Firepits have increased in popularity when it comes to our garden wish-lists in recent years. We’re all on the hunt for ways to stay out in our gardens later, finding firepit ideas to make the most of our outdoor spaces, whether big or small.
If you are looking for a firepit to complement your outdoor kitchen ideas, then there are so many different designs and solutions available. Think beyond the traditional round cast iron bowls or braziers!
‘A fire pit is something that can bring the family together,’ says Pip Probert, garden designer and RHS multi-award winner at Outer Spaces. ‘Having a source of heat to gather round encourages us to stay out and enjoy the space till after dark. Many clients have told me how their children LOVE the fire pit, as they can bring their friends and truly enjoy the social side of living outdoors. It doesn’t have to be a feature that is only used at night either. I love to double up, creating a lid or “tabletop” idea for my fire pits. This way, the feature can be used as a coffee table or even an extra seat when not lit.’
‘I am a big fan of a firepit,’ agrees multi RHS gold medal winning landscape architect and designer Victoria Wade. ‘There’s nothing lovelier than sitting around a real fire with good friends and a cheeky G&T (or two!) on a summer’s evening. If you want to take things one step further, then look for one with a clever swing arm BBQ for the best of both.’
Firepit ideas for your garden
‘The popularity of fire pits has increased tenfold over the last few years,’ says Declan Kingsley-Walsh, managing director at Morsø UK. ‘We are seeing both freestanding and permanent structures and in a variety of different materials, such as concrete, metal and cast-iron.’
But we are also wanting firepits to work hard too, forming part of our outdoor kitchen set-ups or best BBQ areas. ‘We’ve seen an upturn in the number of people looking for multifunctional outside cooking ideas that work in any weather. This has resulted in the rise of the sheltered outdoor dining space, these wooden structures much like cabins can house a firepit, tables, chairs and even workspace to prepare food,’ says Declan.
Make your garden work harder for longer with these clever firepit ideas.
1. Build a pit into your scheme
Create an outdoor living room with a built-in firepit at the heart of your scheme. Slate gives a contemporary feel, which will be hardwearing, both underfoot and around your firepit. Plan the pit in place of a central coffee table, allowing space around for drinks and nibbles – the best of both when you’ve topped yourself up at your garden bar idea.
Vary the size of slab and stone used – the flooring echoes the stonework pattern, although playing with scale. Wooden furniture adds warmth to the coolness of the slate, arranged in a formal configuration around the firepit.
2. Think low level
Be inspired by The Viking Friluftsliv Garden from RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2021, where a large, low-level marble firepit stole the show. Echoing the wooden gazebo, outdoor kitchen (the perfect inspiration when looking for ideas on how to build an outdoor kitchen) and sofa, the texture from the roughly cut wood makes a statement even before lit.
Metal pins hammered into the slab keep the logs from rolling off its flat surface, which has a burning area approximately a third of its width – if emulating something similar, make sure you have plenty of space around the slab edge.
3. Try a traditional layout
Position your garden furniture at right angles to your garden’s heat source – like this chimenea – for a social space that still allows guests to benefit from the heat from the fire while chatting. Raise it up on a wall, to make it a real feature.
A chiminea is a great choice for a more rustic garden. It will provide a lovely visual hit of warmth while containing the ash. If you have a sunken or overlooked garden, then there are things you can do to avoid smoking out neighbours’ properties. Look out for a taller flue or chimney part to your chimenea.
4. Offset your heat source
Place a chiminea off-centre, to bring a warm glow to your summer garden party idea. If placing on wooden or composite decking, then position on terracotta or porcelain tiles. This creates the effect of a mini boho rug, creating a great space for a summer soiree.
Chimineas are safer than firepits. Their unique shape and design makes it easier to control the fire and heat created. They are also easier to move around once cool. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that only those sitting close to a chiminea’s opening will feel the benefit of the heat. So you might need to factor in other outdoor heating ideas to keep everyone toasty.
5. Build your own surround
Love an outdoor living room idea? A firepit can really help create that comfortable vibe. Here, a brick surround creates more of a fireplace feel, adding an extra level of protection. The brick surround gives an inexpensive firepit bowl a more substantial feel.
Continue the curves of the firepit with any pathway, creating a garden that flows (even if it’s a small one). Why not repeat the brickwork around trees and large shrubs for a cohesive, well-designed look.
6. Create a cosy corner
Even the smallest garden seating idea can become a cosy place come sunset. Go mini with an open firepit that can burn just three or four logs. Keep the design simple, especially in a contemporary garden. A simple bowl on cast iron legs is ideal.
Make a feature of your spare logs, stacking up in a pile, where they can add natural texture until needed.
7. Find the perfect spot
Transform an often-under-used area of your garden into an extra seating zone. Here, reclaimed timber has been used to create a bench seating area – a brilliant DIY outdoor furniture idea. The warm timber contrasts with the concrete-effect firepit. The blocky design echoes the shape of this little garden retreat perfectly. As the sun sets, the firepit will create gentle heat and light, allowing you to stay out that little longer. And of course you can always add a blanket or two for cosy nights out!
Planting behind the seating area helps often the expanse of fence, adding to the intimate feel.
8. Work an industrial look
A cast iron firepit will take on a lovely, weathered patina after a few summers-worth of use – perfect for an industrial-vibe garden. Team with loungers and a steel-framed bench that’s topped with wood.
This isn’t a look that needs protecting from the elements. That means your garden’s good to go as soon as the sun shines. Just bring the chairs out from the garden shed. Protect patio paving ideas from any scorch marks by placing your firepit on a paving slab, almost plinth-like.
9. Build an outdoor fireplace
Use reclaimed brick to construct a fireplace wall, with an open basket-style firepit for your very own outdoor living room. Create a log stack in an alcove, just as you would inside, while a floating concrete shelf provides space for display.
Encourage foliage to grow up above the fireplace wall. You could even add a few trough-style planters high up, acting as a living wallpaper or living wall idea that changes through the seasons.
10. Find the perfect corner
Unwind after a busy day in a cosy chair next to a roaring firepit. Add lanterns, festoon lights and other garden lighting ideas for the perfect evening al fresco. Choose a sturdy firepit that has a Scandi vibe. You’ll be able to create a dreamy hygge moment this summer.
Patterned floor tiles give the appearance of an outdoor rug. They’re ideal for use under a firepit, adding interest to the floor.
11. Go tabletop
Incorporate a firepit into your garden table. Choose a firepit design that easily hides away when not in use, meaning you aren’t compromising on table surface area when entertaining a crowd.
Fuelled by a gas canister, which can be stowed away underneath, this three-point adjustable flame firepit gives out 8.8kw – perfect for staying warm after sunset.
12. Pick multi-purpose
For gardens where space is tight, lookout for a design that can be both a firepit and a BBQ. With a swing-rack design, you can adjust the height of the grill, giving you maximum control. Opt for a version where the swing arm can be removed after the last steak has sizzled, leaving you with a firepit to enjoy as the flames die down.
Optional extras include a hanging arm and cooking bowl. Great for big cookouts in your own back yard.
13. Opt for a minimal design
Think all firepits are rustic? Think again! This firebowl has clean lines perfect for a more contemporary garden design. Made from fibre-clay with a choice of grey ‘cement’ or ‘black granite’ finish, there’s even space to stash a few logs underneath.
Choose a curved design to balance out those straight lines of a contemporary garden design – like steps and walls.
14. Gather round a brazier
As the sun sets, light up a brazier or fire bucket – you could even have a few dotted around your garden, creating pockets of warm where guests can congregate. Choose a cut-out design and you’ll get some interesting shadows cast onto your paving too.
Make an evening of it and plan how to make a an outdoor cinema to entertain family or guests.
15. Cover up
Worried about pets and children? Choose a design with a spark guard lid, and then it will contain the worst of any sparks. This model also comes with a removable grate, allowing you to sizzle those sausages too. The mesh sides also feature a flower trim, which will echo your garden’s blooms too. A perfect look for a more cottage garden feel.
Over time, steel firepits will rust, which is completely normal and adds to the firepit charm. You can use hot soppy water to clean the inside. Have a cleaning session and plan how to clean a BBQ at the same time. Make sure to allow a steel firepit to dry completely to prevent the inside from rusting. A thin layer of vegetable oil applied after each burn will also help preserve your firepit.
16. Keep things simple
Sometimes less is more, and we’re big fans of this stunning simple fire pot. The fire itself is the true star here. Made from sheet iron, with its own practical windscreen shape, this Danish-designed fire pot can even be combined with a grill for good old-fashioned cook-out fun.
Buy now: Firepot, £249, Beaumonde
17. Make your firepit work harder
During the day, put your firebowl or pit to use as an extra table. All you have to do is top it with a wooden cover. It makes the ideal perch for garden party snacks or drinks (served from your very own DIY pallet bar of course!). Then come dusk, remove the lid and light up the firepit.
A bonus of a natural gas/LP or bio-fuel burner is that it doesn’t take as long to heat up as solid fuel.
18. Don’t compromise with a clever design
If you’re short of garden space, why choose between a firepit and a lovely dining set when there are designs available that tick both boxes? We recommend a design where the canister fits neatly underneath the table to power a gas-filled firepit. The result? Heat and light for your evening soiree. This design even allows you to cover the firepit when not needed, converting it to a normal garden table idea.
19. Go for hotel chic with a dining sofa set
Dining sofa sets are just the ticket when you’re looking to combine a comfy sofa with a table space that’s the right height for eating too. Don’t stop there – pick a model that has a built-in firepot too. That way you’ll feel like you are in a swanky boutique hotel garden. All that’s left to do is rustle up your favourite summer cocktail.
20. Keep it petite with a fire lantern
Combine heat and light with this Scandi-style lantern. Powered by gas, it’s easy to move to wherever you’re gathered in the garden. And a 190gr gas cartridge should give around six hours of burn time – plenty to last you throughout the evening.
21. Gather around the firepit
Arrange garden furniture, outdoor rugs and cushions around your firepit, ready for an evening of sharing old memories and making new. Perhaps you could even tell a spooky story or two! Gravel or shingle is a great base for a firepit. Check it’s stable before you light, and keep any textiles out of the way of sparks.
Buy now: Morsø Ignis firepit, £249, Morso
What can I put my firepit on?
‘If you are using a portable firepit, in that it’s not a permanent feature in your garden, then you should really find a hard surface,’ says Pip Probert, garden designer and RHS multi-award winner at Outer Spaces. ‘It’s important to remember that they get extremely hot, and it could burn, mark or create problems to the surface below. If you have an old paving stone or even a fireproof board that the fire pit can stand on, it reduces the heat touching your paving. Gravel is sometimes a better option and then any soot or ash that is dropped can be washed away via the loose stones.’
Pip also says to avoid placing one directly on a lawn idea; ‘Think back to the last time you used a disposable BBQ, or you had Guy Fawkes burning away on a bonfire. You’ll probably remember the burn mark on the lawn below,’ says Pip. If you have decked areas, then Pip suggests avoiding using the fire pit there, unless again you have a paving stone or hard surface in between. ‘It’s also worth remembering that if you have a pergola above your seating area, you may want to ensure it does not cover the fire pit. I can’t emphasise enough how hot these get,’ she says.
Should I choose a firepit or chiminea?
Firepits have become more popular over the years as they tend to be more affordable. Smaller in size, freestanding fire pits also take up less space and so are ideal for compact outdoor areas and small garden ideas,’ says Declan Kingsley-Walsh, MD at Morsø UK. ‘They can also be portable meaning that you can create the same cosy ambience that you would at home at the beach, the park or on a camping trip.
Chimeneas on the other hand tend to start at a higher price point because they are larger, more sophisticated products. They are ideal for those who love to be outdoors all year around as they aren’t easily moveable. The firepit is a more practical option for those who spend less time in their outside area as they can be quickly transportable and moved around.’
Can I make one myself?
Making your own firepit is a great low-cost alternative for budget garden ideas, although there are a few practicalities as Pip explains; ‘If you are handy with the tools, then there’s no reason why you can’t build one yourself. We tend to build them in block, with a small footing and a solid base (but make sure you have a drainage hole, otherwise it will fill up with water when it rains).’
Internally, Pip lines a firepit with fireproof bricks, using fireproof cement and a layer of fireproof render. ‘This is the most expensive part of the feature, but you need it to ensure it can withstand the direct heat,’ she says. ‘On the outside you can match up with your surrounding materials, maybe a tile to clad or a decorative brick, with matching coping Firepits can be contemporary or rustic, fitting in with any scheme.’
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