Growing up we had a fire pit in the backyard. I loved it. We didn’t use it every night, but we used it enough that I have many fond memories of roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in our backyard.
Fire pits, whether somewhere in the backyard or on the patio are super popular these days. Keep in mind that fire pits are just one type of fire feature you can put in your backyard.
They’re relatively easy and inexpensive to make. At a minimum you need rocks and a shovel.
However, because everyone wants a fire pit in their yard, there are many options you can buy. You can buy both wood-burning and gas-fueled fire pits.
We recently purchased a propane-powered fire pit. I’m not too fond of chopping wood; I prefer flipping the “on” switch.
I. What Is a Fire Pit?
A fire pit is technically a pit in the ground in which you can safely build a fire. The pit is typically lined with rocks, metal or brick.
However, these days, the meaning of fire pit has expanded to include above-ground container-like structures that can contain fire – such as fire bowls and fire pit tables.
This article takes the expanded meaning – which means we explain and showcase fire pits in the ground as well as above.
II. Types of Fire Pits
A. By Design
In-ground brick-sided fire pit in rock garden area.
Round above-ground red-brick built-in fire pit with built-in bench seating on a large brick patio overlooking a golf course.
3. Fire Pit Table
Gas powered patio fire pit table elevated on square base with round table where the fire pit is situated in the centre. This is perfect for providing both fire and a small table for drinks or eating.
4. Hanging Fire Pit
Tri-post hanging charcoal fire pit for the patio.
5. Fire Bowl
Natural gas bowl-shaped fire pit for patio or deck.
Fabulous portable propane-fuelled fire pit – ideal for the backyard, camping, the beach and elsewhere. We have this exact fire pit and love it. We take it camping and use it in our backyard. It’s super easy to use and conveniently burns propane and easily hooks up to regular propane tanks.
If you’re concerned about sparks flying, you can buy fire pits that come with a fitted metal screen to prevent sparks. Here’s an example.
Screen covered round patio fire pit.
B. By Material
Fire pits are made from many types of materials. Common materials include:
1. Cinder Blocks
Round cinder block fire pit with grill cover in small garden patio area.
Round red brick fire pit on flagstone patio in stunning backyard. The patio includes a wood-burning fireplace as well.
Above ground cobblestone fire pit in sunken patio area surrounded by comfortable plastic Adirondack chairs.
Large fire pit on patio built with huge boulders.
Solid rectangle propane-fueled fire pit built with flagstone.
Black metal round fire pit with wood storage and bench.
Concrete fire bowl for the patio.
C. By Fuel
Wood Burning vs Gas (Propane)
The traditional fire pit burns wood. However, these days you can choose from many gas-powered fire pits. The gas variety has many benefits including fast, less smoke and often able to use when fire bans are in place.
In fact, we recently purchased a propane fire pit, which inspired this post.
Whether you go with a traditional wood-burning pit or gas burning pit, just get one in your yard. Your kids will love it and you’ll love it.
We published an in-depth gas vs. wood burning fire pit guide here.
These days you can use a variety of fuels for flame. They include:
Custom-built square wood-burning fire pit on square patio.
Stunning rutic propane fuelled rectangle patio fire pit.
3. Natural Gas
Long rectangle natural-gas fuelled patio fire pit.
Bio-ethanol fuelled bowl-style fire pit.
D. By Location
Square stone fire pit and table on covered patio surrounded by large overstuffed patio armchairs.
Example of an attractive easy DIY backyard fire pit in the middle of an expansive lawn built with large rocks placed in a circle.
Small patio under trellis in the garden with a small fire pit.
Stone above-ground round fire pit on patio next to a backyard swimming pool.
Lakeside round fire pit on round flagstone patio overlooking calm lake.
E. By Shape
One final consideration when choosing a fire pit is the shape. The three main shapes are square, rectangle and round. Check out these examples:
Square fire pit example.
Rectangle fire pit.
Round fire pit example.
III. DIY Fire Pit
Our collection of fire pit ideas below and detailed write-up setting out the different types of fire pits above include a mix of DIY and store-bought fire pits. Here’s an example of a DIY fire pit, that you can learn more on how to build it here.
IV. Fire Pit Ideas (Photos)
Below is our extensive photo gallery of 42 fire pits of many sizes, materials and designs. At the end are some options you can buy. They’re pretty cool and some aren’t all that expensive.
Rustic large boulder in-ground fire pit on patio in the middle of the backyard.
Bucolic backyard with flagstone patio next to elevated garden with round fire pit overlooking a body of water.
Cobblestone round built-in fire pit in the backyard of a large property.
Fire pit alcove on patio with incredible view of a forest below.
Aerial view of large round propane fire pit on matching round patio.
Spectacular custom built fire pit area with built-in bench off a pavilion-covered patio in large backyard.
Red brick patio with matching built-in round propane fire pit with built-in curved bench.
Large round brown brick fire pit on a matching brick patio overlooking a golf course.
Large round brown metal gas powered movable fire pit with a square base and round top perfect for a patio or backyard area.
Round rock fire pit on brick patio overlooking gardens and yard.
Round brick fire pit with flat top and dome cover on large flagstone patio with built-in semi circle seeding wrapping around the fire pit.
Small round stucco covered built-in fire pit on patio.
Small round stucco covered built-in fire pit on patio.
Overhead view of a dog and wood-burning round fire pit in the centre of a brick patio surrounded by colourful Adirondack chairs over looking a pool and a river.
Stone pie shaped wood-burning fire pit in the corner of a small garden patio.
Close-up of a round stone fire pit built onto a brick patio overlooking the pool.
Patio fire pit dug into the ground surrounded by large rocks.
Large metal bowl placed on cement patio serving as a small wood-burning fire pit surrounded by wood Adirondack chairs.
Round grate style fire pit on concrete slab patio with curved would bench seating.
Example of a freestanding metal grate style fire pit that burns wood. This is a very simple fire burning solution for the backyard that can be easily moved.
Small pit style fire pit with inverted metal dome inserted into the ground surrounded by gravel.
Massive round brick wood-burning fire pit placed on large patio.
Pool with gas fuelled white ornate fire bowls placed in a corner of the pool on edge of patio and the other on the edge of the grass.
Round brick fire pit surrounded by a row of tiny gravel built in the middle of the grass in the backyard.
Overhead view of a small movable metal grate style fire pit.
Oval fire pit with flat surface area placed on balcony overlooking the ocean.
Interesting patio where the fire pit hole was cut directly in to the patio.
Flagstone Forest patio with brick round fire pit surrounded by striking white Adirondack chairs.
Luxurious multilevel patio with built-in custom gas fuelled by her pit surrounded by built-in bench seating.
Overhead view of oval flagstone patio with large fire pit created with a series of huge boulders.
A very simple round fire pit created with rocks includes a hanging cooking grate suspended from teepee structure.
Backyard fire pit aid from large rocks placed in a circle. Perfect for burning large pieces of wood.
Built-in Square gas fuelled fire pit on a small balcony overlooking the desert.
Round wood-burning fire pit placed an a large garden in the backyard.
Beautiful patio overlooking the forest and sprawling lawn with a brick round fire pit that has a dome top.
Rustic brick round wood-burning fire pit placed in the middle of the meadow.
V. Store-Bought “Ready-To-Go” Fire Pit Ideas
Here are a few beauties you can have up and running in no time.
VI. Fire Pit FAQs
How much does a fire pit cost?
They range from $0 (build it yourself with boulders or rocks) to $5,000+. However, a decent patio fire pit table will cost you $150 to $500.
What is a fire pit used for?
Fire pits are used for enjoying the evening in the backyard. They provide light and heat. You can also roast hot dogs, marshmallows, etc. They don’t replace a grill.
How hot does a fire pit get?
The heat a fire pit emanates is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). The higher the BTU, the more heat it gives off.
Propane fire pits give off 30,000 to 50,000 BTUs.
Wood-burning fire pits burn at 1,000 Fahrenheit and can give off up to 100,000 BTUs depending on the size of the pit or bowl and how much wood you burn.
What can you burn in a fire pit?
You can burn wood, propane, bioethanol or natural gas. Of course you can burn up paper and cardboard and other combustible materials, but one should be mindful about the needless pollution and instead recycle such materials.
What is good seating for a fire pit?
I prefer comfortable seats – overstuffed patio furniture. But there are many different types of fire pit seating options including DIY and store-bought options.
How close can a fire pit be to a house?
A fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structure. However, your local regulations may have different requirements.
Here’s an illustration.
What’s the difference between a fire pit and a chiminea?
A fire pit is dug into the ground or is an open-topped container above-ground.
A chiminea is a fireplace like structure with a chimney like structure extending out of the top. Both can be used in the back yard. Check out the images below illustrating the differences.
VII. Popular Fire Pit Brands
There are many different brands of fire pits (just as there are many styles and designs). Here’s a list of the main brands that may help you find the right model for you.
- Dura Soleil
- Living Source International
- Endless Summer
- Pure Garden
- Volcano Grills
- Sol 72 Outdoor
- Freeport Park
- Real Flame
- Sun Joe
- Cataline Creations
- Pleasant Hearth
- AZ Patio Heaters
- Pure Garden
- Loon Peak
- Alcott Hill
- Sunndaze Decor
- Seasons Fire Pits
- Sun Joe
- Fire Sense
- Westin Outdoor
- August Grove
VIII. Where to Buy a Fire Pit – List of Top Online Fire Pit Stores
If you prefer to buy a fire pit instead of build one yourself, we did the research and put together this list of excellent online fire pit stores.
- Fire Pits Direct
- Woodland Direct
- Muskoka Fire Bowls
- The Fire Pit Store
- Dream Cast Fire Pits
- Easy Fire Pits
- Home Depot