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Backyard Recreational Fires

Sure, a fireplace is great, especially during those cold, winter nights. It offers a cozy, warm comfortable environment inside your home that cannot be replicated. However, a backyard recreational fire can offer so much more. For example, unlike a fireplace where you can enjoy only one side, a backyard recreational fire experience offers 360 degrees or a full surround presentation that an indoor fireplace can’t present. Moreover, the pit is outside, which permits you to enjoy early spring through late fall evenings with friends and family immersed in conversation and observance of the stars above. It can be a truly wonderful experience.

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Things To Contemplate When Considering A Backyard Fire Pit

Like most projects that cost a bit of money, you will want to focus on some things as you consider the purchase of a backyard fire pit. They include:

  • The cost
  • Local ordinances and codes
  • Whether you want a permanent pit or a mobile one
  • The style
  • The kind of fuel to be used
  • The dimensions of the location of the pit
  • Fire pit materials
  • Fire pit placement
  • The right fire pit ambiance
  • Safety

The Cost

The first consideration when thinking about a purchase of a backyard recreational fire pit is the cost. The actual cost of the structure depends on the size and style you want. You can decide on an elaborate design or a simple one. The larger and more elaborate, the more expensive it will be. If you want to go simple, then you can budget as low as $100 for construction. If you want an elaborate pit, then the cost could be in the thousands of dollars.

Local Ordinances And Codes

Many municipalities may have an ordinance or two or codes concerning the ownership of a backyard recreational fire pit. Before taking any steps to construct your pit, first check with the town governing authorities if they allow a fire pit to be located in your backyard, and if so, are there restrictions on the size and/or style of the pit.

Finding this out before designing and constructing the pit is essential so that you can make design modifications and place the pit in a location that best fits the requirements of an ordinance or code.

Permanent Vs. Mobile

There are portable pits available if you don’t want to spend the money to construct a permanent pit. Portable pits are lightweight and can be placed anywhere you want as long as the location satisfies any ordinances that might be in effect.

On the other hand, a permanent pit has to be designed and constructed. Once it’s built, of course you can’t move it. So you need to carefully consider where to place a permanent pit.

The Style

There are an assortment of fire pit styles to choose from, even portable pits. For example, there are portable pits that feature fire bowls or square designs. These designs are ideal for a small yard. Designs for large portable or permanent pits include square or rectangular configurations in a variety of designs.

The Dimensions

Fire pits are available in an assortment of sizes. Commonly, they range in size from 20-inches to 45-inches in diameter. Small pits are typically 20-inches to 25-inches. Large pits typically are about 40-inches to 45-inches in diameter.

It is important that you check the space you have chosen to determine what size pits it will accommodate.


There are also a number of different materials you can use in the construction of your fire pit. There are stone, tile, stainless steel and copper materials you can choose from. Stones are ideal for a permanent pit because they’re heavy.

Stainless steel is expensive, but it is easier to clean and is rust resistant.

Tiles can be more decorative and, of course, they’re fireproof.

Copper material is perhaps the least expensive, yet it is safe because it is powder-coated. It has a shiny appearance and looks great in any yard.


Before choosing a fire pit, it is suggested that you survey your backyard and decide on the best location for it. Selecting a location should be done with caution. Be sure that it is far enough from things that could catch fire. The pit should be placed in an open space away from structures, plants, and other combustible objects. It is also suggested that you also take into account the wind direction. Many people who own permanent fire pits place them near an outdoor kitchen, pool, and patio. This will allow people to gather around the pit.

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There are a variety of fuels you can use on your fire pit. However, no pits permit the use of multiple types of fuels. Your fuel choices include wood burning, natural gas, propane, or a gel type.

Wood burning is the most popular fuel. It requires keeping a large amount of wood on hand and it’s more cost-effective than propane gas or alternatives.


If you expect to entertain friends and family members around the pit, then you may want to consider the ambiance. You may want to install outdoor lights. LED lights are most convenient because they can be plugged into a nearby electric outlet. Moreover, they are energy efficient. You may also want to consider placing seats around the pit. Styles of seats available include classic outdoor chairs as well as custom-made seats that include stone, concrete or other styles.




Safety should be a priority whenever you use the fire pit. Some safety tips to keep in mind include:

  • Keeping the area free of loose paper, leaves, and other combustible debris.
  • Considering the inclusion of a fire screen around the pit
  • Don’t use the pit when winds are strong
  • Keeping lighter fluid, gasoline and other flammables far away from the pit.
  • A first aid kit and a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Never leave the fire unattended or allow children to monitor the fire

Build and burn a fire in the pit with caution. Seasonal dry wood is ideal to use if you own a wood burning pit because it burns hot and clean. Don’t use damp wood because it can create a lot of smoke.

Don’t burn household garbage, garden waste, magazines, clothing, plastic, or metal in the pit. Burning these items can cause a lot of harmful black smoke.

Just like preparing a wood burning fire in the fireplace, you’ll stack the logs in the fire pit in a manner that allows them to breathe. Use trigs or a little newspaper at tinder to get the fire started. Don’t overfill the pit with wood. Instead, add wood gradually until you achieve a fire that is comfortable and appropriate.

Finally, when you’re finished with the pit, douse the fire with water to extinguish it. Do not allow a backyard fire to die on its own without supervision.

Twenty-four hours after use, scoop out the ashes and place them as well as burnt wood chips into a metal container. It is suggested that you wear protective gloves when handling burned wood. Don’t put waste from the pit in your yard, in a trashcan, or a compost pile. Remnants of a fire can carry heat for as long as three days and could start a new fire.

If you are considering a backyard recreational fire pit, then heed advice from professionals. If you live in Mercer County, New Jersey and you’re considering the inclusion of a recreational fire pit for your backyard, then consider seeking advice from the experts at Mercer County Chimney Service. The staff is well versed in fire pit construction and design and can answer any questions you have concerning fire pits in general. We urge you to call Mercer County Chimney Service at (609) 802-5288 or visit our website.