Friday, July 15, 2011

Designing Trends - Fire Pits

- Fire Pits

The thought of roasting marshmallows on a camp fire or enjoying a beverage of choice in the evening with friends by an open fire are just a couple of reason why the concept of adding a fire pit to the back yard has become one of the more common trends lately. There are several things to consider before you put in your fire pit; do you want wood or gas, do you want it built-in or freestanding and the proper location is critical. These are just a couple of issues we will discuss.

One of the first decisions you will have to make is on whether you want the fire pit to be wood burning or gas, there are pro and cons to both. The crackling sound and the smoky aroma of a wood burning fire brings back memories of camping trips as a kid, but the cleaning up of ashes and constantly having wood avaible reminds you that you are an adult and it’s kind-of like work. There can be a sense of pride in keeping the wood burning fire pit roaring, but if you live up in the foothills, a spark from your fire pit could lead to disaster. The simple act of flipping a switch to start your fire pit is probably one of the main reasons some people like gas over a wood burning fire pit. With a gas fire pit, smoke issues and spark issues are eliminated as you have the look of a fire pit without the work. The biggest differences typically between the two are cost and convenience, the wood burning fire pit typically costs less, but will require more work than a gas fire pit.

The next big thing to decide is whether you want your fire pit to be a built-in destination in your yard or if you want the flexibility of a portable unit (both the built-in and the portable units can be either wood burning or gas). Having an area with built-in seating around a built-in fire pit will give the space a finished look and a specific use which can add value to your yard, but limits the use of the space when you are not using the fire pit. A free standing unit will give you flexibility on the location of where you want to put your fire pit – you can move it around each time to fit your mood. The cost of a built in unit will usually be the deciding factor as the built-in unit typically cost substantially more than a free standing unit.

When deciding the location of your fire pit, you will have to take into consideration several points. The first thing to consider is prevailing winds, the last thing you will want to do is locate a wood burning fire pit so that every time you open the back door smoke flies in the house. You will also want to consider the proximity to the house – if it’s too far away, you might never use it, if it’s too close, you could have smoke and fire issue to deal with. The other main consideration you will want to look at is views. You will want to make sure the fire pit area has a sense of enclosure, so it is comfortable to sit at and unwanted views are screened, but open enough to fame good views and to make sure the area is not claustrophobic.

If you like the outdoors in the evening hours, adding a fire pit can add a destination space to your yard. Whether you want to cook S’mores over an open fire or enjoy a glass of wine (or the beverage of your choice) with some friends at night, a fire pit can add value and a focal point to your back yard.

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