Fire up your backyard for outdoor living with these stylish ideas for firepits
Overlapping panels of ipe wood and colored concrete flank the firepit in this backyard in Los Altos Hills, California. Stone
veneer forms a chimneylike background for the flames, creating a classic focal point for this true outdoor living room.
Plant living torches. Golden flower plumes of Miscanthus sinensis shimmer and sway over grassy leaves.
Add shadow casters. Small well lights positioned close to the dark walls create contrasting pools of warm light.
Light open flames. A firepit fueled by natural gas is the patio’s irresistible centerpiece.
Design: Kate Stickley and Natasha Libina, Arterra Landscape Architects, San Francisco (arterrallp.com)
The angular Geometric Firepit looks good even without a fire. Available in carbon steel with a rust patina (pictured) or slate-colored Cor-ten steel, it’s hefty (130 lbs.) but compact (about 14 in. high, 31 in. square). From $1,195; dwr.com
Bring a glow to your table with a ceramic fire bowl. Fueled by an isopropyl alcohol solution, its flame burns red and orange for up to 2½ hours. $32 (including scraper/snuffer), fuel $35/12-pack; realflame.com
Cast-concrete Fire Rocks, fueled by an isopropyl alcohol solution, will put you in the mood for a mai tai at sunset. Place them in an existing fireplace or pit, and enjoy the fiery glow. $65/set of 3, fuel $49/12-pack; realflame.com
Grab the rope and take this chemical-free birch stump anywhere, even to a firepit at the beach. Light the wick in the kiln-dried Light n’ Go Bonfire Log for a slow burn—up to 2½ hours. From $9.29; ecoforestfirewood.com
A built-in firepit is the hub of gatherings in this garden. Sandstone cobbles edge the 5-foot-diameter lava rock–topped pit, which blazes with gas-fed flames. A sandstone wall, scattered with cushions for comfort, serves as seating. Thyme and other herbs grow around the firepit and between the seat wall’s stones.
This patio of bluestone pavers, crushed rock, and low groundcovers, edged with a sinuous concrete seat wall, adds a touch of cozy with a contained fire burning in a custom firepit of Cor-ten steel.
‘Elfin’ thyme turns this patio into a giant checkerboard. Growing in 4-inch-wide strips dividing poured-in-place concrete squares, it’s irrigated by a subsurface drip system and needs only the occasional light pruning. Sea thrift keeps the grid from looking too controlled. Puncutating the grid is a blue "gravel" firepit made of recycled glass.
A firepit underscores a moon window framing a view of giant timber bamboo.
The chairs' square shapes and large scale contrast with the garden's fine foliage. So do the tile-covered firepit and its oversize lava rocks, which serve as log equivalents.
The rammed-earth "couch" around the firepit appears to grow out of its setting.
Landscape architect Steve Martino used rugged rebar and concrete in the firepit to make it pop against the colorful amphitheater seating.
This firepit's wavy shape pays homage to the adjacent burbling fountain, and adds a touch of the unexpected to this stylish side yard.
A sunken concrete firepit acts as a focal point on this deck that more than doubles the living space with ample sunbathing, conversation, and entertaining areas.
Rugged and natural-looking, this sunken firepit is hard edged and geometric on the patio side but gently curving on the beach part, where natural granite boulders pack its sides. Feathery grasses blend with the shoreline habitat beyond. A boulder-seat is just right for extra guests.
This simple firepit adds a spark of warmth to a lush yard in the rainy Northwest.
Even the simplest open fire is likely to draw people outdoors. This gas-fed fire pit was fashioned from a concrete planter and lightweight stones that conceal the hardware and break up the flames for a natural look.
For before-dinner drinks or after-dinner s’mores, this outdoor space offers two connected—but distinct—sitting areas. This lower one is centered on a firepit built of paving stones. Indoor-outdoor cushions soften the built-in curved benches, made of decking that was heat-molded on-site into the right shape.
Clean lines and artful illusion transform a compact backyard. A "floating" bench and a fire bowl, which landscape architect Russ Cletta created from a colored concrete planter, make up the new living space.
A metal firepit glows softly in the center of a bluestone patio surrounded by colorful foliage and flowers. Strings of party lights overhead add to the ambience.
A gas-fueled flagstone firepit warms homeowners in their Northern California backyard.
A concrete water trough doubles as a reflecting pool and an ice bucket for chilling drinks during parties. Gas jets in its back rim feed flames.
For a tropical look in your own backyard, try this novel firepit design—lava stone mounded volcano-style around a central gas jet.
Warmth encourages a family to use a patio year-round. Because of this firepit's low profile--set into the seat wall and with only a discreet flame--it doesn't overwhelm the garden's peaceful mood.
A raised concrete trough filled with recycled glass keeps the dining deck warm on cool nights. When not in use, the gas firepit can be covered with a slab of ipe wood, which converts it into a coffee table.
One of the crowning glories of our Menlo Park, CA campus is our outdoor kitchen--and this concrete firepit is its jewel. Lined with crushed glass and warmed by a gas flame, the firepit encourages year-round gatherings. "It's a fun, cozy place to try new s'mores recipes," says test kitchen manager Stephanie Spencer.
A conversation circle around a gas firepit serves as a cozy retreat on cool evenings. The low wall ringing the firepit is painted yellow to match the dining patio's wall.
You don’t have to face the ocean to create a coastal vibe. This backyard is proof: Even though the deck doesn’t share the bay and dune views that the front of the house has, the firepit in the corner, reminiscent of beach campfires, echoes the seaside boardwalk ambience, as does the billowy landscaping that evokes grass-covered sand dunes.
In this small yard, the homeowners use the upper terrace mostly for dining and hanging out; three steps down, a built-in bench invites guests to lounge around the firepit. With it, "People can’t get enough of our backyard. All our guests want to go out there."
This small outdoor space doubles as an open-air living room and an alfresco dining room, thanks to furniture made of poured concrete and TimberTech decking, portable pieces from L.A.'s Plain Air (plainair.com). A built-in firepit created a natural gathering place.
A 28-inch-diameter metal wok, turned into a wood-burning fire bowl, sits on a steel base made by one of the homeowners.
A small lawn between a house and garage serves as a transitional area, a "decompression chamber" that's the ideal spot to relax after work. A firepit in warm brown tones adds coziness to the space.
This unusually-shaped firepit is the perfect fit in a small corner of a backyard.
Create a beach scene in your backyard! Driftwood, geraniums, and grasses dot the "dunes" around a sunken firepit. This miniature
beach can be put together over a weekend for less than $200.
More: How to build a beach in your yard
An outdoor fireplace, flanked by a hammock, chaise lounges, and a comfy loveseat provide the ideal spot for intimate conversation over drinks.