Any time you arrange or rearrange a patio it’s always worth asking, at least once, “to fire pit or not to fire pit?”
Spoiler alert: The answer is “to fire pit”. In fact, depending on space and how much you love your setup of patio furniture with a fire pit included, the answer may turn out to be “two fire pits!”
Now, if it’s your first time setting up this patio–an arrangement and not a rearrangement–it can be immensely helpful to spend some time scrolling through some professional photographs of patio furniture with fire pits. You might find a set that’s perfect for you but, even if you don’t, you’re bound to find some very cool starter ideas to embellish on.
On the other hand, if this is a rearrangement, taking a quick spin through Pintrest can still be useful but, unless you’re open to replacing your whole patio furniture inventory, sometimes it’s best to just focus on a la carte fire pits and new cushion covers instead of entire patio packages.
Fire Pit Fuel Options
When you get into the market for a new fire pit, usually the first question to answer is that of fuel. There are more fuel options than one might think, with varying degrees of operational ease and impact on the environment. And not every fire pit can use every type of fuel; once you know which fire pit fuel options to eliminate from your search, you can narrow the field down to your favorite fire pits much more quickly and easily.
The best time to add a natural gas fire pit to your backyard is before the backyard is done being built. Installation of a natural gas fire pit is a serious construction project that requires time, skilled labor, and permits.
That being said, operating a natural gas fire pit is easier than any other type: you press the On button. Just don’t forget–to extinguish the flames, you’ll probably have to press the button again. Turns out it frequently moonlights as the Off button.
Propane is like portable natural gas. It comes in canisters you essentially snap into place inside the fire pit. Operation of a propane fire pit is essentially the same as that of natural gas.
Just know that propane is the most expensive fuel for a fire pit. This means it’s usually best-suited to people who don’t see themselves using their fire pit very often, don’t want any trouble when they do, and want to be able to store it out of sight. For these folks, ease-of-use and portability are well-worth the cost of their propane.
Even today, wood still provides the earthiest, most organic fire pit experience. The crackling of the flames, the smell of a true campfire… the smoke that gets in your eyes and sinuses when the wind blows the wrong direction for a second.
In fact, their smoke and habit of throwing sparks make wood-burning fire pits illegal to use, sometimes for weeks at a time. And those weeks of prohibition are usually some of the best weeks for using a fire pit–during the summer when it’s not raining.
Still, wood-fueled fire pits are often portable and almost literally as cheap as dirt to use. They’re also attractively priced to buy. And some of them are flexible when it comes to fuel sources. If you want the old-school cred of a wood-burning fire pit, see if the items on your list of candidates work with other types of fuel as well.
The last few years have seen some refreshing innovations in fire pit fuel come to market. Eco briquettes are mostly waste wood that would have gone to landfill. Bioethanol is essentially fermented sugar. There’s also a type of gel made from alcohol that doesn’t produce smoke or fumes. You can even find DIY gel fuel recipes which are undoubtedly easier to mix than chopping your own wood is.
At the end of the day, fuel selection comes down to what kind of experience you want to have with your fire pit. How often are you planning to use it? Where would you like it to live when it’s not in use? How much time are you willing to put in before using it?
How to Mix Patio Furniture with Fire Pit
You probably wouldn’t pair a marble dining room table with wicker chairs. You might, however, use those chairs with a cedar table, at least if they were the right color and/or sported the right cushions. Likewise, although you have more room to play with when matching patio furniture with fire pit, you always want to remain aware of what you can change easily.
Fig Leaf’s Winter Stripes cushion cover print is a perfect example. Outfitting your chairs with a print like this can make for a very pleasant contrast between your seating and, say, an all-white fire pit. And because the print is so busy, it leaves the door open for other, eclectic decor items to compliment your setup without strictly “matching” your patio furniture with fire pit look.
Remember, this is all about setting up the space that looks and feels the very best it can to you, the host! Don’t waste your time or fluids drooling over designer items that are out of your budget just because you think they’d impress your in-laws. If anyone should be uncomfortable in your space, it should be the people who don’t live there–but if you’re comfortable, it’s bound to rub off on everyone else!
Be able to relax in your patio furniture with or without a fire pit; likewise, be able to enjoy the ambiance of your fire pit whatever state the furniture is in. This space is for you and your loved ones to spend quality time together so, just have fun with it!