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Outdoor Party Planning: 5 Ways to Keep Your Guests Happy

Crawfish BoilOutdoor parties offer the perfect opportunity to unwind and kick back with your buddies. But if you’re faced with the task of hosting an outdoor party, you’ll want to make sure your guests are happy.

#1) Plan on the Weekend

While there are always exceptions to this rule, the weekend is typically the best time of week to host an outdoor party. Most people don’t work on the weekends, making it the ideal time for parties. You can still throw the occasional weekday party, but you can expect a larger turnout by hosting it on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

#2) Watch the Weather

You can’t control mother nature, but you keep your outdoor party going in the rain with a shelter. When choosing a location to host your party, look for some type of shelter. Maybe you have a large pavilion in your back yard, or perhaps you could set up a large tent. Regardless, you need some type of backup plan to keep guests comfortable and happy in case the weather turns south.

#3) Turn up the Tunes

There’s no better time than outdoor party to play some music. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive stereo equipment. Rather, set up a cheap Bluetooth-enabled stereo and connect your smartphone to it. Guests can even play their own music by connecting their smartphone to the stereo. This is a fun way to create diverse music instead of hitting the repeat button on a single CD.

#4) Build a Fire

In addition to music, every outdoor party needs a fire. There’s just something naturally fun yet relaxing associated with fires. According to this study cited by Huffington Post, gathering around a fire can even lower your blood pressure. Of course, the real benefit of a fire is the social setting it offers. When you’re hosting an outdoor party, most people will instinctively gather around the fire, offering the perfect “hub” for your party.

#5) Plan Activities

Last but not least, plan some activities for your outdoor party. Horseshoes are a fun and inexpensive activity that guests of all ages will enjoy. You can buy a horseshoe game set for around $30 to $40 bucks, which is a small price to pay for the countless hours of enjoyment it offers. Alternatively, you can set up and play Cornhole, where two people or two teams attempt to toss a beanbag into a wooden cutout.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.

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Taking a Fire Pit Camping

tent-1208201_960_720Camping is a fun and rewarding pastime that’s enjoyed by millions of Americans every year. You can make your camping experience even better, however, by bringing a fire pit. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to take a fire pit camping. So before you hit the trails, keep reading for some tips on how to camp with a fire pit.

Choose the Right Fire Pit

If you plan on taking a fire pit camping, you need to choose a model that’s easy to transport. Some of the large, bulky fire pits are designed to remain in place, making them a poor choice for camping. But smaller and more portable fire pits are ideal for camping and other outdoor excursions.

Should I Bring Firewood?

Well, it depends on where exactly you plan on camping, and whether there’s any suitable wood nearby. Most campsites have a plentiful supply of downed limbs, which you can chop up for use in your fire pit. But if you happen to choose a campsite with little-to-no wood, you’ll need to bring your own.  We always recommend buying or using local wood when possible so you don’t introduce foreign insects to the area.

Whether you intend to bring your own firewood or chop it down when you reach your campsite, you should still bring a lighter or box matches. Otherwise, you may find yourself rubbing two sticks together for hours trying to get a spark going.

Bring Seating

While you can always sit on the ground, foldout chairs offer a more comfortable seating solution. Bring at least one chair for every person camping, placing them in a circle around your fire pit.

Putting Out Your Fire Pit

Once you’re camping trip is over and you’re preparing to return back to the normal 9-to-5 grind, you should dump any remaining ashes into a small hole in the ground, pouring as much water over them to ensure they are fully extinguished. It’s also a good idea to make sure your fire pit has cooled off. Because placing a scorching-hot fire pit into your back seat or truck bed may damage nearby equipment.

Benefits of Camping with a Fire Pit

  • Enhances the social experience of camping.
  • Provides much-needed warmth during chilly fall and winter nights.
  • You always have a suitable location for a fire; no need to worry about finding a place to build a fire.
  • Fire pits are great for cooking.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.

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Should I Choose a Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace?


#30-firepit-handcrafted01Both fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are a fun addition to any residential property. Before choosing one, however, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each. So today we’re going to take a closer look at fire pits vs outdoor fireplaces.


While the exact cost of fire pits and outdoor fireplaces vary depending on size, features, etc., you’ll typically find the latter are more expensive. According to Improvenet, the minimum cost of a professionally installed outdoor fireplace is around $1,400, while the maximum cost can easily exceed $20,000. Portable fire pits, on the other hand, cost around $300 to $700 on average.


Certain cities and counties may have restrictions regarding the construction of new outdoor fireplaces. While few places ban them altogether, many require homeowners to purchase special permits to construct outdoor fireplaces. It’s always a good idea to check with your city’s planning office before investing in an outdoor fireplace. If you choose a portable fire pit, however, this isn’t necessary.

Heat Radiance

Both portable fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are an excellent source of heat, keeping you and your guests comfortable deep into the night. But the problem with outdoor fireplaces is their restricted heat radiance. An outdoor fireplace only emits heat out through its front opening, whereas a portable steel fire pit radiates heat all around it. If you choose an outdoor fireplace, you and your guests will have to battle each other to stand in front of it. With a steel fire pit, everyone can gather around it without bumping elbows creating a more social atmosphere.


Think an outdoor fireplace is better for cooking than a portable fire pit? Outdoor fireplaces can certainly be used for cooking, but a portable fire pit can also be used for cooking. In fact, some people may argue that fire pits are better for cooking since they are easier to access and control. And the right accessories can further enhance your fire pit cooking experience.


Portable fire pits are, well, portable. You can take them to your friend’s house, on camping trips, or pretty much anywhere else you desire. The same cannot be said for an outdoor fire place, however, as they are typically constructed into the ground, making them impossible to move and when you move it stays there for the new property owner.

As you can see, fire pits are usually the preferred choice over outdoor fireplaces.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.

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How to Season Firewood

wood-850080_960_720When firewood is first chopped down, it usually contains roughly 40-60% water. Due to the high moisture content, it doesn’t burn as efficiently as drier firewood. This is why it’s important to “season” your firewood before burning it. By allowing your firewood to dry out and season, it creates drier wood that’s easier to burn. So, how exactly do you season it?

Seasoning: the Basics

The term “seasoning” can be somewhat confusing. When used in the context of firewood, it refers to drying out the wood naturally. Wood is highly porous, containing countless holes (known as pores) that absorb and release moisture. Before you can burn firewood, you’ll need to release most of its internal moisture content — a task that’s accomplished through seasoning.

Which Type of Wood are You Seasoning?

First and foremost, you’ll need to identify the species/variety of wood. Different woods require lengths of time to season. Pine and similar softwood varieties, for instance, season in about 6 to 12 months, whereas oaks and other hardwoods take a bit longer, often requiring one or two years before they are fully seasoned.

Cutting Your Firewood

If you cut your firewood too large, it will take longer to season. A good rule of thumb is to chop firewood no longer than 18 inches. Keep in mind, though, that 16 inches is the appropriate length for a face cord. As long as your firewood is around 16-18″, it should season with relative ease while also maintaining a suitable size for use in fire pits, campfires, stoves, etc.

Open Air Storage

You can’t expect firewood to season properly unless it’s stored out in the open. Here’s where the problem lies, though: it it’s stored in the open, it needs to be protected from the rain; otherwise, it will become saturated with moisture whenever it rains. Consider creating an open shed with a covered roof but open walls. Storing your firewood here allows it to season while also protecting it from the rain. Just remember to keep your firewood off the ground, as the ground contains a significant amount of moisture than can leach into your wood.

If you can’t tell whether or not your firewood is properly seasoned, you can buy a special testing tool. Known as a wood moisture test meter, it lives up to its namesake by measuring the water content of wood.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.

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Keep the Summer Parties Going with a Fire Pit

Fire Pit Party01With school back in session for most of the country, the summer season is coming to a close. This means the temperatures will get cooler and the days will get shorter. But you keep your outdoor summer parties going well into the fall and winter months by investing in a fire pit.

According to an article published by ThisOldHouse, an overwhelming majority of homeowners (67%) said they want an outdoor fire to keep their outdoor parties going as the mercury drops. There’s still over a month left in the summer season, but depending on where exactly you live, you may already be experiencing chilly evening and nights. Instead of moving your parties indoors, though, you can keep them “burning” well into the night with a fire pit.

A fire pit is a versatile accessory that serves many different purposes. You can use it to cook and grill food; set it up as an outdoor decorative accessory; and use it produce warmth. When the sun goes down late in the summer, a fire pit produces just the right amount of warmth to keep you and your guests comfortable. And thanks to this increased warmth and comfort, you can throw more outdoor parties as the temperatures begin to drop.

Here are some tips on how to effectively use a fire pit at an outdoor party:

  • Use kindling and tinder to light your fire instead of newspaper. Although effective, newspaper creates light ash that may blow onto you and/or your guests.
  • Set up your fire pit with at least 10 feet of clearance from your house and any other structures.
  • Provide seating for your guests. You can use either traditional chairs and benches, or you can use large logs as seating. The bottom line is that guests should have somewhere to sit and rest while they enjoy your fire.
  • Bring stuff to grill. Even if you have no plans on cooking full meals, you can still roast marshmallows or other campfire snacks for added enjoyment.
  • Keep water or a firehouse nearby in case stray embers escape.
  • Use caution not to add too much firewood. Start with a large roaring fire, and gradually add single logs as needed. If your fire grows too big, it may produce too much heat for guests to comfortably sit or stand near.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.

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Keeping the Smoke Away: Minimizing Fire Pit Smoke

coffee-1031139_960_720A fire pit is the perfect outdoor accessory for individuals and families alike. When the sun goes down, you can enjoy the relaxing ambiance of a fire. But it’s difficult to fully enjoy a fire pit and everything it has to offer when there’s smoke billowing out the top. So, how can you minimize the smoke produced by your fire pit?

Burn Dry Wood

Make sure any wood you intend to burn in your fire pit is dry. Smoke occurs as a result of incomplete combustion, meaning there’s some other element present that’s restricting the fire. One such element is moisture. Attempting to burn wood that’s been saturated with rain/moisture typically leads to more smoke. This is why you should burn dry wood that’s been properly stored in a covered area.

Don’t Burn Green Pine

Certain varieties of wood, such as green pine, have a tendency to produce more smoke; therefore, it’s best to avoid burning them in your fire pit. Unlike many other hardwood varieties, green pine also produces a soot-like substance known as creosote that can clog chimneys and cause dangerous fires/explosions.

Allow Your Fire to ‘Breathe’

The more oxygen your fire has, the less smoke it produces. Oxygen encourages a faster and more efficient combustion process. And when there’s greater combustion, less smoke is produced in the process. So if you’re looking to minimize the smoke produced by your fire pit, try leaving the lid off while it’s burning. The increased oxygen facilitates combustion, which in turn minimizes its smoke.

Clean Out Debris from Your Fire Pit

Another simple way to minimize smoke from your fire pit is to keep it clean. Before lighting a new fire, remove any ashes or leftover debris from your previous fire. Burning leftover debris often creates more smoke because it has soaked up moisture. Spending just a few minutes cleaning out your fire pit, however, can minimize the amount of smoke it produces. You don’t have to necessarily scrub down the interior of your fire pit, but you should shovel out any leftover debris.

Following the tips listed here should reduce the amount of smoke produced by your fire pit. Keep in mind that all fires will produce at least some smoke. When it billows out of your fire pit like a chimney, however, there’s usually some underlying problem, such as wet firewood or the wrong type of firewood.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.

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Lighting Your Fire Pit with a Match

match-1519644_960_720After gathering enough tinder, kindling and firewood for your fire pit, you’ll need to ignite it. One option is to use a grill lighter, but another option is to use a match. Igniting a fire with a match may seem simple enough, but many people make some critical mistakes. So, what’s the right way to light a fire pit with a match?

Light Under the Tinder

Going back to the basics of fire-building 101, heat rises; therefore, you should place your match under the tinder, not over it. As the heat from the match rises, it will catch the tinder on fire, spreading to the nearby kindling and eventually firewood. Simply holding a match over the tinder isn’t going to work, as the small flame lacks the necessary heat to catch the bigger pieces on fire. Always light your fire under the tinder.

Keep Your Matches Dry

It’s a good idea to store your matches indoors where they protected from rain and humidity. Allowing your matches to get wet may prevent them from igniting, unless of course they are waterproof. But even then, a completely saturated waterproof match may fail to ignite when stuck against the box.

Hold the Match, Don’t Toss it

Unless you have a 100-count box of matches on hand — and don’t mind losing them – light your fire by holding the match. Some people instinctively toss their match into the fire pit after striking it, only to discover that it failed to ignite the firewood. In some instances, tossing a match may work. Normally, however, it’s an ineffective way to light a fire pit. A better approach is to strike a single match, and then hold that match in place until the tinder catches fire.

Lighting the Match

Tired of breaking countless matches when you attempt to light them? Make sure you hold the match close to the head, pressing against it with your middle finger for additional support. You should also strike the match by running it towards your body rather than away from your body. Following these steps will reduce the risk of broken matches.

Light Upwind

A final tip to remember when lighting your fire pit with a match is to light upwind. Doing so allows the fire to blow into the tinder and kindling, making it catch more easily.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.