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The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Fire Pits

Swimming Pool with Fire Pit

Looking for backyard fire pit and pool ideas? This article from covers the different types of fire pits available such as propane fire pits, natural gas fire pits and wood-burning pits. It also explores the many different styles such as fire pit tables, glass rock fire pits and more.

Read on for amazing outdoor fire pit ideas!

Why Should You Install a Fire Pit?

Imagine sitting around a fire pit with friends and family, watching the flickering flames, roasting marshmallows and having amazing conversation. Outdoor fire pits create warmth, enhance connection and provides year-round backyard use in many areas of the U.S. Whether you're adding a fire pit next to the pool or designing it as the focal point of your backyard, you'll find the addition of a fire feature totally changes your outdoor experience.

small poolside fire pit

Firepit Design Ideas

Once you decide to install an outdoor fire pit in your backyard, meet with a landscape architect or professional builder for design recommendations, safety features and other ideas. They can help you narrow down your preferences on customizable design elements.

Get a head start on the design process by answering a few key questions about the outer material, shape, fuel source, inner materials and functionality you want.

Outer Material

Did you know there are many outer material options for your firepit surround? From rugged stone and slate to sleek cement and metal, the outer material of your fire pit is a key design feature. Here are some design ideas to get you thinking:

  • Maybe you want to match your fire pit to your home, echoing the stone or brick of the architecture.
  • Perhaps you choose to integrate it with your pool, blending the two together with a seamless flow of tile.
  • For a modern look, consider sleek cement or concrete materials.
  • For a glam look, check out metal materials.

A fire pit should anchor and enhance your backyard landscape. Choose your fire pit material carefully to make your space cohesive.

round tile fire pit with glass rocks

This amazing fire pit features indigo glass rock and an NPT pool tile surround.

Shape: Round, Square or Something Else?

Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes. Your design choice will depend on the size of your backyard and the desired look of your outdoor space. Do you want a rustic stone structure that anchors your backyard or a minimalist feature that dots your pool or patio area? Let's look at some common fire pit shapes:

Round fire pits are available in a variety of outer materials but each offer the classic, rustic look you are probably most familiar with when it comes to fire pits. Round pits are hugely popular for their versatility and good looks. Additionally, the round shape makes a natural gathering spot for friends and family.

round stone fire pit wood burning

Round fire pits are perfect for rustic backyards.

Another amazing fire pit style that you may not be familiar with is the spherical shape or “fire globe.” These magical outdoor fire pits are made with metal cut-out in the shapes of wildlife, folklore imagery and other enchanting designs that come alive with fire.

metal fire globe

Tapered fire pits look like inverted triangles with the base getting smaller towards the bottom. This creates an elegant look that enhances any high-end luxurious space.

tapered stone fire pit with fire glass rocks

This tapered fire pit features an inverted triangle design for a high-end look.

Square or rectangle pits add angular structure to your backyard, anchoring your space. Most fire pit tables are rectangular or square.

fire pit table with Adirondack chairs

This fire pit table features kids' chairs so the whole family can enjoy this amazing fire feature.

Fire strips are narrow channels of fire that are thin, horizontal and connected to an underground gas line, creating a truly dramatic experience. Fire strips can be the length of your patio or just a simple strip on a table top.

fire stirp poolside

Fire strips exude luxury like this gorgeous poolside fire strip.

Fuel: Wood, Propane, or Natural Gas?

Another key decision you need to make is which fuel source you will choose. Your options are wood, propane and natural gas. Which one is best for you? Read on for the distinct advantages of each type of fuel source.

Advantages of Wood

Do you love the soft crackle of a wood fire? You'll love the relaxing sound, smell and sight of a wood burning fire pits. Fueling your fire pit with wood is particularly useful if you live in a forested area and often have extra firewood available.

rectangle wood burning fire pit

Advantages of Propane

Propane offers a clean burn and is considered a green fuel, making it an environmentally friendly choice. Propane fire pits also offer ease of use, as you won't need to chop wood or kindle a fire. Portable propane tanks allow for location flexibility with no need to run gas lines.

Advantages of Natural Gas

Natural gas is also considered an environmentally friendly fuel. It increases ease of use of your feature since you simply light it and enjoy with no need for fire-building. A fire pit with gas requires more upfront work with gas line installation and safety regard. However, it pays off because it is usually a cheaper energy source than propane.

gas fire pit

Inner Materials: Stone Pebbles, Lava Rock, or Glass Rocks?

With the major structural features in place, it's time to consider the inner materials! Choose a material that enhances the overall ambiance of your fire pit and echoes the vibe of your backyard landscape. You have three main choices: stone pebbles, lava rocks and glass rocks. Read on for the advantages of each!

Advantages of Stone Pebbles

Stone pebbles provide a tranquil, natural feel. If you've ever experienced a hot stone massage, you know that stones hold heat well and may stay hot long after your fire is extinguished. However, stones may impede the flow of gas due to their size, so you may need to use other materials within your fire pit and scatter stones along the surface.

stone pebble fire pit interior material

Advantages of Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are rough porous rocks that instantly transport you to a tropical volcano landscape. Most often seen in black but also available in a handsome brick red, lava rocks provide a neutral, high-end looking inner fire pit material. Because lava rocks' porous surface allows gas to seep through, this material is an ideal filler. Please note that lava rocks should never be used in combination water-fire features.

fire pit interior material lava rocks

Advantages of Glass Rocks

Looking for a bold, colorful look for your fire pit? Enter glass rocks for fire pits. Sparkling glass fire pit rocks are available in a wide range of rich colors like blue, turquoise and purple. They have become immensely popular with those looking to add a splash of color and sparkle to their space.

fire pit with glass rocks


Fire pits are amazing backyard accessories for many reasons. In addition to being a beautiful and alluring focal point, fire pits can add function to your outdoor living space. Here are some ways that fire pits enhance your backyard:

  • Decoration. Any fire pit can be decorative, meaning the design choices are nearly limitless! Choose from sleek in-ground designs, or poolside fire and water combination features. Decorative metal and colorful glass enhance the dramatic flames of these backyard showpieces.
  • Outdoor Heating. Pits that produce heat can provide a welcome gathering place on a chilly evening. To produce enough heat to warm those huddled around, choose a design with enough room for a roaring fire.
  • Backyard Lighting. One of the best parts about fire pits is the light they create. An open fire creates warm illumination that enhances any evening.
  • Cooking. If you dream of cooking your favorite foil packet recipes over an open fire or roasting s'mores with family and friends, fire pits are the ultimate outdoor accessory for you. With the proper add-ons you can turn your pit into a functional grill or oven!
  • Lounging. Ready to kick your feet up? Consider a firepit table. A tabletop surrounding the fire pit serves as an area for guests to set down plates, drinks or - if the table is low enough - rest their feet.
  • Relaxing. There is something so relaxing about the sound of falling water and the sight of a flickering flame. That's why fire and water bowls for the pool are an absolute must-have for creating a tranquil, spa-like outdoor living space.
poolside fire strip large

This amazing poolside fire strip adds drama and beauty to this backyard.

Find Fire Pits Near You Now

Now that you've decided on the shape and style of fire pit you'd like, contact your builder to either design a custom solution or see what's available in your area for purchase.

While you anticipate your new backyard accessory, have fun picking out recipes from our Fire Pit Recipes idea board to try!