Spring or Fall, an outdoor fire pit can transform an ordinary backyard into an inviting year around entertainment center.

Today’s homeowners spend more money on outdoor spaces than they do on their interiors. Day or night, summer or winter most of us prefer to spend our leisure time outside.

“Fire features, from pits to fireplaces, enable any outdoor room or exterior space not only warmth and year-around use; but also, the ability to create ambiance and focal points; sometimes even an artistic element,” said Grant Hanegan, owner, Fire House Casual Living Store, Raleigh, Charlotte, NC and Greenville, SC. “The options today in fire features are vast and full of style as well as technically engineered durability.”

With so many options where do you start?

Fire Features
Castelle Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Take the time to educate yourself on what’s available, it’s durability and construction elements. Cost can vary from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. Match the features personality to your backyard’s design.

Not all fire pits put out the same heat. Mass merchandised, free-standing propane fire pits generally have a heat output of 40,000 BTUs. A quality fire pit will offer 50,000 – 60,000 BTUs. The greater the BTUs, the greater the heat and the larger the space it can handle.

Fire Features
Castelle Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Natural gas fire pits are the most convenient but they also have the highest installation cost. Propane fueled units have improved dramatically when it comes to concealing the tanks within the unit itself or in a nearby side table.

Wood burning pits are the dirtiest to operate but are certainly the coziest. You must gather and store wood and after an evening enjoying a wood burning pit you can smell like you’ve been camping.

The most portable pits are those that are fueled by environmentally friendly and renewable energy sources. Ethanol flued and solar powered are just two available options. The BTUs will be lower than gas or wood fueled.

Fire Features
Brown Jordan

Some units have glass wind guards to help eliminate fire shifts and increase performance in windy conditions. Also consider pits that have a lid or hard top that cover the fire opening when not in use. It keeps the unit cleaner and provides additional serving or display space.

Fire pits are available in various heights. The most popular is the “chat height”. The fire pit is surrounded by benches or cushioned chairs to create a cozy conversation setting. There are also narrow fire pits that run down the center of a dining table. Round fire pits in the middle of bistro tables. And for those that enjoy propping their feet up, the low fire bowls are perfect.

Whichever style, size or fuel type you select, make sure you use a qualified, professional installer. Take the time to review fire safety tips and rules with everyone that lives in your home. Fire pits should never be operated by minors or those that are not familiar with it operation.

Fire Features
Brown Jordan

When planning your next outdoor party or a romantic dinner for two build it around your new fire pit. In cooler weather, supply colorful blankets for your guest. In warmer weather arrange your seating area with the fire pit in clear view of your guest but away from the heat to create a festive setting. Don’t just light your pit when you’re outside. If positioned correctly, it can enhance the view of your garden from inside your home.