How to Choose The Best Bonfire Pit for Your Backyard

Have you been on the hunt for best backyard bonfire pit guide? If so, I have put together a list of topics that’s essential for making your backyard bonfire ready.

bonfire pit
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As fall is upon us, I find myself eager to get outdoors and take a break from the heat and humidity that Florida is well known for. One of my families’ favorite activities is to head out to the backyard and enjoy a nice fire in our bonfire pit that we put together a few years ago.

The kids can enjoy making smores, tossing the leaves from our magnolia tree to hear the leaves crackle as they burn and even whip up a campfire dinner using our fire pit. Oh, and the wife and I can also enjoy a glass of wine under the night sky.

making smores over a campfire

There’s just something about building a camp fire while enjoying a camping trip. Now, you can have camp fire any time right in your own backyard. Firepits add a decorative element to your landscaping if you’re looking to provide your yard with a great focal point.  Outdoor entertaining takes on an added delight with the addition of backyard bonfire pit.

So, you made the decision to put a bonfire pit in your yard………Now What?

First, let’s determine how you will use the fire pit. Are you cooking on it, using it to stay warm, entertaining family and friends, or do you just want one to make your yard look like a house you saw on a HGTV episode? Perhaps you want one to cover all of these. Let’s take a look at the different options:

cooking over campfire
friends drinking wine over a bonfire
hgtv backyard with fire pit

Types of Outdoor Bonfire Pits

Assembly Required Fire Pits

Basic fire pits with “some assembly required” are readily available at most home building supply stores and retail chains like Lowes, Wal-Mart, Target and of course Amazon. A fire pit can cost anywhere from $60 to $1,000 depending on what it’s made of and how elaborate the fire pit is. Fire pits are typically made from copper, stainless steel, or stone.

The popular portable fire pit comes with a stand and screen covering. Even the most basic models come with fire pit accessories like a vinyl cover and a tool for removing the screen top.

diy bonfire pit
DIY Stone Fire Pit

Custom Built Bonfire Pits

Now, if not too excited on the options of the basic fire pits and you are good getting creative and working with your hands, then I strongly encourage you to custom build your own. Visit your local rock yards or home improvement centers to generate ideas on the assortment of stone available to build your fire pit.

For a better look and better protection to your choice of stone, try to get a metal fire pit ring that you can surround with your choice of stone. This helps prevent wear on your stone and adds to the overall aesthetics of your fire pit. You can add grout/mortar or even liquid adhesive to each layer to prevent you stones from shifting.

If you want to use your fire pit to cook, then I would recommend that your setup uses a custom fire pit. You can buy a cooking grate that can be easily inserted into the ground or lays across your pit when cooking and then easily removed.

The most common form of fuel for your fire pit is typically wood. However, some of the higher end fire pits, can give you the option to use propane. This could include the use of propane tanks are getting a hard-wired system installed.

Personally, nothing beats a traditional wood fire pit. There’s just something about getting a fire started and the smell of a good oak tree burning that makes this experience better. 

stacked firewood

16 Backyard Fire Pit Ideas

backyard fire pit ideas
backyard bonfire pit ideas

Here’s My Top Portable Fire Pit Picks:

How to Build a Basic Bonfire Pit

Fire rings can be handmade by simply placing paving stones in a circular shape around an open expanse of soil. Take it a step further and place sidewalk pavers or fill it in with lava rocks.

The idea here is to make clean up easy when cleaning up leftover ashes and wood from your fire pit. Most firepits are recommended to be about 12-14 inches tall from the ground.

diy bonfire pit

Fire Safety Tips for Using a Fire Pit

  • There are some basic safety factors to keep in mind when using a fire pit. An outdoor fireplace of any type, whether a pit or fire ring should never be placed under low hanging tree branches or near shrubs. Have a clear surface free of loose debris and paper around the perimeter of the fire pit.
  • Many backyard fire pits come with a mesh screen covering to keep embers from falling on the ground. For added safety, keep a container of sand and a container of water nearby. Either can be used to quickly extinguish a falling ember or small grass fire.
  • Children should never be left unsupervised, near a burning fire source of any type. Be sure a responsible adult is present at all times when children are around. Remember that the surface of the fire pit will retain heat after the fire has been put out and remain potentially hazardous. Lawn furniture can catch fire if too close to the flames of a fire pit as well, so keep seating at a safe distance.

Following these basic tips will provide the owner of a backyard fireplace or fire pit with a safe, relaxing source of entertainment year-round.

You should also confirm you don’t have any local ordinances or government regulations preventing you from having fire pits. And don’t forget to check with your HOA (Home Owners Association).

How to Start a Fire in a Fire Pit

The 3 components to a good fire is tinder, kindling, and firewood.

  • Tinder is burning fuel for the fire. It consists of newspaper, dryer lent, pine needles, dry leaves, and about a ton more. If it’s a dry natural material, then most likely it will burn.
dry leaves
  • Kindling are small twigs and branches that will be the second step of the fire building process.
kindling for campfire
  • Firewood is course is needed to keep the fire going for the duration of your bonfire.
burning wood

Now that you have your wood burning supplies let’s get started. Lay the tinder in the center of the bonfire pit then lay your kindling against the tinder in a teepee shape. Don’t crowd the tinder, fire needs air to grow. Light the tinder with a lighter or Firestarter of your choice. Lastly, while the tinder is burning, begin placing your firewood in the pit.

building a bonfire

3 Ways to Stack Your Firewood for Optimal Burn!

You can continue the teepee frame around the kindling, stack like a log cabin or pyramid leaving gaps in the wood placement for airflow.

photo by REI

How to Put Out a Bonfire

Extinguishing a bonfire is an important safety measure that needs to be done correctly. When the fire is just a pile of embers you can then use water or sand to put it out. When using water and sand, you want to refrain from pouring too much at one time. Pouring too much at one time can make ashes and ember scatter and spread through the air and land elsewhere which could cause a new fire to start.

Now that you’re all set to make a decision on what type of firepit would be the best option for you. Take this guide and spend time outdoors with friends and family around your very own bonfire pit. Don’t forget the smores!

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backyard firepit ideas

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