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Posted by Todd Thomasson on Oct 13, 2022 2:08:54 PM

Fire pits are a landscape addition that will never go out of style. Just think about where people tend to gather when there’s a fire going at a get-together…around the fire! A fire pit becomes a hang-out spot, a place to warm up, a spot to roast s’mores and make family memories, and a source of light and ambiance.

Of course, all of that is contingent on making wise choices. There are some key decisions to make when adding a fire pit to your landscape.

To help get you started, we’ve put together some fire pit landscape design ideas. At the end of the day, your fire pit design should be unique to your property. But these ideas will at least give you a good sense of what you should be considering.

#1: Before Adding a Fire Pit to Your Landscape, Consider These Factors about the Location

One of the key decisions that will need to be made about your fire pit is where to put it. Sure, you want it to go somewhere that looks nice (that’s obviously one key factor), but there’s much more to it than that.

Use This Helpful Guide to Plan Your Landscape Design
You’ll also want to keep the following considerations in mind.

  • Which way does the wind blow? When adding a fire pit to your landscape you’ll want to think about which way the wind blows so that you aren’t having smoke blown in your face every time you make a fire. Obviously, there will be some variation to this as many properties experience crosswind patterns. But you can at least have some sense of the primary direction the wind tends to come from. If you’re having any seating built (such as a retaining wall that can double as seating), you’ll want that placed in the best possible location in relation to the wind.

  • Are there any safety codes that need to be followed? It’s also important to look at local safety codes and follow any rules that need to be followed. Local code may specifically state how far a fire pit needs to be from a home or other objects on your property. In addition to following the code, safety decisions should also come into play when determining the location of your fire pit. For instance, you would not want your fire pit near a tree with low-hanging branches. You want to make sure that safety is a key consideration.

firepit with pergola and outdoor kitchen

  • Do you want the fire pit to be its own separate area or part of a multi-use space? Another consideration when adding a fire pit to your landscape is whether you envision the fire pit as its own space or part of a multi-purpose patio. Maybe your plan is to add a fire pit to an existing patio. You might feel as though you aren’t getting enough use out of your patio the way it is and you need to enhance it with more amenities.

    Or, maybe you want an entirely separate patio area for the fire pit…either a bump-out to the existing patio or maybe a whole other small hardscaped area off your main patio. This works well if you envision different purposes for different spaces. For instance, at your main patio, you’ll dine but when it’s time for an after-dinner drink, you’ll move to the fire pit. Oftentimes the latter works well because of the smoke issue we talked about. You don’t want the smoke from the fire pit impacting other activities so it may make sense to have the fire pit off in its own section.

  • Where does a fire pit best fit into the “flow” of the space? Another consideration as far as location is how the fire pit will affect the flow of the space. In other words, you don’t want it in the way! It’s important to think about how people will move about your space and make an addition that enhances that flow (not hinders it). Oftentimes, this is why people may have a fire pit in a separate area, where it won’t get in the way when not in use.

#2: Before Adding a Fire Pit to Your Landscape, Consider Where Everyone Will Sit

Seating is also a big consideration when thinking about a fire pit.

Are you going to do built-in seating or will you be buying furniture? If it’s the latter, we have found that Adirondack chairs tend to work well, though you have many different options!

firepit with seat wall and smores

Some people do like the idea of built-in seating as it makes the fire pit a bit cozier.

Incorporating a seating wall around part of your outdoor fire pit can add extra seating space and also give the area more of a “room-like feel."

firepit with seat wall

The wall can help make the space feel cozy and intimate, making it a great gathering area for friends and family to hang out. You might even be able to add pillows or cushions to make the space even more comfortable for everyone.

#3: Before Adding a Fire Pit to Your Landscape, Think about the Shape

As you know, most fire pits are round. This is because the idea of a fire pit is to sit around it. Naturally, that means most fire pits are going to be a circle.

However, a square-shaped fire pit can fit neatly into a small, square patio and is another option to consider.

A square fit pit has a bit more of a modern look and might be a better choice depending on the architectural details of your home and outdoor space.

aerial photo of circular patio and firepit

If your space has more linear edges, a square fit pit might be the way to go. You might be able to fit a couch into a space like this (whereas the linear lines of a couch might not work as well with a round fire pit).

If you have a linear pool near your fire pit, it might also complement the space well. But keep in mind that a square fire pit will likely accommodate fewer people than a circular one (where everyone can gather around).

However, if you are looking at creating a more intimate space, a square fire pit may be perfect.

Outdoor Fire Pit Installation in Northern Virginia

Hopefully, some of these fire pit landscape design ideas have given you a good starting point. Your landscape company should be asking you detailed questions about the very topics discussed in this article to ensure that you’re happy with the final result. Unfortunately, outdoor fire pit design and installation is not a mastered skill for everyone.

In fact, some companies that do outdoor fire pit installation in Northern Virginia actually work from prefabricated kits. That means that instead of getting something that is 100 percent custom, you’re going to end up with a fire feature that looks like the same one they’ve built for all their other clients.

On top of all that, it may also be challenging to find a builder that works with natural stone, as this is even more complicated. Many fireplace builders in Northern Virginia only work with manmade blocks since it’s easier to assemble and goes together a lot like Legos.

But because of that, it may also lack the one-of-a-kind look you were hoping for.

This is why it’s important to be selective about the company you work with for your outdoor fire pit installation in Northern Virginia. At the end of the day, you want to know that your fire pit is going to maximize time outside.

Fortunately, by choosing wisely, you can feel confident that your fire pit or outdoor fireplace is going to come together the way you desire. Instead of standing out like a sore thumb or detracting from the overall aesthetics, your beautiful fire feature will be the reason you love spending even more time in your outdoor living area.

Are you ready to have a property that you are proud of at your Haymarket, Gainesville, or Bristow, VA home? If so, talk to an expert, choose a solution that rocks, and get ready to see your dreams begin to take shape!

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About The Author

Todd Thomasson
Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.