Outdoor Fire Effects: Placement and Seating that make the Setting (2024)

Outdoor Fire Effect

Outdoor fire pits and fireplaces are natural gathering spots, so how you incorporate yours into the landscape – where you put it and what you surround it with – are important considerations when you’re creating a backyard space that can serve multiple functions. Before you begin your planning, be sure to check with your town or city to determine if you need a permit or if restrictions will limit where you can put your fire feature on your property. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind during the design process.

Location, location, location

Whether you want your outdoor fire effect on a patio adjacent to the house, in your backyard away from the house, or enclosed in a stand-alone outdoor room, visual balance is important, both for the yard and the patio. You don’t want to put everything on one side of the space you’re creating. Sometimes a dominant visual space can be softened by an opposing feature, such as a secondary seating area or a small fountain located across from the fire feature.

Remember that while the fire feature has a practical function, adding warmth to an evening, it also serves as a focal point. If possible, consider locating your fire feature where it can be seen comfortably from inside the home. That way, it can still be enjoyed even if the weather prohibits gathering around it.

And be sure to consider wind direction before you commit to a space for your fire feature. Nobody likes to get smoke in the eyes. If you have a strong crosswind in your desired location, you may need to plant a windbreak or build a protective wall. Even with a gas fire feature that doesn’t create smoke, a strong breeze can direct the heat flow, making it uncomfortably hot for some guests and chilly for others.

Size: width

Whether your fire feature is in-ground, on the patio, or freestanding, size counts. Will you frequently be entertaining groups? Make your fire feature up to six feet wide, including the walls, with an additional six feet or so on all sides for easy guest movement. Thinking it will mostly be just the two of you sipping wine by the fire? Downsize to around 3 feet wide for a more intimate experience. And remember that real wood fire features should be bigger than gas ones, giving you the room necessary to generate the embers needed for warmth.

Size: height

Above ground fire features should typically be 12-14″ tall – a few inches shorter than standard patio furniture seat height. If you’re wanting to use the ledge around your fire, or coping, as a footrest, lower the height to anywhere between 6-12″. Want guests to be able to sit on the coping? Raise the fire pit height to no taller than 18-20″. Otherwise the heat will be held in and it will be harder to enjoy the fire from surrounding chairs. And make the coping ledge at least 14″ wide to easily accommodate peoples’ bottoms.

Seating

Some designers believe people will only sit around half the fire pit. They will build a semicircular wall for seating, or alternately, place chairs on only one side of the fire feature. Others will surround the fire feature with seating, using either chairs or benches. Whatever you choose, a good rule of thumb is to allow 3 feet of clear space around furniture.

Style

Wherever your fire feature is located, it’s important to connect it visually to your home. Consider using the same brick as that of your foundation to face your fire feature, or choose stucco or flagstones in colors that pick up the colors of your siding or trim.

Igniting Inspiration

Here at Hearth Products Controls, we’ve been fire inspired since 1975. That’s why we provide our dealers with the broadest gas product line to ignite inspiration, including individual burners, inserts, burner systems, fire and fire/water bowls, enclosure packages, and more, all for natural gas or liquid propane – and all CSA or UL- approved for optimum safety. Working with our dealers gives you the most choice for gas fire pit design, as well as reliable advice from experts. To locate a Hearth Products Controls dealer near you, go here.

Outdoor Fire Effects: Placement and Seating that make the Setting (2024)

FAQs

Outdoor Fire Effects: Placement and Seating that make the Setting? ›

Make your fire feature up to six feet wide, including the walls, with an additional six feet or so on all sides for easy guest movement. Thinking it will mostly be just the two of you sipping wine by the fire? Downsize to around 3 feet wide for a more intimate experience.

How to arrange furniture around an outdoor fireplace? ›

Around firepits, the seating arrangement should mimic the shape of the pit. Circular sofas are perfect for round firepits or you can evenly space chairs around the area, leaving enough space for people to easily get in and out. If the firepit is square, place a chair at each corner instead.

How close should seating be to a fire pit? ›

On a calm day, it's safe to sit 2-3 feet from your fire pit. However, if the wind picks up, ensure you move your chairs back. In windy conditions, it's advisable to maintain a safer distance of at least 7 feet from the fire pit for your comfort and safety.

What direction should an outdoor fireplace face? ›

Keeping the back of the fireplace facing the wind will not only reduce smoke and keep your fire better controlled, but create a niche in which you and your guests will be protected from gusts of wind.

Where should I place my firepit? ›

Keep fire pits at least 10 feet from buildings and trees. Install on a non-flammable surface and away from overhead structures. Check wind patterns to prevent smoke issues. Use services like 811 to locate underground utilities before digging. ]

How to arrange patio furniture around a fire pit? ›

Consider using a rounded sofa, tree stumps, or backless picnic benches to create a circular seating arrangement. You can also add a hammock or swivel patio chairs to provide extra seating options and enhance the comfort and coziness of your fire pit seating area.

How to arrange furniture around a firepit? ›

If you have a bigger space, utilize it by adding two small sofas and a couple of chairs. For a smaller space, add a circle of chairs around the fire pit or two small cozy couches on each end of the fire pit. This fire pit seating idea is great for those who are looking for inexpensive options and easy decoration.

How many chairs fit around a fire pit? ›

If your square or rectangular fire pit is large — 6 feet, for example — your patio should be at least 18 feet total. This will allow you to accommodate six to eight chairs or a medium-sized sectional sofa.

What is the best base for a fire pit seating area? ›

Pea gravel is great to add to a fire pit area because you don't have to be precise, it's comfortable to walk on, and it doesn't cost much per bag. Cover the entire weed block fabric with the pea gravel. Be sure that there is enough to cover the fabric without it showing through.

What height fire pit for adirondack chairs? ›

Size: height

Raise the fire pit height to no taller than 18-20″. Otherwise the heat will be held in and it will be harder to enjoy the fire from surrounding chairs. And make the coping ledge at least 14″ wide to easily accommodate peoples' bottoms.

How far does an outdoor fireplace need to be from your house? ›

As mentioned above, outdoor fireplaces should be at least 10 feet away from your home and other structures. For maximum safety, you should also have at least 3 feet of clear space between the fireplace and anything flammable, such as outdoor furniture, plants, or other decorations.

How far away from a house is an outdoor fireplace? ›

Place your fire pit at a safe distance (10-25 feet) from any flammable structures or surfaces. This includes your house, trees, shed, vehicle, neighbors' property, and wood deck, among other things. Keep your fire pit away from overhanging branches.

How high should an outdoor fireplace be? ›

Size. Fireplace: Outdoor fireplaces can be any size, typically as small as 3 feet wide x 2 feet deep x 4 feet tall and as big as 15 feet wide x 4 feet deep x 15 feet tall. However, you want to make sure that it is proportioned to the size of your yard.

How do you landscape around a fire pit? ›

Create a lush, vibrants space with plants and materials such as palms, ferns, and bamboo. These plants provide verdant atmosphere and can also provide privacy around the fire pit area.

How big should outdoor firepit area be? ›

If you want to include a pathway around your seating area, add another 3 feet to the total size. Therefore, if your fire pit is 4 feet wide, you would need a minimum area of 14 feet by 14 feet for the fire pit and seating (4 feet for the fire pit, 7 feet for the seating, and 3 feet for the pathway).

How big is a fire pit seating area? ›

To create a spacious area for gatherings of 6 or more people, choose a large fire pit size of 4 to 5 feet in diameter. This provides ample room to add chairs and benches around the fire. For wood burning pits, allow a total space of 10-16 feet wide to incorporate safe clearances from the flames and smoke.

How do you arrange furniture when a fireplace is not centered? ›

Consider Symmetrical Furniture Placement

Consider placing identical or similar-sized furniture pieces on each side of the fireplace to establish a sense of equilibrium. This arrangement not only distracts from the fireplace's off-centeredness but also creates a cohesive and inviting seating area.

How do you decorate around a fireplace? ›

If you use your fireplace often, you'll also want to avoid hanging decorations too close to the firebox to ensure they don't burn, melt, or warp. The most common way to decorate a fireplace is by hanging a mirror or art above it and adorning the mantle with sentimental family photos and candles.

How to decorate the sides of a fireplace? ›

Aid your fireplace in giving off light by flanking it with a pair of decorative lamps. Place tall lamps on either side of the fireplace to serve as functional yet beautiful statement pieces.

Does furniture have to face the fireplace? ›

So long as the space looks balanced, a sofa could go directly opposite, or at a corner angle facing towards a fireplace.

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