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Outdoor fire pits are a feature sure to be used all year long on your porch, patio, or deck. Today, there are literally hundreds of options to consider when trying to find the perfect fire feature. That is why we have formulated this three-part buyer’s guide to fire pits that look great and perform perfectly in your unique luxury backyard.

City Building Codes

Tommy Bahama royal island lanai fire pit and chairs
Tommy Bahama royal island lanai fire pit and chairs

Our first buyer’s guide to fire pits tip involves safety. Before you even start looking at all the gorgeous designs and nifty features of today’s modern fire pits, take the time to check out the local ordinances which govern placement, fuel restrictions, height and emissions standards. Safety regulations usually require you to place your fire pit beyond a certain distance from your home, fences, and wood structures. You may also need to get your proposed location inspected by the local fire department or run it by your homeowners’ association. Here in southern California, outdoor wood fires are often banned so natural gas is probably your best choice for fuel. Just be sure to do your research so you do not buy a fire pit that does not conform to city regulations or safety standards.

Will the Fire Pit be a Permanent Fixture?

American Fire Designs standard outdoor fireplace
American Fire Designs standard outdoor fireplace

Another important consideration is whether or not you will want to relocate the fire pit from time to time. There are pros and cons to both permanent installations and mobile fire pits. The former adds value to your outdoor space – an important consideration if you are considering selling your home within the next few years – and allows the fire feature to be much larger and grander in scale. The latter means you will easily be able to replace the fire pit as needed, or when you wish for a new style, and relocate it to wherever you and your guests desire a bit of warmth and glowing ambience. Portable fire pits have another advantage in that they can be moved to shelter during bad weather, rather than be covered.

Location, Location, Location

As the old saying about real estate goes, the three things that matter most are location, location, location. The same is true about your fire feature in this guide to fire pits. Even if you choose a portable fire pit over a permanently positioned fireplace, you should know where it is going to be placed before you go shopping.

A fire pit is a common feature anchoring a backyard patio, but there are plenty of other options, too. You may wish to use several fire pits scattered throughout to create distinct seating areas in your outdoor living room. A fire pit table in a dining area is always a good idea or perhaps a grand fireplace located along the border between your property and the next would serve as a practical screen. If you are redesigning your outdoor space, start with placement of the biggest design elements and then add fire features where they would naturally make sense.

However, remember to keep in mind the regulations and requirements you learned when doing research in step one. Wind direction is another factor, especially if you don’t want your natural gas flames sputtering and spitting.

These three considerations are the first in our buyer’s guide to fire pits. Please come back often to review the next two installments which complete the information you need to know before shopping for a fire feature in your backyard.

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