Add a Fire Pit to Your Yard

Spending an evening by a cheerful fire under the starry skies is one on the undeniable pleasures of summer. Yes we have had record breaking heat – but even a warm evening is more lovely with a dancing fire to sit around and enjoy the company of friends. Not to mention if you plan for it and install one now – you can enjoy your fire pit all through the cooler months.

gardening-with-soule-add-fire-pit
A non-flammable surface around your fire feature is a good idea.

Sign Up For My Newsletter

occasional news you can use

I respect your privacy and won't share the list. Newsletters sent from SouthwestGardenGuide@hotmail.com.

Modern Fire Pit

You don’t need to resort to a camp-out style circle of rocks and smoking campfire either. There are many elegant and surprisingly inexpensive options for a fire feature; including a chiminea, fire pit, fire bowl, beehive, kiva-style or traditional fireplace. Then there is the option of fueling these with natural gas, propane, or wood. Today we will look at gas firepits.

gardening-with-soule-add-fire-pit
A chiminea is cute but requires you feed it with wood. Scorpions like to live in wood piles.

Planning Fire Pit Placement

Planning the placement of your gas fire pit is extremely important. This is not a portable device! If in doubt about placement, a licensed landscape designer can help you. In general across the Northern Hemisphere, the prevailing wind direction is from the west. Include this information along with distance from the door, existing vegetation, and accessibility for all ages and abilities should be some of the items you consider when planning the placement of a fire pit.

gardening-with-soule-add-fire-pit-stars
Might I suggest not having fixed seating, like here. On a warm night you may wish to sit further away.

Seating

Plan on some “hardscape” around your fire pit for additional seating. Ideally the surface will meld well with your fire feature. Consider using the same stone, or perhaps stained or patterned concrete, or some of the stone-like paver systems.

Design

Then comes the design of the pit itself. There are a myriad of options for the structure of the fire pit itself, the overall shape, and the type of filler. Walls are usually stone, and can match the home, or pick up and accentuate a feature of the landscape, such as matching the tiles in the pool or spa.

gardening-with-soule-add-fire-pit-enjoy
Round is the most common shape for a fire pit.

Fire pit shapes are mostly limited by the imagination. Shapes can be round, square, rectangular or curvilinear. Final shape is mostly limited by the shape of the gas insert that will go into the fire pit.

Construction

The gas insert is placed then covered by a filler, or fire bed. The fire-bed is limited to fireproof substances. Most commonly used fire beds are lava rocks or volcanic cinders, but glittering fireplace glass is also a lovely option. You can not use rocks that you find on your own, they can hold microscopic water molecules and might shatter or explode when heated.

gardening-with-soule-add-fire-pit-stars
It doesn’t need to be blazing – just a little flame can be quite lovely. Here they have cement “logs” so it looks more like a camp fire.

Be Safe

One of the reasons for going with a gas fire pit is safety, (Safer than keeping piles of flammable wood around.)  And safety should be the number one concern. Even if you have no young children at home, will some visit you? While ease of lighting a gas fire is nice, it should not be easy for small fingers to do. In the land of black widow spiders and scorpions, hiding the activation switch inside a recessed box is not all that safe either. Consider a locking ring that will allow you to padlock your fireplace in the off position.

Enjoy the outdoors in the relative cool of evening. If you are concerned about mosquitoes – they are generally drawn to the bright light of the fire and “unalive” themselves rather that buzz around humans. The night skies are enchanting – and what better way to enjoy them than around a gas fire pit in your own yard.

More About Planning Your Yard for Better Enjoyment

soule-books-buyOne reviewer said:

“A great reference book is key to successful gardening in the region where you live. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening takes the guesswork out of gardening for anyone residing in the Southwest. With this book, you’ll know what to do each month to enjoy a thriving garden all year, from January to December. Chronologically organized, this guide is full of critical gardening when-to and how-to advice, along with illustrated step-by-step instructions.

The book’s author is Jacqueline Soule, a Tucson-based gardening expert. She knows this arid region inside and out, and she’s written several articles and books packed with her gardening advice. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening showcases Soule’s expertise in one easy-to-read guide.”

Available on my book selling site – and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies – at no extra cost to you.

Legal

© Article copyright Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit. You must include a link to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.

 

Be the first to reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *