When it comes to outdoor entertaining, there are a few staples to having a great space that it’s hard to get along without – a charcoal or gas grill, comfortable seating, tables to set drinks and plates down on while conversing… Beyond the functional, there are some trendy options to boost the appeal of your deck or patio, and toward the top of the list are fire pits.
From the build-your-own kits at your local home improvement store to a professionally installed fixture, fire pits are a relatively inexpensive way to add a great conversation area to an already enjoyable outdoor space. But how do you pick the right one for you?
One of the most important features of your new fire pit is the shape – and a lot of that decision will stem from your current (or desired) patio furniture. There are three main shapes for most modern gas fire pits:
- Square. If you’re looking for an intimate outdoor gathering space, a square fire pit is a perfect choice. Four people can comfortably sit around, perhaps with an oversized chair or a smaller seat with an end table next to each as a resting place for drinks and food.
- Circular. When it comes to having a group of people sitting around the fire chatting, you just can’t beat the classics. Circular fire pits work well to keep everyone in the group engaged as you sit around the fire and shoot the breeze.
- Rectangular. The rectangular fire pit is a great option for a patio or deck with lots of seating. It functions well as a coffee table-type addition, and can double as a great dining surface for those backyard cookouts.
The height of your fire pit is almost as important as the shape, since it greatly impacts the feeling the pit will add to the space. For example, a 19” fire pit will feel more like a campfire and is a great option to encourage use of a seated gathering space. Conversely, a 29” fire pit might be better suited as a dining space. It’s even possible to get taller fire pits that can double as high-top style tables for cocktail parties and standing happy hours.
Finish & Fire Media
When it comes to aesthetics the finish of the fire pit, including the fire media, is perhaps the most important part to make your fire pit a cohesive part of your outdoor setup. A wooden deck may benefit from a fire pit with a wood or brushed metal finish, whereas a concrete or stone patio might look nicer with a more natural stone look. Similarly, the fire media (the material in the center of the pit that distributes the flames from the gas line) is highly customizable depending on your preferences. Glass stones can add a colorful flair to the piece, while natural stone or even lava rock can give a more rustic look. Regardless of your choice, it’s important to make sure that your new fire pit works as a seamless addition to your existing outdoor aesthetic.