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4 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Fire Pit Space

Fire Pit Design Mistakes

Your vision for the perfect outdoor living space is coming together. You can almost hear the background music, laughter and ice in the glasses clinking. Uh oh…why is the smoke blowing toward people? Why are people seated uncomfortably? Ugh, cleaning wood ashes out is a hassle, so it’s easier to just not use the fire pit much.

Designing a fire pit space isn’t a one-kind-fits-all-outdoor-areas proposition, nor is it digging out a circle, stacking some stone and throwing on some logs. There are basic design rules to follow, as well as tailoring the fire pit to the features of your backyard and your personal wants and needs. You’re not alone if you’re thinking that designing an upscale fire pit space may be a lot more involved than you expected. That’s why it’s important to count on the expertise of fire pit designers and installers who can actually deliver the outdoor space you’ve imagined.

1. Choosing the wrong size fire pit in relation to the entire outdoor living area.

Outdoor fire pits come in a variety of shapes and sizes for a reason: to spatially fit the area. Fire pits can be custom designed to complement your specific style. Not only does the fire pit need to fit the space, but it also needs to meet your expectations. A professional fire pit designer can evaluate the outdoor living space and recommend the best match. Share your personal needs, too, so the size is right whether you host large parties or intimate gatherings.

Choosing the right size means you’ll get the most enjoyment out of your fire pit and minimize maintenance and upkeep requirements.

2. Ignoring accessibility when choosing your fire pit size.

Accessibility gets to the heart of how you see people sitting around the fire pit. Many fire pits measure between 36 and 44 inches wide (including the width of the walls), making them large enough for multiple people to sit around it, yet maintaining an intimate setting. Custom fire pits can be any size, but will have to follow any local regulations.

Thinking chairs surrounding the fire pit with feet propped up on the fire pit? Then, you’ll want a height of 12 to 14 inches from the base to the top of the wall. Go up to 18 to 20 inches tall if you want the fire pit’s edge to be used as seating.

3. Installing your firepit in the worst location possible.

Even though you may think you have the perfect spot for your fire pit in mind, it’s possible it could turn out to be the worst. That’s because, installed in the wrong place, wind can ruin your entire outdoor experience. This mistake occurs most often with wood burning fire pits. The wind tends to blow toward a certain direction. Install the fire pit in the wrong spot, and you could have a smoky, miserable experience for family and guests.

Your fire pit designer should note the direction the wind blows in your outdoor space. If you have an all-around windy property, your designer will locate the fire pit in a location that won’t blow smoke toward seating areas or the patio or deck.

4. Selecting the wrong type of fuel.

Fire pits have fuel options. Make sure you understand each of them before choosing one for your fire pit. Otherwise, you might find yourself not enjoying your outdoor space as much because the fire pit is a pain to use, clean, maintain, etc.

Ethanol, propane and natural gas fire pit fuel options are popular because they emit no smoke, sparks or embers, and there are no ashes to clean up.

  • Ethanol is the cleanest fuel and is supplied via an ethanol tank or tray.
  • Propane-fueled pits require a connection to a liquid propane tank.
  • Natural gas-fueled fire pits require a supply line installation.
  • Wood requires no gas lines or tanks, just wood. Of course, wood results in smoke, sparks, and embers and need frequent cleaning to remove ash.

At the end of the day when you’re outdoors enjoying your fire pit, it’s the design choices made that will affect safety, aesthetics and your overall satisfaction. Think of your outdoor living space like any other room in your home, good design and proper construction make all the difference.

Complete Home Concepts is where Kansas City homeowners turn for expert fire pit design and installation. Let our experts guide you through the process for a better result and years of enjoyment. Contact us for a free estimate.