Ballpark Estimate: $1,500 to $10,000
Have you warmed up to the trend of owning a backyard fire pit? Many homeowners today are embracing this option. If you’re burning to follow suit, there are many fire pit types available today sure to fit your budget and your space. These can be a great spot to toast marshmallows in your backyard or to sir with friends on a cool night and enjoy a few beers while staying warm.
The concepts of fire pits have been gaining in popularity in recent years as more people incorporate them into their landscape design. Some are opting for custom fire pits made from stone or concrete that are beautiful to look at as well as functional, too. Others are selecting store-bought portable fire pits that are typically made from metal or other durable materials and can be easy to assemble and use.
What to Look For
When shopping for a backyard fire pit, you’ll want to think about how you plan to use it. Do you want it to serve as a cozy gathering spot for you and your family, or do you want this to serve as the focal point for larger events and parties? Most people expect to use their outdoor fire pits for a combination of big and small activities. The style you desire will also affect your choice. You can flip through magazines or do a search online to see the array of options that exist.
Types of Outdoor Fire Pits
There are a few different main types of fire pits, and you’ll need to decide which category meets your needs and your budget. These include: a portable fire pit, a prefabricated fire pit and a custom-made fire pit. Read on for a rundown of these options and what you can expect from each one.
Portable Fire Pit
A portable fire pit typically comes already assembled. This can range from a simple metal wood-burning pit to a more elaborate gas-burning pit that features a tabletop rim made from stone, copper or other materials. This can be a good choice if you’re budget is quite tight or if you are purchasing a fire pit for a rental house or vacation home, and you want to be able to take it with you when you go.
Prefabricated Fire Pit
This is a pre-made fire pit that you can have professionally installed so it will have a sense of permanence in your yard. The most common material for a prefab fire pit is concrete, but higher-end models can also be made of slate, stone and other more expensive materials. This can be a good choice if you can’t justify the high expense of commissioning a full custom-made fire pit, yet you want a similar built-in look to enhance your yard and to last for years to come. A prefabricated fire pit is usually easy to install, but you may need to hire a professional to do the gas hook up. A prefabricated fire pit typically costs considerably less than a custom fire pit, in large part because there is much less work involved in the construction.
Custom Fire Pit
This is a fire pit that’s custom designed and built for your specific backyard setting. Depending on the size, style and material you select, these can be very expensive to have installed on your property. Some materials (such as natural stone, stone veneer, and used or new brick) can be quite high end. In addition, many custom fire pits are reasonably large, spanning up to 6 feet across or more. While you have to spend a pretty penny to commission a professional to build you a good fire pit, its presence can actually help to raise your property value, so the time and expense involved can end up being well worth it.
Fire Pit Designs
In addition to selecting the permanence of your fire pit, you’ll also need to decide on the style of the fire pit you prefer. Some of the popular options today include:
Bonfire Fire Pit
This is a circular fire pit that is perfect for gathering around. It gives a homey outdoor feel reminiscent of lighting a campfire. Most bonfire fire pits burn natural wood.
This is a concrete bowl that adds a modern touch to your yard. This is usually a good choice for a prefabricated fire pit. You’ll want to select a good size bowl that’s big enough for people to sit around. Or, you can also find miniature versions of a fire bowl that are small enough to center on a pillar or tabletop. This can add a dramatic accent when you entertain.
If you want to eat outdoors and also find the look of a fire pit appealing, you can combine both concepts by purchasing a fire table. This is a dining table that has a built-in fire pit element. Most fire tables come with a cover that can enclose the fire area if you need to use the entire surface of the table. This is an easy way to combine function and aesthetics in limited space.
If you desire the look of an outdoor fireplace but don’t want to invest in the construction, which can be quite expensive, a fire hearth can be a good alternative. This is a cross between a fire pit and a fireplace, with the hearth built right up against the wall.
Where to Find a Fire Pit
You can find a portable fire pit in most home improvement stores, seasonal shops, discount houses and other places that sell home goods. For instance, you can try Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears. Most of these retailers sell fire pits both in their stores and also through their websites.
For a custom-made fire pit, you can talk to a local contractor, look for a mason in your area, or talk to a patio or landscaping company to get a quote on the job. You can also visit the National Fireplace Institute to access a list of experts trained in the field who can build you a custom fire pit or install a prefabricated one.
What It Costs for a Fire Pit
Fire pit costs can span a wide range depending on the type you select and the quality of the materials. If you decide to have a fire pit custom built, the part of the country in which you live and the level of experience your contractor brings to the job will also affect the amount you can expect to spend.
Here are some ideas of typical fire pit prices you might find:
Portable Fire Pit
These can start at about $100 for a basic metal or wrought iron wood-burning model. Some of the more affordable fire pits even fold up so they are easy to transport on vacation or to the beach. For a little bit higher investment, in the $250 and $500 price range, you can find a better quality portable fire pit made from copper or other higher end material. At the top of the line, you can expect to pay as much as $1,000 or more for a more elaborate fire pit made from top-of-the-line materials.
Prefabricated Fire Pit
These fire pits cost about $1,500 for a very simple model made of concrete. If you prefer a more sophisticated version made from higher end material such as stones or slate, the price can increase to as much as $5,000.
Custom Fire Pit
These can start at about $5,000 for a small (3 foot) basic version and can go on up to about $10,000 for a generously sized (6 foot) fire pit made from brick, natural stone or stone veneer.
So you can expect to spend anywhere between $100 for a basic portable fire pit on up to $10,000+ for one that’s custom built.
While a custom-made fire pit can be expensive, keep in mind that if you select high-end materials and an attractive design, it’s presence can also bring you much enjoyment while increasing your home’s curb appeal and raising the resale value at the same time.