Considering a Fire Pit? Safety First

3/18/21 8:45 AM Christina Wilson

It's easy to have a fire pit in a large open yard, but what about living in the city with an enclosed patio or deck? Many types of fire pits will work in a small space if you follow fire pit safety guidelines.

Types of Fire Pits 

For a historic home in the city, opt for a hardscape, permanent-structure fire pit incorporated into a beautiful deck or patio design plan. Hardscaped fire pits in a small yard are typically constructed from stone or brick.

  • Raised – A raised fire pit places the fire bowl off the ground and up to a low table height. This position prevents burning or heating of decking and other patio surfaces and makes for easier access toasting marshmallows or cleaning the space. Ideally, raised fire pits are smaller to keep them manageable.
  • Deck ring – It's possible to have a fire pit on a deck, but it's essential to design them in such a way to make sure your decking material is not in danger of catching fire. 
  • Patio ring – Rings made for enclosed patios can use stone or brick to complement existing patio pavers' pattern. 
  • Gas-burning – An alternative to wood-burning fire pits. They are cleaner and more easily controlled on a table-top or deck fire pit. They require no firewood storage space and leave no embers to cool, blow around or clean up after. Code restrictions are also fewer for gas fire pits.

Safety Tips for Your Backyard Fire Pit

The most important aspect of building a fire pit in your backyard space is to make sure your fire is easily controlled. Even in the city, wind can rise, and proximity to flammable surfaces is crucial.

  • Distance – Your fire pit should be between 10-20 feet away from your house, trees, shrubbery, flammable fencing, and structures.
  • Fire mats – Install these during construction; installed over a deck or ground surface, including over stone or pavers, as a foundation for the fire pit. These mats can withstand up to 1400 degrees (F), creating an excellent protective barrier. 
  • Spark screens – Use a screen on your fire pit to help prevent sparks and ash from blowing or popping onto surfaces and people nearby. 
  • Stone surrounding walls – Every hardscape fire pit placed at ground level on a deck, patio or grass, should feature 36" or higher stone or brick ring walls. Decks made from wood and composite material can catch easily with sparks, so extend another foot of ground pavers surrounding the fire pit walls to protect your deck. 
  • Keep on hand – If you're going to have a fire pit in your yard, don't forget always to keep a fire extinguisher, fireproof gloves, and a water bucket or hose nearby. 
  • Never unattended – Not only should your fire always have someone attending it, but make sure to thoroughly douse the embers before you put away the marshmallows and call it a night.

Your family can safely enjoy the blend of outdoor nature and story-telling around a fire in your back yard with a safely built fire pit.  Renaissance Development professionals can make your fire pit dreams a reality.  Contact us to schedule your consultation today.


Categories: Fireplace safety, Patio design, Hardscaping, Landscape design, hardscape

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