If you want to spend more time in the backyard this summer, a fire pit might be the way to go. Whether you’re looking to get together to roast marshmallows and weenies, or you just want ambient fire as you stare at the setting sun with a glass of wine at the end of the day, an outdoor fire pit creates a relaxing backyard retreat.

Not all fire pits were created equal. Styles of fire pits range from a metal fire bowl to multi-level and multipurpose units that are a combination of fire pits, fire grills and coolers using materials such as stone and tile, stainless steel and copper. Depending on your budget, an aesthetic stone construction fire pit should be used with larger, permanently installed square pits. Stainless steel fire pits are easy to clean and will hold up to the rain without rusting. Tile fire pits combine the durability of stone fire pit with endless design possibilities. A less flashy but extremely durable copper fire pit is a popular option.  

Speaking of budgets, most fire pits can be purchased for a very reasonable price. Smaller models with a can go for less than $300. Fire tables and pits that use more expensive materials will cost more. A custom-built fire pit using natural stone and other features might set you back but you definitely get your money’s worth as you’ll have all your neighbors talking about your outdoor fire feature.

Fire pit tables range in size and have multiple functions. They can provide heat for those chilly nights and they’re also a great place to have drinks. Made from a range of materials including designs tile, glass, iron, they will look great in any backyard.

And don’t forget about size because it does matter. Larger fire pits can hold more wood but if you want to move it around but they can be very heavy.  Medium-sized fire pits are the most popular common sizes because their easy to move around, their cost and convenience. These are typically around 30 inches wide. Smaller fire pits are more practical, you could even bring it along on a camping trip. But they aren’t as durable.

As you might have guessed not everybody allows fire pits in their city or neighborhood. Your homeowners association, city or county might have general restrictions regarding the use of outdoor fire pits, fireplaces or on burning wood outdoors. Burning a fire outdoors may even be subject to fines.  There most likely will be local ordinances pertaining to the where your fire pit is located on you property.  Code requirements might even prescribe how you operate your outdoor fire pit.

Propane or natural gas pits are alternatives to wood-burning fireplaces and can be used on open porches; you can’t use wood-burning fire pits on covered porches. And you shouldn’t be in windy areas or where there are low branches. Other places that you should not place your pit include a wooden deck or anywhere that is considered too close to your house and that could quickly catch fire.