A fire pit added to your backyard setup is a great way to increase your entertainment space. It can also increase your home value if you have a built-in fire pit. These are usually made from stone or brick and are a permanent fixture.
When placing a fire pit, you must be sure to set it at least 10 feet (304.8 cm) from any vertical structure, including fences and trees. It is even better if you can manage to place it 20-25 feet (609-762 cm) from any structures to be on the safe side.
Continue reading below to find out more information on where to place your firepit in your backyard. You’ll also find some answers to frequently asked questions.
How Far Away From Your House Should You Place Your Fire Pit?
Your fire pit should never be placed any closer than 10 feet (304.8 cm) from anything that is flammable, such as a gas grill. This also includes overhanging tree branches or structures like a house, fence, or pergola.
The owner’s manual will advise if it is safe to place it on grass or a wooden deck, although we do not recommend using a fire pit on a wooden deck, so be sure to check. The best place to put a fire pit is on a concrete or brick slab or patio.
Best Locations for a Fire Pit
A concrete patio is the best location for a fire pit unless you have a fire pit that specifically states it can be placed on the grass. The patio should be 4 – 5 feet (121.92 – 152.4 cm) larger than the firepit itself. You can place double walls as seats to define the space and help you to measure it out.
Fire pits should always be on a level surface, so again a concrete or brick patio may be best. Even though the fire pit should be placed no closer than 10 feet (304.8 cm) from a structure, if you can place it further away that would be even better.
Fire Pit Laws and Regulations
Fire pits are considered recreational fires, and the rules are in place for one of two reasons, either to keep you safe or to be courteous to your neighbors. There may be regulations in your state, county, or HOA, so check with them.
Continue reading below for an explanation of some of these regulations and some fire pit safety tips.
Fire pits must be placed on fire-resistant surfaces such as brick patios or stone pavers. This prevents rogue embers from creating a fire risk. Remember to place it 10 feet (304.8 cm) from structures or tree limbs. Some areas require that it be 25 feet (762 cm) from flammable objects and some areas require you to report a fire pit to your homeowner’s insurance.
Places prone to drier weather or forest fires may require your fire pit to be inspected before installation and use.
Burn Material Restrictions
There are restrictions on what you can burn in your firepit. Some of these restrictions are determined by your area; others are statewide. One statewide burn restriction is for tires. They contain many flammable and toxic materials and can cause serious illness if the resulting smoke is inhaled.
You must be careful with burning magazines and paper, as the ink and adhesives used can cause toxic odors. Burning things like poison ivy can also cause irritation in your lungs, so be sure to wear protective gear if burning this.
Burning dry firewood is generally accepted everywhere. If you use woods like oak, hickory, or cedar, they not only burn well but can leave a pleasant scent in the air.
Below are some examples of what NOT to burn in your firepit:
- Particle board
- Treated wood
- Poison Ivy or Poison Sumac
It would be best always to have an adult supervising a fire pit. Most counties require this anyway. Shifting winds can cause flames to go in other directions and sparks to jump to flammable objects. Fire burn restrictions are placed when there are high winds in the forecast.
Fire Pit Safety
Leftover embers can be a fire hazard due to their ability to reignite. Spreading the coals or wood out and mixing them with dirt or sand helps to ensure they are fully extinguished. You should never bury your coals or wood as this can cause the heat to be held in and ignite the items again.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Is it safe to have a fire pit under a covered patio? It is not safe to have a fire pit under a covered patio. The smoke permeating from it can be thick and toxic. There needs to be open-air space above the fire pit to allow these things to dissipate. Additionally, your fire pit needs to be at least 10 feet (304.8 cm) from any structures.
- Do gas fire pits keep mosquitoes away? Gas fire pits will not keep mosquitoes away. A wood-burning fire pit creates a layer of smoke which bugs do not like. They will most likely avoid the area.
- Is a fire pit worth it? Fire pits create an area of interest in your backyard. This can be done whether it is portable or fixed. It can provide warmth on cool nights and double as a grill. It is reported that most homeowners recoup 78% of what they spend to create the fire pit.
- Is it safe to put mulch around a fire pit? If the surrounding materials are sand, rocks, or gravel, you can place mulch around a fire pit. Materials like rocks prevent sparks from reaching the mulch and starting a fire.
- What is a good size fire pit? Generally, a fire pit has an inside diameter of 30 inches. This allows enough space for the wood to burn and give warmth while allowing people to sit around it close enough to be able to enjoy it on cold nights.
- What do you put under a fire pit on concrete? If you have a concrete patio on which you are placing your fire pit, you may need to protect the concrete from the heat. To do that, you can use one of three things: a pit mat, fire ring, or heat shield.
- Will concrete crack in a fire pit? When the concrete is exposed to high heat, it can cause the moisture in the concrete to expand, which can cause cracking. However, this has been known only under extreme circumstances.
- Do you need special retaining blocks for a fire pit? The most commonly used retaining blocks for fire pits are trapezoidal blocks. These fit together snugly in a circle to avoid unnecessary gaps. You can find these at your local hardware stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot.
- Should you glue fire pit bricks? Liquid Nails Fuze-It adhesive is the best thing to use on fire pit bricks. Liquid Nails can handle extreme temperatures while still holding your blocks in place.
Your fire pit should be placed at least 10 feet (304.8 cm) from any structure, tree, or fence. However, if you prefer to be on the safe side, 20-25 feet (609-762 cm) away from flammable objects is optimal.
Fire pits are a great way to increase your entertainment space and add value to your home. Following the safety guidelines that come with your fire pit and the ones mentioned in this article can keep you enjoying it for a long time.