how simple your fire pit may be or no matter how elaborate the one common thing is they both produce the flame that we are all longing for.
© 2020 Steven
Sp Greaney from Ireland on August 30, 2020:
Wish I had a garden where I could use the portable fire pit. It would be a nice feature to have in your garden.
Abby Slutsky from America on June 30, 2020:
Nice article. I am actually thinking of getting one of these since I am spending o much time outside due to Corona. Very informative.