Different Types Of Fire Pits For Your Home

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The main purpose of a fire pit is to contain an open flame. Sounds simple enough, right? The fact of the matter is, almost everyone has built or at least sat beside a fire pit at some point in their life. And if you're unsure about that statement, just think about the last time you went camping. Yes, that campfire you were huddled around with your friends or family is considered a fire pit, albeit a rudimentary one.

Here is some information on the different types of fire pits and why you should consider getting one for your home:

Portable Fire Pits

Portable fire pits offer the basic functionality of a fire pit, along with aesthetic appeal and convenience. Plus, they are a lot cheaper than installing a built-in fire pit. Here are some of the characteristics of portable fire pits that make them worth purchasing:

  • Factory made meaning they require little to no assembly.
  • Come in varying design styles to match your landscaping theme and décor.
  • Highly mobile and can be easily repositioned. Some even come with wheels.
  • Wood or gas burning.
  • Provides the same basic functions of any other fire pit, particularly...containing fire!
Portable Fire Pit Portable Fire Pit

Whether you don't have the room, or the resources for a built-in fire pit, portable fire pits are a great addition to any home. Common design and structural elements of a portable fire pit are:

  • Metallic (mainly copper or cast iron)
  • Free-standing with three to four legs
  • Typically circular, cylindrical or spherical shape
  • Grate lid and housing
  • Much smaller than the average, built-in fire pit
Portable Fire Pit Portable Fire Pit

Built-in Fire Pits

A built-in fire pit is often used to either complement or incorporate the initial landscaping design. Materials used throughout the landscaping like brick, concrete or stone are often used to construct the built-in fire pit. Common design styles for built-in fire pits include:

  • Round: the most widely used design style for built-in fire pits. The round shape works well for sitting and conversation areas, and creates a comfortable, cozy atmosphere.
  • Square: commonly used to complement a particular style of landscaping. The square shape adds an elegant and classy touch to your home. They are generally positioned in more open areas.
  • Rectangular: another shape that is more commonly used to complement the landscaping with its design structure. Depending on the size, they can either be used for a border, backdrop or for a sitting area.
  • Hearth: one sided and meant to serve as more of a focal point for your landscaping design. The easiest way to describe a hearth style fire pit is to think of it as an open fire place with no top cover.

Built-in fire pits are typically tapped into the home's gas line, however, wood burning, built-in fire pits are quite popular as well.

Temporary Round Fire Pit Temporary Round Fire Pit Built-in Round Fire Pit Built-in Round Fire Pit

Temporary Fire Pits

Temporary fire pits are any variety of fire pits that are meant for single or limited use. They can be fashioned out of stone, bricks or nearby rocks. Think of a campfire as a temporary fire pit. While they are often made from crude construction, it's quite possible to make your temporary fire pit look aesthetically appealing depending upon the materials used. Here are some tips for constructing a temporary fire pit to make it look as good as a built-in version:

  • Use materials that are of equal size and diameter like bricks or building stones.
  • Make sure your fire pit materials are of matching or complementary colors.
  • Utilize any leftover materials from your landscaping to construct your temporary fire pit like cut stones or blocks.

Fire Pit Uses

Whether you're constructing a built-in fire pit, or buying a factory made, portable fire pit, make sure you choose the right type that meets your needs. Here are some common uses for a fire pit in your home:

  • Design element
  • Heating
  • Lighting
  • Cooking

Fire Pit Tips

  • Remember, fire pits are meant to contain a fire. Make safety your number one priority when considering a fire pit for your home. Never leave a fire pit unattended.
  • The height of the fire pit depends on its main function. For example, if you want your fire pit to provide heat for a sitting area, you want to position the fire pit where your guests will receive adequate heat while seated.
  • Fire pits are meant to contain open flames, so the spacing, height, size and structure should be suitable to keep people and objects from getting burned.
  • Be mindful of the elements surrounding your fire pit. If you position your fire pit near some garden shrubs, make sure they aren't too close. There is the possibility of a stray ember landing on your shrubs causing a fire.
Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Matthew Cenzon Matthew Cenzon has been writing for numerous publications since 2003, covering topics ranging from health and nutrition to the real estate industry. He is one of the contributing writers for IdealHomeGarden.com, and is a college graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with degrees in English and Asian literature. Matthew’s interest in interior design and home improvement stem from his background working in the residential real estate appraisal business for over five years, where he witnessed many of the Do's and Don'ts of home decor.

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