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.
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.
Types of Fire Pits
Fire Pit Table
Hanging fire pit
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.
Fire pits are made from many types of materials. Common materials include:
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.
These days you can use a variety of fuels for flame. They include:
One final consideration when choosing a fire pit is the shape. The three main shapes are square, rectangle and round. Check out these examples:
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.
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.
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.
Store-bought “ready-to-go” fire pit ideas
Here are a few beauties you can have up and running in no time.
Fire pit FAQ
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. Check out all our fire pit seating ideas here.
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.
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
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