Your backyard is your safe haven. It’s where friends and family gather around to share a meal, play games, enjoy the outdoors, or just spend time together.

A fire pit can add so much to your outdoor living experience in Suburban Chicago.

It’s a natural gathering space that adds an additional ambiance and glow to your evenings outside. A fire pit also brings light and warmth, extending your usable, enjoyable time in your yard.

While a fire pit is a magical part of a complete backyard oasis, it can also be unsafe if not installed correctly or if thought isn’t given to proper placement and design. When adding something of this level to your landscape, you certainly don’t want to worry about accidents or safety issues when you should be thinking about staying warm and cozy and watching the dancing firelight.

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Let’s look at some of the crucial details involved in backyard fire pit design in the Greater Chicago area.

6 Fire Pit Design & Installation Tips

Adding a fire pit to your backyard transformation is a great idea for overall impact and enjoyment.

patio with firepit seating and pergola

But you don’t want to underestimate the planning and thought that goes into a well-designed and well-thought-out fire pit design and installation.

Keeping these 6 considerations in mind when you’re thinking about your fire pit design will ensure safety isn’t ignored and that you get the relaxing and secure space you’re seeking.

1. Choose the Right Materials for Your Fire Pit

There are a lot of great materials you can use to create a fire pit that coordinates with your Suburban Chicago home and landscape.

But some materials -- thought beautiful -- are not suited for the hot temperatures that result in a fire pit. If you don’t know the material’s heat rating, you could be creating a safety risk in your yard.

firepit on custom patio with seating

Many times, fire pit design will include a stainless steel interior liner to ensure a barrier between materials and keep that heat contained so it doesn’t cause problems. This adds security to your fire pit design and installation.

2. Don’t Neglect Fire Pit Height

In fire pit design, a professional will always look at height and circumference.

fire pit on patio with pergola and pool

There is a tendency to build fire pits too high as a safety method to secure the fire, but this can actually mean people, especially children, have to get closer to lean in and roast their marshmallows or hotdogs. This actually decreases the fire pit’s safety.

Typically, fire pit edges are 6 to 12 inches tall. This ensures there is just enough of a safety buffer, but the pit isn’t so deep that people have to lean in to reach the fire.

3. Keep Orientation in Mind

When you think about your fire pit, you probably have a location in mind. This is a crucial part of the overall decision. Why? In the wrong spot, a fire pit can impede or detract from views or be negatively impacted by weather conditions and actually cause more discomfort than comfort, becoming more of a nuisance than a delightful addition to your yard.

With your view, you want to make sure your fire pit can be seen from multiple areas to add to your backyard aesthetics.

aerial photo of outdoor living space in backyard with fire table and pavilion at night

Concerning Mother Nature, wind can be a big factor in fire pit design. Professionals will consider wind direction, making sure the smoke won’t be blowing directly into your guests’ faces or other nearby seating areas.

If your Suburban Chicago property is windy, a good design will likely suggest a different location for your fire pit or incorporate windscreens to lessen the wind’s impact.

4. Understand Local Fire Pit Codes

Each Greater Chicago area municipality has rules that dictate where permanent fire pits can be located in relation to homes. These vary greatly from municipality to municipality.

Some municipalities say fire features can be located 10 to 12 feet from the house, while others say they prefer 25 to 30 feet.

firepit with seating on patio and pergola with outdoor kitchen and bar

The landscape professional you hire will check your local codes first before starting your fire pit design to ensure your desired location is OK.

5. Consider Your Fuel Choices

While you might automatically think of wood-burning when you think about a fire pit, maybe the wind in your yard or other safety concerns make you hesitate to embrace a wood-burning option.

gas firepit with pavers and steppers

That’s OK. A gas fire pit design can be just as attractive and offer a safer alternative to wood. It’s also a bit neater: You don’t have to chop wood or deal with fire debris. You just have to have a licensed plumber involved to ensure the connection to the gas line is done properly.

Still in love with a wood-burning option? A full fireplace can be a safer way to do that.

6. Try a Fire Pit Alternative

Suburban Chicago homeowners are loving the addition of fire to their backyards.

If a fire pit design isn’t the ideal vision you have in mind, you can still get that fire color and warmth with a fire table. This outdoor piece of furniture can bring a refined elegance to your outdoor area giving you that same central gathering space but in a cleaner package.

children sit around fire table with snacks

Fire tables also typically don’t get as hot as a wood-burning fire pit because the gas flame dissipates, so it’s a safer alternative as well.

Find Fire Pit Design Success

It’s easy to underestimate all that goes into a fire pit design and installation. But if you plan this backyard addition well, you can have a longer-lasting, wonderful accessory that adds so much light and warmth to your Greater Chicago landscape.

As you debate your options, the ideas and safety considerations may seem overwhelming. Don’t let all of the choices dissuade you. Give the design experts at KD Landscape a call. They can talk out all of your concerns and give you the best solutions for your specific needs and goals.

Ready to see how KD Landscape can give you the fire pit you’ve been longing for at your Greater Chicago home? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can add warmth and light to your backyard.

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