Whether they come from a round or square fire pit, outdoor summer flames aren’t just for singing camp songs and roasting marshmallows. They’re natural gathering points for you and your friends or family on cool nights when you need a bit of extra warmth.
So, before helping you tackle which shape of a pit to choose, let’s uncover why these blazes are becoming increasingly popular elements to homeowners across the country.
There’s a reason why it seems like everyone and their mother have a fire pit in their backyard these days. These beautifully landscaped bonfires transform ordinary yards into unique, desirable spaces.
Not only are these outdoor features mesmerizing visual elements, but they also provide a natural entertaining space for friends and family. Whether it’s a breezy, summer night or a crisp fall day, everyone wants to be close to the bright, warm flames. Without a warming point in the yard, having September late-night drinks outside or October afternoon barbecues can be tough to get through.
Now, don’t jump the gun on adding a fiery element to your landscape just yet. You need to make sure that it’ll match your home’s aesthetic first so that it’s cohesive to the rest of your space. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you find the perfect fire pit that will give your backyard the boost it needs to stand out.
There are many things to think about before pulling the trigger on an outdoor fire feature. What do you want it to look like? Do you prefer a softer, more rounded shape? Or a contemporary, straight-edged, square fire pit? And what about how big you want it to be? You’ll need to make sure you have enough space and a good location for it.
So, first things first, let’s talk about location.
Your backyard blaze mustn’t be set too close to your home. Sparks can be unpredictable, so it’s best to avoid the risk and place the pit at least a few feet away from your home’s exterior.
Also, consider the wind patterns for the designated location. If the flames are in an area that experiences strong gusts of wind, it can result in unwanted smoke that constantly blows in your face. So, a good place is an area where your house or trees will block most of the wind that comes through.
Once you have your perfect location, you can start thinking about how large you want the pit to be. It should be small enough to leave room for people to sit around it, but big enough to provide a warm, roaring fire.
This is also why a round vs. square fire pit makes a difference when choosing a size. Both of these shapes allow for different seating arrangements. Thus, the size you pick will be dependent on the shape you desire.
The materials you choose may affect the shape of your pit as well. This is because round pits are typically made of tapered concrete wall units or stacked stone. These materials complement the rustic look that the circular shape gives off. Conversely, a square fire pit pairs much more naturally with sleek, modern pavers.
When choosing a material for the fire pit lid, make sure that it matches or complements the overall appearance of the pit. For example, smooth, gray concrete pavers go nicely with a silver, metal fire pit cover.
Shape is a huge factor when considering the aesthetics of your fire feature. To match your landscape design, a square shape will be well-suited to homes with many straight walls and walkways with a clear, defined path. Likewise, the square shape looks amazing if your garden beds or swimming pool are square or rectangle-shaped as well.
Now, a round shape tells a completely different story. Rounded pits have a whimsical, cottagecore feel; and thus, pair very well with houses that have rounded features or a curved walkway or driveway.
We know that deciding on a shape is a tough choice to make. So, let’s dive a little deeper into the trending debate.
A square fire pit is modern and bold, while a rounded one is soft and classic. Each shape will tell a different story about your home. Both shapes are great picks, but which one do you resonate with more? Which one makes more sense with your home’s landscape?
In terms of space, this shape is arguably the more efficient option and more suitable for smaller patios or yards. The straight edges that confine the flames enable easier seating layouts that can involve a combination of chairs, benches, and even outdoor patio couches.
Additionally, standard concrete wall units are generally sold in their default shape: Rectangle. So, this opens up a wide range of designing options for this shape of fire pit. A concrete patio with a fire pit will naturally match the rectangular concrete pavers used to make this straight-edged pit.
Considering the story this shape tells, ask yourself if your home has more of a formal, contemporary aesthetic. The sleek lines of your outdoor pit will communicate order and conformity, which go hand in hand with modern landscapes.
Round fire pits are better for giving off a more uniform distribution of heat. Likewise, they’re favored for their organic, soft design that’s a classic throwback to the round campfire. A great example of this shape would be to make it a ceramic fire pit. This is because it’ll subtly allude to a beautiful, vintage pottery bowl.
Now, unlike a square fire pit, a circular shape makes it tougher to place outdoor benches and couches around it. Also, the availability of concrete units in the style of your choice may limit your creative decisions.
Once you’ve determined the shape of your outside fire feature, you’re ready to tackle the fun stuff! What accessories will you choose for your pit? What type of fire pit lighting will you want? What color of rocks or stones will pair well with your design?
All of these choices come down to your preferences and are much easier decisions to make compared to other factors, like location and shape.
So, let’s focus on one of the more important aspects of your pit– what goes inside of it?
Whether you have a round or square fire pit, what you put in the bottom of it is all the same. Dirt or sand will be the bottom layer that you can top with gravel, paving stones, glass, or lava rocks.
Lava rocks for a fire pit are favored by many homeowners because they retain heat, stand up to harsh weather, and don’t put a dent in your wallet.
Lava rocks have natural heat retention and insulation properties which we can all agree are critical features of any round or square fire pit. The insulating qualities of this type of rock enable it to block the burner from the scorching heat that rises. As a result, your pit will last longer and perform better in the long haul.
With a reputation for being water-resistant and having built-in drainage abilities, lava rocks are deemed weatherproof. As long as you have a 3 or 4-inch layer of lava rocks in your pit, they’ll function as a shield for the burner during unforeseen, harsh weather conditions.
These rocks are very cost-effective because they last a long time and don’t cost much to replace when you need to. Now, if you want to use the more expensive, yet beautiful option of stones for your fire pit, consider having lava rocks as a base. Then, you can simply top the rocks with a few decorative stones. This way, you won’t go over your budget on purchasing costly stones.
Whatever shape you choose, make sure that it’s cohesive with your overall aesthetic and landscape. More importantly, make sure you love it! If you need help on what shape to choose, contact one of our landscaping professionals who have a trained eye for design!
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