38 ideas for firepits

Fire up your backyard for outdoor living with these stylish ideas for firepits

Gather around a firepit wall 

Photo by Michele Lee Willson; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel and Johanna Silver

Gather around a firepit wall 

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) 

Metal art

Photo by E. Spencer Toy; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel and Johanna Silver

Metal art

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

Tabletop fire pot

Photo by E. Spencer Toy; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel and Johanna Silver

Tabletop fire pot

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  

No wood needed

Photo by Cocoon Fires; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel and Johanna Silver

No wood needed

Fueled by bioethanol instead of wood, this carbon steel fireplace is smoke-free and needs no flue. It’s also lightweight (just 25 lbs.)—easy to move indoors or out. Terra Black model, $2,250; cocoonfires.com (fuel from $19/set of three 32-oz. bottles; co-zfire.com)

Tiki bar bling

Photo by E. Spencer Toy; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel and Johanna Silver

Tiki bar bling

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

Bonfire-to-go

Photo by E. Spencer Toy; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel and Johanna Silver

Bonfire-to-go

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

Backyard campfire

Photo by Holly Lepere; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel

Backyard campfire

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.

Contemporary outdoor haven

Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel

Contemporary outdoor haven

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.

Modern art

Photo by Chris Leschinsky; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel

Modern art

‘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.

Asian-style elegance

Photo by Norm Plate

Asian-style elegance 

A firepit underscores a moon window framing a view of giant timber bamboo.

Tiled firepit

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Tiled firepit

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.

Earthy outdoor lounge

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Earthy outdoor lounge

The rammed-earth "couch" around the firepit appears to grow out of its setting.

Amphitheater style

Photo by Steven Gunther

Amphitheater style

Landscape architect Steve Martino used rugged rebar and concrete in the firepit to make it pop against the colorful amphitheater seating.

Curvy firepit

Photo by Rob D. Brodman

Curvy firepit

This firepit's wavy shape pays homage to the adjacent burbling fountain, and adds a touch of the unexpected to this stylish side yard.

Sunken firepit

Sunken firepit

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.

Geometric play

Photo by John Granen; written by Kathleen N. Brenzel

Geometric play

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.

Touch of warmth

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Touch of warmth

This simple firepit adds a spark of warmth to a lush yard in the rainy Northwest.

Stylish concrete firepit

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Stylish concrete firepit

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.

Firepit circle sitting area

Firepit circle sitting area

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.

Bowl of fire

Photo by Steven Gunther

Bowl of fire

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.

Portable firepit

Photo by Norm Plate

Portable firepit

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.

Homegrown campfire

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Homegrown campfire

A gas-fueled flagstone firepit warms homeowners in their Northern California backyard.

Multiuse firepit

Photo by Steve A. Gunther

Multiuse firepit

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.

Lava firepit

Lava firepit

For a tropical look in your own backyard, try this novel firepit design—lava stone mounded volcano-style around a central gas jet.

Low-key warmth

Photo by Steven A. Gunther

Low-key warmth

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.

Convertible firepit

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Convertible firepit

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.

Sunset's own firepit

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Sunset's own firepit

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.

Circular firepit

Photo by Norm Plate

Circular firepit

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.

Coastal campfire

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Coastal campfire

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.

Party focal point

Party focal point

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."

Alfresco entertaining

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Alfresco entertaining

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.

Found firepit

Photo by David Fenton; written by Julie Chai

Found firepit

A 28-inch-diameter metal wok, turned into a wood-burning fire bowl, sits on a steel base made by one of the homeowners.

 

Built-in warmth

Photo by Jennifer Cheung; written by Sharon Cohoon

Built-in warmth

A ready-to-roar gas firepit housed in a concrete “wok” from Potted (pottedstore.com) heats this yard’s main seating area. The cushy pillows are covered in cloth from F & S Fabrics (fandsfabrics.com).

Space to unwind

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Space to unwind

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.

Triangular firepit

Photo by Steven Gunther

Triangular firepit 

This unusually-shaped firepit is the perfect fit in a small corner of a backyard.

Backyard beach

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Backyard beach

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

 

Outdoor hearth

Outdoor hearth

An outdoor fireplace, flanked by a hammock, chaise lounges, and a comfy loveseat provide the ideal spot for intimate conversation over drinks.

Alfresco fireplace

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Alfresco fireplace

This friendly-looking fireplace sits on a gravel patio, accompanied by a traditional arrangement of furniture. The structure was built from concrete blocks and covered with manmade, though convincing, river-rock veneer.

 

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