Fire pit ideas: 20 ways to cozy up after dark and create an enchanting atmosphere
Elevate your evenings spent outdoors with our favorite fire pit ideas, from rustic bowls to contemporary designs
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Why not try our favorite fire pit ideas in your backyard this year? That way, you can still make the most of your outdoor space after dark.
A wonderful focal point for any patio, the best fire pits are ideal for injecting a touch of ambience to your outdoor get-togethers. Making sure it's as cozy and inviting as possible is key, especially during the cooler months.
After all, fire pits aren't just for the warmer seasons. Whether you want to crowd around and toast marshmallows with the kids, or simply enjoy a hot chocolate under the night sky, a fire pit will help you make the most of your garden all year round.
We've gathered the very best fire pit ideas for plots big or small, so find out how you can create the perfect set-up in your space.
20 ways to warm up outdoors with the latest fire pit ideas
Adding a fire pit to your patio or seating space is one of the easiest and most atmospheric options for outdoor heating.
From budget-friendly fire pits on Amazon (opens in new tab) to designer looks that will create a stunning focal point in any space, there are plenty of ways to keep warm outdoors in style this season.
1. Create a cozy fire pit corner
If you want to create a cozy retreat where you can escape outdoors for some peace and quiet, then this simple setup has everything you need.
A small fire bowl, such as the Amagabeli Garden & Home fire pit from Amazon (opens in new tab), will pack out plenty of heat in a small space, so you can curl up in your favorite outdoor chair and bask in the warmth of the glow. Learning how to light a fire pit like this one is super quick and easy too.
To enhance the atmosphere, a simple set of string lights along a nearby fence or wall will do the trick. If you don't have access to a power outlet or simply want to keep down running costs, look for a set of solar strong lights, such as the Brightech Ambience Pro waterproof solar lights from Amazon (opens in new tab).
2. Have fun with a backyard fire pit cookout
For a rustic backyard party vibe, make a low fire pit the central feature of your space. Larger chopped logs can double up as informal seating and tables, while LED candles dotted around your deck will introduce a welcoming glow for friends and family alike.
If you like the idea learning how to cook on a fire pit, a simple solution is to add a cooking tripod to your setup. A heavy duty tripod, such as the Stansport cooking tripod from Amazon (opens in new tab), comes with a chain so you can suspend everything from cooking pots to coffee pots over the fire. Whether you fancy heating drinks or cooking a hearty stew outdoors, it’s an inexpensive addition that will take your fire pit ideas to the next level.
3. Have a S'mores night
What's one of the best uses for your fire pit? Making S'mores of course! Yes, there's plenty of ways you can try and make them indoors, but that's not half as much fun as using marshmallow roasting sticks (available from Amazon) (opens in new tab) to toast them over an open fire in the yard.
Not just for Halloween or Bonfire Night celebrations, this is a great garden activity for kids, whatever the time of year.
If children are going to be spending time near a fire pit, remember to keep them supervised at all times, and follow our key fire pit safety tips to prevent any accidents.
4. Choose a statement material
Statement metals such as corten steel are a big garden trend right now. We've seen them used for everything from sleek water features to stunning garden planters at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, so why not continue the trend with your fire pit too?
We love how this unique deck fire pit takes center stage in the space, and the warm hues of the metal will be accentuated by the flickering flames.
'Adding glamour and excitement to the garden, fire pits are great for staying cozy as the sun begins to set, and mean you can keep the conversation flowing long into the night,' say the experts at VonHaus (opens in new tab).
5. Match your fire pit with your patio
Create a cohesive look by using the same materials for your fire pit and patio. We're loving this warm, sandy-hued stone, and it's a perfect choice if you're looking for a more permanent fire pit patio feature.
Not only does this robust design blend seamlessly with its surroundings, but it also creates a gorgeously rustic centrepiece between the two benches. Pop a wicker basket nearby to store extra logs, for an additional dose of charm. The Household Essentials tall water hyacinth wicker basket from Amazon (opens in new tab) would make a stylish addition to this space.
6. Make your fire pit a modern focal point
If you're looking for inspiration on how to make a garden feel modern, then how's this for an idea?
The sweeping curves of the modern chairs complement the fire bowl's design beautifully. Plus, we love the use of jumbo-sized patio flooring which accentuates the feeling of space. Once lit, the warm crackle and flicker of flames will add a sense of warmth and movement to the scene, ramping up the welcoming vibes.
'Sources of heat, such as fire pits, allow you to enjoy your garden comfortably when the temperature outside is less than appealing,' says Patrick Bridge, Chief Operations Officer at Harbour Lifestyle. 'Plus, installing these impressive displays enhances the aesthetic of your garden, and also provides lighting for those evenings when you just don’t want to go back inside yet.'
7. Opt for a basket design for a view of the flames
This raw metal design from Garden Trading has an industrial edge that would work well in modern and country-style plots alike. It's available in two sizes, so if space permits, you could opt for one of each – a surefire way to make a statement.
With ample room for logs, it's perfect for keeping you and your guests comfortably warm late into the evening. And, it will naturally rust over time, which will only add to its authentic charm.
Soften its sturdy look with twinkling festoon lights overhead, and add plenty of cozy textiles to your seating spot nearby.
When using a fire pit on a lawn like this, it's even more important to know how to put out a fire pit safely so you can reduce the risk of any sparks setting fire to the grass once you've gone to bed at the end of the night.
8. Go for a sleek standing style
If you love the idea of a fire pit but would like something a little more contained, then a vertical outdoor fireplace design is a good solution.
It will still offer all the warmth and atmosphere of the classic bowl-shaped pits, and won't take up much floor space. What's more, a chimney-style design will help to channel smoke away from you and your guests, so can be more suitable for small patios.
9. Let your fire pit take pride of place
Here, clever landscaping ideas give a fire bowl pride of place. And not only does lifting it up bring it closer to eye level for a more impressive impact, but it also provides storage space beneath for logs. A painted backdrop and downlight accentuate its dramatic beauty further.
Even when unlit, fire features give the impression of warmth and make your garden feel like a welcoming, modern space, says Jonathan Martin, Garden Designer of Living Gardens (opens in new tab). 'A fire bowl filled with daffodils in early spring is as bright and warming as when the same bowl is alive with flame in fall.'
10. Go for pleasing curves
A soothing shape such as this will provide any plot with a dose of elegance. Its wide diameter is brilliant for cooking, too – simply add an attachable grill rack. Your evenings outdoors will feel extra special instantly.
If you're going to be cooking over a fire pit, bear in mind that cleaning a fire pit is likely to take longer than if you are only using it as a heat source as you'll also need to deal with any food residue.
11. Surround a fire pit with cushions for a casual vibe
Want a more relaxed feel to your garden space? Surround your fire pit with a mix of comfy floor cushions or one or two of the best outdoor beanbags and you've got the perfect spot for lazy evenings with friends. This idea can work particularly well for smaller fire pits as you'll be able to sit closer to it and really soak up the warmth.
This concrete-effect design works brilliantly with the sleek paving to give this garden a modern edge, while the fire pit cover is a sensible addition for extra safety – especially if there's a few cocktails on the drinks menu.
12. Add character with a recycled fire bowl
If you're a fan of rustic garden ideas, this is the look for you. Give your yard some some instant charm by opting for a traditional Indian fire bowl, called a kadai. They're the perfect buy if you want to combine a wood-fired BBQ with a fire pit in one characterful design.
Simply remove the grill when you've finished cooking (wear protective gloves or use tongs to do this, obviously) and you've got a fire pit to enjoy for the rest of the evening. Typically made from recycled oil drums, they're available in a range of sizes and can come with either a low or high stand, depending on your preference.
13. Cozy up a greenhouse
We love this idea of using your garden glasshouse as an outdoor room in winter.
Add a fire pit near the entrance and then get cozy alongside your plants with comfy seating, cushions and throws. The flames from the fire pit will reflect off all of that glass to enhance the overall atmosphere too.
Want some extra sparkle? String fairy lights up inside the greenhouse for added romance under the night sky. It's the perfect setting for a stunning fall backyard party.
14. Create a sheltered spot
Having a patio cover will give you a sheltered space where you can relax outdoors all year. While having some sort of roof over your head will protect your seating area from the elements, it won't do much to keep those winter temperatures at bay, however.
Adding a large gas fire table as the focal point of your cozy patio will ensure you'll be toasty whatever the weather. Gas designs are more expensive to buy than a basic wood-burning fire pit, but there's no mess and you won't have to contend with getting that bonfire smell stuck in your clothes and hair either.
As with all fire pits, just make sure there's enough clearance around and above it, to prevent carbon monoxide from building up.
15. Choose a fire pit and log store combined
If you go for a wood-burning fire pit, don't forget that you'll need somewhere dry to store your fuel. So if space is tight and you don't have room for a separate log store, then look for a model that combines fire pit and log storage in one practical design.
With the attractive log storage in the lower half, this fire pit section is raised up for better views of the flames. A great option for small patios or courtyard gardens.
16. Combine a fire pit and table in one space-saving design
If you've only got a small garden and need to make the most of your limited space, then a multi-functional fire pit will help you make the most of your plot.
By day, this fire pit can be used as a handy side table for drinks and snacks, then once the sun has set you can remove the lid, turn up the heat and it turns into one of the best patio heaters. This design runs on natural gas/LPG or bioethanol, making it even easier to get instant heat on demand.
17. Create a camping holiday at home
Overexcited kids? Check. Healthy (or unhealthy depending on your point of view) supply of marshmallows to make S'mores? Check. Fire pit to place right in the centre of it all? Check.
The good news is you've now got all the ingredients for an atmospheric campfire-themed garden party. Bales of hay entirely optional.
'For an authentic campsite style experience, a fire pit is a must have in your alfresco space,' say the experts at Harbour Lifestyle. 'Emanating relaxed vibes, an open flame provides an additional heat source for your guests to enjoy, and also creates a peaceful atmosphere with its orange glow, and soothing crackling sound.'
18. Go ultra modern with a sunken fire pit
If you're taking on a bigger patio makeover and want to create a cozy seating area that can be screened from the rest of the garden, take your lead from this sleek fire pit idea.
Built-in bench seating on three sides of a central fire pit ensures everyone is in the heart of the action after dark. Raised beds filled with a mix of plants and flowers provide shelter and privacy, while also creating a colorful backdrop to this contemporary entertaining space.
19. Take your fire pit on the go
Love the idea of a fire pit but don't want to be restricted to only using it at home? Look out for a design with carry handles and you'll be able to put it in the back of the car and then take it with you on camping trips, or carry it down to the beach for some coastal alfresco cooking.
Bear in mind the overall size of the fire pit if you want to take it with you on day trips or holidays – a large diameter might be great on your patio, but you'll probably regret it when you're lugging it up sand dunes back to the car.
20. Go for a high fire pit for extra visibility
Want to bring your fire pit into the heart of the action? Choose a traditional fire bowl with a raised stand and the flames will be closer to eye level when you're sitting down around it. We love the rust effect of this fire pit as it brings extra character to the patio space.
What do I need to consider when choosing my fire pit?
Choosing a fire pit involves a number of different considerations, so the experts at FirepitsUK (opens in new tab) share their advice.
First, the team suggests to consider your budget. 'Prices on fire pits vary greatly but beware the cheap versions,' they say. Usually they are mass produced from very thin steel, which will quickly deteriorate. If you go for better quality designs, they'll last for much longer and they don't have to be eye-wateringly expensive.
The next factor to think about is how many people you want to have around your fire pit. 'The potential heat generated by the fire pit will vary depending on its size, so consider how many people will be sitting around it usually. Is it just for day-to-day family use, or will you be using it for parties?' they ask.
Third, how big is your plot? 'It's important to take into account how your fire pit will fit and look in your garden. If you need help visualizing the size, it might help to make a template from newspaper and put it where you plan to use the fire pit. An extra 4in (10cm) in diameter can make a big difference,' the FirepitsUK team says.
And finally, think about whether you plan to cook on your fire pit – some designs are particularly good for doing so and can become part of your outdoor kitchen setup. So, if you're keen on grilling up a storm over an open flame, choose a fire pit that is a comfortable height to cook over and can take versatile cooking accessories such as the Plain Jane (opens in new tab), suggests the team.
For the past 18 years, Beth has worked for and contributed to a number of leading magazines in the UK, including Real Homes, Ideal Home, Period Living, Grand Designs and Good Homes amongst others. Now the editor of Gardeningetc.com, Beth's attention is firmly outdoors. Her own garden is a really important part of her family's home, and she loves spending time tending to the veg patch or entertaining friends and family at a summer BBQ or alfresco pizza night.
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