Fire pit rooms provide the perfect space to relax after a grilled meal outdoors, or spend the evening around a fire with the family. If you’re looking to add an outdoor fire pit room to your patio, or are in the process of doing so, check out these tips to get the most out of your fire pit area.
The beauty of fire pits—or outdoor fireplace— is that they are both fixed and open in nature, meaning that permanent built-in seating is easy to plan around them in a circular or semicircular arrangement. The shape around the fire pit created by the seating, be it square or circular, is in itself a visual statement that can be used to bring originality and character to your fire pit room. This kind of built-in seating can be constructed using concrete retaining walls and can be installed either above or in ground for a fire pit room with a sunken look. Concrete retaining walls, as well as natural stone like fieldstone, is advantageous as it soaks up some of the warmth from the fire without becoming too hot, making for comfortably warm seating. Still, you’ll want to provide some extra cushioning for your fire pit seating area for additional comfort and added pops of color.
While a wood-burning fire pit— or outdoor fireplace—is a modern echo of the primal tradition of fire building and bonding around a fire, that’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy modern comforts in your fire pit area. Comfortable seating, a nearby fridge where a chilled bottle of wine awaits, your favorite music drifting from outdoor speakers—these are some of the conveniences that make fire pit rooms the modern luxuries that they are. Try thinking of your fire pit room as an outdoor lounge with the fire pit as the central feature instead of a coffee table and take it from there. To take it to the next step of modern and comfort, outfit your patio design with a gas fire pit instead of wood-burning. This added extra allows you to have the ambience of fire at the push of a button.
For optimal use, your fire pit room will need access to both your house and other functional outdoor rooms. Making your fire pit accessible to your home will ensure that your fire pit is not neglected for the comfort of indoors, while access to other functional outdoor rooms will provide additional opportunities for its use. Relocating a group of guests from your outdoor dining area to your fire pit room is easy if they are in close proximity to one and other. You’ll also not want your fire pit too far from the convenience of your wet bar. For outdoor gatherings, making your fire pit room open and available will provide your guests with a welcoming invitation to make use of the facility and huddle around the fire.
If you choose to go the traditional route of a wood-burning fire feature, you’re going to need somewhere to store your firewood. This can be built into the seating, into the structure of the fire pit itself, or into other permanent features such as concrete retaining walls or outdoor cabinets. Whatever you do, make sure that the method of storage provides adequate protection from rain and environmental moisture to avoid the frustration of trying to start a fire with damp wood. To do this, ensure that your outdoor cabinets seal, that you keep a bottom row of logs to soak up moisture from the ground and if you have a covering of some sort, that it sufficiently extends over your woodpile to keep it dry.
Fire pits require plenty of ventilation. For this reason, many homeowners place their fire pit rooms on the outer sections of their patio designs. This prevents too much smoke from inhibiting the use of the rest of the patio. Fire pits should also not be placed on covered patios unless a special roof chimney system is set up. Keep your fire pit out in the open with lots of fresh air to fan the flames for the optimal fire pit space. Above all, its’ important and critical to check with your local township for the individual requirements for your area.
As a safety concern, some form of fire extinguisher should always be nearby when working with fire. You’ll also need to put the fire out when you’re done enjoying your evening. Your fire pit fire extinguisher need not be an obtrusive red chemical extinguisher, nor should you use water to put out the fire in your fire pit. Dumping water onto a wood fire will only create a lot of smoke, steam and ash that will ultimately cause mess and discomfort, instead keep a container of sand or dirt nearby. The container can even conform to your fire pit area’s style theme in the form of a decorative bucket or urn.
The installation of built-in outdoor fire pits and custom outdoor fireplaces, whether gas or wood-burning, are best left to the professionals. Incorporating fire in just the right ways in the overall landscape design takes skill and experience.