With winter upon us and the fire ban lifted until late September, now is the perfect time to add a fire pit to your backyard. Not only do they help with winter time entertaining by providing a source of heat for your guests, they also offer the opportunity to add some personality into your yard with their often quirky and unique designs.
However, be aware that there are restrictions and guidelines to follow when installing and using a fire pit in a residential area. If you are unsure of the regulations in your area, please contact your local council to find out more information.
Our landscape designers have put together some tips to setting up the perfect fire pit feature for your home.
Choosing the right fire pit
With so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to select the right pit for your space. However, keep in mind where it’s going to be positioned in your landscape and the overall size you want it to be, and it’ll help to narrow down the search. A fire pit should last you through a few winters, so look for good quality materials to ensure the longevity of the product.
Fire pits are a great way of creating a center point for your family and friends to gather around in those colder months. Wood burning pits are particularly great, as you can all huddle around the circular pit. If you want to make this more of a permanent feature of your landscape, you can add some limestone and wood seating. Check out this Kensignton fire pit feature we constructed for some inspiration!
Just be wary of the direction of the wind when your fire is going, as anyone standing in that general area may get a little smokey!
Fire pots are a smaller version of a fire pit. Often made from ceramic, these small or large pots are a more portable alternative to installing a permeant feature. They can be moved as and when needed, plus some even have the additional benefit of adding citronella in to help keep the mosquitos at bay. Fire pots look sophisticated, sleek and can bring a sense of elegance to any backyard.
You can go with the more traditional approach and install a stock standard fireplace that sits inside a wall. This is very similar to an indoor fireplace, but is built with stone and customised accents to ensure safety and your desired design. It can also act as a unique feature point to your outdoor area.
How to use your fire pit safely:
Whether you have a portable or permanent fire pit, these tips are essential to ensure the safety of yourself and others while using a fire pit in your backyard.
Positioning Your Fire Pit
- Make sure your fire pit is a minimum of 3 meters away from any structure or flammable vegetation such as grass or trees. It also needs to be around 3 meters away from your neighbour’s yard.
- DO NOT position your fire pit under a covered porch, pergola, or low hanging tree branches.
- Make sure your fire pit is placed upon a non-flammable surface, for example concrete, stone or patio bricks.
- DO NOT put your fire pit on a wooden deck or directly onto grass.
Lighting Your Fire Pit
- Always check the wind direction before you light a fire.
- If it is too windy, DO NOT light your fire pit.
- DO NOT use lighter fluid to light a fire pit; instead, a commercial fire starter stick with kindling on top is ideal.
- DO NOT use any flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
Using Your Fire Pit
- Never leave a fire pit unattended, not even for a minute. Put the fire out completely with water not soil.
- Never leave children or pets unattended near a fire pit.
- Consider investing in a wire mesh cover to keep embers inside and help prevent children or pets from falling in.
- Limit the amount of fuel you put in the fire—just put what’s necessary to keep it burning gently.
- DO NOT put garbage or paper products into the fire. They can easily spark and throw off embers or burning remnants.
- Don’t wear flammable or loose-fit clothing while near the pit.
- Don’t burn soft woods like pine or cedar. These can “pop” and throw sparks.
- Even if you follow all of these guidelines, accidents still happen. It is important to keep a container of water and a hose nearby in case of an emergency.
Extinguishing Your Fire Pit
- Always have a shovel nearby to extinguish any escaped flames and to put out the fire itself.
- Extinguish with water; drown it and stir it with the shovel to make sure it’s fully extinguished.
- Dispose of the ashes in a safe manner; keep a metal bucket that is used solely for ash storage. Even after 2 or 3 days, ashes can still be hot enough to cause a fire.
- Do not discard hot ashes in a compost pile, paper or plastic bag, cardboard box or anything that is combustible.
Installing a fire pit can be a handy way to utilise your backyard during the colder months. See our project gallery for inspiration or contact our landscape experts to make your outdoor space the spot to be this winter. Call us on 08 9379 9686 or email to start planning today!