Outdoor Living Project Guide

Fire Features: Making It Fit

Composing the Perfect Gathering Area

When it comes to choosing a fire feature, it’s important to consider how its size will affect the overall flow of the space. An undersized fire pit will command a greater presence, and an oversized fire pit will present a safety hazard and leave little room for passing. “Not accounting for the flow of the space — leaving room for people to walk, or to have plants, or to entertain — is the biggest mistake we see with our customers,” says Hilary Mays Reynolds, marketing communications specialist with the Outdoor GreatRoom Company. “People tend to buy the biggest fire pit because they want the biggest flame, but it doesn’t fit with their outdoor furniture and isn’t functional in their outdoor space.”

The pros at LandscapingNetwork.com recommend using chalk or tape to mark the position and size of the fire pit to ensure that there’s ample space for movement and passing. A good rule of thumb, they say, is to provide at least 7 feet of space around all outer edges of a fire pit. And, if you’re installing built-in seating, carefully consider the distance between the seating and the flame. Locating your seating too far or too close to the fire will make your space less comfortable and inviting than it could be. And you’ll probably use it less frequently as a result.

Be sure to check your local fire codes. Most local governments have setback requirements dictating how far fire pits and fireplaces must be located from a property’s lot line and structures.

3 Pitfalls to Avoid

1. Going too big or too small

An undersized fire pit will leave you wanting for more. And an oversized fire feature will crowd your space; in fact, it could even present a safety hazard.

2. Picking the wrong fuel source

Choose your fuel source based on your lifestyle and preferences. If you’re looking for convenience, you’ll prefer a gas-fueled fireplace or fire pit over a wood-burning feature.

3. Not consulting with qualified professionals and local codes

Installing a gas line or fire feature without adhering to local requirements could render your feature useless — and it could stick you with some hefty fines too. It’s best to do things right the first time.

Pro Tip

Provide at least 7 feet of space around all outer edges of a fire pit to allow ample space for seating and movement.

– LandscapingNetwork.com

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  • Long, linear fire pits
  • Warm gray and cool brown color schemes
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