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How to Keep Some Summer in Your Winter – Part 2: Fire Pits

Fire Pits

Here we are in the throes of winter after a year like none other. Many of us have tapped into our creative side to find ways to keep the kids entertained and ourselves from going nuts! And if social media is any barometer, people all over the world stepped up to the plate to make the best use of their stay-at-home time. (Even if that meant designing and constructing picnic tables for squirrels!)

And what about that abandoned stretch of backyard? Our favorite entertainment mecca now hobbled by snow or the bite of winter. So much magical square footage full of fresh air and promise… just sitting there all gray and dingy. Is there a way to revive it? Absolutely. Set some fire to it!

Winter Fire Pit Ideas

If you are a native Floridian who travels to Wisconsin in January, you might not be as jazzed about gathering around a ring of fire in 40-degree temperatures. But depending on where your body is acclimated, you can ward off the afternoon or evening chill with the coziest of settings – a fire pit.

Whether you pick up a portable one from Target or have a stone behemoth built to showcase those flickering flames, a fire pit makes a brilliant centerpiece. It’s a natural meeting spot that has drawn people in since the cavemen of the Paleolithic Era more than 2 million years ago. Grouping about a fire pit is in our DNA. (Although our ancestors didn’t consider it wholly social; they built fires to prepare meals and ward off enemies.)

We may not be warding off natural enemies with a backyard fire pit, but we are sure to beat the winter blues with it!

The entertaining gurus at Backyard Boss never disappoint when it comes to the best ideas for making every season shine bright.

In this second in our series about How to Keep Some Summer in Your Winter (Part 1 focused on how to enjoy a hot tub this time of year!) you can make a night of it with a nice soak and then a cozy time around the campfire.

The Log and Stump Kind

Whether you’ve never used a firepit and want to check it out prior to investing in a professional installation or like to rough it a bit with a more rustic solution, you can’t go wrong with this configuration.

Backyard Boss says:

“If you have a fire pit outside in your backyard and a few logs to spare, you can create a magical space where the entire family can gather around, tell stories, and cook s’mores. Logs can be repurposed, or they can be bought. Alternatively, you can repurpose wooden crates or pallets, or whatever other pieces of wood would make a comfortable seating space for at least a couple of hours.”

We say you can create a combination. If you’ve ever had trees removed and then balked at the additional stump removal cost, consider keeping them as natural seating spots from which to enjoy hot cider and make a new backyard memory.

Snow Fort Fire Pit

For the non-snow adverse family, you can literally repurpose all that fluffy white snow into a fortress. Backyard Boss says:

“If your family is ready to embrace this winter’s snow and are willing to put some elbow grease into constructing a snow fort, that could make quite the magical place for the entire family to spend some time outdoors despite the low temperatures. This creative idea is perfect for families of at least four members, where everyone can pitch in to make this project happen. It seems like such a wonderful place to gather around and share some family moments and even take some awesome pictures.”

This temporary structure offers the ideal spot for your portable fire pit. Gear Moose serves up their thoughts on the 15 Best Portable Fire Pits. And of course Home Depot boasts an assortment ranging in price from $48 to $2885. Start small and see what you think!

Fancy Fire Pits with Sunken Seating

If you’ve ever experienced the drama of a sunken living room, you know the impact this kind of structure has on ambiance. Picture gorgeous flagstone to create a fire pit patio, surrounded by deep benches and cozy textiles and pillows. This winter wonderland will be the heart of your “off-season” entertaining.

As we’ve found from the addition of other backyard elements like pools and versatile gazebos, fire pits can be done on a reasonable budget even though inspired from somewhere fancy.

Check out this design posted by Backyard Boss in this same article. It shows the out-of-this-world fire pit of a 5-star hotel in the Swiss Alps: “Nothing beats the winter scenery one gets to enjoy in Switzerland, so maybe you can draw inspiration for this winter outdoor seating from the Chedi Andermatt Resort. The comfortable cushions and throw pillows are placed on the stone edges surrounding a fire pit in a setup that seems torn from a family Christmas movie. While you probably won’t need all those seats in your backyard, you can improvise something similar with paving stones, patio seating, and a DIY flat-topped wall.”

But there’s even more! You can take an upscale installation such as this or even a humbler firepit and treat it to a little glitter. Small, twinkling lights strung to dress up adjacent trees and bushes will give an elegant touch with a little seasonal magic! You don’t really need to spend a lot to make your outdoor space a retreat. Attention to small details will bring atmosphere to this special hearth.

Do Fire Pits Keep You Warm?

As a practical solution, fire pits can keep things cozy with the heat-emitting flame of an open fire grill pit, or due to the materials that retain and radiate heat like brick, concrete, or pavers.

Regarding the wood, BB says, “If you want the pit to give out more heat, you can experiment with different firewood types. Softwood is typically better for starting a fire, and they tend to give out more heat than hardwoods. You should also make sure that you’re using dry wood all the time when starting a fire. Increasing the surface area can also help because it allows more oxygen to reach the fire.”

At the end of the day, whether your friends are over to play foosball in your basement or lounge around your fancy al fresco party palace, it’s the people who make the event. They are the warmth that keeps the summer alive in the winter.

Stay tuned for Part Three in our How to Keep Summer in Winter series, with our exploration of the latest trends in outdoor fireplaces. And ICYMI, here’s the link to Part 1: Hot tubs!

Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves fire pits and the ancient attraction they represent. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.