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Nights gathered around the bonfire are a favorite summer tradition for many, and that is likely why more and more outdoor living spaces are making room for fire pits. Whether you build your own or purchase one, there are many options on the market, from traditional wood-burning varieties to gas-powered units, and you are sure to find the right one to bring welcoming warmth to your backyard.

Fire pits have evolved beyond a simple stone campfire ring or a basic bowl with no flourishes. Today’s fire pits come in a wide variety of shapes, finishes and designs to complement any type of outdoor decor or home style.

Go Bowling
If you’re looking for authentic campfire ambience, complete with the sound of crackling logs and the scent of wood smoke, a wood-burning fire pit is your likely choice. The most common type of wood-burning fire pit is the bowl-shaped variety. Constructed of a variety of durable metals, with finishes such as hammered copper, bronze, cast iron and stainless or natural-patina steel, this type of fire pit is portable and radiates a lot of heat. Some bowl-shaped styles sit on decorative stands, while others incorporate decoration into the bowl itself, like those that feature sides with a cutout design backed with wire mesh.

Hit the Gas
If you wish to avoid hauling and stacking firewood, a gas-fueled fire pit might be a good alternative. In addition to being available in many materials, sizes and styles, gas fire pits utilize specially designed fill material, such as fire twigs, fire logs or fire stones. Fire glass is another popular filler, and it comes in a rainbow of colors and shapes, including cubes, beads, nuggets, stars and more. Fire glass is available in reflective and nonreflective varieties. All of these options allow you to give your gas fire pit a custom decorative touch. Gas-fueled fire pits are either connected to a propane tank or a natural gas line. The latter is a permanent installation, so you won’t be able to rearrange your fire pit placement along with your patio furniture if you go that route.

Build Your Own
It is easier than ever to create a built-in fire pit thanks to the many kits available on the market that use different types of noncombustible concrete blocks, paver stones and bricks that allow you to construct your own to complement other backyard features, such as a patio or walkway. These are available in a range of sizes and are most commonly circular, but square and rectangular styles offer linear alternatives. Kits are available for both wood-burning and gas-fueled fire pits.

Add Accessories
Fire screens can be used to contain sparks and embers, and add-ons such as a grate or a rotisserie attachment expand the utility of your fire pit by allowing you to grill or cook over the fire. A weather-resistant cover can protect your fire pit from the elements, and some covers take the form of a lid that converts the fire pit into a handy table when not in use. You might also find benches and seats that are specially designed with a curved shape to fit around a fire pit.

When deciding on the type of fire pit you would like, you must take your space into consideration. You need a location that is a safe distance away from plants, overhanging trees and nearby buildings. You may need to use materials such as crushed stone, bricks or sand under and around your fire pit if you are not placing it on a concrete or stone surface. Gas-fueled fire pits may afford more flexibility in placement. Follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines and check with your city and/or county officials to make sure you are following the laws in your area.

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Courtesy of Plow & Hearth Courtesy of S & S Fire Pits Courtesy of The Home Depot

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