Tips on Selection, Installation & Maintenance

According to a recent ASLA report, Fire pits/Fireplaces were ranked the highest in expected popularity for 2015 desired outdoor design elements. “Consumers care about designed landscapes that are attractive, easy to take of and eco-friendly,” states Nancy Sommerville, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA.* Fire pits are certainly an attractive landscape design feature and give residents an atmosphere suited for family gatherings and outdoor entertainment.

Marseille Fire Pit BowlThree different types of fire pits are available: traditional wood-burning, natural gas, or propane-liquid. There are some things to consider when reviewing these options. With liquid propane, it is important to note that it offers you a portable option. Natural gas fire pits can be cheaper if you expect to use it often, by connecting it to the house’s gas line.

When comparing traditional wood-burning fire pits to gas, you might be surprised to discover the benefits of using gas fire pits. Although it is obvious gas fire pits don’t have a smell or smoke, this can be a very important feature for people with respiratory issues. They are also much easier to maintain and install. Who doesn’t like easy maintenance? Additionally, gas fire pits are an eco-friendly choice for your landscape.

From an aesthetic point of view, gas fireplaces offer more design options. For a more traditional design, consider using artificial log sets. For modern designs, using lava media, volcanic stones, fire glass, gems, or nuggets works great for gas fire pits.

Here are some tips for installing a gas fire pit:

  • Install on a level surface away from flammable material
  • Consult the fire pit manufacturer’s installation guide for specific minimum distance requirements
  • Always turn off gas supply before installation
  • Check local gas codes before hooking it to the house’s gas line when using natural gas or even for liquid propane
  • Place the holes down to avoid clogging of the pipes due to weather
  • Always check for gas leaks after installation
  • For annual service, make sure the control compartment, burners and air passageways of the fire pit are kept clean.
  • When adding lava or glass media, it is best not to exceed ½” above burner.
  • When adding volcanic stone or log sets, it is best to use lava granules as a base (not higher than ½” above burner).

It is important to be educated on some simple steps you can take to maintain your fire pit. You should always wipe away any brush or flammable material. Stones and pavers will eventually erode so it is necessary to protect them with a thin coating of sealant. Applying a thick layer causes bubbling thereby reducing the effectiveness of the sealant. Hydro-Scape carries many types of sealants for different stone or granite material. To avoid weather damage, you should cover your fire pit with a waterproof vinyl tarp. Keeping up with maintenance will make it easier for annual servicing. So visit your local Hydro-Scape to the materials you need to install a fire pit for your next project!

*Source: “Redesigned Survey Reveals Latest Residential Landscape Design Trends” by American Society of Landscape Architects. Published 3-24-2015.