Gathering around a warm, crackling fire pit is a cozy and relaxing activity no matter what time of year. Whether you’ve been using your fire pit for years or are just considering adding one to your outdoor space, here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you get the most from your fireside gatherings.

Safety First!

Beside roaring fire might just be the most leisurely place to be, but before you settle in for some calming comfort, take some time to ensure you and your guests are safe. First, never use lighter fluid or other flammable liquids to get your fire started. Instead, choose a fire starter stick to prevent fires from spreading and accidental explosions that could lead to serious injury.

Placement is also critical as you don’t want your home or fixtures to be at risk. Your fire pit should be at least ten feet from any structure, but 20 feet or more is ideal. This includes overhanging trees and shrubs. Moveable fire pits should always be placed on a stone or concrete surface, or on top of a mat or other protective cover made to protect decks from the high heat.

If your fire pit has a mesh cover, always keep it in place while burning to prevent traveling embers. It’s also safer to maintain a gently burning fire than to build a huge bonfire as these can quickly get out of control. Keep a garden hose or fire extinguisher handy, and never leave your fire unattended.

Tips for Enjoying Your Fire

Once you’ve made sure the fire pit and surrounding areas are safe, here are a few ideas to make your next fire more enjoyable.

  • Pest Control. In the cooler months, pests such as mosquitoes aren’t much of a bother. During the warmer months, try burning small bundles of sage to deter the little nuisances while also giving a welcoming aroma to the area.
  • Choose the Right Firewood. Kiln-dried firewood burns cleaner and longer than other types of firewood as most of the moisture has been removed. You’ll have less smoke to deal with and fewer trips to the woodpile to replenish your flame.
  • Add a Grill Grate. You’ll probably turn to your trusty grill for big meals, but a grill grate placed over your fire pit can provide a fun way to roast up some hotdogs, veggies, and other small snacks to keep everyone happy during a long evening.
  • Save the Ashes! Wood ashes from your fire pit have a variety of uses around the yard and garden. Work a little into the soil for tomatoes and for plants like ferns that enjoy an alkaline soil. Ash will also repel snails and slugs when sprinkled around the garden. It can also be used as a gentle de-icer that won’t damage concrete or cement. Collect ashes in a sealed, metal container and put them to good use all year long.

After the Fire

Whenever possible, it’s best to let a fire run its course. However, if you need to extinguish a fire, spread out the embers and ashes and allow them to cool off before slowly pouring water over them. Dousing a full fire with water can cause cracks and damage to your fire pit and wet ashes are difficult to clean up. Wait until the next day to scoop ashes into a metal container, and use caution as there may be a few hot embers left in the pile. Permanent fire pits should have no problem withstanding the weather with minimal maintenance, but portable pits should be moved into a shed or garage if it will not be used for an extended time.

To learn more about fire safety or to find out how you can have the perfect custom firepit, fireplace, or hearth added to your outdoor living areas, contact us today!