Category Archives: Outdoor Fire Features

Backyard Fire Pit Laws & Regulations

Can you have a firepit in your backyard? Absolutely! If you’re looking for outdoor fire pit safety and information keep reading our post below.

Fire safety is incredibly important, and even more so when the fire sits in your own backyard. When it comes to outdoor fire pits, there are certain fire pit laws and regulations enforced to ensure the safety of your property and your loved ones. Before you light your new fire feature, make sure you’re abiding by the following safety protocols.

Measurements

According to the Unified Fire Authority, residents can have a fire pit in their backyard, but the fuel area of the fire pit must be equal to or less than 2 feet in height and 3 feet in diameter. Note that this is only referring to the fuel area, so if you built or bought a deluxe fire feature with a wide stone ring or other additions, don’t write it off for seeming too large. So long as the fuel area is within these measurements.

Distance

When it comes to the distance at which outdoor fire features must be kept from the home or combustible materials, the rules depend on the type of feature you have. For natural gas fire pits, there is a required minimum clearance of 10 feet. Fires contained in a portable pit or barbecue must remain at least 15 feet away from any structure or flammable materials. Although these are the official backyard fire pit laws, we suggest you put as much distance between the fire and its surroundings as possible. Better safe than sorry.

Supervision

One of the most important backyard fire pit regulations is to monitor the fire at all times, until it is entirely extinguished. From the first strike of the match to the hissing of the final doused coal, you must not leave an active fire feature unattended for any reason, for any increment of time. Before leaving the fire pit, thoroughly extinguish the flames until the coals are no longer red.

It is also important that you keep an emergency method of extinguishment nearby and ready to use. Whether you choose to put out your fire with a garden hose or a bucket of water, just make sure it’s ready in case of an emergency.

Burning

When it comes to what you can burn in your outdoor fire pit, the Unified Fire Authority asks that you only burn clean, dry, natural materials. Prohibited burning materials include garbage, oils, rubber, plastic, and other forms of waste. Get your fire going with fire starter, fire starter logs, firewood, tinder, etc. What you want to avoid is rocks, as certain types do have the tendency to overheat and explode. Before lighting the fire, check the air quality forecast and verify that it is a green burn day.

That’s really all there is to it. Backyard fire pit laws are very straightforward. Keep the fire pit at a safe distance, never leave it unsupervised, and only burn clean, dry materials.

Best Rocks For Inside Your Fire Pit [Expert Insights & Safety Tips]

Fire pits are great for spending a cozy night by the fire with your family, entertaining with friends, or just providing a relaxing evening for two. While there are many reasons to add a fire pit to your backyard, one of the best reasons is that a well-built fire pit can add value to your home and improve the usability of your backyard landscaping.

Before starting construction on your fire pit you will need to consider a few things like local ordinances regarding fire pits, location, what kind of fire pit you want, how to build your fire pit, and even what to put in the bottom of your fire pit. Learn about the best rocks for inside your fire pit, including how to use lava rocks for a fire pit, and how fire pit glass rocks can add an extra touch to your backyard feature. Then light a fire, grab a book, pull up some outdoor furniture, and enjoy your new backyard addition.

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1. Research Your City Code

 

Different cities will have different building ordinances when it comes to backyard fire pit construction. Make sure you know the local requirements before you build or you will end up wasting time and money when you have to move your fire pit to a new location in your yard.

Depending on where you live you may not be allowed any kind of open fire pit at all. Check your city code to find out if all open flames are banned or if using some kind of cover or screen on your fire pit would make it possible to comply with regulations. You can call your local fire department or Google fire requirements for your area to learn if there are restrictions on the size and location of fires as well.

If you’re going to build an in-ground fire pit, a quick 811 call before you dig can save you the headache and expense that would come with disrupting underground utilities. Also, make sure the pit is built at least 10 feet away from any trees, overhanging branches, fences, bushes, or flammable structures on your property.

 

2. How Are You Going To Build?

 

The first thing to consider when planning a fire pit is to decide how portable you want your fire pit to be. If you want it to be a permanent fixture in your backyard landscaping, a traditional in-ground fire pit is the perfect option. However, if you want to move it around, you might consider purchasing a pre-built portable fire pit or a fire table. You will also need to decide whether you want an above-ground or below-ground fire pit, and how you are going to build it.

Once you’ve decided on the type of fire pit you’d like to build you can start purchasing the materials you’ll need. You’ll need to know the best rock for inside a fire pit and how deep to make it. Most DIY fire pits are below ground because they are the most basic and easiest to build.

Some tools and materials you’ll need to build your fire pit are:

      • Wheelbarrow
      • Shovel
      • Garden rake
      • Tape measure
      • Work gloves
      • Hand tamper
      • Garden hose
      • Level
      • Firebricks
      • Retaining wall blocks
      • Lava rocks for the fire pit
      • Construction adhesive

There are great guides on DIY construction for backyard fire pits, with step-by-step instructions to help you get started.

If you prefer an extravagant fire pit design or want something more complicated, a contractor is a faster and easier option than building a fire pit yourself. Hiring a contractor to build your fire pit is also a great idea if you’re looking to add more value to your home, because of the quality of the craftsmanship.

 

3. Does A Fire Pit Need A Liner?

 

Fire pit liners have several benefits, such as preventing underground root fires, and providing essential structure and support if you want your fire pit to be permanent. A good liner will give your fire pit the structure it needs to last for years to come. There are different kinds of liners such as stainless steel, mild carbon steel, concrete, tile or stone, copper, and cast iron. The most common fire pit liners are made of stainless steel or fire-rated bricks and are designed to withstand high temperatures.

 

4. Fill Your Pit With The Right Materials

Learning what to put in the bottom of your fire pit takes more planning than you may have considered. Some materials like hard rock, gravel, or sand weren’t meant to reach high temperatures and can spark and explode if your fire gets too hot. Instead, use lava rocks for your fire pit or lava glass beads as a filler for your fire pit. They are a safe way to create drainage and make your fire pit look nice.

While some people choose to forgo a fire pit filler and simply use a concrete or stone base, filler adds a nice aesthetic to your fire pit that can enhance your backyard landscaping. Place a thin layer of sand on the bottom of the fire pit and add the recommended 2-6 inches of filler on top of it. If you don’t have a preference for what kind of filler to use, irregular crushed lava rock or small volcanic ash tends to cost less overall.

Sandstone, river rocks, natural rocks, and gravel are not ideal fill for fire pits because they are more likely to crack or explode under high heat. No matter what type of fill you use, make sure the fill is dry when you light the fire. Rocks can absorb a lot of water, especially river rocks, and rocks that get too hot near a fire can (and sometimes do) explode. Even wet lava rock can explode.

 

5. What Kind Of Rocks Explode In Fire?

 

Nearly any kind of rock has the potential to explode—especially if it is porous and wet. When wet rocks heat up the trapped air and water expands very quickly, and forcefully breaks the rock apart, or makes it explode. Some of the most common rocks that should be avoided in fire pit construction include sandstone, limestone, pumice, gravel, and river rocks because of their porous nature and tendency to hold water.

Hard rocks like granite, marble, or slate are much denser, and therefore less likely to absorb water and explode when exposed to heat. Other rocks that are safe to use around and in your fire pit include fire-rate brick, lava glass, lava rocks, and poured concrete. This is one area where you can use lava rocks for fire pit safety.

If you have rocks in or around your fire pit, be cautious when lighting fires after it has rained. Wet rocks are much more likely to explode than dry rocks. If you frequently use your fire pit, you may even consider covering your fire pit in adverse weather to keep it dry and keep yourself safer.

 

6. How Deep Do Fire Pits Need To Be?

 

For in-ground fire pits, it’s generally recommended that you dig down 6 to 12 inches. Make sure the ground is as level as possible before adding in your layer of lava rocks or fire pit glass. If you decide to dig a deeper fire pit, make sure you have some kind of ventilation so your fire gets enough air to burn. You may need to use a fire bowl on top of your stonework to keep the fire elevated.

Higher walls around a fire pit can be especially handy if you have small children or pets and want to keep them protected from the flames. Of course, a higher wall is no substitute for a watchful eye, but it can certainly create an extra level of safety for families.

 

7. Distance Your Fire Pit From Possible Dangers

 

Fire safety is of paramount importance when selecting the location of your fire pit. You should always keep your fire pit at least 10 feet away from any trees, overhanging branches, fences, bushes, or flammable structures on your property. Clear away any dry brush around the fire pit and always make sure your fire pit complies with local regulations before building. Also, be sure to call 811 to check for underground utilities before you dig.

One of the most common dangers to watch out for is root fires. While you might think you’ve built your fire far enough away from a tree, it’s important to remember that the roots of a tree spread out, and building a fire too close to a tree can cause the roots to burn long after the embers in your fire pit have died.

If you decide to keep your fire pit on your deck you will need to purchase a fire pit specifically made to be used in a patio setting. You may even want to consult with a contractor to prepare a fireproof surface under your patio fire pit, and you will need to keep a screen on your fire pit as often as possible to prevent sparks from causing any fires. Wherever you place your fire pit, make sure it works well with the flow of traffic in your yard so it’s not a tripping hazard for guests and family members.

When enjoying your outdoor fire pit you should always keep safety in mind. Keep your fire contained and always keep a bucket of water nearby so you can put out any stray flames. Always make sure your fire is cold before you leave it for the night.

 

8. Gas vs. Wood

There are benefits to both gas and wood fires, and while you won’t enjoy the classic smell of a campfire, a gas burning fire makes it easy to start up your fire pit and enjoy a night outside, whereas gathering and lighting wood every time you want to use your fire pit is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

However, you should also take into account what you intend to use your fire pit for. If you plan to cook, a wood fire is hotter and helps food cook faster. If you simply want a warm area to chat with friends or enjoy a night outside, a gas fire has a consistent flame and heat level, without smoke blowing in your face or your fire dying down. You can easily enjoy a full evening of entertainment with a simple 20 pound tank of propane that will fuel your gas fire for up to 4½ hours. Gas fire pits can also be more decorative and use fire pit glass rocks that won’t be faded by smoke and soot.

If you can’t make up your mind you might consider a dual-fuel fire bowl that can use both gas and wood. Keep in mind that they tend to cost more and require a complex construction to build. Whether you go with gas or wood, always keep safety in mind and keep a fire extinguisher handy. Regularly check gas fires for leaks, make sure you add the best rock for inside your fire pit, and to keep you and your guests safe, never add additional fuel to a gas fire.

 

9. Size Up The Space

 

After you’ve found the perfect place for your fire pit and decided what materials you would like to use in its construction, you will need to decide how big of a fire pit you want. Keep it proportional to the size of your backyard or porch so it doesn’t feel like it’s taking over your space. Your fire pit should suit the design of your backyard landscaping, and you should provide enough space for the type of outdoor furniture you want to use around your fire pit.

When it comes to the size of the fire pit itself, it’s typically recommended to plan for a bigger fire pit, rather than a smaller one. Small fire pits are usually around 3 feet wide, whereas large fire pits are up to 6 feet wide. Fire pit dimensions are measured from the outside of the ring, so keep in mind that the interior of the fire pit will be smaller than 3-6 feet, depending on the thickness of your fire pit ring.

Whatever kind of outdoor furniture you use around your fire pit, you will want to make sure you have at least three feet of space between the seating and the fire. Sitting too close can be unsafe, because of sparks and flames. Leaving extra space and planning for a larger fire pit also allows you to upgrade your furniture or pull up a few extra chairs when visitors come over.

 

10. Prepare For The Cost

 

The type of fire pit you decide on will have a great impact on your wallet. Complex designs built by a contractor can run into the thousands, whereas portable fire pits typically run between $50-$200. However, if you’re really looking for a high-quality design at low cost, a DIY fire pit is your best option. There are even fire pit kits you can purchase for around $100-$200 to make your job easier.

To keep up the value of your outdoor fire pit make sure you fill it with fire pit glass or fire pit rocks and surround your fire pit with good quality outdoor furniture. Although good quality outdoor furniture can cost more, it’s worth the investment because it lasts longer and maintains its value.

 

11. Can You Put A Fire Pit On The Grass?

 

Temporary fire pits can easily move from one place to another. If you intend to move yours frequently, you don’t want unsightly dead patches of grass all over your lawn or the danger of dried grass starting a fire. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your grass protected from portable fire pits.

Before you start your fire, you will need to prepare the ground underneath and around the fire pit. Clear away any dead grass or vegetation within 10 feet of your fire pit and wet down the grass underneath the fire pit. Once the grass is wet you can start your fire, and the water will protect your grass—to a degree. If your grass needs additional protection you can simply place brick pavers on top of your grass as a heat shield. They will help protect your grass from high temperatures and keep your grass from drying out.

 

12. Get That Added Value

 

A beautiful, well-built fire pit adds a lot of value to a home and backyard. Patios with a fire pit are especially valuable because they create a beautiful space for entertaining and visiting with guests—especially if that space is not available inside the home. Fire pits remain popular with home buyers and really don’t cost much for the value they add.

To get the most value from your fire pit, make it a central feature of your backyard and invest in quality landscaping and outdoor furniture, that adds to the overall design of your space. There are even stand-alone fire tables and fire table and chair sets that create a quick and easy focal point if you prefer a more temporary option. If you want your outdoor space to feel like an extension of your indoor space, make sure to use similar design elements as you make the transition from inside to outside. It will make your home feel larger, especially when entertaining guests.

 

13. Complement Your Fire With Ambient Lighting

 

Create the perfect entertaining space for your backyard with ambient lighting. While it might seem like your lovely fire pit provides sufficient light, after the sun goes down you’ll wish you had another light source. Additional light allows you to check on the status of your marshmallows as you make s’mores—unless you like them burned to a crisp.

Simple string or bulb lights are the perfect accompaniment to a deck entertaining area. If string lights don’t suit the style you’re looking to achieve, you can always opt for torches or light posts instead. Remember that a good light source will also increase safety for your family and guests because they are less likely to trip over something they can’t see.

 

14. Find The Right Furniture

The outdoor furniture you choose really helps dictate your outdoor design. To make your home feel larger, make sure the design from inside the home flows over into the design of your backyard furniture. This will make your space feel more cohesive and more like one large space from inside to outside.

You should also consider the quality of materials your furniture is made of. By far the best (and most popular) material is aluminum. High-quality outdoor furniture will last you for years to come. No matter what kind of outdoor furniture you purchase, make sure it is safe for use around fire and is non-flammable. Remember to keep all furniture at least 3 feet from your fire pit for added safety.

 

15. Don’t Forget the Extras

 

It’s the extras that really make a fire pit area special and a great place to relax. If you live in an area with lots of bugs and mosquitoes, citronella candles are great for keeping them at bay. A couple of roasting sticks on hand at all times makes whipping up some s’mores a breeze. For safety purposes, you should always have a fire extinguisher and fire pit cover on hand to tame any adventurous fires.

Wood fires require a fire stoker to safely move logs without risking burns, and you should keep a cleaning broom on hand to clean around gas fires. Once you’ve compiled the basics you can kick back and enjoy your firepit in safety.

 

16. Conclusion

 

Your backyard fire pit is a great addition to get-togethers, parties, and family events. Some proper planning on how big to make your fire pit, the best rocks for inside your fire pit, and what kind of outdoor furniture to use around your fire pit, can help you fire pit add a lot of value to your home. Don’t underestimate how fire pit glass and fire pit glass rocks can impact the look of your outdoor fire pit.

Now that you know what to put in the bottom of your fire pit you can enjoy the outdoors year-round and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to add in some high-quality outdoor furniture from RST Brands to complete your outdoor landscaping look and environment.

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Finding the Right Fire Feature to Update Your Backyard Space

Are you looking for a way to improve your backyard space while creating a more welcoming and comfortable environment? If your backyard doesn’t currently sport a fire feature, you should seriously consider one, especially if you want to add some warmth and interest to your backyard soirees.

Whether you’re looking for something more modern and streamlined like a fire table or something classic and cozy like an outdoor oven, here are five fire features that are bound to upgrade your space and make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.

1. Fire Pit

If you’re working with a smaller space, consider using a fire pit bowl in your yard. Fire pit bowls not only add a fire element to your yard and create an attractive focal point, but they’re also easy to move around and relocate as needed. Not to mention, you can find one that’s beautifully designed to add an unexpected touch of style to your patio. If you have a larger backyard area you could consider building a permanent fire pit area.

2. Propane Fire Tables

If you’re looking for a fire feature that’s a little more modern, consider a propane fire table. These fire tables are sleek and stylish, incredibly easy to ignite, and have a flame that’s easy to control, all without the tell-tale campfire smell that accompanies traditional fire pits. Choose from a rectangular fire table or a square fire table to create a space in your yard that’s personalized to fit the look you desire.

3. Patio Torches

These days, patio torches are not limited to tropical backyard decor. Torches are available in a variety of designs, making it easy to find something to fit your space regardless of your style. You could choose something simple like the traditional bamboo tiki torches, or add a pop of color with metal torches topped with colored glass—the possibilities are endless to liven up your space.

4. Patio Fireplace

Patio fireplaces are an excellent addition when you’re looking to add some warmth and comfort to your outdoor space. With the help of a patio fireplace, you can create an outdoor seating area for friends and family to gather together to relax and a beautiful setting for an outdoor party. As an added bonus, a fireplace can easily be used for toasting marshmallows and hot dogs as needed, in addition to keeping guests warm.

5. Outdoor Oven

What better way to complement an outdoor dining area than with an outdoor oven? Bring the convenience of the indoors outside by creating an outdoor kitchen area so you can remain a part of the party even while preparing food. An outdoor oven will also add a touch of warmth to the space, although not as much as a fire pit or fire table.

Set the Mood in Your Yard Today

An outdoor fire feature is the easiest way to add a touch of warmth and light to your backyard. Are you ready to kick your yard up a notch and create a more luxurious, lively space? You can’t go wrong with one of these beautiful, functional fire features.

Don’t Sit There! 11 Safety Rules For Your Outdoor Furniture

outdoor furniture

In the midst of organizing lemonade stands and backyard barbeques, you may not be thinking about setting up a safe space for summer fun.

To make sure no one leaves your backyard with anything but smiles, it’s important to take certain safety measures and establish good practices in your outdoor entertaining space.

Here are a few simple safety tips to get you started.

1. Lock Folding Furniture

A lot of outdoor furniture is made for easy winter storage. When you pull out folding furniture for the season, make sure the item locks in place, so that it doesn’t fold on someone using it. If the furniture doesn’t have a lock function, warn children about the dangers of playing on that piece of furniture and make sure you set the item up in low-traffic areas where no one can trip on it.

2. Check Table Tops for Cracks

If you have glass or sheetrock table tops, inspect them for cracks and chips when you wipe them down for summer. Even the smallest chips can result in cuts for unsuspecting children and cracks can quickly expand in the hot sun. If your furniture has a crack, make sure to replace that piece before the temperatures heat up too much.

3. Oil Umbrella Frame Joints

Nothing feels better in the hot summer sun than the shade of a patio umbrella. When you pull your umbrella out of storage this month, don’t forget to oil the frame joints. Umbrellas can be dangerous if they don’t open and close properly, especially around excited children. Set clear rules that kids shouldn’t play with the umbrella and make sure the joints move with ease before your first summer shindig.

4. Weigh Umbrella Down

It’s always a good rule to weigh your dining umbrella down, even in perfect weather conditions, but especially when it’s windy outside. In extreme storms, close your umbrella and store it in the shed or house to keep it from getting picked up by strong gusts. Umbrellas can become dangerous projectiles if they’re swept away by a storm.

5. Examine for Wear and Tear

When pulling out your outdoor deck furniture for the season, clean and inspect it with care. Straps can fray and woven seats can become worn over time, making it easy for an unsuspecting guest to fall through during your Fourth of July celebration. Also check metal frames for bent pieces or rusted metal. Fix any sharp edges before setting your patio furniture up for everyone to use.

6. Wax Wicker Furniture

Wicker is a popular outdoor furniture material, and although it is made much stronger than it used to be, the material can still become quite worn over time. After rinsing your wicker furniture, use wax to reinforce the material and make it more water resistant. With proper care, wicker furniture can last quite a while.

7. Repair With Non-Toxic Cleaners and Paints

When sprucing up your outdoor furniture for the summer, make sure you look for non-toxic paints and cleaners. Damage from use and weather can release toxins into the air or water supply around your house, creating a danger for family and pets. Non-toxic products are better all around, so make sure you buy the right stuff.

8. Provide Storage

Outdoor dining can quickly become hectic with kids, friends and pets running around. To avoid accidents, create plenty of storage spaces for tools and toys to go when they aren’t in use. Outdoor benches that double as storage containers are a great, efficient way to create more storage space in your yard. Also, make sure you have a secure space to store lawn care products and chemicals that is under lock and key.

9. Keep Flammables Away From Fire

The romance and excitement of a backyard fire is a cornerstone of summer fun. But that fun can end quickly when fire spreads outside the designated pit. To keep from a disastrous evening, move flammable furniture, such as seat cushions, hammocks and umbrellas, away from the fire area. Even fire resistant materials can be dangerous when they’re too close to the flames.

10. Create a Fire Safety Plan

Fire features are one of the most popular backyard items today. They’re fun for the family and can add value to your home. But remember through all the fun to set time aside for safety. Lay out clear rules for behavior around the fire with kids and set up some safety procedures in case of an emergency. Just dedicating a few minutes to fire safety will help you enjoy your backyard fire with peace of mind.

11. Establish Safe Structures

Potentially dangerous outdoor items like barbeque grills, fire pits and swimming pools should have protective structures around them to keep children and pets safe. Make sure you can cover open flames on your grill and fire pit and have a railing or fence around your pool to keep children from falling in.

Accidents happen, but many of them can be avoided with these simple safety tips and procedures this summer. All you should be worrying about is what book to relax with or what’s going on the grill tonight. Sail through the summer with ease and enjoy the best season yet without any trips to the doctor’s office.

Sources

http://furniture.about.com/od/outdoorfurniture/qt/safetyout.htm

http://www.lowes.com/projects/porch-deck-and-patio/care-outdoor-furniture/project

Outdoor Fire

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