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Fire pit placement is really important. Too close to structures and you can run into a fire hazard, but at the same time you want it somewhere central too. Here’s everything you need to know about where to put a firepit in your backyard safely.
Where to Put a Firepit in Your Backyard
Finding the perfect spot in your backyard for a firepit can be tough. The most important thing to consider is safety, but you’ll also want it somewhere comfortable too!
Before You Begin
Check all your local bylaws for instructions on where to put a firepit in your backyard. Some have requirements for minimum distance from structures and overhangs.
You might also need a permit, and if so make sure to have that approved before installing your firepit.
Finally, also double check that there aren’t any HOA rules, if you live in that sort of community.
Away From Buildings
Firepits shouldn’t be situated too close to the house or other structures like a garage. With a wood burning fire pit, being too close can mean hot ash coming off and potentially starting a fire. Even if that doesn’t happen, the smoke from the fire can do damage to nearby structures too.
Even gas and propane fire pits can pose a risk to nearby structures, though. First of all, the heat they give off can singe. Second, and most importantly, any open flame presents a certain amount of risk. If you happen to ignite something around the fire pit, having a distance between the flame and the house will give you more opportunity to extinguish it before it does any real damage.
Fire pits should be placed a minimum of 10 feet away from any structure.
In an Open Space
Besides being away from buildings and structures, you also don’t want your firepit in a place with a lot of overhang. Trees, pergolas, and overhead wires should never be hanging low over a fire pit’s location.
Again, local laws may dictate how high up overhangs should be before it’s considered safe. As a general rule, keep the fire pit 10-15 feet away from any overhanging branches or other structures.
On a Flat Surface
The ground’s surface is another important factor when deciding where to put a firepit in your backyard. You need it to be flat so the firepit doesn’t wobble. Find a level space that’s not just big enough for the firepit, but surrounding chairs as well.
You may need to do some landscaping to get the ground to corporate. Some people lay a fire pit pad to help make the ground more level. Gravel can also be used to create a level, fireproof surface.
Away From Anything Flammable
It’s not uncommon for yards to be filled with all kinds of flammable things. Fallen trees, piles of dead leaves or lawn trimmings, and even dried grass can all pose an ignition risk when a fire pit is nearby.
Keep the fire pit away from any of this debris. But it’s also a good idea to clean it out of your yard completely since sparks can travel at some distance.
On A Fireproof Surface
If you really want to be fire safe, creating a fireproof surface for your fire pit can make a big difference. There’s a few ways to do this:
- Pour a concrete pad
- Use patio pavers to create a stone or concrete surface for your firepit
- Cover the ground with gravel or sand
- Dig away the grass leaving only dirt (possibly muddy, but cheapest option)
Composite decks or pergolas can also be relatively safe for a fire pit if you’re using a propane or gas powered fire pit.
This has the added perk of less yard maintenance, too.
Out of the Wind
Wind poses the most risk for wood burning fire pits because it can blow hot embers around the yard, possibly igniting the surroundings. But even a gas or propane fire pit can be dangerous in the wind if something blows into the flame.
You should only light a fire pit on calm days. But it’s also a good idea to find a spot for your fire pit that has some wind shelter. Gusts can happen suddenly, and the protection can not only keep you safe but comfortable too.
Near Safety Measures
It goes without saying that these can be moved closer to the firepit, but making sure they’re available is crucial for fire safety. What you have on hand will depend on the type of fire pit you’re using.
For all fire pits, but especially gas ones, you should have a fire extinguisher nearby. A dry, chemical free fire extinguisher (like the one you’d use in the kitchen) works best.
Wood burning fire pits carry additional risk, so always keep a charged water hose or a bucket of sand close enough to douse any flames.
This is great for sparks that ignite nearby (but don’t get out of control) and to extinguish the fire pit when you’re done.
In a Convenient Spot
If you have a large property you have more leeway as to where you can put your firepit. But make sure you think about convenience when choosing a spot, too
Is your firepit in the way? Will it be difficult to cut the grass around it? Are you close enough to the house to easily grab food, drinks, etc? How far away is the nearest bathroom?
Think about how you plan to use the firepit and if the spot you chose works for that.
Final Considerations On Where to Put a Firepit in Your Backyard
One last thing to remember is that one of the biggest fire pit dangers isn’t starting a fire, it’s personal injury. Carefully supervise kids and pets anytime you have an open flame, and don’t use a firepit while intoxicated.
If you’re roasting marshmallows, make sure to keep pointy or hot sticks away from kids. And while you’re at it, additional safety measures, like a fire pit grate, are a good idea too.
Even if you know where the perfect spot to put a firepit in your backyard is, personal safety is just as important as safe placement. But, once you’re all set up and safe, having a backyard fire pit can definitely be worth the effort.