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8 Tips If You're Thinking of Adding a Fire Pit to Your Yard

Ken Rigel

Ken Rigel comes from true pioneer stock and was born and raised on a small farm in southern Alberta, where he learned the value of honest hard work.Te...

Ken Rigel comes from true pioneer stock and was born and raised on a small farm in southern Alberta, where he learned the value of honest hard work.Te...

May 23 5 minutes read

It's that time of year when everyone starts thinking about backyard projects. Is adding a fire pit something you're thinking of this year? Make sure you read this article first! Here are the things to remember if you are planning a fire pit.

1. Regulations

The City of Calgary website has a full rundown of fire pit safety that lists rules, regulations and bylaws related to fire pits in yards. Backyard fire pits, as well as outdoor fire places, wood-burning ovens or chimeneas, should be used properly to ensure the safety of you and your neighbours. If you live in a condo or apartment, you will also have to check with your condo or homeowners association to see if there are any restrictions regarding outdoor fire pits. If you’re renting, have a chat with your landlord. 

2. Materials

Steel? Poured concrete? Pavers? Stone? Metal? A mixture? Cast iron? Fire pits come in a variety of materials so make sure you chose a material that you like, works within the design of your backyard and holds up to extreme heat! This article breaks down some of the best materials to create your fire pit out of. 

3. Costs

All of those different types of materials cost different amounts of money. According to this article by Houzz, "fire pits have a wide range of costs. With a fire pit made using stacked stones in a ring or a basic model (typically made of metal and set up for wood burning only), you can keep the price under $100. Freestanding fire pits made from materials such as stone, concrete or powder-coated metal can run from $300 to $2,000 or more, depending on design. For custom and built-in models, budget $1,000 to $5,000 or more."

4. Permanent or Portable

Some people want their fire pit as a permanent fixture and focal point of their backyard. But, some chose to have a portable options so they can throw it in the trailer when they go camping. If you're thinking of moving or you're renting, a portable option that you can take with you to your next home may be a good choice.

5. Fuel Choice

This article makes some good points about the different fuel options out there. "While timber is the most obvious fuel option for a fire pit, you can also use clean-burning ethanol/bioethanol products, gels (with a base of isopropyl alcohol or methanol), and faux logs (as in the ornamental logs used in outdoor gas fireplaces, which are less like fire pits and more like fireplaces). 

Timber alternatives can be used in both small and large spaces, but wood should only be burned where there's no risk of embers landing on flammable plant life or built structures."

6. Size

Take some time to think about the size of your backyard and your budget when picking the size of fire pit. Besides some of the regulations mentioned above, you will also need to consider if you want to add seating around the fire pit and the space those seats will take up. A lower fire pit will keep you warmer when you're sitting too. You'll also want to consider circulation in the space. 

7. Brush up on fire safety

Don't leave your fire unattended (or leave young children unattended at the fire), and invest in some fire safety equipment like a fire blanket and a fire extinguisher. You may want to use a grill glove when handling a fire poker. Make sure everyone in the house knows how to turn off or put out the fire feature. You will also want to stay on top of fire bans, as a fire ban is issued to restrict or temporarily ban types of fire use within the city because of a high fire danger.

8. Location

This article has some great tips including the reminder that "building regulations will dictate where your fire pit can and cannot be in your yard, so check those first. Other things to consider when choosing a location for a fire pit include space constraints, fuel type and how you’d like to use the fire pit."

Don't forget to also look at how the location will flow with the rest of your backyard design.

Another tip from the article above: “Keep in mind that the main use of the fire pit will be in the cooler months. From what direction are the prevailing cold winds? It’s best to situate the fire pit in a space where it will be protected from these winds.”

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