How a fire pit can extend your summer into autumn & winter
- What is a fire pit?
- Types of fire pits
- Benefits of fire pits
- Fire pit safety tips
Who does not enjoy sitting and looking at an open fire? Not only is it therapeutic, but it radiates warmth when you're outside, and the sun goes in.
With summer over and autumn now in the air, the evenings feel more crips, cooler and darker. That does not mean you don't have to avoid being in your garden. One way to continue to enjoy autumn and extend your summer is to use a fire pit.
A fire pit provides warmth and creates ambience and a gathering spot for your family and friends.
But how do you pick a fire pit? What are their benefits, and what safety tips should you follow?
Read our complete guide on fire pits.
What is a fire pit?
Simply put, A fire pit is a pit that can be dug into the ground or be a structure that contains fire, usually consisting of brick, stone or metal.
A fire pit can come in all ranges and sizes that can nicely fit your back garden, alongside garden sheds and log houses. You don't even need a structure; you can dig a hole in the ground and place stones along the edge - basically, make your DIY one!
Types of fire pits
As you search for a fire pit, you should know different types if you don't plan to create one in your garden. Here are the most popular ones:
Wood-burning fire pits
Wood-burning fire pits are homemade campfires, provided they're a safe distance from the home's structure. Wood-burning fire pits give more of an authentic feel of listening to wood cracking inside the fire pit.
Wood-burning fire pits also have different uses, from grilling and cooking to acting only as a fireplace or centrepiece in the garden or on a patio.
Metal fire pits
Metal fire pits are a favourite with many families. Metal can be easily sculpted to match the style of your garden or even be small enough to spruce up your patio.
Metal fire pits can be sculpted into many designs, from the most rudimentary to those more artistic. Most metal fire pits are made from steel, although some include copper or iron combined with stones or tile.
Brick fire pits
Often homemade and permanent, brick fire pits are constructions built from the floor up using fire-safe bricks surrounded by more decorative ones. You cannot use regular bricks for the inner wall as they will crack under the intense heat. Brick fire pits also need a solid base to maintain the weight of all the bricks.
Stone fire pits
Similar to brick fire pits with their sturdy structure and like brick fire pits with their benefits of a more authentic feel - stone fire pits can bring a natural landscape to your garden.
Stone fire pits come in a plethora of colours and cuts and do not fade. Stone fire pits also can have a polished look or be left to appear more rustic, plus it does not damage due to cold weather or rain. With stone fire pits, it's best to have gravel or lava rocks for the base.
Propane fire pits
Propane fire pits are probably the easiest fire pit for a garden or a patio. Because they do not need any raw materials like wood to start a fire, they are easily switched on or off to begin the fire.
Propane fire pits also have the benefit of being portable, being moved around a garden where required, making it ideal for moving away from flammable objects or if you need to move out of the way for a garden party. Several propane fire pits are made with a copper bowl due to its high melting point, thus very resistant to heat.
Gel fire pits
The main benefit of using a gel fire pit is that when burning the gel, it does not emit any smoke or smell due to the cleanliness of the gel. Some gel fire pits have fueled logs, but most are designed for a tabletop position because the smokeless effect is ideal as a patio or table centrepiece.
These gel fire pits usually contain decorative stones or even glass ones to add to the aesthetic of the fire pit.
Gas fire pits
If your home has a natural gas line running through the garden, you can choose a natural gas fire pit. Although gas fire pits are in a permanent position in your garden, they do begin advantages, including not ever running out of fuel to light the fire as it is attached to the home's gas line (provided you pay your gas bills!)
A nice touch to having a gas fire pit is to have a sunken design, meaning that they are built somewhat into the ground of a garden giving a lovely centrepiece to your garden.
Benefits of having a fire pit
There are many reasons to install a fire pit in your garden, and not only to add some style or design to your home. Today, fire pits are not only a modern or temporary fad; they add a function to your home garden.
1. Creating an ambience in your garden
With more of us working remotely either by choice or forced due to pandemics and subsequent lockdowns, creating a sense of ambience in your home is now more critical than ever.
Wellness is essential to a positive outlook. Spending time outside in the garden is a wonderful way to reduce stress and anxiety after a long day of school or work.
A fire pit adds to a gorgeous looking garden, with maybe a garden house or log cabin to complement. This type of garden is great for families and meeting friends and neighbours standing and sitting around a fire pit or even cooking food over it.
Fire pits also function as an ambient light source should you prefer flickering flames over outside halogen or LED lights. Although it does not provide enough light to read a book, it does create a cosy atmosphere for either some alone time or quality time with loved ones.
2. Creating a space to cook meals for friends and family
Cooking food over a fire pit can add tremendous outdoor flavour to your food, especially if you have a fire pit with a suitable grill on top of the hot embers. Great for a barbeque get-together.
Some food ideas that fire pits can be used to heat food are:
- Grilling meat
- Grilling fish
- Corn on the cob or other vegetables that can be grilled
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Hot dogs
- Roasted marshmallows
Both adults and children can enjoy delicious cooked barbeque food over a fire pit. Furthermore, preparing and cooking food outdoors means both family and friends can remain outside to play and socialise.
3. Staying warm during cool summer and autumnal evenings
It's evident that the heat that radiates from a fire pit can keep you warm if you decide to remain outside with friends, family or loved ones. Being close to a fire pit will keep you nice and warm when those autumnal nights become chillier.
If you cook over the fire pit, you can eat your food whilst sitting close to it, keeping warm yet feeling relaxed and enjoying a hearty meal.
4. Building an entertainment area in your UK home
Spring and summer see many of us flock outdoors to meet others outside and enjoy what nature offers. Summer does not need to end if you have a fire pit in your garden. As per the points above, it can provide warmth, food, a lovely ambience and, combined with a garden room in your garden, a place to relax and deliver entertainment to guests and family.
Fire pit safety tips
Before buying and setting up your garden fire pit, there are some tips you should follow before lighting it.
- Ensure the fire pit location is safe and nothing is hanging or nearby that could catch fire like a wooden garden shed or log cabin.
- If you have a fire pit on a patio, ensure it is located in the middle, and it has plenty of space around it - and not near trees, grass and plants.
- Don't light the fire pit under any covered area, for example, a gazebo or an awning.
- Before lighting the fire pit, check which way the wind is heading, and it does not blow flames that can injure you or someone else.
- If your fire pit does not have legs or something underneath, ensure or be aware that the ground around it will become scorched or damaged.
- Always keep pets and children away from a fire pit if it is left unsupervised.
- Take fire safety precautions by having a bucket of water or sand nearby, or better, a fire extinguisher or fire blanket.
- When you have finished, ensure that the fire is extinguished and covered up, removing any hot embers or preventing ash from blowing around.
Fire pits for your garden
A fire pit can be simply used like a traditional campfire needed for warmth, or much more like cooking food barbeque style or providing a stylish centrepiece for your garden or patio. Fire pits are not usually a purchase people make as they believe it is nothing they need.
However, those who invest in a fire pit often discover the vast benefits of having one.
If you get a fire pit for your garden, you get a sense of ambience and functionality that complements your overall wellness and home comfort, much like having an outside hot tub or sauna.
With meeting in public still causing anxiety for family and friends, having a great place to socialise or spend alone in your garden is critical in times like these due to pandemic-induced lockdowns.