Along with the crisp air, changing leaves, and shorter days, fall always seems to bring with it a longing to sit around the campfire with friends and family, enjoying a few more leisurely evenings outside before the snow flies. Humans have been drawn to fire since the dawn of time—it provides warmth and light of course, but there’s also something so inviting and comforting about it. Having a fire pit creates a social atmosphere in your yard—a place where people want to gather. It allows you to bring the comforts of the indoors outside, creating a cozy ambience that will draw you and your loved ones to spend more time outdoors long after dark.
There are so many options when it comes to fire pit design, size, and even the type of fuel used. If you’re considering adding a fire feature to your yard, read on for the latest fire pit trends and see if you can’t find some great ideas for your outdoor space.
Unexpected Decorative Elements
One current trend in fire pit design is to combine fire with opposing natural elements—such as “ice”, water, or stone—to create a unique and unexpected look. Adding bits of shattered tempered glass as an alternative to gravel adds a “fire and ice” look to a fire feature. Colored glass or geometric glass designs offer an even more intriguing effect. Adding a water element, such as a water feature surrounding the flame, provides definite “wow” factor: The reflection of the flames in the water adds to the warm glow and beauty of your fire feature. And the addition of large, smooth river stones to a fire pit gives a more rustic, earthy look. Stones also absorb the heat of the fire, continuing to radiate warmth long after the fire is put out.
Metal Fire Pits
Fire pits are often made of metal—steel, aluminum, or copper are common options. Copper is the most elegant choice, and while it’s on the expensive side, it will never rust but instead will patina over time, adding unique beauty to your outdoor design. Metal fire pits are lightweight and portable, making them easy to move for cleaning or storage, or to rearrange your layout. If you are looking for a more temporary option, a metal fire pit is the perfect choice.
Stone or Concrete Fire Pits
A circular stone fire pit might be the most iconic of them all, but they haven’t gone out of style. There’s just something rustically pleasant about a hardy, durable material like stone formed into a circle. It conjures up memories of crisp fall evenings with s’mores over the campfire.
Concrete is another durable material that makes an excellent fire feature, though it is prone to discoloration from the smoke and is, of course, quite heavy. If you opt for stone or concrete, you’ll want to choose the position of your fire pit carefully, as moving it will be quite a feat. Both stone and concrete are extremely long-lasting and (perhaps obviously) rust-proof, making for a solid long-term investment.
Sunken Fire Pits
So called because they are built into a hole in the ground, sunken fire pits offer a low-profile look that is perfect for smaller spaces or minimalist design. Since the top of the fire pit is level with the ground, sunken fire pits are often safer because the flames aren’t as exposed to the wind. Adding a decorative stone surrounding to the pit can make for a beautifully sleek look.
Fire Pit Tables
Fire Pit Tables pull double duty, providing not only the warm glow of a fire but also a place to set your drinks or snacks. They typically have a ledge around the fire that can serve as a place to keep your cocoa or hot toddy warm, and they often have a lid so they can be converted into a coffee table when the fire isn’t lit. Many fire pit tables also include built-in lighting to provide extra illumination as well as decorative elements that make them beautiful centerpieces even when they’re not lit.
Fire bowls are similar to an above-ground fire pit, but in addition to being bowl-shaped, are generally more sculptural in design. For example, Kadai fire bowls—large metal bowls used for cooking in India that are being repurposed as fire features—have been popular in the UK for a while now, and are becoming more so in the US. ELLE Decor notes that fire bowls in general are a big trend for 2020. According to them, these lovely, sculptural bowls are a “functional piece of art” that are easy to set up and use. Beautiful AND simple? Sign us up!
An attractive addition to your outdoor living area, chimineas produce a lot of heat in a small, contained unit. They are the perfect option for a patio fire feature, and come in varying sizes from large to table-top. The “mouth” of the chiminea creates a drafting action, drawing fresh air into the fire and creating a more efficient flame than an open fire. It burns hotter and cleaner, which means less ash and smoke. Once chimineas heat up, they radiate heat on all sides, making them just as nice to cozy up to as a fireplace.
An outdoor fireplace is the ultimate outdoor fire experience. Building an outdoor fireplace is certainly a bigger job than a fire pit (and a more expensive one at that), but if your space and budget allow, a fireplace can really make your outdoor space feel like a second living room. Add some cozy furniture and curl up with a hot drink in front of the fire while you enjoy the beauty of nature.
When choosing and placing your fire pit, make sure to pick materials that are fireproof and durable, and that the area surrounding the pit has at least a 3ft perimeter free of fencing, dry brush, or other flammable materials. Don’t place your fire pit on a wooden deck or other combustible surface, or under low-hanging branches or eaves.
Adding a fire pit to your yard can bring you hours of cozy entertainment and make your outdoor space a place you want to spend time in, even in cooler temperatures. Plus, watching the flames relaxes us, calms our minds, and is an effective stress-reliever, which we can all use more of these days, right?