Fire pits are awesome additions to your backyard landscaping whether you’re looking to transform your backyard into the entertaining space you’ve always wanted or trying to make the most of your outdoor living area to enjoy solo! Not only do fire pits take your Upstate NY landscape design to the next level but they can also add value to your home.
Unsure where to get started? We’re looking at different kinds of fire pits to consider and showing you beautiful outdoor fire pit ideas for inspiration. Once you’ve gotten some ideas about what kind of fire pit you want, check out a landscape planner online to start planning and budgeting your project!
Different Kinds of Fire Pits
Before jumping into outdoor fire pit ideas for your home, let’s talk about the different kinds of fire pits available. Whether you just want a small fire pit to relax by yourself or you’re coming up with backyard design plans for summer entertaining, the four different kinds of fire pits to choose from are:
- Wood burning fire pits
- Propane fire pits
- Natural gas fire pits
- Gel fuel fire pits
Note: When you decide to add a fire pit to your backyard, be sure to check local laws regarding fire features or consult with a landscape designer in the Capital region and appropriate county (Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, etc) who will be familiar with local regulations.
Wood Burning Fire Pits
Many outdoor fire pit ideas are wood burning because it’s generally the easiest to install and can be designed to fit your wants. While wood burning fire pits are popular, who wants all the smoke in your face, on your clothes, and even possibly smelling up your house? If you’re opting for a wood burning fire pit, consider a smokeless fire pit like the ones from Breeo.
Breeo fire pits have a double wall, secondary combustion design that leaves you with all the positives of a wood burning fire with little to no smoke in the way! Smoke occurs when one of the elements of a fire (heat, fuel, or oxygen) are out of sync with the others.
The Breeo raised fire pit vent design allows plenty of oxygen to feed your fire at all times, even after ash buildup. When your fire is burning well (give it 10 to 20 minutes), the walls of the double wall structure heat up and the hot air rises through the gap between them. The hot air exits the double wall through holes around the rim and this pressurized, heated oxygen mixes with the smoke causing it to reburn. The reburning is what’s known as secondary combustion and results in little to no smoke being released.
Propane Fire Pits
Propane fire pits will give you beautiful flames that may be ideal for those looking at outdoor fire pit ideas to be a focal piece in their backyard landscape design. Glass, rock pebbles, and sometimes fake logs are used with propane fire pit designs. One of the biggest drawbacks to these types of fire pits is that you have to monitor how much propane you’ve used otherwise you may risk running out in the middle of a party!
A typical 20-pound propane tank will last an average of 4 hours or so on maximum output and around 8 hours on a more moderate setting. This may not seem so bad, but if you’re using your fire pit a lot for gatherings or to relax, the fuel costs could start to add up.
Natural Gas Fire Pits
The outdoor fire pit ideas to avoid propane replacement? Natural gas fire pits! These types of fire pits run on an endless supply of fuel from a natural gas line built into the design. While these are easy to use and burn clean, they require your fire pit installation be permanently placed (whereas propane fire pits tend to be more easily moved around) and require access to a natural gas line. If you don’t have one already, you’ll need to hire a professional to install one for you to connect your fire pit to.
Gel Fuel Fire Pits
More suitable for smaller spaces, gel fueled fire pits tend to run on fake logs filled with thickened isopropyl alcohol or methanol based fuel. While these types of fire pits will provide a pretty feature for small spaces and are usually more portable, they don’t burn nearly as warm as other outdoor fire pit ideas.
Outdoor Fire Pit Ideas and Inspiration
Time for some outdoor fire pit ideas and inspiration! As with any landscape design project, start with a landscape planner online to plan and budget the type of fire pit installation you want. Are you interested in paver fire pit ideas that go with a patio installation? Maybe you’re trying to make the most of how to landscape a small backyard and need to consider smaller options to fit? What about in-ground fire pit ideas that make a bold statement and make the ultimate centerpiece for gathering spaces? Having a plan will save you time, trouble, and money.
To get you inspired, let’s talk about these different outdoor fire pit ideas for you to consider:
- Stone fire pit ideas with natural rocks or pavers
- Deck fire pit ideas for any size backyard
- In-ground fire pit ideas for entertaining
Stone Fire Pit Ideas
First up in our look at outdoor fire pit ideas you might be interested in for your backyard space comes stone fire pits. When it comes to stone fire pit ideas, using an insert then building a surround makes it much easier to ensure your fire pit is safe to use.
When you’re thinking of stone fire pit ideas, think about what fits in with the look of your backyard space. Do you have a patio installation you’re incorporating your fire pit into? Is it made of natural stone or did you choose pavers? Paver stone fire pit ideas can fit seamlessly into your space if they use the same hardscaping material as your patio, making it a popular choice for homeowners.
Check out these stone fire pit ideas for some inspiration for your next project:
A Wood Burning Fire Pit for Patio Entertainment
This is a prime example of how paver fire pit ideas can fit seamlessly into a patio installation. This particular paver fire pit is being used as a surround for a fire pit installation. The single wall design of this insert, however, means there’s more likely to be more smoke during a fire. Using a smokeless fire pit insert with a double wall design like the Breeo brand lets you and your guests enjoy the fire without constantly having to move around to avoid smoke!
A Beautiful Modern Fire Pit Using Concrete
This outdoor patio idea is modern without coming across as cold or uninviting. The use of clean, sharp lines gives it a chic look and the surrounding landscaping makes it feel like its own private getaway. The minimalist design is mixed with the more traditional outdoor couch design, showing you how well these two different aesthetics can actually blend together!
Deck Fire Pit Ideas
When you’re thinking of deck fire pit ideas, be sure to consider fire-safe bases to set it on. While fire pit tables may not need this to be safe, other styles may require that you lay pavers or other fire-proof stones underneath as a safety precaution. Additionally, if you’re putting a fire pit on your deck, be sure it’s a safe distance from your house and always keep a fire extinguisher on hand (this goes for all outdoor fire pit ideas).
Deck fire pit designs come in a seemingly endless variety of options. Choosing a concrete deck fire pit or gas fire pit that has fire glass in the design will give you a more modern look. The sparkle of fire glass is chic and beautiful! Want something a little more traditional or a fire pit that blends different styles? You can find lots of deck fire pit ideas that look and function like pieces of furniture to create a really cool indoor/outdoor feel for your space, as well.
Check out these two outdoor fire pit ideas for decks to get inspired!
Outdoor Gas Fire Pit Table Mixing Modern and Traditional
This outdoor fire pit idea is simple yet elegant, modern but welcoming. We love the way this deck fire pit idea blends into the decor almost like a furniture piece. In fact, you’ll notice this fire pit can actually double as a sort of coffee table with space to set your coffee in the morning or some amazing hot chocolate on colder nights!
Natural Stone Looks for Deck Fire Pit Ideas
This is one of our favorite deck fire pit ideas because it mixes different styles so well. These homeowners have chosen a natural stone look for their deck fire pit that meshes perfectly with the casual furniture and seat pillows to create a very relaxing vibe. Though it’s certainly fabricated, this deck fire pit looks almost like it was carved out of one giant stone! This is definitely a versatile outdoor living space you can enjoy solo or use to entertain guests.
In-Ground Fire Pit Ideas
In-ground fire pit ideas are very popular not just because they look great but because they can help reduce some of the risks different types of fire pits present. Some of the risks they can help eliminate include high flames potentially catching trees on fire and loose embers flying high enough to land on flammable surfaces close by.
These kinds of outdoor fire pit ideas can range in design from traditional stone fire pits set into the ground to ultra modern in-ground fire pits that look like an island in the middle of a pool! While in-ground fire pits might sound more complicated than the others, they can be remarkably simple to add to your backyard landscape design.
In-ground fire pits bring even more attention to the need to control smoke, however, so definitely consider a smokeless fire pit for all wood burning outdoor fire pit ideas. Most landscape professionals recommend that in-ground fire pit ideas be dug so that the base of a fire is 6 to 12 inches below the surrounding grade. A big reason for this is because any deeper and it won’t warm the surrounding seating nearly as well, making it less useful on colder nights. You don’t want to freeze out there, do you? We didn’t think so!
Check out the example below to see how these homeowners built their in-ground fire pit:
In-Ground Stone Fire Pit for a Natural Vibe
This is a clever use of natural stone to not only build an in-ground fire pit but also provide seating for friends, family, and other guests! The addition of wooden benches adds to a more traditional and rustic feeling. This looks like the perfect spot to talk with friends, cook hot dogs over the fire, and really enjoy a great evening. The surrounding mulching also serves to highlight the fire pit as the focal piece in this backyard.
Pro Tip: Want to really wow everyone? Work with your landscape designer to determine the best way to add a fire pit and water feature installation to your landscaping for a real show stopping look!
We hope our guide to outdoor fire pit ideas has been informative and inspiring. Outdoor fire pit ideas make the perfect addition to your backyard space whether it’s for entertaining or relaxing by yourself. Think about the space you have available, what you want to use a fire pit for, and how a fire pit could help you make the most of your backyard landscape design. This will give you a better idea of what kind of fire pit you should get and how to make your backyard flow to meet your needs. If you’re totally lost, don’t worry! A professional will be able to help determine which outdoor fire pit idea is best for your Upstate NY home.
Once you’re ready to start planning, head on over to our Project Planner and start budgeting and planning your fire pit installation. You can save your plans or submit them to us and one of our landscape designers will be in touch.
Bonus: Now that we’ve covered outdoor fire pit ideas, check out these 8 pond and water feature installations for inspiration on those next! Then learn which water feature design is right for your yard and talk to a landscape designer about how to really make your next project special.