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Building a Backyard Fire Pit: Style & Landscape Construction Tips

Since it just so lovely out, why not spend some time planning your spring landscape project. After being cooped up inside (most) of the winter, Chicagoans can't wait to head outside for spring and summer. And a great tool to stretch the season is a custom fire pit. They provide warmth, heat and of course, a great opportunity for bonfires and s'mores.
 Adding an outdoor fire element such as a custom firepit or fire place is one of the biggest trends in landscaping. They are relatively simple to design and install, and rather inexpensive. Plus, most homeowners report they use them all the time. Take a look at a fabulous fire pit that was recently installed in Barrington, IL.
These custom built pieces deliver light, color and heat to an outdoor living area and allow homeowners to use their space beyond dusk and throughout late fall and early spring.
In fact, these fun lifestyle additions have become a staple of high end homes over the last five years. For homeowner that want to improve their landscaping or add value to their home, fire places make an ideal choice. Due to the variety of styles, size and material, there is a suitable solution for every budget.
Let's take a closer look at the variables involved in planning your custom Fire Pit or Fire Place.

6 Considerations for Custom Outdoor Fire Pits & Fireplaces



Heat Source

There are two choices for  the heat source of your outdoor fire pit/place.
A gas line source of power has some great benefits. Gas fire pits are low maintenance;  easy and fast to get fires started, doesn't require firewood and is clean with no ash to clean out. It does require some attention to village codes including permitting and LIC plumbers to install.
You can also add fake firewood to give that real fire burning look.
Face it, wood burning is a lot more fun. People love "feeding the fire" and kids enjoy gathering kindling. Dads love taking pride in building the ultimate bonfire. And it's the truth is, marshmallows, hot dogs and s'mores just taste better over wood. That said, wood can be messier and time consuming.


Answer this question. Why do you want one? If you envision family and friends pulling chairs up around the fire and breaking out the s'mores sticks, then a more casual, ring shaped fire pit may be the answer.
If adding light and ambiance to a new or existing hardscape patio is the answer, a more formal fire place may be a better fit. Guest can mix-n-mingle and enjoy a more formal seating area nearby.
Think about your existing patio, outdoor furniture and layout and consider how you want to use the fire element.
Don't forget about size. Consider how your family entertains and how big you want the unit to be.
Want to cook on the firepit? This will require a specific set of tools and design to be functional.


Some neighborhoods and towns in the chicagoland area have existing regulations on fire pit installation and outdoor fire and smoke usage. Look into this when determining the location of the unit.
Typically fire pits are placed about 25 yards from the home or deck space. However, near a lake, a beachfront location might work better.


What exists in the area now?2016-09-13_09.39.47.jpg

Permanent custom firepits are typically set on a gravel base surrounded by lawn or built into a new or existing hardscape base, such as natural stone or pavers. In the image above, we designed and installed a new bluestone patio to surround the custom fire pit. Below, take a look at a casual beach fire pit we built on a sand base on a beach in Barrington Hills. IL.



We mentioned "function" earlier in this article and this plays directly into the style of the fire pit design. Landscape designers are skilled at creating beautiful and functional fire pits that combine the style aesthetics with the functional requirements of the customer.
We recommend spending time on Houzz.com and scrolling through our portfolio of work. Gather lookbooks of images you like and start there.
Keep in mind these ideas as you peruse portfolios of custom fire pits and outdoor fireplaces.
The style you have in mind will help determine the next consideration: Materials. See below.


Mortared Stone
The options are plentiful but our talented landscape designers are here to help. Contact us this week to get started on your custom landscape project. Click below to get started.
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