2.) If you want a gas fire pit, install it close to your home
While a wood fire pit is cheaper, a gas pit doesn’t leave you smelling like smoke, and turns on fairly quickly, without having to head out and gather wood.
If you’ve decided to go the gas route when building a fire pit, try to put your pit as close to the home as possible – the longer the gas line, the more cost. You’ll likely have an automatic starter, which will require running electricity, so again another expense.
3.) Built in seating isn’t worth it
Many of us have seen stone benches around a fire pit. You’re likely going to have to add brick or concrete for your project, so adding some seating is very tempting. “Built-in benches look cool, but no one wants to sit on them,” says Aaron Rogers of Southern Poolscapes. “They’re really uncomfortable.”
The problem with built-in benches is that your committing to ONE distance people can enjoy your fire. If it’s warm, people might not want to sit close and if it’s cold, they might want to scoot a chair in closer. This isn’t possible with bulit-in beches.
4.) Stick with standard
Back to the idea with the built-in benches, there’s really no need to overdo it. There are a lot of standard build, prefab, modular units, or even portable units that are half the price. Your guests won’t notice expensive customizations, especially if it’s dark out!
5.) Save with a paver patio
Flagstone is beautiful and looks really close to real stone, but is a lot more expensive. Concrete pavers are a great way to save money and have a really good looking patio.
6.) Smokeless Fire Pits
Back to those of you that decided to go with a wood pit instead of gas. Be sure to check out smokeless fire pits or smokeless stoves, even though they’re wood burning, they have less ash and smoke than a traditional wood pit.
The list continues past smokeless: they’re easy to maintain, burn efficiently, beautiful (usually decorative metal), and can sometimes be portable. Some aren’t safe to use on a deck, so for those, you’ll need a heat shield or fire pit mat.
7.) Choose a decomposed granite patio
What is decomposed granite? “Decomposed granite is like gravel, but finer and generally more stable. It’s formed from the natural weathering and erosion of solid granite, a tough, hard, igneous rock. Colors vary, from buff to brown, and include various shades of gray, black, red, and green.” said Ellen Jenkins.
Heavy Rainfall isn’t great for decomposed granite, but most of our clients are in Utah – the second driest state!
8.) Check out a DIY fire pit kit
Bring out your Lego skills! This is a kit of modular stone you stack with no mortar necessary. Bricks securely fasten to each other with raised edges. You can buy kits for wood burning or gas. Gas it a bit more expensive with gas line and electrical installation.
Pro tip: these are pretty heavy kits, buy one you can have delivered, unless you have heavy equipment in your backyard.
9.) DIY your patio too!
If you’re comfortable with the fire pit, why not try the patio? It’s really just a floor. Decomposed granite (#7 above) is the easiest, followed by pavers and then flagstone. To pay a professional, you’ll spend more money on labor than materials, so get some massive savings and do it yourself.
Thanks to A-Action Home Inspection for sources used in this blog.