Firepits Gain Popularity

One of the most popular home upgrades today is the addition of a backyard fireplace. There's something special about sitting around the glow of a fire that makes people feel good. That's one reason many people go camping, for the simple joy of sitting by a crackling campfire, but an increasing number of homeowners are taking advantage of recent improvements in technology to have that same experience without having to leave home.

If that sounds appealing to you, you'll have a number of options to choose from, depending upon your own personal taste and budget. At the high end of the scale, you could get a propane type of unit that comes in a terra cotta vase-like container. Those types of outdoor fireplaces come in a variety of styles and sizes, but a popular one is marketed by PR Imports, weighing about 75 pounds, standing at about four feet tall, and featuring a layer of fire rock at the bottom of the unit. The unit is attractive and would look good on any patio, yet has the added advantage of requiring virtually no cleanup, since you would not be burning any solid matter.

If you like the look of an indoor freestanding fireplace, a company called Tiverton markets a black steel version that's designed to be used outside. It comes with a log rack and a poker, just like an indoor fireplace, and has an ash drawer that allows for easy cleaning. It stands about six feet tall and it's appearance is rustic enough to make it at home with most outdoor furniture. It's also about two and a half feet deep, so it can accomodate fairly sizable pieces of wood.

If you prefer the even more rustic appeal of a firepit, you'll still have a number of choices, including one that features a copper cauldron. It's like putting your campfire in a large hand-hammered copper pot, measuring about three feet across and two feet deep. It's large enough to become the focal point of a significant gathering. You'll have to start your fire just like you've got to on a camping trip, but that's part of the unit's appeal for many folks, and cleanup is solely simple. All you have to do is dump out the ashes by turning the bowl upside down.

There's also a propane version of that type of firepit available, if you're so inclined, with molded logs that appear to be burning. That version also features the same easy cleanup as the propane-powered terra cotta unit, since no solid material is actually burned.

There are a number of actual firepit rings available that can be customized any way you want, again depending only upon your imagination and budget. Typically, a custom firepit should be about 18 inches tall, to prevent sparks from escaping – and possibly ending up in your guest's lap. A diameter of 30 inches offers plenty of room for a nice-sized fire. Stone or concrete blocks are generally used to surround the firepit, though you could dress up the pit by using a more decorative stone, such as slate.

If you like the look of an outdoor fire, you'll be able to find a firepit to suit your taste, since it's a growing trend among landscape designers. Then you can sit around at night and dream of romantic adventures as the shadows dance all around you.

Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher