A quick guide to fire pits and flames in your backyard

Phantom Screens / July 22, 2016

Blog /

There’s nothing like lighting a fire in your backyard when the evening cools down. The warm glow of flames is reminiscent of camp fires and draws people together so adding a fire pit or fireplace is a great way to extend your evening outdoors.

Styles and materials… it’s your choice!

There are a myriad of styles, types and materials for outdoor fire features. They range from wood and iron to stone or decorative tile. The key to deciding which one is right for your home depends on your style. Is your home modern and minimalist? Then choosing a traditional stone fireplace would probably not be the right one for you. However, if you’re in a mountain home with lots of wood and natural stone then it would be the perfect fit. Remember that with a fire pit, you don’t always save in the long run by buying a cheaper, lightweight metal one. As Dan Fritschen, author of Remodel or Move suggests, “If you are hoping to have the pit for years to come, it is worth investing a little more money into it and choosing a heavier stone model.”

Safety first

That old age warning against playing with fire rings true in your backyard too. Adding a fire pit or fire place can be a wonderful accent to your home, but always remember that they can be dangerous. If you live in a dry environment, it may be worth getting a spark screen. And install the fire pit on non-flammable surfaces like paving stones, concrete or on the dirt. It’s also a good idea to leave a 10 foot radius around your fire pit to avoid accidentally setting light to your shed, deck or even your home. And remember that trees have branches that overhang, so avoid them too. Don’t forget to check local bylaws for season fire bans, especially during summer.

Practical or decorative?

One final thing to think about is whether you want your fireplace or fire pit to provide heat or just a warming ambience. If you’re just looking for a nice flame then a propane portable fire pit or one that’s integrated into a table would be an ideal choice. If you’re looking for something that provides a good amount of heat then a wood-burning pit will be much better. Just remember they’re a bit harder to light and can be messy too!

A sound investment

Probably the best reason to invest in a backyard fire feature is the ability to lengthen the time you, your family and friends can spend outdoors. But there’s also a solid financial reason to do so: it can add value to your home. As Emmy Award-winning HGTV Design Star finalist Cathy Hobbs says, “Outdoor kitchens and fireplaces have long been desired luxury items, and a fire pit is an immensely desirable alternative to a traditional outdoor fireplace.”