If you build it, they will come. A fire pit is a destination, drawing families with kids armed for a marshmallow roast and adults wanting to enjoy cocktails and conversation into the cool of the evening—it’s a wonder how any backyard party ever got along without one. What started as a rudimentary steel ring to simply contain the flames has morphed into a category of functional design that can enhance any outdoor setting.
Today, fire pits come in a wide range of sizes, materials, and styles. Choosing the right type depends on how frequently you’ll use it, where you plan to put it, your budget, and your local code, which can dictate size—or whether one is allowed at all. Some homeowners swear allegiance to a crackling wood fire (and are willing to deal with the smoke and ash that come with it), while others may find the ease of flipping a switch for instant (and more controllable) flames a greater draw. Most fire-pit styles look at home on a corner of the lawn, but when incorporated into a patio, those made from tumbled concrete pavers or mortared masonry may blend better with existing stonework.
Ready to get your flame on? Read on to find out which type of fire pit matches your budget and entertaining style.
Shown: This tumbled-block kit design is perfectly integrated into its patio setting. Rumblestone square fire-pit kit in Sierra blend, about $643; The Home Depot
Thanks to: Jason Morey, Brookwood Landscape and Stonework, Danvers, MA