How Big Should a Fire Pit Area Be? How to Decide
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
A nice and well-kept fireplace can define the overall aesthetic of your place. It can give it a cozy feel. Alternatively, if your fire pit area isn't done right, then it will look out of place or silly. So, this guide will answer the question of how big should a fire pit area be.
We will talk about all the basics. So, that means how big the seating area should be and the distance from your chairs to the fire pit. That isn't all, dimensions and best safety practices are included too. So, let's get started.
Why are Right Dimensions Important for a Fire Pit?
While a fire pit is an awesome addition to any place, you need to make sure it's built right. Dimensions are important for two main reasons. One is, of course, aesthetics, and the other is safety.
If you don't take the aesthetics in mind, your fire pit won't look properly integrated. It will look forced and cramped. And safety is a no-brainer. You don't want a super awesome-looking fire pit that's a safety hazard.
Let's start with aesthetics first. A fire pit can bring a place together. It gives a very cozy vibe and acts as a focal point. Ask any design expert, and they’ll tell you having a focal point is important.
But building a fire pit without the proper dimensions will look very out of place and cramped. Your guests or even you won't enjoy spending time around the fire pit. It’s one of the biggest reasons why proper dimensions are important.
You want enough room for seats to be separated from each other some, while others are moved closer (for couples), and you'll want space for people to be able to get up and walk behind the chairs to head to the restroom or fetch more beverages.
Another major concern is safety. Fire is fire. Whether you're using a wood fire pit or a gas one, without proper design, it can be a very dangerous fire hazard. Anyway, if you have the seating area too close to the fire pit, you are essentially putting everyone at risk.
Fire Pit Seating Area Dimensions
If you want the fire pit on a patio, then the seating area should expand to be at least 7 feet away from the fire pit's outer edge. This doesn't include the chairs, though. We are talking about the general fire pit seating area. This is the same for outdoor fire pit seating dimensions as well.
This is a comfortable and good distance that will make all the guests happy and allow space to walk around. Otherwise, the heat from the flame can make things uncomfortable! With smaller fires, the fire pit patio size will shrink accordingly, so don't fear that you can't have one on a smaller patio.
On the flip side, sitting too far than necessary won't give you or your guests that warmth and cozy feeling a fire pit should. It's very much a balancing act here, as you need to sit close enough to have a sense of community, too. With that said, let's check out what dimensions a fire pit area should be.
How Much Space Around a Fire Pit for Chairs is Needed?
The right amount of space for chairs around a fire pit depends on the type of pit you have. For example, a wood fire pit would need more space around it. This is simply because it is a more intense and open flame. You should have somewhere around 24 to 36 inches of space between your seating and the actual fire pit if you’re using a wood fire pit.
On the other hand, if you have a gas fire pit, you can get away with a smaller area. You can be a little conservative with a gas fire pit. Still, the chairs shouldn't be less than 2 foot away for safety reasons.
How Big Should a Patio be for a Fire Pit?
If you want to build a fire pit on a patio, then you need to do a bit more groundwork. Dimensions are also important in this case. Just think about the design and the size from a functional perspective.
The ideal patio size for a fire pit should be at least 6 feet across. This is on both sides. That means you end up with a total size of 12 foot diameter circle. This is the perfect size for the guests to move around freely and close enough to the fire pit to make the place cozy and safe. This brings us nicely to our next topic.
Helpful Design Tips for a Patio Around a Fire Pit
Getting the dimensions right for your patio around a fire pit isn't that hard now that we've discussed the appropriate fire pit area size. But you'll need to keep some design tips in mind before you start building your dream patio.
These aren't too complex tips. They are pretty simple and some of them are advice to check your local rules. It'll help you to stay away from trouble.
Check Your Local Laws
Before you even start making a fire pit for your patio, you should check your local laws. Are open fires allowed? Because that's what fire pits are essential. There might be a restriction on fire pit size as well. So, be on the safe side and check the laws.
Can’t Forget the View
If your fire pit and patio area don't have a nice view, it won't reach its full potential. Always check what orientation you want the patio to be. Don; 't just start building. And all these will give you an awesome patio design around your fire pit.
Get Professional Help if Needed
Fire pits and patios aren't that easy to design. If you already have some hands-on DIY experience with these things, then you don't need to worry about anything. You can go ahead and start building.
But if you aren’t sure, then it’s always a good idea to hire a professional contractor. They'll have all the right licenses to work on these kinds of stuff and will probably do a fantastic job as well. You don't want to mess up and have issues with your fire pit not staying lit and other technical problems.
It's not just about the technical skill to create this area correctly, but about the aesthetic decision making a professional has the experience to do. They won't be asking how big should a fire pit area be, they'll be designing it around your existing space to make it look perfect.
Fire Pit Safety: A Very Important Consideration
The dimensions of a fire pit are important. But you also need to know some fire pit safety guides. These will help you stay on top of things. And will keep any chances of an accident to a minimum. Let's check out some safety guidelines when it comes to fire pits.
Non-Combustible Items Around the Fire Pit
Yes, we know that we told you the proper and safe dimensions for a fire pit. But you shouldn't leave safety to chance. Even though you'll be building the fire pit with the right dimensions, it's always a good idea to use the right materials as well.
Always use non-combustible items around your pit. This means the furniture and any other things that will constantly be near the fire pit should all be non-combustible. High-quality, durable and aesthetic furniture can be expensive, to begin with. The last thing you want is for them to get damaged by the fire.
Build Away From Flammable Objects
Make sure to always build your fire pit away from flammable objects, especially if you want to bank the fire and leave it unattended at times. Avoid trees on top of your fire pit, and don't build it too close to your house. That's a big risk as well. Have the fire pit be in an open space.
It looks nicer and gives a very open and luxurious feeling. Plus, there is no fire hazard as well. A tree branch may fall on it, or the leaves could fall on it. And that can light up in flames. Yikes! Better safe than sorry.
Use the Right Wood When Lighting the Fire Pit
If you have a wood fire pit, you should always use the right kind of wood. And we aren't talking about wet wood vs. dry wood. Everyone knows that dry wood is the best. But we're talking about avoiding green wood.
Green logs or green wood are pressure-treated woods. They cause a lot of smoke and are generally not that safe. Plus, they will irritate your eyes too! Not fun at all. Pressure-treated wood contains toxins that aren't safe either.
Check the Wind Direction
When you're lighting your fire pit, check the wind direction. This is another reason why proper dimensions are important. If you don't have enough space around your fire pit, a gust of unexpected wind can wreak havoc.
See which direction the wind is flowing. And will it cause any harm to the items near it? Sometimes, you might just want to avoid lighting your pit altogether if the winds are just too strong.
Keep Children & Pets Safe
Adults will generally be more responsible around fire pits, using fire pit tools at a distance and not playing around with the fire too much. Well, at least we hope so. You can't always say the same for children, now, can you? Always keep an eye on kids when they're near the fire pit.
They should be at least 3 feet away. Children running around can be dangerous. So, you need to ensure that isn't the case. The same rule also applies to pets.
That’s How Big a Fire Pit Area Should Be!
Keep in mind that these dimensions guides are exactly that. They are guidelines. If you have a smaller or larger place, then you need to make the fire area size proportional to the guidelines we mentioned. Now that you know how big should a fire pit area be, you can go ahead designing the perfect pit for your home.