(Center) Outdoor Greatroom Kenwood 80.69 x 50.5 Rectangular Linear Dining Height Gas Fire Pit Table and (Right) Outdoor Greatroom 29.25'' Round Cove Fire Pit Table, both from PatioLiving
Essential for outdoor dining during the Fall, Winter — and even during the early Spring — fire pit sets offer warmth and atmosphere. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing on — and expected to for at least several more months — many holiday celebrations have been moved outdoors. Outdoor dining — for breakfast, luncheons and dinners — is comfortable and enjoyable in temperature areas such as those along the West and South coasts. Unfortunately, it is near impossible in colder regions of the country — especially those prone to heavy rain or snow. To increase the amount of time one can spend outdoors, there is no patio piece more effective and worthwhile than a fire pit. Ranging in style from stand-alone basins to those integrated into table-tops, outdoor fire pits have become increasingly versatile over the past few years. Follow below to learn how to choose one of the best fire pit sets for outdoor entertaining — and which types are in this season.
Certain municipalities — and even state governments — place restrictions on the types, intensities and sizes of fire pit sets for outdoor residential use. These restrictions are often seasonal — e.g. those instituted in California during “fire season” when dry conditions and gusts of wind spark brush and wildfires quite easily. Other restrictions are related to population density — e.g. how close houses are to each other and how much acreage each property has available as outdoor space. Still other regulations might require landscaping — such as brush clearance — or certain foundation types before allowing patio fire sets to be installed.
One might also run into fuel-specific laws, meaning those which regulate what type of fuel can be used in a fire pit. Some local governments will allow wood-burning fire pit sets while others will require natural gas or propane. Be sure to consider the size and type of your patio or backyard before determining which fire pit set is best for your home. Those with very little uncovered space — e.g. a covered porch rather than an open green space or a series of canopied trees — might not be compatible with wood-burning patio fire pit sets. However, they might work just fine with a natural gas or propane-burning fire pit.
(Right) Woodard Cortland Cushion Aluminum Fire Pit Lounge Set, from PatioLiving
Some fire pits are built-in by contractors or installation experts after purchase, while others are more portable. A wide variety of outdoor fire pit sets are currently available from different manufacturers — particularly Patio Living, which offers some fire pits set into table tops and others in basins or concrete boxes. Other patio fire pit sets are attached to bench seating, while still others can be built into retaining walls or sunk next to or floated within pools. Depending on regulations in your area — as well as weather conditions — a portable fire pit might be the best choice. However, permanently installed fire pits can always be covered when not in use.
(Center) Teva Ember Fire Pit Table and (Right) Homecrest Elements Modular Aluminum Sectional Fire Pit Lounge Set, both from PatioLiving
While general size is certainly important when choosing the right outdoor fire pit for your patio or backyard, height is arguably even more relevant. Fire pit sizes range quite a bit — with some as long as five feet and others less than two or three. Typically heights are between fifteen and twenty-five inches. The height of furniture intended to surround the fire pit — e.g. bench seating, dining chairs or even floor cushions — should determine the height of the pit itself. Consider how you would like to use the fire pit before determining which height is best. Experts recommend choosing fire pits around twenty inches in height if heat intensity is most important. However, if you prefer to place your feet on the lip of the firepit, it should be lower. If you plan to warm your hands and eat at the same time, it should be higher.
(Center) Lloyd Flanders Contempo Wicker Fire Pit Lounge Set and (Right) Homecrest Grace Cushion Aluminum Fire Pit Lounge Set, both from PatioLiving
Your home’s surrounding climate, the frequency with which you plan to use the fire pit and its intended location within your backyard or on your patio will all determine which type of material is best. Stone — either slab or mosaic — a variety of metals — e.g. iron, aluminum and stainless steel — and even some heavy-duty plastics are all frequently used in the manufacturing of outdoor residential fire pits. Concrete and mixed media are also fairly common. Some materials will last longer, hold up to heat better and resist staining more effectively than others. As you consider which material is best suited to your space, you might also keep in mind the landscape. If you want your fire pit to stand out, you might choose a contrasting material to the surrounding environment.
However, if you would prefer it to blend in and not detract or distract from the surrounding environment, you might choose a more natural material and subsequent coating. Experts recommend natural stone and concrete for naturally arid — or artificially covered — areas, as they are both durable but stain easily. Other materials — especially metals — might last for years but will become hot to the touch and might be dangerous for small children. If you prefer the look of a concrete basin fire pit but worry about stains, consider a concrete pit with a rim of another material around the top where stains are most likely to occur from soot.
(Center) Outdoor GreatRoom Key Largo Faux Stone 48 x 19.625 Rectangular Crystal Fire Pit Table with Stainless Steel Top & Grey Tereneo Base and (Right) Homecrest Mode Aluminum 52''W x 32''D Rectangular Coffee Fire Pit Table, both from PatioLiving
With so many styles of safe and durable fire pits available on the market, finding one that fits your own unique aesthetic is absolutely achievable. If you prefer a glitzier look, you might consider the Outdoor GreatRoom Key Largo Faux Stone 48 x 19.625 Rectangular Crystal Fire Pit Table with Stainless Steel Top & Grey Tereneo Base pictured above on the left. If you prefer a simpler, more industrial aesthetic, you might choose the Homecrest Mode Aluminum 52''W x 32''D Rectangular Coffee Fire Pit Table. No matter if your style is quiet and traditional, vintage and glamorous or stark and contemporary, a patio fire pit set is out there for you!
(Center) Outdoor Greatroom Kinney Steel Black 55''W x 27''D Rectangular Fire Pit Table and (Right)Woodard Salona Cushion By Joe Ruggiero Aluminum Fire Pit Lounge Set, both from PatioLiving
Fire pit tables are arguably the best possible purchase one could make for year-round outdoor dining. More effective than torches in that they can be placed in the center of a table rather than along the outskirts, fire pit tables allow all guests to warm their hands and faces while gathering around playing cards or eating. Fire pit tables take the indoor-outdoor living trend a bit further — allowing homeowners and their guests to entertain on their patio just as easily as in their living room no matter the season. For casual breakfasts or coffee in the morning, we recommend the Outdoor Greatroom Kinney Steel Black 55''W x 27''D Rectangular Fire Pit Table. However, for large dining parties, we suggest the Woodard Salona Cushion By Joe Ruggiero Aluminum Fire Pit Lounge Set.
(Center) Outdoor Greatroom Cove Concrete White 42''Wide Round Gas Fire Pit Bowl and (Right) Lane Venture South Hampton Wicker Fire Pit Lounge Set, both from PatioLiving
Natural materials have reigned supreme in the interior and landscaping design industries over the past year — and are not expected to fade away in 2021. To match this trend, we recommend choosing a fire pit that evokes the natural environment surrounding your home and backyard. For an arid, desert area like Palm Springs, California or Mesa, Arizona, we recommend fire pits made from a sand-colored stone or from hammered copper. For lakeside regions, we recommend a fire pit base made from wicker, teak or wood. For forested towns, we suggest dark metals and for coastal areas, we suggest granite or concrete. For a coastal home, we recommend the Outdoor Greatroom Cove Concrete White 42''Wide Round Gas Fire Pit Bowl.
(Center) Outdoor Greatroom Monte Carlo Fire Table with Black Glass top and (Right) Outdoor Greatroom Uptown Black Fire Table with black granite tile top, both from PatioLiving
Quality, organic materials mixed with a high-design feel have worked together to create one of the most coveted design trends of 2020. To achieve this look in your own backyard or on your own patio, consider choosing a fire pit with sleek panes of glass. You might also consider a sharp, rectilinear silhouette in a dark metal. Dark, moody and atmospheric pieces are perfect for the winter months as they add drama and provide the perfect backdrop for flickering flames. Any simple silhouette and sleek material that allows the fire to stand out on its own will perfectly correspond to this trend. We love the Outdoor Greatroom Monte Carlo Fire Table with Black Glass top. We also love the Outdoor Greatroom Uptown Black Fire Table with black granite tile top.