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Recreational Amenities - Fire Pit

With the full heat of summer still upon us, it’s a little difficult to imagine that fall is right around the corner. And what better way to enjoy fall than sitting around a cozy fire pit with friends and co-workers. In this email we’ll discuss some quick do’s and don’ts of fire pit construction.

Fire pits are, obviously, made to contain fire in a specific location. When built correctly, they can be one of the most attractive amenities on your property. And, of all the amenities we’ve discussed previously, a fire pit has the potential to be one of the least expensive projects to execute. Depending on what options you choose and how much detail you put into the construction, a fire pit can cost anywhere from $350 to $7000.  For example, if you’re just creating a pit with no surrounding grounds updates, the materials cost will be very low. However, if you want to include some hardscaping around the pit, such as paving or built-in benches, the price will rapidly rise!

There are a couple of options for the “fire” portion of the fire pit: wood or natural gas. Natural wood is very inexpensive, however, it’s not always readily available. To actually get a fire started, you’ll need kindling, tinder, and fuel wood. Larger pieces of wood will need to be split to make them usable. To make sure that a wood-burning fire pit is usable, wood will need to be available and have a spot to be kept dry. Another option is to have a natural gas flame. Natural gas is easier to start, but it requires that a gas line be placed and maintained. It will be more expensive up-front, but could be a better option long-term. A major benefit of natural gas is that once the fuel source is turned off, the flame is out. You’ll have to either wait on the wood fire to burn out or be extinguished with water before it can be safely left unattended.

As far as building materials, just about any stone, rock, or brick can be used to create the pit area. However, avoid using river rocks as they often will retain moisture in them and can explode when heated. If you are creating hardscaping, pavers are the most logical material to use as they’re inexpensive, come in multiple sizes to create visual interest, and are easy to install. Paver sand is all you really need to keep them in place.

For safety’s sake, make sure that you locate the pit at least 10 feet from any flammable substances (including trees!) or buildings. Since this isn’t a portable structure, building it in the wrong spot will be a big annoyance if you decide to move it later. Also, don’t just construct the fire pit over grass. Instead, dig out the location to bare earth. Place paver materials in the bottom of the pit to prevent damage to the soil underneath. Leave a little room between the pavers and the sides of the fire pit walls so that water doesn’t pool. Lastly, make sure a fire extinguisher is installed nearby in case sparks or flames jump the walls.

Building a fire pit can create an enjoyable, attractive, and safe location for people to gather and will further enhance the appeal of your property.