A backyard fire pit maximizes your outdoor time, providing a natural gathering spot after the sun sets and the temperatures drop. “Our clients request fire features more than any other element,” says Ryan Prange, the founder and principal designer of Falling Waters Landscape in Solana Beach, California. But the fire pit itself is only a starting point—you also need to design a space around it that encourages lounging and late-night conversation. Choosing the right spot is the first step: You want an “area that will feel naturally cozy,” says Prange. “The heat will bounce off walls and warm up the space even more.” From there, decide on a look that works for both your practical needs and the overall aesthetic of your space. Here are some fire pit ideas that will get everyone to hang out long after the sun goes down.
Give Every Seat Access to the Fire
In this yard, Prange built a banquette that mimics the L-shape of the concrete fire feature so you can enjoy the flames from any angle. “Keep your seating low, even as low as 12 inches off the ground, to create a relaxed experience,” he says. The chic ceramic spheres nestled inside the fire pit don’t just add visual interest, they help radiate heat.
Choose a Fire Pit That’s Multipurpose
This fire bowl has a clever built-in function: an ipe wood top that can be added to turn it into a table when the fire is out. The polished concrete-and-ipe bench mimics the feature’s design, tying the space together.
Take Advantage of the View
This modern concrete fireplace was cast on-site to ensure it provided a perfect view of the ocean. At the same time, grasses, tea trees, and aloe plants form a natural screen to preserve a sense of privacy.
Put the Fire Pit at the Center of the Action
A white stucco fireplace was placed adjacent to this outdoor kitchen, giving the backyard the easy flow you typically experience in a home. “The orientation of the built-in seating turns you back toward the house, pool, and outdoor kitchen, which activates the space and internalizes the view,” says Prange. Setting off the area with gravel gives it the feel of a room, while a combination of built-in seating and Acapulco chairs creates flexibility.
Choose Complementary Materials
Make your outdoor space feel like an extension of your interior by using similar materials and a complementary palette. At Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber’s Mexican villa by Legoretta + Legoretta, niwala limestone from Spain was used for the outdoor living room and fire pit. The material and pale cushion fabrics coordinate with the home’s interior design.