Fire pits are about as old as human beings – here at Hursthouse, we like to say that the first backyard fire pits were used to roast brontosaurus steak. People have always been drawn to fire for its beauty and warmth. And in Chicago area, you can relax around an outdoor fire year-round. The same can’t be said for that swimming pool.
Outdoor fire pits have gone through a sort of evolution, from very basic to incredibly beautiful. Here are the 4 ways to enjoy a fire in your outdoor living space today.
- The “campfire” fire pit. It may not be much more than a literal pit with fire in it, but folks have been enjoying campfires for years. They’re simple and incredibly inexpensive – but there are significant downsides. A campfire’s not the safest way to light a flame – especially at home, where there are probably all kinds of local ordinances limiting this approach. It’s also not the easiest way to start a fire. And while campfires have a hypnotizing beauty on an autumn night, they can be downright unattractive the next morning. For all these reasons, you won’t see a lot of backyard campfires in the Chicago area.
- The portable fire pit. A hundred dollars and a trip to the home-improvement store can net you a portable fire pit – ready to set up, simple to use and easy to haul into storage when you’re not using it. But portable fire pits rate low on safety – they get really hot – and they won’t add much to your home’s overall aesthetic. They’re a handy shortcut for someone who wants to make a fire but isn’t ready to actually make changes to their home.
- The masonry fire pit. Permanent fire pits are a huge step up from the portable kind – and we can build them out of all kinds of stone or brick. The right design will tie a permanent fire pit into the rest of your home and outdoor landscape, making this a permanent feature of your house like any other room would be. When masonry pits are built in the right size and shape, they’re also much more safe than the portable kind. And and gas ignition can make lighting your fire downright easy.
- The outdoor fireplace. A full fireplace is more dramatic even than a masonry pit – it can become the central focal point of your outdoor living or dining space. It won’t get as hot as a masonry pit, and it won’t seat as many people either – but it can be much closer to the rest of our landscape. Many families consider the fireplace to be the most elegant approach, but others prefer the “in the round” vibe of a masonry pit.
So which is best for you? If you’re in the Chicago area, we’re always happy to visit your home and make a custom plan that suits your home and your family’s lifestyle. You can see some pictures of our favorites – along with more fire pit advice – right here.