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In-Ground Fire Pits VS. Above-Ground Fire Pits

Many ways exist to bring (safe) fire to a backyard living space. You can go with a handsome outdoor fireplace or heating stove, both of which look amazing and can double to some degree as cooking appliances. But the simplest – and possibly most enjoyable – backyard fire appliance, for many people, is the traditional fire pit.

As its name suggests, a fire pit is a cordoned-off section within your outdoor living space that is safe to burn a wood or gas fire. Typically, low to the ground, fire pits are awesome gathering places, where people can sit around the open fire and have good times with friends and family. Gathering around an outdoor fireplace or stove really means sitting in front of the unit. With a fire pit, you can sit all around it like you do at a dinner table, making conversation and interaction with others more natural.

in ground fire pits

round fir pit

In-ground or above-ground: which fire pit is best for you?

Assuming the fire pit is constructed safely, the only real differences between above-ground and in-ground pits is the installation labor involved and location versatility.

Whether you buy a pre-made fire pit or build one yourself, an in-ground installation will involve digging up some of your backyard. If this isn’t a problem for you, then in-ground can be a good choice. If your landscape really shouldn’t be dug around in, it’s probably best to go with an above-ground fire pit.

Terrain also can come into play. Adding an in-ground fire pit where the ground is rocky and hard to clear may take more energy than you want to expend. Softer ground will make for an easier dig – but remember, with an in-ground pit, some labor will always be involved.

Another consideration is versatility. If you go with an in-ground fire pit, and you’re confident that the pit will stay right in that place, regardless of any modifications you make to your backyard over time, there won’t be any trouble. But if you would like to be able to relocate the pit to different areas of the yard, for whatever reason, an above-ground fire pit requires nothing more than lifting and moving it – you won’t have to re-dig a new pit area.

Safety precautionsabove ground fireplace

Regardless what style of fire pit you choose, it’s very important to be aware of how to operate your pit safely. Here are some tips. Some apply only to wood-burning fire pits; others apply to all fire pits.

  • In-ground or above-ground, make sure your fire pit is level.
  • Place the fire pit at least 10 feet from trees, shrubbery, furniture, fences, the house, etc.
  • Under no circumstances use gasoline, lighter fluid or other accelerants to get a fire started.
  • Make sure everyone understands: no horseplay around the fire pit.
  • Keep an especially close eye on kids and pets when they’re close to the flames.
  • Avoid using your fire pit when high winds are present or expected.
  • Don’t leave the fire unattended or allow it to extinguish on its own.
  • Extinguish burning logs with water. Don’t leave the area until the logs and ashes are cool to the touch.
  • Good safety measures include keeping a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand near the fire pit in case the fire needs to be quickly extinguished.

Chimney Specialists of Highland, WI, can show you a variety of the most exciting fire pits and fire tables on the market today. You won’t believe the shapes, sizes and styles you can choose from to perfectly accent your backyard living space. We’ll even install your new unit to ensure it’s safe and fully operational. Visit our showroom at 869 Main St., or give us a call at (608) 929-4887.


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