Want to Build a Fire Pit? What You Need to Know!

September 11, 2018 | By Roundtree Landscaping

If you are like us, you have been itching to get back outside and enjoy your backyard! There is no better way to enjoy a fall evening quite like sitting around a fire pit with your family and friends. If you are thinking of adding a fire pit to your backyard, there are a few important items you need to add to your checklist:

City Codes

Research local city codes and/or neighborhood association’s restrictions. Most cities have building ordinances for fire pits and you may need to acquire a building permit prior to construction – especially if you plan on running gas lines.


A wood burning fire pit is the traditional way to enjoy roasted marshmallows!

Gas vs. Wood

The biggest question to ask yourself is if you prefer a gas vs. wood burning fire pit. If you long for the campfire setting of your youth, you probably want to go with a wood-burning fire pit. Be sure to keep in mind that wood fueled fire pits do come with more work to start and maintain a fire, and you must keep a supply of firewood on hand.

Gas, ethanol, or propane fueled fire pits provide an instant and constant fire, but won’t burn quite as hot (and you don’t get the campfire smell!). But, you don’t have to clean up ashes or worry about inhaling lots of smoke. There will, of course, be additional cost involved to run fuel lines to the fire pit.  Alternate fuel types like gel fuels are gaining popularity as well.

The Right Location

When choosing a location for your fire pit, you should maintain a 10 foot distance from any structure like your home, backyard shed, fence or even low hanging trees. The area around and above the fire pit should be completely clear, especially if you choose a wood burning fire pit as embers can float & catch nearby debris on fire.

Also, you will want to note the direction of prevailing wind at your home. If you choose a wood-burning fire pit, you will not want smoke blowing into your home or directly into the faces of your quests.

How Big?

You’ll need to design and build a fire pit large enough to accommodate your family and guests. A fire pit around 3 to 4 feet in diameter is ideal an ideal size to fit you and your guests, but still feel cozy. The walls of the fire pit should be around 12 inches in height if you plan to accommodate patio chairs. Alternatively, some designs incorporate a sunken pit surrounded by built in seating.


Large built-in seating accommodates a big group of friends and family. 

Suite your Style

Keep in mind, the style of your fire pit should complement the existing style of your home and landscape. Fire pits can be built from many different materials and can be as simple, or as artistic as you’d like. Fire pits often end up being a dramatic focal point for your outdoor entertaining space, so make sure you’ll like what you have to look at!


This stone fire-pit sports an unique style with a sculptural metal faux logs!

Stay tuned for a future blog post on how to take your fire pit to the next level.

Now that you have a fire pit checklist you’re ready to get started. Don’t want to DIY it? No problem. Give us a call and we’ll design you the fire pit of your dreams!



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