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6 Tips to Get the Most Out of a Fire Pit in the Winter

An outdoor fire pit is often considered a summertime luxury. Winter is knocking at our doors, and it will not be long before we take out the winter jackets from the bottom of our drawers and the back of our closets. But before any that happens, we need to make sure that our houses are warm for the upcoming winter. Some people have the tremendous benefit of owning a yard or patio, and, contrary to what some people may think, yards too can be a cozy spot to spend time in even during the coldest season. All of this is provided you have a fire pit, of course. Need some tips on how to stay warm and cozy in your backyard this winter? Starting with the more practical and ending with some fun, here are some useful winter fire pit ideas that will give you the chance to try a different kind of recreation this holiday season.

  1. Use a lid or cover on your fire pit to keep it clear from snow

This is an important step, maybe the most important step, to enjoying a fire outside during the winter. Similar to your grill, you want to keep some type of cover over the main part of your fire pit to prevent snow from collecting inside. A wet base can make it more difficult to start a fire. If you unfortunately left the cover off or have not purchased one yet and there is already snow inside, shovel out as much as you can.

As an alternative, if it is a light and portable fire pit, consider moving it to a covered area, whether under an awning or on your porch (as long as it has cooled down and the embers are no longer active, of course).

  1. Keep your firewood dry or give your gas fire pit a quick once-over

Like we mentioned above, wet can make starting a fire difficult. It is not impossible, but you will end up with more smoke and less flame. Store your firewood in a dry place throughout the winter for quick and easy fire starting. Also, make sure your kindling is dry.

Ensuring the wood is dry will yield warmer, faster results because it increases the surface area and allows room for more oxygen to get to the fire. Additionally, softwoods (wood from coniferous trees such as pines, spruces and firs) typically generate the most heat. Softwoods are also easier to start a fire with.

For a gas fire pit, just give the unit a once-over to make sure nothing is leaking or caked with snow that would prevent it from working properly and safely.

  1. Dig a path to your fire pit

After snowfall, it might be delightful to build a fire to stand around as you build igloos, have snowball fights, and sled the day away. Create a clear path to your fire pit to keep your guests a little warmer than standing in knee-high snow. You can do this when you go to check on the fire pit and set up the scene. For a more festive area, put that snow to good use and build an open igloo around the fire pit for a fun twist to the experience.

Make it even easier to find your way to the fire pit by adding lighting along the patio or pathway. There are many solar lantern options available or string lights in nearby shrubs or trees to create a magical glow in the backyard.

  1. Make sure seating is dry and bring out some blankets

Clear off the seating area of snow if you already have chairs, benches, or other seats around your fire pit. If you can bring already clean chairs over to the area, that might be better as they will not  be as cold and wet. Another festive idea is to use large tree stumps as seats. If you do not mind the cold, you can get creative and build seating made of snow!

Do not forget the blankets. It can help keep guests warm as they take a reprieve near the fire. Store the blankets in a large, plastic tub to keep them from getting wet.

  1. Sit back and enjoy

The fire is built, the family has bundled up, and the fun is being had in the snow. While you are around the fire, bring out the s’more supplies and some hot coffee and cocoa. A fire pit just is not complete without drinks like hot chocolate or Bailey’s and coffee! Prepare thermoses or use insulated cups to keep drinks warm. Just add roasted marshmallows and you are set!

  1. Throw a Party

More bodies mean more heat and warmth, so the more, the merrier when it comes to keeping warm! Having an outdoor fire pit is the perfect way to extend the living space especially for giving guests an extra area to go and relax during parties and other indoor gatherings.

Start a roaring fire in the backyard and make sure to light the pathway to the fire pit well! Create zones for guests to grab hot chocolate, cozy blankets and a roasting marshmallow/s’mores station.

Beat the winter blues by cooking some great foods over the fire reminiscent of summer nights. You can do s’mores, hotdogs, foil meals, sweet potatoes, and any camping food to help get out of a winter slump. A fire pit cooking grill, grate, or tripod is a great accessory to pull out of the shed to do this. Do not forget to keep a warm beverage nearby while cooking.

Wood grates are also another great option to maximize the amount of heat in a pit. These are steel grates that are placed in the bottom of a fire pit to lift the wood up a little and allow more room for oxygen and air circulation.

 

Fire pits do not need to be limited to use in the summertime, the cozy glow of a warm fire can easily be enjoyed year-round, including winter.

Whether you are gathering with friends around a roaring fire in the yard or quietly enjoying an evening around a small fire after the kids go to bed, the frosty winter night can be an outdoor escape if you want it to be, just take a look at all of these great ideas above to make your space extra cozy

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The Benefits of Wood and Gas Fire Pits

Our fire pits are an attractive and fun addition to any backyard or patio. Choosing the ideal method of ignition, however, involves some careful consideration. Gas and wood are two of the most popular fire pit choices. Below, we will explain the differences between them to help you make a more informed decision on which might be better suited for your outdoor area. 

Photography of Wood Burning on Fire Pit

Fuel and Storage 

Gas fire pits work with liquid propane or natural gas, while wood fire pits require the use of dry wood. Due to having to hold large logs, wood fire pits tend to be larger than gas fire pits. However, with our gas log sets, you can convert a variety of sizes of our fire pits into gas burning. 

Storage is also something to keep in mind. Wood fireplaces need a spot to hold all of the wood. You have to ensure that it stays dry, and it must be away from the home because wood can hold termites. On the other hand, gas fire pits require a storage tank for the gas it needs to run. Companies provide containers from 15 to 100 gallons. Keep in mind that this tank is not going to be anything fancy, so consider a patio design that will hide it. 

Time Needed 

A gas fire pit is much more efficient at lighting and providing continuous heat. There is generally just a button that needs to be pressed to light the flames. On the contrary, a wood fire pit requires the effort of building a fire. Once a larger wood fire is going, it can put off continuous heat for some time until a new log is needed. 

Installation 

Gas fire pits typically are harder to install. Since gas lines need to be run for the fire pit, it requires the use of a professional, and this also means it needs more time to be installed. Luckily, our gas logs are pretty straightforward to set up if you do decide you prefer gas over wood. While wood fire pits can be a DIY project, it is still recommended that a professional build your fire pit for safety reasons. 

However, even with the more complex installation of gas fire pits, they do not require the time you would spend stacking, ordering, seasoning, and carrying all of the wood needed throughout the year for a wood fire pit. Once the gas fire pit is installed, you do not have to do anything else but press a button to start it. 

The installation from professionals differs since a wood fire pit requires only a metal frame, brick or stone underneath, and a far enough distance away from the home or other flammable objects and structures. A gas fire pit has fewer rules to follow, but the gas lines that go to the fire pit have to be installed correctly and out of the way of those walking through the yard. 

Cost 

Another thing to keep in mind is cost. It is usually less expensive to buy, install, and operate a wood fire pit than a gas burning one. With a gas fire pit, you will always have pay for gas fuel to ignite your fire. However, for a wood fire pit, you could theoretically get wood or logs for free, if you are willing to put in a little extra work. 

Maintenance 

Wood fire pits are harder to maintain because they accumulate soot, ash, and wood scraps. This will need to be shoveled out from time to time. Creosote may be an issue with wood when it is burned since it is a tar substance that can leak harmful chemicals into the air. When breathed in, they are not good for the health of those nearby. Additionally, unclean wood fire pits can produce a fire if the embers are not put completely out. 

In comparison, a gas fire pit does not require much maintenance at all. Since it burns clean, with no logs or soot, there is nothing to clean out. The outside of the fire pit can be wiped down, and a cover can be placed over it for when it rains or snows. You will want to check the gas lines from time to time to make sure everything is running safely and smoothly and that the lines are not clogged or need cleaning. 

User Experience 

The experience that a user has with a wood fire pit is much different from that of gas. Gas fire pits do not leave smoky odors on clothes or hair when used. However, wood-burning fire pits have a distinct campfire smell and provide a natural experience with the sound of the logs crackling, which are two reasons why someone would choose wood over gas fire pits. This all just relates to personal preference and the type of ambiance you are trying to create in your outdoor space. 

Safety 

It is always important to have the gas system checked thoroughly for any leaks that might occur. If a leak happens, things can quickly get out of hand. To avoid this situation, keep the fire pit in the best shape and have routine maintenance performed on the gas lines. Wood-burning fire pits also have to be used with caution. Make sure that the fire is completely out each time. It should also be used away from any structures that can catch fire. 

Environmental Concerns 

Wood is a renewable resource that is ideal for the environment, but gas is the cleaner choice. The impact that wood has on the environment is not as good as gas, but this also means that the gas is cleaner and better for users to breathe in, especially those with asthma. The particles from the wood can cause problems for those with breathing issues. Gas fire pits are also always going to be more energy-efficient. Gas burns more cleanly and produces fewer emissions into the atmosphere than wood. 

Resale Value 

Both fire pits can increase the resale value of the home. Not only that, but they can make the home sell faster by providing homeowners with something that they want, without having install it later on. Gas fire pits, because they are more eco-friendly and cleaner, have a higher return on investment. However, wood fire pits provide a beautiful outdoorsy feel. Our fire pits are highly portable, though, so if you want to and are able to take your fire pit to your new home or offer it to a friend who would like one, you can easily do so. 

Permits 

Local ordinances may prohibit open burning within fire pits. Some areas have a burn ban that is in place at certain times of the year. This only covers fire pits that have open, wood-burning flames. Additionally, any fire should be placed away from any structures in the backyard. This must be done to reduce the chances of having a fire that does not stay inside the pit and becomes dangerous. Some areas or neighborhoods may require a permit to have any fire pit on the outside of the property. It is important to check your local laws.

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Accessories for your Fire Pit: Part 4

Let us set the scene: you have your new, handcrafted fire pit installed and ready for action. You have acquired all of the necessary safety equipment, and you have the all the tools handy that are necessary to use your fire pit effectively, plus some handy extras to make your life easier. Now it is time for the fun part! Every fire pit owner will have a different style and décor envisioned for their backyard getaway. There are so many different ways to use your home fire pit, and there are countless accessories you can get to add the finishing touches to your patio ambiance or to enhance the entertainment value of your fire pit. Keep on reading for some ideas on fun items that can jazz up your next fire pit session or outdoor gathering. 

Person Roasting Marshmallow

1. Fire Pit Cover 

A well-fitting cover for your wood-burning or propane fire pit has both form and function. It will help keep you safe from stray sparks, protect your pit from damage, and can show off your personality and style. The odds are against your fire pit already, especially if it is out in the weather regularly, so it is very important that you keep it clean, dry, and covered. A cover is absolutely one of the key fire pit accessories on this list that will help your fire not only look clean and stylish, but also working in top condition for years to come. 

2. 20 lb Propane Tank 

If you are looking to buy a propane fire pit, know that they typically do not come with the required standard 20 lb propane tank. If you have a gas fire pit already, having an extra or even a few more propane tanks can save the day if you run out of propane during a fire pit gathering. Plus, if you have a propane barbecue grill, you will have an extra tank on hand if there is a need for that, as well. If you do not want to own the tanks, we recommend picking up a few tanks at a time at your local Blue Rhino or Amerigas dealer. That way, you can always have extra on hand and can circulate the tanks as you run out. You will pay a little more upfront, but your new filled tanks will be much cheaper when you trade in the empties for freshly filled ones. 

3. A Way to Play Music 

An easy way to take your fire pit experience up a notch is to add a little music. Whether you are hosting a big backyard bash or having a quiet night in, the right mood music can really set the tone for the evening. For a combination of great sound and convenience, try out some Bluetooth-enabled portable speakers. They are the perfect option for outdoor use. Better yet, you might want to splurge for some speakers with Wi-Fi connectivity that pair with a voice-activated assistant, like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you can control your music from your phone or by speaking, without ever having to leave the coziness of the fire to adjust the music. Many outdoor options also come with durability features, such as weatherproofing and drop resistance. 

4. Marshmallow Roasting Sticks 

If you like roasting marshmallows over an open fire, then a nice set of roasting sticks can make the job a lot easier, neater, and even safer. If the kids are going to be at your next fire pit gathering, you really can’t go wrong with a set of these skewers. Children, of course, do not always watch where they are pointing sharp objects, and yours are likely no different. If you have young ones around and want to share this time-honored tradition with them, try out a type of marshmallow roasting stick where the sharp ends where the marshmallows go are bent backward like a hook. Take the worry out of the fun times, and no poking the person next to them accidentally (or on purpose, when it comes to siblings). 

5. Fire Pit Popcorn Popper 

This is will be your new favorite cooking implement for making something to eat over the fire pit (and there is little risk of getting poked in the eye in the process). If you are a fan of the old school Jiffy Pop popcorn, you will really appreciate this one. A fire pit popper is basically a handle with a ring on the end that you place your popcorn tin into for cooking over the fire. There is the added benefit of having no greasy mess with butter, no cleanup, and no bowl necessary, so this easy and fun trick is a win all around. Plus, it is exciting to watch and hear those kernels explode as they heat up! 

A fire pit popcorn popper is a lot lighter than your traditional cast iron campfire cookware, and you will have your popcorn quick and with a low chance of burning. There are models where you can simply add the popcorn tin to the popper for the ultimate ease, or there are types where you can add the loose kernels if that is what you prefer. If you do not have a grate or something to rest your popcorn popper on, try to find a version with a telescoping handle.

6. Beverage Cooler 

Having a solid cooler around the fire pit is a definite nice-to-have to keep everything cool and hold a supply of ice for those who want to use it for their drinks. Additionally, it will save you the trouble of having to run inside every five minutes to get drinks for everyone. Look for one with wheels to make it easily transportable – these things can get quite heavy! When choosing a size, think about how many people it is likely to be serving most of the time. Keep in mind that your cooler will stay colder longer when it is fuller. One of the perks of having a home fire pit also means that you can choose an electric model if you like. 

7. Fire Pit Flame Color 

Another fun one for the kids or anyone else in your family that might like a colorful fire is flame color. It is as simple as it sounds. You just drop the color packet unopened in the center of the fire, just like magic, you get a colored flame show that will keep the kids busy for at least as long as the spectacle lasts. They will probably ask for another color after you introduce this one for the first time, so be prepared with multiple packets.

 

This concludes our series on how to accessorize your new (or old) fire pit in both fun and functional ways. As you can see, there are a lot of ways to play with it and make your patio the happening place to be, so have fun with it! As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at SS Fire Pits with any questions or if you are looking for advice.

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Accessories for your Fire Pit: Part 3

Some items you will need for your fire pit are flat out necessary, such as those discussed in Part 1 of this series, which are products used for safety and are not negotiable. In Part 2, we have also written about non-safety items that you need to have in order to operate your fire pit. However, some accessories, while not integral to running your fire pit, are designed just to make your life a lot easier. They are not absolutely necessary, and you can manage without them, but they will make your fire pit experience go a lot smoother and it will be much more enjoyable and carefree. In this part of the series, we will talk about all those bonus accessories that are nice to have as extras as a fire pit owner.

 

1. High-Quality Fireglass or Firerock

For a propane or natural gas fire pit, you will want some good quality fireglass or rock to line your fire pit. Many propane fire pits often come with low-quality fire pit beads in the traditional clear color. This may or may not be the look you want, but in many cases, if the fire pit is not from a reputable vendor, the glass beads can include broken pieces with sharp edges that can cut you when you move it with bare hands (another place for your new fire pit gloves to come in handy).

Additionally, many propane or natural gas fire pits come with lava rock as an alternative to fireglass. While lava rock performs well as a low-cost retainer and distributor of heat, it too might not be the style you are going for in your backyard gas fire pit, depending on your taste. While lava rock does do a good job at what it is intended for, it is not the most interesting to look at and does not stand out at night, lacking the shimmer and color options of the wide variety of fireglass choices on the market today.

If you are planning to build a propane or natural gas fire pit or have one already installed, or even if you just want to try out a new decorative scheme or backyard ambience with your current fire pit media, look for quality tempered fireglass that will not crack or shatter and will hold up to constant heat exposure and weather.

Check with your local outdoor or fire pit specially store to discuss what type, size, and color fireglass you are looking for and explore your options before you buy. The fireglass market is huge and you want to get a good understanding of what is out there. If you want something truly unique and special, consider trying out one of our custom steel gas log sets. This gives the rustic and cozy appearance of using natural wood to fuel your fire pit, without the effort of actually acquiring wood and building a fire each time.

2. Seating for your Fire Pit Area

If you are looking for seating that can be brought out and put away each time you have a gathering around the fire pit, folding chairs are an excellent option. Everyday metal folding chairs will do, but for something a little more comfortable and sturdy (and designed for the outdoors already), another choice to opt for is a set of nice camping chairs. These come in a range of options from basic to more luxurious with extra bells and whistles, such as cup holders, pockets, and extra padding, so you can cater your seating to any type of style or gathering. Best of all, when you are done, you simply fold everything up and put it away in a canvas or nylon bag that comes with it for easy storage.

Of course, if you prefer something more permanent that you do not have to set up each time and have a dedicated place in your yard for it, there are lots of gorgeous and affordable patio sets on the market for every taste and style.

3. Natural Mosquito Repellents

If you live in a buggy area, the great thing about owning a fire pit is that it can be its own method to ward off pesky biting pests during an evening spent outdoors. You could try burning pinyon (or piñion) firewood. Flying insects of all kinds, especially mosquitoes, do not like the smell it gives off when burned and stay away. It is somewhat localized to the U.S. Southwest, but you can search for it though online and specialty retailers, and it will really do the trick.

Additionally, the smoke from burning sage or rosemary will help keep mosquitoes away, as well. Be sure that you do not use the dry ground up stuff found in your pantry – it has to be fresh sage or rosemary. Buy either herb in bunches at your local supermarket and throw a little on the fire throughout the entire time you are outside.

If you do not feel like keeping fresh herbs on hand to keep mosquitoes at bay during your next fire pit burn, there are also other burn-in products available that are specially made for this purpose that you can keep on hand for when you need it. These products are usually made from recycled wood or other burnable material that has been treated with citronella, citrus, geranium, thyme, peppermint, cinnamon, rosemary and/or lemongrass, which are all things mosquitoes are not fond of.

4. Firewood Carrier

Once you have split and stacked your firewood, you will need something to keep the number of trips to the woodpile to a minimum. A good waxed canvas firewood carrier can help you carry more logs comfortably and keep you clean in the process from not having to carry a stack in your arms.

5. Propane Tank Stand

If you have a gas fire pit and its propane tank is not stored inside the fire pit unit itself, a stand can be a very useful tool for keeping it upright and out of the way while in use, in storage, or in transit. Further, if your propane tank is regularly left out in the elements, a tank stand will keep rust rings from forming on your wood or concrete patio. It is a very small investment for a lot of payoff. Rust rings can be a real pain to get off stone or cement once they have formed.

6. Fire Pit Heat Deflector

It is no secret propane and natural gas fire pits do not give off quite as much heat as their wood-burning counterparts, so being able to channel that heat exactly where you want it makes your gas fire pit that much more functional and useful. This is where a fire pit heat deflector comes in handy.

A fire pit heat deflector is essentially a square or round heat shield, positioned above your fire pit to vector heat outward where you want it, thus having it disappear vertically where it does the least good for everyone nearby. Additionally, if you are using your gas fire pit under an overhead covered structure, such as a gazebo or a pergola, a heat deflector will minimize the long-term effects of regular heat exposure on those structures. If you have a longer, rectangular shaped gas fire pit, multiple heat deflectors can be used side by side to cover the entire burner pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accessories for your Fire Pit: Part 2

What good is having a fire pit if you can’t use it to its full potential? That is where all the fun accessories come in! In our last post in this series, we focused on items that are absolute must-haves and non-negotiable for operating your fire pit safely and being prepared for any scenario. In part 2 of this series, we will discuss the various items you need that will make your home fire pit experience easier and will ensure everything runs smoothly. Read on to learn more about the accessories you need to use your fire pit effectively.

 

 

1. Pair of Fire Pit Tongs

This one likely does not need a lot of explanation, but having a good set of solid fire pit tongs can be a big help when moving firewood around or to your fire pit safely, especially when you are trying to add wood to a specific spot in a hot fire. Tongs can help you do all of that with less risk to yourself or your clothing, and as you know by now, safety is paramount when it comes to fire pit use. There are a lot of cheap flimsy options out there, so do your homework. Check out a pair at your local fire pit/fireplace specialty store and actually pick them up and handle them, or go with a trustworthy, well-made option like our handcrafted fire pit log tongs.

2. Fire Pit Poker

This is another pretty common fire pit tool. Having a poker on hand is great for repositioning wood already in the fire pit. If you are adding wood and trying to avoid having your stack collapse under the weight of what is being added, being able to safely move wood around to a better location without getting too close to the heat source is a must. However, the main problem with traditional pokers, like the ones used in fireplaces, is their length. Most fireplaces are not particularly deep, and the need for a long poker just is not there.

Wood-burning fire pits, on the other hand, are getting larger and larger as demand grows, and the need for longer pokers to get good there, while maintaining some distance, is growing with it. When shopping for a fire pit poker, try to pick up the longest option you can find. Most fire pit pokers generally come in the 25 to 45 in. range. If you are able, shoot for a poker that has a combination of length and light weight to minimize fatigue when moving wood around your fire pit while still allowing you to keep your distance. A solid but lightweight option is our fire poker with ball. It is even stylish, with a lovely decorative touch!

3. Heat-Resistant Gloves

On occasion, you may need to move your portable fire pit a few inches over for one reason or another while it is in use, or you might need to handle the spark screen when adding firewood. Like most people, you probably do not enjoy burning your hands, so it is a good idea to keep at least one heat-resistant glove in your pocket or nearby and handy when using your fire pit. Having a pair of gloves is quite nice, especially when you need to lend one to someone who is helping you out with maintaining the fire or cooking over it.

Like most accessories on this list, there is a range of options you can choose from. Splurging for the pricier gloves may seem like overkill, but the confidence you gain knowing you will not get burned when you use them to touch something hot will be well worth it. There are some slightly cheaper options out there, but just make sure you are getting what you pay for and that they are properly rated for the temperatures you will be handling.

4. Homemade Fire Starters

Save your newspaper for your wood-burning fire pit, just like you would for a fireplace! It is a cheap and easily accessible for starter and does a pretty good job getting the kindling started. Once your initial firewood stack is ready, just loosely ball up a couple of pages of newspaper and stuff them into pockets of space at the base of the stack. Light when you are ready – it is as simple as that.

Another cheap and very effective tool in getting fire pit fires started is using toilet paper rolls stuffed with dryer lint. Dryer lint lights very easily and burns quickly, lighting the paper in the roll, which lights your kindling and so forth. You can probably get creative with other types of fire starters you can find around the house, but always make sure you use a material that is safe to burn and will not cause any toxic fumes or other hazardous situations.

Of course there is nothing like cheap or free for effective fire pit accessories, but sometimes it makes more sense to spend a little more and save some time with a purchased product. There are a number of commercially available fire starter products on the market if you do not want to bother with the suggestions above. Most are made from cedar or fatwood shavings and some sort of wax binder.

5. Lighter or Fire Steel

You know that cheap disposable plastic utility or barbecue lighter that you keep hanging around in the junk drawer in your kitchen? The one you have to try to light several times before it produces a flame and whose spark blows out in the slightest of breezes? Believe it or not, there are better options out there for lighting your fire. If you are not using a windproof butane or electric arc lighter to light your fire pit, you are missing out on making your life a whole lot easier. When they work as they were designed to, they can’t be beaten for performance. Electric arc lighters are easy to operate, do not need too be refilled with gas, and are cool to look at, but be warned that if you have a dog or are considering getting one, they typically do not like the high-pitch sound arc lighters can make and may start barking in response. In this case, you may want to opt for a windproof butane lighter instead.

If you are a little more traditional, a fire steel or ferro rod, is a solid choice as you will not need to fill it with butane or charge its battery – it always works out of the box.

6. Firewood Ash Bucket

When cleaning out your wood-burning fire pit the day after a burn or removing hot ash from the fire pit during or after a fire, having a solid firewood ash bucket on hand is a definitive must-have. Whatever the situation, an ash bucket is a safe, clean, and durable option designed for storing your ash until disposal or use for other purposes.

It is important to choose a durable option. Look for features such as a double bottom to avoid burn through and galvanize iron which means it will be more resistant to rust while handling whatever heat is thrown at it. You will also need something to scoop the ash with. Try our handcrafted ash shovels, which are made from recycled 55 gallon drums. The curve of the handle follows the curve of our pits making it easy to scoop out your ashes.

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Accessories for your Fire Pit: Part 1

Whether you already own a fire pit or are seeking to purchase your first, this article series is for you. It is not difficult to have a good time with just a fire pit and some firewood (or gas) and call it a day, but having the correct fire pit accessories may elevate the experience. In fact, some are just plain necessary. That is why we will be starting this series with key accessories you should acquire in order to make sure you and your loved ones have the safest experience possible when using your fire pit. You would not want a magical evening filled with memories to be marred by a disaster you were unprepared for, so it is important to plan ahead. 

The following fire pit additions are tied to safety and are therefore “must-haves,” as opposed to others types of accessories that simply make things more enjoyable or easier and enhance your evening. It is impossible to have a good time without safety! Read on to learn more about what items you should keep on hand to be fully prepared when using your fire pit in Part 1 of this series on fire pit accessories. 

Red Fire Extinguisher Against Wall

Keep a Water Supply or Fire Extinguisher for Emergencies Nearby 

A convenient source of water is one of the most critical fire pit accessories you should have around your backyard fire pit, in terms of safety. It is not something most people consider until they are in a situation where they need it. A dedicated bucket of water, a turned-on and ready garden hose, or a fire extinguisher can mean the difference between people being hurt and property being damaged or an exciting but harmless story to recount to your friends later. 

Any old metal or plastic bucket will suffice; just make sure it can hold water, is filled, and is placed in a secure location where it is not in danger of being tipped over. Choose a location that is out of the way but readily accessible in a matter of seconds – you may not have much time in an emergency. 

The same goes for a garden hose. If that is your main water source for outside of your home, it should be kept wherever you can get to it quickly, in case of an emergency. Make sure the hose is long enough to reach the area around your fire pit and has a working nozzle that will be effective should you need it for any reason. 

The gold standard for fire safety, of course, is the fire extinguisher. Having one of these around is a good idea for your home in general, but if you have a fire pit, you may want to consider keeping one outside for quick use if necessary. If you decide to get one, check the pressure gauge on a fire extinguisher as soon as you purchase it (or preferably in the store) to make sure it is pressurized. 

If you come home or have your fire extinguisher delivered and discover it is not pressurized, return it right away and replace it with one that is. If you see a home-use fire extinguisher without a gauge, keep looking because the only way to know if it is pressurized is to discharge it, which is obviously not an option until you need it, and by then it will be too late. 

These fire pit accessories are a definite safety must-have, whether you use a bucket, a hose, or a fire extinguisher. Please consider using one of them during your next bonfire. 

Have a Stocked First Aid Kit Handy 

There will be times around the fire pit and in the backyard in general, especially when children are around, when someone requires care for a minor burn, bug bites, a splinter from firewood, a skinned knee, etc. Having a good first aid kit on hand is something that many people overlook until they wish they had it. Ideally, if you can find a kit that is OSHAANSI, and FDA compliant, which means it is compliant with current federal occupational safety and health standards, as well as standards set by international standards organizations, you know you are well-stocked for most minor injuries you may see in the home. 

You might want to opt for a kit that is packed in a hard, compartmented case that keeps everything in place, rather than one in which everything is usually jumbled in a zip-up canvas or nylon case. That way, you will be able to find what need easily when you need it. The zip cases also often come with the items in throwaway plastic pouches that can’t seal once opened. 

You also probably will want to find a kit that includes things like cold compresses and burn cream, as these can come in handy around a fire pit. Hopefully, you will not ever need to use them, but if you do, it is better to have them than not.  

Shield your Fire Pit with a Spark Screen 

Stray sparks from a wood-burning fire pit are unpleasant for everyone in the vicinity, and they can be dangerous if they come into contact with something flammable. When firewood is heated, pockets of moisture and gas can cause popping and sparking. A spark screen placed over your fire pit will keep the sparks from landing on your lap or patio. 

If the manufacturer of your fire pit makes a spark screen or suggests a specific solution for your model, you may consider going that route. We also carry a range of fantastic options and sizes between 30 and 42 inches in diameter in our shop, such as the 30″ Dome Lift Off Fire Pit Screen in Carbon Steel or its counterpart, the Dome Pivot Fire Pit Screen, which allows you to open the screen on one side via a hinge, rather than having to remove the entire cover each time you want to add wood to the fire. Consult us or your local hardware or outdoor supply store if you need help with determining fit. 

Ensure your Fire is Out with a Fire Pit Snuffer 

A fire pit snuffer is one of the simplest and safest ways to put out a fire in a wood-burning fire pit. For those new to owning a fire pit, a snuffer is a round or square metal plate, typically with handles, that is placed over the opening of your fire pit to cut off the supply of oxygen to the fire, therefore extinguishing it. This is a much better and safer choice than putting out the fire with water or sand, or letting it burn out naturally. 

Even after the fire is out, the metal surfaces and embers within will still be quite hot, so proceed with caution after using a snuffer. Again, you may choose to go with a snuffer made or recommended by your manufacturer, or you can choose from our handcrafted snuffer lids. They are beautifully built from solid steel and can put out a fire in five minutes or less. Add a coat of high-temperature paint and your snuffer lid can double as small outdoor table! 

 

Keep an eye out for Part 2 in this series for more accessory ideas, where we will start to get into the fun options!

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Staying Safe While Using Your Fire Pit

Few joys scream summer like sitting around a fire pit with friends and family. But before you light up a blazing fire, take some time to reacquaint yourself with the basics of backyard fire safety. From establishing the correct placement for your fire pit, to identifying the types of wood you should never burn, there are several rules to know and share with those who gather around the fire for seasonal fun. 

 

Check the Wind Conditions 

 Before you start up a blaze in your fire pit, check the local weather forecast. Don’t use your fire pit on unusually windy days, as the wind can make it hard to light the kindling and could blow sparks to surrounding brush or structures, potentially starting a fire. Also, always check the direction of the wind before you start your fire. Advise guests to sit on the upwind side of the pit to keep clear of the smoke. If you have a portable fire pit, consider moving it to a location with a natural windbreak—before you light the fire. 

 

Build the Fire in the Open 

Never light your fire pit when it’s underneath the overhang of a building or beneath trees, and keep the immediate area around the pit clear of yard waste and other flammable materials. Wayward sparks can blow out of the fire and ignite nearby structures, dry wood, leaves, or other debris, and you could end up with a fire emergency.  

 

Don’t Burn Construction Lumber 

To fuel your fire, go ahead and use the branches you sawed off that damaged oak tree after last winter’s storms, or buy seasoned hardwood kindling and logs. You can also use softwoods like pine, but know that they burn less efficiently and can give off more sparks and smoke than harder woods, leading to a less pleasant evening by the fire. But you should never burn construction materials like plywood, MDF, pressure-treated boards and posts, or chemically treated wood pallets. Construction lumber is treated with chemical resins, adhesives, and other substances that emit toxic fumes when burned—definitely not what you want to be inhaling (or eating) with your roasted marshmallows. 

 

Be Ready to Extinguish the Flames 

Fire can be unifying and magical. It attracts people to its warmth and light and infuses outdoor gatherings with joy and romance. But it can also be an unpredictable, destructive force. If you’ve set your fire pit in a safe location and taken the speed and direction of the wind into account, you probably won’t encounter any serious problems. But you should always keep a shovel and water at hand, just in case. In an emergency, you can use the water to quench the fire and the shovel to smother the flames by throwing dirt on them. You may also want to invest in a fire blanket, which can be used to smother a blaze in or outside the fire pit, or (worst-case scenario) on one of your guests. And be sure to teach kids to “stop, drop, and roll” in the event that their clothes catch fire. You may never need any of these safety measures, but without them a fun evening could end in tragedy. 

 

Keep Chairs Away from the Fire 

Everyone knows to be careful around a fire pit, campfire, or chiminea, but in the heat of a s’mores session, folks may inch a little too close to the flames, and that’s when hair, clothes, or other materials can catch fire. Keep chairs at a safe remove from the fire pit, and make sure your sleeves are rolled up and hair tied back when you’re tending a fire or roasting food over an open flame. If your fire pit has a screen, use it. 

 

Never Leave a Fire Unattended 

Even after a fire has died down and only glowing embers remain, do not leave it unattended—not even to dash into the house for a beverage or bathroom break. If you must leave, deputize a responsible party to stay with the fire, or extinguish the fire completely before leaving the scene. While tiny flames may seem innocuous, they’re still a potential threat to your safety—after all, almost-extinguished fires have been responsible for some of the most severe wildfires in U.S. history. Pour water over live embers, and turn logs to make sure all sides of the wood have stopped burning before you call it a night. 

 

Drink Responsibly 

Fire and alcohol don’t mix. Not only is alcohol flammable, but overindulgence in alcohol impairs coordination, judgment, and reflexes, which could result in injuries to anyone gathered around the perimeter of a fire. If you or your guests are going to drink by an open fire, do so in moderation. Keep everybody a safe distance from the flames, and be ready to douse the fire in case of any alcohol-induced mishaps. 

 

Heed No-Burn Alerts 

When high emissions and weather conditions combine to increase fine particulate pollution to an unhealthy level, some municipalities issue no-burn alerts to protect local air quality. Noncompliance with a no-burn order not only puts your community’s health at risk, but could also result in fines. So, before you light the kindling, check to see if there’s a no-burn advisory in effect. 

 

Store Firewood Safely 

To keep a fire going all evening, you’ll need to continue feeding it fuel. Take care, though, to keep firewood at a safe distance from the fire pit. You want to feed the fire at your own pace, not have it jump the fire pit and feed itself. 

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Maintaining Your Home Fire Pit

Adding a fire pit to your yard or patio, whether you buy one that is pre-made or use supplies to build your own, creates an exquisite and cozy focal point for your outdoor living space. Fire pits come in a variety of sizes and types, and they bring style and functionality to your property. They are great for outdoor entertainment or a romantic evening at home at any time of year. However, if you want your fireplace to last and build these memories year after year, proper maintenance is essential for keeping your backyard centerpiece looking and working well throughout the seasons. Read on for our advice on how to keep your fire pit in top working condition. 

Burning Wood

Location 

The location of your fire pit has a big impact on how easy it is to maintain. To avoid smoke concerns or scattered ash, we suggest choosing a location with some wind protection. For safety, any nearby trees with potential overhang over the pit should be trimmed back on a regular basis. Any yard debris should be confined to a minimum distance of 10 feet away from the circle around the pit. 

Avoid Cracking 

Cracks in your fire pit can result from stress, which can be caused by a hot fire raging in cold weather. To prevent the possibility of cracking, footers should be extended to the frostline or built on a reinforced concrete base when building masonry fire pits in cold climates. Cracking is a common problem. Even if some cracks are only cosmetically significant, they should all be examined. Severe cracks should be repaired before continuing to use the product. 

What to Burn 

Be mindful of what your put into your fire pit. Burning garbage or pressure-treated wood in a wood burning pit can release hazardous pollutants that are unsafe to breathe and can damage pit surfaces. It is best to use split, dry wood. Green wood also should not be burned. To start your fire, we recommend using broken pallets or yard-picked leaves and sticks as kindling. It is not advised to use accelerants because they can be harmful and can discolor or ruin the fire pit. 

Extinguishing the Flames 

Flames should be allowed to burn out naturally wherever possible. Although water should be maintained on hand in case of an emergency, pouring water on an active fire can induce fast temperature fluctuations, which might cause the vessel to break or otherwise be damaged. 

Removing Ashes 

Because ashes are acidic, it is critical to remove them from the pit on a regular basis to avoid long-term damage to the fire pit. You should have a metal ash container available nearby to collect ashes the next day after the pit is utilized. Because embers can smolder for a long time after a fire has died out, care should be taken when clearing them, and they should be doused with water once they have been removed. Spent ashes should be gathered in a metal bucket with a lid and disposed of appropriately once the bucket is full. 

Cleaning: Masonry Fire Pits 

If residue builds up over time, stone fire pits can be cleaned by scrubbing the interior with a solution of one part muriatic acid to nine parts water. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with water and let air dry for 48 to 72 hours before using. 

Cleaning: Metal Fire Pits 

Metal fire pits, like cast iron fire pits, are prone to corrosion. Scrubbing with a sharp wire brush and wiping away the residue is an easy approach to remove surface rust. Protective coatings, such as oil and silicone, are available to help prevent rust, but it is crucial to know which ones are right for your metal. Before applying any surface treatments, check the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Cleaning: Gas Fire Pits 

Gas fire pits, which are powered by natural gas or propane, are a wonderful choice for existing patios because of their ease of use, safety, and low-maintenance requirements. They create less heat than wood burning pits, but they have instant starts and do not produce messy ashes to clean. Keep the burners clean for efficient gas flow and check the fuel lines on a regular basis to keep your gas fire pit in good working order. 

Before cleaning the fire pit, turn off the gas valve or turn off the gas line. Clean the burner pan of any refuse, rocks, and leaves. Check for bugs and make sure the drains and vents are not clogged. Do not use water to put out the fire since the abrupt change in temperature in the fire pit can cause breaking and deterioration of the metal. Wait for the pit to cool down fully, then cover it. 

Cleaning: Wood-Burning Fire Pits 

Wood-burning pits create that campfire smell and feel, but they leave messy ashes behind, so it is important to keep up with cleaning these after use. Sweep up any ashes and debris using a brush. Because ashes are acidic, it is critical to remove them from the pit on a regular basis to avoid long-term damage to the fire pit. 

Allow flames to die down naturally while not in use. Putting out a fire with water might result in rapid temperature swings, which can cause the pit to crack or otherwise be damaged. Split, dry wood is preferred for burning, as trash or pressure-treated wood release pollutants that are detrimental to the environment and can damage pit surfaces, making them harder to clean and maintain over time. 

Using a Cover 

Whether it is a simple vinyl cover or something more ornate, keeping your fire pit protected from the elements is a simple way to extend the life of your backyard or patio fire pit and to preserve it in good working order. Make sure it is completely cool before covering. 

Using Screens 

Although it is fair to say that using a screen can occasionally distract from the beauty of an open flame when gathering around the pit on a cool evening, many prefabricated pits come with flat or domed screens to prevent embers from spreading and to reduce char and clutter. If your pit does not come with one, consider purchasing or making one to add to your outdoor fire pit for easy cleanup and added safety. 

Surfaces for Cooking 

If you plan to cook outdoors with your fire pit, make sure to clean the grates and other cooking surfaces as soon as possible after you finish. Grease, fluids, and food residue can accumulate inside the fire pit, producing stains and hastening the deterioration process. 

Tools for Fire Pit Care 

Having the correct tools on hand can help you maintain the appearance and functionality of your fire pit. You can get a simple fireplace tool set to use with your fire pit at the hardware store. You will need an ash scoop, a long poker, and tongs to move the logs about so they burn evenly. 

Pit Storage 

Permanent pit installations can usually withstand year-round weather conditions with little maintenance, but if your pit is portable, storing it under a covered space or in a garage or shed when not in use can save you the time and effort of cleaning off-season buildup of dirt and debris before sharpening those marshmallow sticks for the season.

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8 Things to Know Before You Get a Fire Pit

Whether you buy a ready-made model or work with a professional to create a design that is unique for your space, you have a staggering number of options when it comes to installing a fire pit. It can be difficult to know where to begin, in any case. Take a look at the following advice and considerations to assist you in making your decision. You should be able to work with a pro to select the appropriate fire pit for your taste, demands, budget, and location, using this information as your guide. 

Close-up Photo of Bonfire

  1. Local Regulations

Before you go out and buy a fire pit, check with your city’s building code and the local authorities to see if there are any limits on where you can put one outside or whether you may burn wood. Check with your building or homeowners’ association to see if there are any restrictions on outdoor fire pits if you reside in a condo or apartment complex. If you are renting, check with your landlord first. 

Fire pit placement is frequently regulated for safety reasons, and there are rules, such as keeping a fire pit at least 10 feet away from buildings and fences. Some counties may demand that your planned location be inspected by local fire officials to ensure that it is fire-safe. If your county has fuel restrictions due to environmental concerns, avoid wood-burning models in favor of smoke-free models that run on propane or natural gas. 

  1. Style

Fire pits are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and designs to complement any backyard decor and meet the desires of any homeowner. The difficult part is whittling down your choices and selecting the best one for you. Finding a fire pit that matches your existing backyard design in terms of style, color, shape, or material is an excellent place to start. 

In addition to picking a fire pit that complements the overall landscape design, you should select a model that is appropriate for the purposes for which it will be used. Look for features that are work for you and your family. For example, if you want to use the edge of your pit as a table for food and drinks, make sure there is a wide enough lip around it so you do not wind up with your cold items heating up after a few minutes. 

  1. Size

Fire pits come in a variety of sizes, from small ones you can carry with you to bigger built-in types. Select a size and style that is appropriate for your budget and region. The diameter of store-bought fire pits is typically 24 to 30 inches. The width of built-in units can range from 36 to 58 inches. 

There are also a variety of heights available, from low-to-the-ground fire bowls to taller models. Choose a type that is either even with or slightly lower than regular seat height if you want to rest your feet on the fire pit’s lip (typically 18 inches). Reflected warmth is also affected by the height of the fire pit in comparison to the seat height. Choose a lower fire pit if you want the flames to warm you from your seat. More heat is provided to the body by keeping the fire pit a little lower, at 18 to 20 inches. 

When deciding on the size of the fire pit, keep in mind how much space you will need for seating and circulation. As a general rule, allow 5 to 7 feet of space around the perimeter of a fire pit for chairs and movement. Make sure you plan your space around the fire pit, with plenty of area for big, comfortable chairs and mobility. If you are planning to construct built-in seating, leave 40 to 48 inches between the back wall of the seating area and the fire. 

  1. Permanent or Portable

Another factor to consider when purchasing a fire pit is whether you prefer the ease and adaptability of a portable model or a fire pit that will be a permanent fixture in your backyard. Renters may find lightweight portable fire pits to be a fantastic alternative because they can be moved around and lit in different sections of an outdoor space. 

  1. Material

Stone, metal, concrete, or a combination of these are just some of the materials used in fire pits. Choose a material that complements your style, blends in with your backyard’s decor, and can withstand stains and frequent use. Each substance has advantages and disadvantages. Concrete is a long-lasting material; however, it can be stained by soot. Metal that has been powder-coated is tough, but it can get hot. Natural stone is beautiful, but it can darken and shatter from heat if not installed properly. 

You may be able to choose the material in the flame area that covers the burner if you are using a natural gas or propane-burning device. Your choices include decorative balls, lava rock, and fire glass that all come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. 

  1. Cost

The price of a fire pit varies greatly. You can stay under $100 with a fire pit constructed of stacked stones in a ring or a basic one made of metal and set up only for wood burning. Depending on the design, freestanding fire pits constructed of stone, concrete, or powder-coated metal can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000 or more. Budget $1,000 to $5,000 or more for custom and built-in models. 

  1. Fuel Type

Your fire pit can burn with three different types of fuel: wood, propane, or natural gas. Wood-burning fire pits provide the characteristic crackling sound of a campfire, but they are being increasingly restricted due to air-polluting smoke issues. Propane and natural gas have the advantages of not producing smoke, being easier to clean, and being quicker to turn on and off. 

Both options have advantages and disadvantages. If you go with natural gas, be prepared to pay more for installation. In order to extend a gas line, you will also need a permit. Propane will save on the cost of not having to extend a gas line, but you still have to figure out where to put the propane tank, ideally somewhere out of sight but still accessible for refilling. 

  1. Permitting

A standard-size backyard fire pit does not require a permit in most cases. You may require one to expand your gas line if you choose a natural gas fire pit. Some counties may demand that your planned location be inspected by local fire officials to ensure that it is fire-safe. Extra-large fire pits (those with a diameter of more than 4 feet) may require a permit or additional safety or installation requirements. Before you begin, double-check your city’s building codes and with municipal authorities. 

 

Choosing to install a fire pit at your home can be an excellent idea that will provide fun and comfort for years to come, but it does take a little bit of planning. However, as long as your city does not have any ordinances against outdoor fires, most homes can accommodate some kind of set up. You just have to be creative and imagine how you will use it in the future.

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9 Reasons to Buy a Fire Pit

Have you ever sat in your backyard on a fall or winter evening and hoped you could stay out, only to be compelled to go inside because it was too cold to appreciate it? Luckily, there is an easy fix to this dilemma: install a fit pit! There is nothing cozier on chilly evening than a roaring fire. You do not have to escape to the wilderness to have one when you have a fire pit in your own backyard. 

Have you been considering a fire pit for your home but are still unconvinced? This is the ideal time for you to take action. A backyard campfire is undoubtedly one of the nicest gifts you can give your family, and they will get so much use and enjoyment out of it. Read on for the top benefits to installing a fire pit outside of your home. 

Family gathering around bonfire in dark backyard

1. A Fire Pit Provides Year-Round Enjoyment 

Some people wrongly believe that a fire pit is a seasonal tool that may only be used on warm spring and summer evenings. Its primary function as a fire pit, though, is to generate heat. On a cold night, sitting by a fire pit is like relaxing in a hot tub as it snows outside. 

It provides a warm and inviting feeling of being protected from the outdoors. It is a wonderful feeling. That isn’t to say you can’t enjoy them on a warmer evening. Throw an outdoor evening party for your closest friends and family, and make it the major attraction, lighting up the yard and keeping the mosquitoes at bay. 

2. A Warm and Inviting Feature for Your Outdoor Lounge Area 

An outdoor campfire, whether for you, your family, or your friends, adds a special touch to any backyard or patio. It has a certain elegance and sense of home to it. We find solace in sitting by a fire. They have been shown to help people relax and even lower their blood pressure. 

Outdoor fire pits seem to settle the nerves and bring us to rest, whether it’s owing to the captivating flickering of flames or an intuitive sense of safety. It’s natural to want to sit near to a fire pit when you see one. Whether on your patio, in your backyard, or in another outdoor location, a fire pit can be the warmest and most attractive gathering spot on your property. 

3. A Fire Pit is a Social Hot spot 

Nothing encourages a social gathering or a long, deep talks like the open flames of a fire pit. When it comes to atmosphere, a fire pit is the perfect centerpiece for any outdoor gathering and sets the right tone because people are drawn to the warmth. A roaring fire is ideal for long, meaningful evenings spent with friends and family.  

Keep the fire burning, even if the night is particularly warm, but move the seats away from the flames so the heat isn’t too intense. A fire pit gives a degree of subtle entertainment that prevents boredom, while being unobtrusive. Furthermore, the relaxing impact of fire may help people open up more to friendly discussion and cultivate a sense of belonging by bringing them closer together. 

4. A Fire Pit Provides Bright Light in the Dark 

The primary use of a fire pit, as previously said, is to provide heat. However, they also provide light, which is essential for any gatherings that are outdoors. If your summer parties always seem to end before the sun sets, you could probably extend the life of your gathering by lighting up the fire pit. 

Assuming all goes well and your visitors stay long after the sun goes down, you don’t want people wandering around in the dark, falling over patio furniture, and harming themselves or others. A fire pit will add ambiance and character to your outdoor entertaining space, while also illuminating the darkness. 

5. Fire Pits Provide a Romantic Ambiance 

While a fire pit is great for group gatherings, it is also ideal for intimate romantic moments. A fire pit, as previously mentioned, sets the tone for deeper conversations, while also offering a pleasant ambiance. There may be no better backdrop for a romantic chat. The hypnotic flames might be entrancing, but they also create intimacy, making you want to cuddle up close together. 

6. Wood-Burning Fire Pits Make Fantastic Kitchens 

In more concrete terms, wood-burning fire pits are fantastic locations to cook delicious meals! Appetizers, main dishes, desserts, you name it! You can cook it all on these fire pits. To make your life easier, you will need a grill grate, as well as a few pots and pans. Of course, there are always the old standbys, such as marshmallows, hot dogs, and shish-kebabs. However, thinking beyond the box opens up a world of possibilities for some truly delicious food. 

You can cook almost anything if you have the correct tools, such as grill grates, pots, pans, tinfoil, and sticks. Stainless steel is practically wear-resistant if properly maintained. Gooey grilled cheese sandwiches or tinfoil-wrapped potatoes, smothered in the works, are simple dishes elevated to new heights over a fire. Or consider a hearty breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs to start the weekend right. Use your imagination when it comes to cooking over a fire pit. They are perfect for gatherings, family dinners, and date nights! 

7. A Fire Pit is Very Safe (with Proper Usage) 

Fire pits that run on natural gas or propane, especially, are quite safe. Fire pits, like anything else if used incorrectly, can be dangerous, although rare. Safety and common sense should always be at the top of the priority list. 

Any fire pit owner’s first goal is to use their fire pit responsibly so that they, their family, and their visitors may enjoy it night after night without incident. It is also important to make sure that everyone in the family knows how to operate it properly and safely, even if they never intend to be the operator. 

8. Fire Pits Can Add Value to Your Home 

Although it is not a guarantee, a well-built fire pit has been proven to increase the value of some homes. A quality patio and fire pit can bring you a good return on your investment if you decide to sell your home. Like you, potential homeowners are enthralled by the prospect of owning a fire pit! Not only that, but they will appreciate not having to buy, build, or install one themselves. For some, it could even be the determining factor in whether they choose to buy your home or someone else’s. 

9. Fire Pits Are Affordable for Nearly Everyone 

Although you certainly have the option to go all out with expenses, not every fire pit is going to set you back thousands of dollars or even close to that. That being said, there is no good way to determine an average cost for fire pits because they come in so many different designs, sizes, and materials. It all depends on how you want it set up, how you want it to look, and whether or not you want to construct and install it yourself. You could pay anything from $50 to $5000 for a really extravagant set up. 

 

The beauty of fire pits is how nicely they blend into any backyard or patio setting, such as fire pit tables that serve as a lovely focal point for your outdoor space. Whether you have a minuscule space or a lawn the size of a football pitch, there’s an outdoor fire pit to suit practically every sort of backyard, making it an easy decision for most consumers.

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Choosing the Perfect Fire Pit

Every family or homeowner has a dream set up for their backyard remodel or design. Some families yearn for a warm, sunny pool. Others fantasize about a large deck with plenty of space for grilling and sunbathing. Regardless of the size of your backyard, many homeowners have the same dream: a blazing fire pit. 

Fire pits are a great way to add a rustic, relaxing element to your backyard. Furniture, outdoor lighting, and elements, such as lattice walls and more substantial structures that radiate outward from your fire pit, ground your design and offer you room to be creative. 

Regardless of the season, fire pits serve as a social meeting location. You and your family can gather around the fire during the crisp autumn evenings, roast marshmallows, and tell ghost stories late into the night. On a hot summer day, fire pits allow you to finish off your favorite BBQ meal, while watching the kids splash around in the pool (or maybe going for a dip yourself). 

Are you ready to add a fire pit to your backyard to make it more inviting? A Google search for fire pit ideas on the internet can leave you unsure of where to start. Where do you begin with so many shapes, materials, designs, and construction methods to pick from? We have compiled a list of our top ready-to-build and ready-to-buy fire pit ideas for you, so you can spend less time browsing and more time around your new fire pit! 

Photography of Wood Burning on Fire Pit

Building Your Own Fire Pit 

The creative options with a fire pit are practically infinite when you collect and install the materials yourself. You can create a fire pit from scratch in any area of the yard with some forethought, precision, and a lot of hard work. DIY projects need more time and effort, but they usually result in reduced expenses. 

  • Round Stone Fire Pit 

Stone fire pits are one of the most cost-effective solutions for outdoor fire pits. Choose palletized stone for a consistent shape and size when placing your order. Determine the width of your fire pit area with a piece of rebar and twine. Make a big circle with spray paint. Excavate to a depth of roughly six inches in the place you want your pit to go. Make a second circle with the perimeter of your actual fire pit inside that circle. 

Pour premixed cement and allow it to dry in the region between the inner and outer rings. Lay the first round of fire bricks, the second and third rounds of fire bricks, and then carefully place your capstones before finishing your seating area, applying mortar as you go. 

  • Square Concrete Fire Pit 

For sleek, contemporary outdoor aesthetics, concrete fire elements are becoming increasingly popular. These can also be raised so that your s’mores station is level with your outstretched palm while you relax on a deep seat sofa. Square concrete fire pits have a lot of steps: first, build the interior and outer rings out of fir planks. To defend against the elements, add reinforcement and wire or mesh matting. 

Once you have finished the previous stage, pour your concrete to the top of the form. Once the concrete has dried, carefully remove the forms and apply finishing touches such as a smooth finish or a layer of slate on top of the concrete. Fill the center of your bowl halfway with gravel, and then secure it. Last but not least, fill the remaining space with beautiful rocks of your choice. 

  • In-ground Stone and Brick Fire Pit 

In-ground fire pits fit in perfectly with your backyard’s scenery. While this can be a safety concern if you have small children or pets, an in-ground fire pit can lend a touch of casual elegance to any outdoor space. Depending on where you get the components, a fire pit like this can be built for less than $100. 

To begin, dig a hole that is four feet deep and 12 feet in diameter, with the sides slanted out slightly. Fifteen liters of lava rocks should be used to fill the hole. Place the bricks vertically around the hole’s rim, tilting them on their sides. In the circular area where you’ll set up chairs and side tables, shovel sod away from the pit’s edge. Cover the bricks with flat, ornamental stones around the pit’s edge. You are now ready to build a fire by filling in the top region in and around the flat stones with earth. 

 

Fire Pit Ideas You Can Purchase 

Is it not possible to take on a new construction project by yourself? If you do not have the time, skills, or ambition to build a fire pit from the ground up, there are numerous varieties of gorgeous fire pits that you can buy for your backyard dependent on your budget. These alternatives can add a functioning fire pit to your outdoor entertainment options, while also elevating your aesthetic. 

  • Concrete Basin 

Use the color palette of your existing patio furniture to determine the best shade for a basic, low-cost concrete basin fire pit. A freestanding bowl’s floating look offers an unforgettable visual statement and embellishes circular patios and flat spaces. All you need to know before ordering your concrete basin is the color of your current chairs or the color you want to purchase. A simple approach for cohesion is homogeneous color, especially when contrasted with your dwelling or decking materials. 

  • Steel Cauldron 

A hanging cauldron fire pit and grill will impress any visitor, whether you have a modern home with clean lines or a rambling wood cabin. Steel cauldron fire pits have a tall triangular frame that supports a spherical cauldron that seems like it sprang from a smithy or forge and landed in your backyard. These cauldrons, especially the larger ones, can be expensive. However, the artistry is well worth the money for the right family and home. 

  • Propane-Powered Fire Pit Tables 

Small standalone fire pit tables that are metalworked and powered by propane are becoming popular in many homes with limited yard space or with basic patios instead of traditional yards. These stylish, low-cost fire pit tables frequently have a side table that conceals the gas tank. These fire pit tables can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars, depending on the type of metal used and the craftsmanship. 

For the homeowner who wants the most low-maintenance fire pit option that is easy to set up and light, a fire pit table can be the perfect option. They can come in varying sizes to fit all sizes and layouts of backyard or patio space. Another very handy feature of a fire pit table is that, besides making sure your propane tank is full, you do not need to maintain the fire and can adjust it with a switch. 

 

With a little inspiration and a design that appeals to you, you can either craft a DIY fire pit or save time and money by ordering one that matches your outdoor concept. The entire family may gather around a fire pit table for meals, games, beverages, stories, s’mores, and countless new memories. After you have finished putting the finishing touches on your fire pit, determine what style of furniture best suits your unique location, whether you are furnishing a desert hideaway or a lake house.

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How to Build a Wood Fire in Your Fire Pit

If you spent your childhood taking camping trips every weekend with your family or you spent time in the Scouts, you may already be a skilled pro at building a fire. However, if you are not the outdoorsy type, you may never have learned the proper techniques for building a quality fire. Even though this skill can seem intimidating for a newbie, it is actually quite manageable once you get the hang of it! 

With a wood-burning fire pit in your backyard, you do not even need to venture out into the wilderness to achieve a cozy, roaring fire. You can enjoy such luxuries from the comfort of your own home. If you want to learn how to develop this easy and straightforward skill, or if you just want to improve on the knowledge you already have, read on for our tips on how to start the perfect (or most efficient!) fire in your backyard fire pit. 

 

Fire Safety 

Before you ever light your fire, make sure that safety is your top priority. Fire pit safety is incredibly important, and if you follow the best practices, you can avoid costly mistakes. Here are some safety guidelines to keep in mind when using your fire pit: 

  • To prevent flames or embers from escaping the pit, start your fire on an even surface. 
  • Make sure your fire pit is at least 10 feet away from any trees, houses, fences, or other flammable things. 
  • If the weather is very windy, choose a different night to light a fire. 
  • Keep a safe distance from the fire pit, and pay attention to any children and pets nearby. 
  • Avoid use of propellants or other potentially hazardous or toxic substances.
  • Never leave your fire unattended. 

 

How to Build a Fire with Wood in a Fire Pit 

1. Preparation 

After you’ve chosen a safe site for your fire, it is time to collect the appropriate supplies to prepare your fire. But do not worry; the list of things you will need is not excessively long, and everything is easy to acquire. Here is everything you will need to get your fire going: 

  • Fire Starter: You can choose from a variety of various fire starters. Kitchen lighters and matches are the most common household items you could use. These will get the job done, but this can be a time-consuming choice. You can also use a butane torch lighter or an electric arc. Most people do not have one of these on hand, but they are far more effective at starting a fire in a fire pit and are fairly inexpensive to purchase. 
  • Tinder: To ignite your fire, you will need to use tinder. Leaves, pine cones, newspaper, or tree bark can all be used as tinder, as they catch fire easily. As long as the material is dry and non-toxic, it can be used to light a fire. If you need ideas, a quick Google search will show you many types of DIY fire starters you could use for starting a fire in a fire pit. Different options have different advantages, but there are so many options to choose from. 
  • Kindling: Kindling pieces are dry sticks that will keep your fire going for long enough for the bigger logs to ignite after the tinder has burnt up. Softwoods, such as pine, cedar, poplar, and spruce, are usually the most effective sticks and twigs for kindling. 
  • Firewood: The base of your fire will be made up of logs, which will keep it going all night long. Hardwoods, such as maple, oak, ash, and birch, make the best firewood. Before using your logs, make sure they are properly seasoned and stacked.  

Next, it is time to start your fire, now that you have gathered all of the necessary supplies. 

2. Starting Your Fire 

This is the bit you have been waiting for: lighting a fire in a fire pit without the use of lighter fluid or hazardous chemicals. Let’s go over each stage of how to build a fire in your fire pit: 

  • To begin, construct a tinder pile in the bottom middle of your fire pit. This pile should be around the size of your palm. 
  • Next, take your kindling and lay it at a 35-degree angle right above your tinder, forming a pyramid or tee-pee shape. Make sure the kindling structure is dense and close enough together, but not so tightly constructed that it will not still allow for air flow through small gaps. 
  • After you have set up your kindling, light your tinder pile using the fire starter. It is time to start placing your firewood once the kindling has started to burn.
  • Finally, begin to stack the seasoned timber in the fire pit. The formation of the firewood should be identical to that of the kindling, either forming a pyramid or a tee-pee shape. Keep the firewood close together to keep the fire concentrated, but leave small gaps to allow for maximized air flow. 

If you follow these steps correctly, you should soon have a roaring fire before you.  

3. Maintaining Your Fire 

Keeping the fire in your fire pit properly maintained is necessary if you want the flame to burn brightly all night. If your firewood is not catching fire or the flame is dying out too quickly, try adding more tinder and kindling to the mix. You may want to check out the state of your firewood, as well. Switch more new firewood into the fire if the logs start to turn completely black and are disintegrating, or if the flame is dying. Keep in mind that you always should keep an eye on your fire, adding more dry tinder, kindling, or logs as needed, and avoiding suffocating the flame. 

4. Extinguishing You Fire Pit 

After successfully starting and sustaining a fire in your fire pit, the party is winding down, and you are ready to call it a night. It is now time to put out the flame in a safe manner. You would not want any stray sparks or embers still hanging around that could reignite. When putting out a fire in your fire pit, you should follow these simple steps: 

  • Take a hose or a pail of water and gently trickle water on the flames. Make sure you do not just dump or pour the water into the fire pit, since this can damage it. 
  • After you have finished sprinkling water and the flames have withered into embers, grab a shovel and mix the ash and embers around until you can’t hear any hissing anymore. 
  • Finally, lightly touch the ash and, if it is cool, dispose of it properly.

 

Now that you know what you need to do in order to get that billowing backyard blaze going, you do not have to narrow down your options to only gas fire pits or automatic starts. You can feel confident that you can accommodate everyone’s comfort the next time the family wants to spend the evening outside but it is a bit too chilly or you are having guests over and need an activity after dinner. A wood fire pit can provide you with a cozy, rustic feel in your own backyard and create the ambiance you are looking for.

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Cooking Over a Fire Pit

One of the best benefits of owning a fire pit is that you can cook on it outside. Instead of having a separate grill for food, you can recreate those campfire memories in your own backyard. There is something really spectacular about cooking over a fire that makes you feel connected to nature, while being incredibly comforting and cozy, with the sounds of crackling embers and delicious smells rising up around you. Cooking over a fire pit is actually a lot easier than many people think. If you would like to learn how to get started, read on for more. 

Grilled Meat on Charcoal Grill

What Fuel to Choose 

If you want to experiment with smokey flavors when cooking in a fire pit, you may use wood, charcoal, or a combination of both. Charcoal has the advantages of being relatively easy to light and burning at a high temperature. It is ideal for beginners or foods that have already been marinated or seasoned. Charcoal will not give your dish with a strong smokey flavor, so the flavors will not be overpowered. If you want to enjoy sitting around the joyful blaze of a wood fire after you cook with charcoal, simply toss some logs on the hot coals after you are done. 

Wood is a more traditional fire pit material that is rather straightforward to light as long as you choose the right wood and know how to set it up. The most dependable options for a steady fire seem to be the teepee or log cabin methods. To build your fire, start with tinder, work your way up to kindling, and then lay down the firewood. 

Small, quarter-inch thick dry sticks, straw, pine needles, or bark can all be used as tinder. We do not recommend using leaves or paper, since they can quickly produce fly ash, which can start a fire outside of your fire pit or cause burns. Sticks or twigs that are somewhat larger should be used as kindling. If you’re using charcoal, this would be a good time to light it. 

After your kindling, add some logs of a reasonable size. A dry, seasoned hardwood is the preferred choice. Oak and other similar hardwoods will burn strong and cleanly. Green woods and softwoods should be avoided, as they will spoil your meals. Softwoods, like as pine, may emit an unpleasant toxic resin that will ruin the taste of your food, while green wood will sputter too much. 

 

How to Set Up 

The location of your fire pit is critical for having a safe fire cooking experience. Make sure the fire is not under an overhang or overhanging foliage, on a flammable surface, such as a wood deck, or surrounded by plants if it is in the ground. After you’ve safely placed your fire pit, you will need a fire pit grill to cook on. These come in a number of styles and sizes, but they are really just a cooking grill that stands over a fire. To make cooking over hot coals easier, some of them include adjustable heights and angles. A different kind of grill will sit above your fire. 

Next, you will need something to cook with! You should stock your outdoor cooking set up with some basic barbecuing utensils, including a pair of tongs, a spatula, and a grill brush. Make sure these utensils have lengthy handles so you do not have to worry about scorching your fingers while you are cooking. 

Digital and surface thermometers are useful instruments to keep on hand, particularly if you are a newbie. A surface thermometer can tell you how hot your grill is, and an instant read digital thermometer can tell you if your meat is cooked properly. A lid is also a handy item to have on hand for your fire pit grilling activities, since it expands your cooking options. You can use indirect heat to grill bigger chunks of meat and make baked dishes if you use a cover to keep the heat in. 

Make sure you set up you fire pit in such a way that you can avoid cooking directly over the flames, using too much heat, or letting your food cook over too much smoke. Creating a two-zone system is the simplest approach to achieve this. The fire will burn down logs into embers on one side of the fire pit, and then the embers can be pushed to the other side, where you may cook over and around them. If you use this method, your food will not be burned by the flames, and if your embers start to die, you have plenty more you can quickly add from the fire zone. 

 

Heat Management 

To manage the heat you are cooking over, you will likely require some experience, but it is not difficult to master. It is best to begin with cooking smaller chunks of meat if you are just learning how to cook over a flame. Starting with one-inch chunks will help you understand how to how things cook on a grill and how to moderate the smoke levels of your meal. 

There are the two basic ways to manage how much heat your food is cooking over. Be aware of how close your food is to the embers and how many embers there are. If the fire is too hot, you may either shift the embers away from the food or move the food away from the embers and closer to the grill’s borders. You can also vary the angle or elevate the cooking surface on certain fire pit grills. 

If your food isn’t getting enough heat, simply reverse the process. More hot embers should be placed under the meal, or the food should be moved closer to the embers by moving it to a more central position on the grill or by moving the grill itself. To obtain the desired amount of smokiness, follow the same steps. 

 

Cooking with Direct Vs. Indirect Heat 

Starting with the slowest-cooking foods ensures that everything is ready at the same time. Keep in mind that thicker cuts of meat will need to rest for a few minutes after being pulled from the grill, and that they will continue to cook for a few more minutes after being removed. This means you’ll want to remove them from the grill just before they’re done, or else they will be overdone. A thermometer is a great tool for nailing down the proper time and temperatures. 

Smaller slices of meat and cuts that don’t need to be cooked all the way through, such as steaks, can be cooked over direct heat from the coals or embers. It is perfect for getting a nice sear or cooking small portions of meat, like kebabs. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and similar foods can also be cooked over direct heat. 

Larger cuts, like roasts, will sear and char on the outside before cooking on the inside. Therefore, they will benefit from indirect heat. You’ll need a lid for this procedure. Place the meat around the embers rather than right over them, then cover the fire pit with the lid. This will trap the heat, and the hot air and smoke convection will slowly cook your food through without scorching the outside and leaving the inside uncooked. A surface thermometer is a useful tool for monitoring the temperature beneath the lid.

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Fun Activities for a Night by the Fire Pit

As we start to gear up for the summer and temperatures begin to heat up, many of us will want to retreat to the cool relief of those perfect summer evenings. If you are lucky enough to own a fire pit in your backyard, you can continue the fun into the night, even as temperatures drop and the sky darkens. While you can spend a lovely evening just sitting around the fire and enjoying the company of your loved ones, there are also countless activities you can do that are perfect for extending the summer fun after-hours. Get cozy and try out our ideas to turn a good night into a spectacular one and maybe get inspired to create your own fireside activities! 

People Roasting Marshmallow

Make S’mores 

We have to start out with the classic, time-honored campfire tradition: roasting marshmallows and making gooey s’mores. This is a great activity if you have kids, but let’s be honest – many of us have fond memories of childhood s’mores and have carried that sweet tooth in adulthood. Did you know you can safely cook a marshmallow over your gas fire pit? This makes it easy to recreate the nostalgia at home, no matter what kind of fire pit you have. 

What you will need: 

  • Graham crackers 
  • Chocolate bars, like Hershey’s 
  • Large marshmallows 
  • Skewers long enough to hold over the fire for a while 
  • Wet wipes for the messy eaters 

Tell a Group Story 

Put a spin on the typical fireside pastime of telling ghost stories or regaling your comrades with tales of adventure with this twist. Instead of having a single storyteller from beginning to end, craft a creative story by telling it round-robin style a few pieces at a time. This is how to start: 

  1. First, choose one person to start the story with a couple sentences. Alternatively, you could have each person present write down a prompt and then draw one out of a hat to get you started. 
  2. As you continue around the circle, each person will add a few more lines to create the next part of the story and move it along. 
  3. If you have a large group, the last person in the circle is responsible for ending the story. If you have a smaller group, you can go around the circle a few times until the story feels sufficiently long. 

There are also fun variations on this method of storytelling, such as Fortunately, Unfortunately. For this game, the person who is starting the story will instead begin with a positive statement, starting with the word “fortunately.” The next person will follow with an “unfortunately” statement, and so on and so forth, until the story is either finished or no one can stop laughing long enough to contribute any further! For example: 

Player 1: “Fortunately, my mother finally let me have a dog.” 

Player 2: “Unfortunately, the dog ate the entire pie my mom set on the table to cool.” 

The fun part of group storytelling comes in the unpredictability of the tale and not knowing the next twists and turns it will take. It is also nice to create something with everyone’s input, where each person puts their own unique spin on their segment. Try writing it down and retelling it again later or during your next fire pit night! 

Have a Movie Night 

With the warmth and coziness of your fire pit, it is the perfect excuse to move your family movie night outdoors! These days, it is very easy and affordable to create your own set up outside, without having to drag your TV to the patio with the world’s longest extension cord. You can easily huddle in front of a laptop, or, if you want the full drive-in movie theater experience or need to entertain a larger crowd, you can pick up an inexpensive cordless projector for around $100 and pair it with some Bluetooth speakers. Here are some ways to make your movie night one to remember: 

  • You do not need to spend money or time installing a pricey outdoor projector screen. You can make a screen yourself. Simply find a white bedsheet and hang it from a clothesline or against the side of your home. With this method, you have the flexibility to set up your screening anywhere in the yard or on the patio that you choose. Be sure to anchor the edges of the sheet with rocks or something heavy, in case the wind picks up and to keep it smooth. 
  • Create your own popcorn bar! With the fire pit nearby, this is the perfect opportunity to pop some kernels the old-fashioned way by cooking up some Jiffy Pop in its foil over the fire. When it is ready, let everyone make their own flavor by setting out mix-ins, such as chocolate chips, candy, pretzels, nuts, and seasonings. And of course, be sure not forget the butter! 
  • Make your set up extra cozy. Set up sleeping bags and pillows or cushions on the grass to make it feel like you are camping. Buy some fairy lights and string them around the border of your screen to add a little movie theater magic to your evening. 

Try Singing Karaoke 

Another fireside favorite is whipping out the guitar and singing campfire songs. Since your fire pit allows you enjoy the comforts of a campfire from home, you have the option to swap out the acoustics for some electronics! If your family or friends always love singing along to that one favorite song on the radio, consider trying karaoke during your next outdoor evening. 

If you already have a karaoke machine, just grab an extension cord and you are all set. However, if you do not have one of these, you can easily work around this and still have a stellar night. Here is what you will need: 

  • A laptop, or even a smartphone with internet connection and some good speakers. Alternatively, if you have some portable speakers or some already installed outside, you could connect your device to those. 
  • No microphone, no problem. Grab a broom, a toy mike, a wad of foil, a pair of socks – anything that you can hold up to your face for dramatic effect as you belt out the chorus. 
  • What if you can’t seem to remember all of the words to that song you want to sing? Luckily, there are lots of karaoke videos available for free on YouTube with instrumentals and song lyrics streaming across the page at the right moments. Just search your favorite song with the word “karaoke” after it, and you should pull up at least a few results. 

If you really want to put on a performance, dig up your Halloween box and throw on some costumes or raid your closet for your fanciest attire and strut your stuff. Silly wigs, outrageous hats, and novelty sunglasses are all encouraged. 

 

This is just a short list of ideas to get you started, but there are endless ways to have fun and enjoy your fire pit. The warmth and gentle light provides the perfect ambiance for a night at home with the people you care about. Get creative and try to come up with some new games and activities of your own! 

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Fire Pits on Wooden Decks: Fire Pit Safety Tips to Follow

Fire Pit Safety At A Party

Nearly one-third of all new homes constructed in 2020 had a deck, according to the Survey of Construction conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

A wooden deck or patio is a welcome and valuable addition to any home, so below you will find some fire pit safety measures.

It provides homeowners with a communal area where friends and family members can gather, and statistics show that it even adds monetary value to homes.

But if you plan to use a fire pit on your wooden deck, there are a few things you should know.

Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that a wooden deck isn’t fireproof; therefore, you’ll need take some precautions when using a fire pit here.

The good news, however, is that you can safely use a fire pit on a wooden deck, but only if you follow these safety measures.

Place Fire Pit Away from Your House

When choosing a location to place your fire pit, a good rule of thumb is to keep it at least 10 feet away from your home. Whether it’s on a wooden deck, stone patio or elsewhere, follow the 10-foot rule. Doing so reduces the risk of serious property damage and injury.

Don’t Use Lighter Fluid In A Fire Pit – Ever

Never use lighter fluid, gasoline or any other flammable liquid in your fire pit. If you accidentally spill any of these liquids on your wooden deck, it could easily ignite and catch fire. If you’re having trouble starting a fire, place additional tinder in the center of the wood or coals. Once this ignites, the heat should catch the wood or coals on fire.

Choose A Level Surface For Your Fire Pit

In addition to keeping your fire pit at least 10 feet away from your house, you should also place it on a flat, surface. Assuming your wooden deck was built properly, it should be level (or almost level).

Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to double-check and make sure the surface is level before using your fire pit.

You can use stones or bricks to accomplish this but make sure that you are on as flat an area as possible to start with.

Place Barrier Between Fire Pit and Wooden Deck

It’s also a good idea to place some type of fire-resistant barrier between your fire pit and wooden deck. A small square-shaped grid of stone pavers, for instance, will protect your wooden deck from the fire pit. While a fire pit typically won’t produce enough heat to ignite a deck, this will protect your deck from heat stains and scorching.

Putting The Fire Out Fully Before Bed

One of the most common reasons for fires coming from a fire pit is not fully extinguishing the fire when you are done. This is often at the end of the evening or after a few drinks.

Don’t just walk away from the fire pit. You can fully extinguish it easily with a fire pit snuffer which we highly recommend.

But even if you have to pour water on the fire in the fire pit, that is better than just letting it “burn out”.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space in any way; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Charcoal Grill vs Wood-Burning Fire Pit: Which Cooking Accessory Is Right for Me?

Nothing compares to the smokey, char-grilled flavor of food cooked over an open flame. From steaks and pork chips to chicken and ribs, an open flame will naturally seal the outside of meats while locking in its juices in the process. This means the outside of your meat will have a crispy or semi-crispy texture, yet the inside will remain juicy and delicious.

There are different accessories with which you can cook food over an open flame, however, the two most popular of which include charcoal grills and fire pits. Using either of these accessories, you can cook delicious meats and vegetables over an open flame. But charcoal grills aren’t the same as fire pits, and it’s important to understand the differences between them when choosing a cooking accessory for your outdoor living space.

Aesthetics

In terms of appearance, fire pits are the clear winner. While charcoal grills are available in a dozens of styles, most lack the attention to detail and overall aesthetics of high-quality fire pits, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pits. If you’re trying to design an attractive outdoor living space, there’s no substitution for a high-quality fire pit. Along with its practical purposes — cooking, creating warmth, relation, etc. — it will add a unique visual element to your outdoor living space that compliments or even enhances the decor.

Health

Cooking over a wood-burning fire pit could be better for your health than cooking over a charcoal grill. According to an article published by Men’sHealth, charcoal fires release high concentrations of carcinogenic compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). When you cook meat over a charcoal grill, the fat from the meat will melt and drip down onto the charcoal, causing the charcoal to release smoke. Unfortunately, this smoke is typically high in PAHs, which according to Men’sHealth, could pose health risks.

Cooking over a wood-burning fire pit, however, minimizes harmful emissions such as this. You can use a fire pit to cook meats, vegetables and even some fruits without worrying about exposing yourself to high concentrations of PAHs or other harmful compounds. Firewood has a different composition than charcoal, consisting entirely of natural, untreated wood.

Heat

Both a charcoal grill and a wood-burning fire pit can warm your outdoor living space during the cold late fall and winter months. Fire pits, however, generally offer a superior level of heat when compared to grills. This is because grills — whether gas or charcoal — are used primarily for cooking, whereas fire pits are designed for a variety of purposes, including cooking as well as producing heat. With its open design, a wood-burning fire pit will produce a substantial amount of warmth that’s felt throughout your outdoor living space.

Maintenance

Charcoal grills and wood-burning fire pits require similar maintenance. After using either of these accessories, for example, you’ll need to shovel and dispose of ash (wait until it’s cool, of course). It’s also recommended that you can your charcoal grill or wood-burning fire pit with soap and water on a regular basis — but that’s about it! Neither a charcoal grill nor fire pit is a “maintenance-free” accessory. Assuming you dispose of the ash and clean it regularly, though, these accessories can last for years or even generations.

Portability

Wood-burning fire pits are usually more portable and charcoal grills. They feature a compact design, allowing you to easily transport them to different areas of your outdoor living space or property. In comparison, most charcoal grills are large, heavy and difficult to move. Even if a charcoal grill has wheels affixed to the bottom, you may struggle to roll it across your property, especially if the ground is bumpy or uneven. To move a fire pit, all you have to do it list and carry it to your desired location. You can even transport your fire pit in a vehicle if you want to go camping or host a barbecue at a local public park. This isn’t possible with most charcoal grills.

Cooking

You can cook delicious foods using a charcoal grill or a wood-burning fire pit. Many backyard chefs will agree, however, that fire pits are superior in their ability to create mouthwatering dishes. The problem with charcoal grills is that they use charcoal, which unfortunately doesn’t offer the same delicious flavor or aroma as a wood-burning flame. Regardless of what type of food you’re cooking, it will have better flavor if you cooked it over a wood-burning flame instead of charcoal.

The results are clear: A fire pit is a smarter choice than a charcoal grill that offers greater utility. Fire pits are more stylish, better for your health, create more heat, are easier to maintain, easier to transport and better for cooking than grills.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

 

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Fire Pit on a Wooden Deck

37-Hemi-on-flanged base-with-SnufferA fire pit is a simple accessory that will enhance your home’s outdoor living space. In addition to cooking over an open flame, it creates a relaxing ambiance that you and your guests are sure to enjoy.

But if you’re planning to use your fire pit on a wooden deck, there are a few things you should know. Keep reading for a complete list of do’s and don’t when using a fire pit on a wooden deck.

Do Clean Your Deck Before Lighting Fire Pit

It’s a good idea to clean your deck before lighting your fire pit. Depending on your proximity to nearby trees, pine straw, leaves and other debris may accumulate on your deck.

Assuming they are dry, these things can easily spark an unwanted fire. A stray ember may land on nearby debris, setting it ablaze.

So, using either a push broom or leaf blower, clean your deck before lighting your fire pit.

Don’t Place Your Fire Pit Against the Side of Your Home

Arguably, the single most important safety tip to follow when using a fire pit is to keep it at least 20 feet away from your home and all other flammable structures. Some homeowners place it right up against their home’s siding for “convenience.”

You have to remember, though, that fire pits put out a lot of heat — and too much heat can damage your home’s siding or even set it ablaze. So, remember to keep your fire pit at least 20 feet away from your home and all other structures.

Do Dispose of the Ashes After Fire Pit Has Cooled

You should also dispose of your fire pit’s ashes after it has cooled. Allowing the ashes to sit inside your fire pit for days (or longer) is never a good idea. Some of the ashes may blow out and onto your deck, or they may soak up moisture and contribute to corrosion.

Either way, these problems are easily prevented by waiting at least 24 hours and then shoveling the ashes into a metal bucket or similar metal container.

Alternatively, you can save your fire pit ashes to use as garden compost, insect repellent or other purposes.

For a list of 10 everyday uses for fire pit ash, check out our previous blog post here.

Don’t Place Your Fire Pit Directly on the Wooden Deck

Avoid placing your fire pit directly on your deck or other wooden surfaces. While heat rises — meaning most of the heat created by your fire pit will be projected upwards — the bottom may still contain enough heat to singe or otherwise burn your deck.

You can protect your wooden deck from such damage, however, by placing something between it and your fire pit. A small grid of pavers should do the job. Simply arrange the pavers to cover the area of the deck where you’d like to use it, after which you can place the fire pit on top.

Another idea is to use a special heat-resistant fire pit mat, which as the name suggests is designed to withstand the 450+ degree temperature of a fire pit. Either way, you need something underneath your fire pit to protect your wooden deck from damage.

Do Keep Water Nearby

fire-279748_960_720It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared. While it’s doubtful you’ll ever need, you should keep water near your fire pit in case the fire spreads outside of the pit.

A pitcher, large bucket or even a garden hose will all suffice for this purpose. In the unlikely event that you see a secondary fire, you should douse it with water ASAP.

Don’t Use Lighter Fluid

There’s really no point in using lighter fluid in a fire pit. Assuming you use dry, seasoned wood, it should ignite with little effort. You can add some tinder and kindling to the middle to help get it going.

Simply position your wood so it’s propped up with the center empty and allowing for air to pass through. Lighting some tinder and kindling in the middle will then get your fire going.

Adding lighter fluid isn’t recommended, as it increases the risk of injury and property damage.

Do Check for Local Ordinances

You might be surprised to learn that some cities and municipalities have laws regarding the use of fire pits and other open flames. Some, for instance, only allow then on decks when they are at least 20 feet away from your home. So, before using your fire pit on a wooden deck, check to see what (if any) ordinances are in place for your area.

Don’t Leave it Unattended

Finally, never leave your fire pit burning attended. If you need to run to the store, ask a family member or friend to watch it. This rule isn’t limited strictly to fire pits; it applies to all fires.

An unattended fire could spark a secondary fire, and without something there to douse it with water, it could cause significant property damage or bodily injury.

These are just a few do’s and don’ts to follow when using a fire pit on a wooden deck.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Create a More Relaxing Patio

Want to make your patio more relaxing? A patio is the perfect space to rest, unwind and relax. When you get home from a long day at work, you can kick back on your patio while enjoying the fresh air. However, to get the most use of your patio, you should design it with relaxing furnishings and elements. Here are some tips to create a more relaxing patio.

Add a Hammock

We’ve discussed a variety of comfortable patio seating options here on our blog, but one we haven’t discussed is a hammock.

Consisting of a sling-like design made of fabric or netting that’s suspended between two anchor points, it offers the perfect lounging area for a patio. They are comfortable, easy to set up and look great in all styles of patio decor. Be warned, though, you may find yourself falling asleep when lounging on a hammock. Since they create a weightlessness feeling, it’s easy to doze off when lounging on a hammock.

Add a Fire Pit

A fire pit offers more than warmth; it also promotes a more relaxing environment. According to research cited by Scotsman, the mesmerizing appearance of a fire combined with its unique crackling sound reduces blood pressure while subsequently lowering stress levels. A similar study conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama found similar results.

After asking more than 220 adults to watch a video of a fireplace, they discovered that participants who watched the fireplace experienced lower blood pressure levels than their counterparts who didn’t watch it.

So, please go get a fire pit – for your health!

Screen It In

Assuming your patio is open, you should consider screening it in. Screened-in patios are more relaxing than open patios for several reasons. First, they provide a higher level of privacy, which naturally creating a more relaxing environment. Secondly, a screen enclosure keeps pesky bugs like mosquitoes, wasps, flies and gnats out of your patio. It’s difficult to lounge on your patio when you’re being bombarded by flying insects. If it’s screened in, however, you won’t have to worry about this. You and your family can enjoy this outdoor extension of your home without the threat of pesky bugs.

Create a Cozy Area

Let’s face it, cozy areas are more relaxing than open, spacious areas. When designing your patio, you should create a cozy lounge area by placing furniture and furnishings in close proximity to each other. Just because you have a large patio doesn’t necessarily mean that you should space out the furniture and furnishings. If it’s spread out, it

Add Relaxing Colors

Don’t underestimate the importance of using the right colors in your patio decor. According to research cited by Fox News, some of the best colors for reducing stress include lavender, pale gray, blue, aqua, pale pink and beige. Of course, these are just a colors to consider when decorating your patio. On the other hand, black has the opposite effect by raising stress. Focus your patio decor around stress-reducing colors to enhance the environment and make it more relaxing.

Use Mood Lighting

Rather than using traditional overhead lighting on your patio, consider using mood lighting. Mood lighting is a more subtle form of illumination that, as the name suggests, enhances the mood of the surrounding space. You can install track lighting or wall sconces on your patio, for example, to improve the decor and mood. For an added touch, install a dimmer on your mood lighting. When you want to relax in the evening, you can turn down the brightness of your patio lighting.

Add Plants

Even if you’re not a “green thumb,” you can still take advantage of the relaxing, stress-reducing properties of plants. Adding a few colorful container plants to your patio, for instance, creates a more relaxing environment. Furthermore, plants improve the air quality around your home by filtering impurities and releasing fresh oxygen.

Keep It Clean

You can’t expect to create a relaxing patio if it’s dirty or cluttered. And with spring right around the corner, there’s no better time than the present to clean up your patio. This means sweeping off leaves, scrubbing the deck or flooring, and cleaning the furniture.

Symmetrical Design

Finally, arrange your patio furniture and furnishings to create a symmetrical design. When your patio features proper symmetry, it creates a more relaxing environment. Unfortunately, this is something that many homeowners overlook when designing their patio. They assume it’s okay to arrange their furniture and furnishings in unsymmetrical designs. In doing so, they create a poorly balanced decor that’s not particularly relaxing.

These are just a few tips to create a more relaxing patio. With a relaxing patio, you and your family will be able to fully enjoy this extension of your home.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Firewood for Your Fire Pit

If you’re planning to use a fire pit, either on your patio or other outdoor living area, you’ll need to stockpile plenty of firewood. The right firewood will keep your fire pit going long into the night, allowing you to get the most use and enjoyment out of this accessory. Whether you purchase a full cord, face cord or half cord, though, you should avoid making the following mistakes when storing firewood for your fire pit.

#1) Storing Firewood Against Your Home’s Exterior

The exterior of your home may seem like an ideal place to store firewood, but this isn’t recommended. Firewood can attract all kinds of pests, including termites, spiders, roaches, centipedes and scorpions. And if you store it directly against your home’s exterior, some of these pests may find their way inside your home. To prevent this from happening, store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.

#2) Storing Firewood on the Ground

Why shouldn’t you store firewood on the ground? If it’s placed directly on the ground, it will absorb moisture from the soil. Over time, firewood can absorb so much moisture that it’s unable to light or stay lit. A simple solution is to store your firewood just a few inches off the ground using a wooden pallet. It doesn’t have to be particularly tall; just 2 or 3 inches off the ground should keep your firewood protected from ground moisture.

#3) Leave It Outside and Uncovered

Never leave your firewood outside without some form of shelter or cover. It’s perfectly fine to store firewood outside, but it needs a shelter or cover to protect it from the elements. When left exposed to the elements, firewood will absorb moisture from rain, sleet and snow. This is concerning because wet firewood has a lower combustion efficiency than dry firewood, meaning it produces more smoke and less heat. If you’re going to store firewood outside, consider placing it in a utility shed. Just remember to keep it off the ground as well. When stored in this manner, firewood will stay dry for months or even years.

#4) Treating It With Pesticide

Some homeowners have gone to the extreme to protect their firewood from damage by treating it with pesticide. Whether it’s a liquid- or powder-based, though, applying pesticide to firewood is never a good idea. It introduces a plethora of toxic chemicals and compounds that are absorbed into the wood. When you get ready to burn the firewood in your fire pit, those chemicals and compounds will be released into the air as toxic fumes. If you’re worried about

#5) Storing the Wrong Type of Firewood

It’s also important to store the right type of firewood. You can’t burn just any type of wood that you find lying around your home or yard. Pressure-treated wood, for example, is typically used and construction and contains liquid preservatives to deter microorganisms, pests and decay. When burned, pressure-treated wood will release toxic fumes because of its preservatives. So, what type of firewood can you store? The best type of firewood is dry, untreated wood logs from hardwood trees. Hardwood trees are denser than softwood trees. And with more organic matter, they burn longer than softwoods.

Some of the best types of hardwood firewood for use in a fire pit include:

  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Walnut
  • Beech

#6) Overlooking the Need for Airflow

Arrange your firewood in alternating rows of logs so that air is able to easily pass through it. Some homeowners simply stack their firewood so that the logs are flush with one another, neglecting to create space through which air can flow. Without adequate airflow, however, your firewood won’t be able to dry out. Rather, moisture will get trapped inside the wood, causing it to rot or develop mold. If you discover that your firewood has rotted or developed mold, you’ll need to throw it out and start back over.

#7) Not Storing for Long Enough

You might be eager to build fires in your fire pit after acquiring some firewood, but you need to make sure that it’s dry first. If it’s fresh wood that was recently harvested, you must wait for it to dry — a process that can take up to a year for certain types of wood. Retrieving firewood from your storage area prematurely will result in a low-quality fire that produces minimal heat and a lot of smoke. Therefore, you should remain patient while waiting for your firewood to dry. Also known as seasoned firewood, dry firewood has a lighter color than fresh firewood of the same type. Most hardwoods have a brown/tan color when fresh. After drying for up to a year, however, they turn to a light brown color, indicating that it’s ready to burn in your fire pit.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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7 Design Tips to Make Your Patio Appear Larger

How big is your patio? Even if it has limited space, there certain things you can do to make it look bigger. In turn, this will create a more attractive, enjoyable outdoor living space for you and your family.

#1) Create a Focal Point

Whether it’s used in the living room or on the patio, a focal point will create the perception of a larger and more open space. It works by drawing by drawing your attention away from the surrounding design elements so that the patio appears bigger. So, what can can you use as a focal point on your patio? A fire pit is always an excellent choice, as it’s typically the center of attention during backyard parties and barbecues. Just remember to keep it at least 10 feet away from your home or any other combustible structure. Another idea is to use a water fountain as your patio’s focal point. Unfortunately, though, most water fountains are bulky and large, making them a poor choice for a small patio.

#2) Decorate With Small Plants

Decorating your patio with small plants creates the optical illusion of a small space. Rather than using large containers to hold your patio’s potted plants, use small containers. Granted, not all plants will grow in a small container; many have complex root structures that require large containers. If you’re worried about lack of space hurting your patio’s aesthetics, though, decorating your outdoor living space with small plants in small containers will have a positive impact on its appearance. It’s also worth noting that small plants are easier to grow and maintain than large plants. They require less water and sunlight, and you can easily move them indoors when the fall season arrives.

#3) Maintain the Lawn

Neglecting to mow and maintain your lawn will hurt your patio’s aesthetics by making it appear smaller and less spacious. To prevent this from happening, you should mow your lawn at least once a week during the spring and summer months. And if you discover any fast-growing weeds emerging through the soil, remove them ASAP. Maintaining your lawn at 2 to 3 inches will improve your home’s curb appeal while making your patio look bigger and more spacious in the process.

#4) Trim Overhanging Branches

Not only to they pose a safety hazard — they could fall and injure you or anyone else on your patio — overhanging tree branches have a claustrophobic effect that makes the surrounding area appear smaller. Unless they are essential for shade, you should consider removing them. There are special chainsaw-like tools designed specifically for removing tree branches. You extend the tool to the branch, grasp the branch between its teeth, and it does the rest. If this sounds too difficult, you can also contact a professional tree removal company in your area.

#5) Use Colors That Blend With Your Home

When choosing furniture and accessories for your patio, consider the color and how it corresponds with the color of your home. If your patio furniture contrasts to the color of your home’s siding, it will create the appearance of a smaller space. On the other hand, using furniture in the same or similar color as your home’s siding will make it look bigger.

#6) Use Fewer Pieces of Furniture

Don’t make the mistake of using too many pieces of furniture on your small patio. If you’re tight on space, adding a half-dozen chairs will only hurt its aesthetics. A smarter solution is to include just a few chairs and a single table on your patio. You can still keep extra chairs in a storage shed or your garage. That way, when you have friends and family over, you can offer them somewhere to sit.

Using fewer pieces of furniture also reduces the need for maintenance. Whether it’s Adirondack chair, chaise lounge chair or a bench, you’ll need to clean your patio furniture to protect it from mold and mildew. The more pieces of furniture you use on your patio, the more time and effort you’ll have to invest into maintaining it. Stick with just a few pieces of furniture to make your patio look bigger and minimize maintenance.

#7) Decorate With Mirrors

A common interior design trick used in small rooms is to hang mirrors on the wall. This creates the perception of a larger room room while enhancing its decor in the process — and you can use the same approach to make your patio look bigger. Assuming your patio is right against your home, try hanging on one or two medium-sized mirrors against your home’s siding. The only downside to this design trick is that you’ll need to clean your mirror or mirrors on a regular basis. When used outdoors, they’ll accumulate dirt, dust and moisture.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Keep Your Fire Pit Burning All Night Long

It’s frustrating when you light a fire pit, only for the flame to die out. In some cases, it may burn for 10 or 20 minutes. In others, it may immediately die out after lighting it. While you can always relight your fire pit, this is only a temporary solution that doesn’t solve the underlying problem. So, if you’re tired of constantly lighting and relighting your fire pit, consider the following tips to keep it burning all night long.

Use Dry Firewood

Even if it looks dry, your firewood probably has moisture in it. Whether oak, maple, cherry, elm, chestnut or hickory, all types of wood absorb moisture. Normally, this isn’t a problem. But if firewood contains too much moisture, you may struggle to keep it lit. This is why it’s recommended that you only use dry firewood — classified as a moisture content of 20% or less — in your fire pit.

Use Larger Pieces of Firewood

You can also keep your fire pit burning all night long by using larger pieces of firewood. Granted, larger pieces of firewood are more difficult to light than smaller pieces. Once you get them lit, however, they’ll burn longer while creating more heat in the process. Try placing some smaller pieces of firewood underneath larger pieces. After lighting the smaller pieces, the flame should ignite the larger pieces, providing you and your guests with a long-burning fire.

Place Fire Pit Next to a Windbreak

The placement of your fire pit will affect its ability to retain a flame. If it’s placed out in the open, wind gusts may extinguish it. You can prevent this from happening by placing your fire pit next to a windbreak, such as a retaining wall. With that said, the golden rule of using a fire pit is to place it at least 10 feet away from any flammable or combustible surface, including your home. If it’s too close to these surfaces, a stray ember from your fire pit may cause an unintentional fire, which is something that you probably want to avoid.

Dry Your Fire Pit Before Using It

Before placing firewood inside it, wipe dry the inside of your fire pit with a paper towel or cloth. Moisture has a tendency to accumulate inside of fire pits, especially if they are left outdoors. And if you don’t dry it out, any firewood that you place inside will immediately become saturated with moisture, thereby making it difficult to light and stay lit. It only takes a couple minutes to wipe out the inside of your fire pit, but doing so encourages a sustainable fire.

Let Your Firewood Breathe

Fire pits need oxygen to stay lit. If you stack your firewood so that it can’t breathe, the fire will likely die out shortly after being lit. There are several different ways to place firewood inside of a fire pit so that it can breathe, one of which is to use the teepee method. As the name suggests, this involves arranging the wood in the V-shape of a teepee. The bottom center of the fire pit remains open, thereby allowing air to enter and pass through. As this area heats up, it ignites the rest of the firewood. Alternatively, you can arrange your firewood in log cabin stacks. This involves placing a row of firewood in one direction, and then topping it with another row of firewood running perpendicular to the first.

Beware of Weather

Pay attention to the weather, as Mother Nature can hinder your ability to create a long-lasting fire. If there’s rain in the forecast, you may want to postpone your fire-burning activity. Even high humidity can make it difficult to create and maintain a fire. Ideally, you should wait until the weather is dry with clear skies to light your fire pit. Otherwise, you may struggle to keep it lit throughout the night.

Add More Firewood

Even if you follow all the tips previously mentioned, you may still discover your fire pit going out. This is bound to happen if you there’s no enough firewood inside of it. To keep your fire pit burning all night long, you must continue to resupply it with additional firewood. When the fire begins to die down, toss a couple extra pieces on top. Assuming there’s still some hot embers or coals left, the new firewood should easily ignite to keep your fire going. Just remember to arrange the new firewood so that it doesn’t smother the existing embers or coals.

Whether you’re using your fire pit to grill burgers, roast marshmallows or simply provide a relaxing ambiance for you and your guests, you should follow these tips to keep it burning throughout the night.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Fire Pits: The Perfect Focal Point for Your Outdoor Living Space

When designing an outdoor living space, it’s essential that you create a focal point. As the name suggests, this is the space’s point of focus. It’s the object or element that naturally attracts your attention, making it the single most important component of your home’s outdoor living space. And while there are several solutions available for creating a focal point, a fire pit often works best for the following reasons.

It’s Unique

One reason to use a fire pit for your outdoor living space’s focal point is because it’s unique. This doesn’t necessarily mean that no two fire pits are the same. Rather, it means that a fire pit is a unique decorative element when used in your outdoor living space. Unless you have two fire pits, it will create a unique appearance that’s not found in other decorative outdoor accessories. But the unique appearance of a fire pit is just one of many reasons to use it a focal point for your outdoor living space.

It’s a Natural Gathering Area

When a fire pit is lit, people will naturally gather around it. It’s only human nature to gather around as fires, as we’ve been it since the dawn of mankind. Whether you’re lounging outside with your family or hosting an outdoor party with the entire neighborhood, you’ll probably discover people gathering around your fire pit when it’s lit. As a result, their attention will be focused on the fire pit, thereby enhancing its utility as an outdoor focal point.

It Repels Pests

Designing your outdoor living space with a fire pit as the focal point will also repel pests. If you place it in the center of your patio, for example, the smoke it produces will deter mosquitoes, wasps, gnats and other common outdoor pests. Most insects hate smoke, so a fire pit acts as a natural pest repellent. To take full advantage of this, though, you’ll need to place it in the center of your outdoor living space. Otherwise, the smoke won’t adequately cover the surrounding space.

It Improves Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Want to improve your home’s curb appeal? Try using a fire pit as the focal point. High-quality fire pits, such as those sold here at S&S Fire Pit, are designed with premium steel materials that compliment most outdoor living spaces. They introduce a new metallic finish and visual style that, ultimately, will improve your home’s curb appeal. If it’s not used as the focal point, however, it won’t have the same, positive impact on your home’s curb appeal.

It Creates Warmth

Using a fire pit as the focal point will help you create a warmer and more comfortable outdoor living space. Even if you live in the South, you’ll probably get at least some days of the year when the temperatures are brutally cold. A fire pit in the center of your outdoor living space, however, will create warmth that allows you to enjoy this extension of your home throughout the year. From spring to winter, you can rest assured knowing that a fire pit will provide ample warmth for your outdoor living space.

It Makes Cooking Easier

Regardless of where it’s placed, you can use an outdoor fire pit to cook meats, vegetables and other foods. But when used as the focal point, it makes cooking a little easier. When your fire pit is the designated focal point, you — as well as your family members and/or guests — will gather around it. This means you won’t have to walk long distances from your seat to the fire pit.

How to Use a Fire Pit as the Focal Point

Now that you know the benefits it offers, you might be wondering how to use a fire pit as the focal point for your outdoor living space. The key thing to remember with focal points is that they should be the center of attention. Assuming your outdoor living space has seats (which it should), it’s usually best to place the focal point in the middle of them. In other words, arrange your outdoor living space’s chairs, benches, stools or other seats around your fire pit.

Also, remember to draw attention to your fire pit using lighting. Installing a new light fixture can illuminate your outdoor living space while drawing attention to your fire pit in the process.

A fire pit is just one option to consider when choosing a focal point for your outdoor living space. As revealed here, however, it offers several unique benefits. Among other things, using a fire pit as the focal point creates a unique appearance, serves as a natural gathering, repels pests and makes cooking easier. Just remember to choose a high-quality fire pit rather than a cheap, generic brand.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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6 Cool and Comfortable Shade Solutions for Your Patio

A little shade can make a world of difference in your comfort level when lounging outdoors on an otherwise hot spring or summer day. With the shade protecting you from the sun, you’ll feel cooler and more comfortable, allowing you to enjoy your patio. Shaded areas technically aren’t cooler than adjacent sun-exposed areas. However, it feels up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler because of the lack of solar radiation. So how can you create a cool and comfortable shaded area on your patio?

#1) Shade Sail

A shade sail is a simple and inexpensive solution to create a shaded area on a patio or outdoor living space. With origins dating back to Ancient Rome, it’s also a time-tested method that’s been passed down for centuries. A shade sail consists of a lightweight membrane fabric that’s stretched and anchored between three or or more points. You stretch the shade sail across your patio, securing the corners to anchor posts. Because of their simple design, shade sails have become a popular choice among homeowners.

#2) Awning

Of course, another shade solution to consider using for your patio is an awning. Also known an overhang, it consists of a fabric that’s stretched over a frame and secured to the side of a home or building. Once installed, it creates a supplemental roof, protecting the space underneath from sunlight, rain and the elements. Although there are dozens of different types of awnings, most fall into one of two categories:

  1. Manual: As the name suggests, manual awnings are operated by hand. You must turn a lever or similar control mechanism to take down or bring up the awning. Manual awnings typically contain less parts than their motorized counterpart, and they are also less expensive.
  2. Motorized: These awnings have a motorized function in which the homeowner presses a button to take down or bring up the awning. Because of their additional motorized parts, there’s a greater risk of failure. However, many homeowners prefer the ease of use offered by motorized awnings.

#3) Plant a Tree

If you’re willing to wait a while, you can always create a natural shaded area on your patio by planting some trees on the sun-facing side. When choosing trees, look for species that grow tall and fast. Some excellent choices include red oak (Quercus rubra), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and London planetree (Platanus × hispanica). Just remember to plant them on the side of your patio that faces the mid-day sun. Otherwise, it’s not going to offer much protection from the sun’s rays. As a side benefit, studies have shown that adding trees to a landscape increases the home’s selling value. The Arbor Day Foundation (ADF), for instance, says that mature trees have an appraised value of $1,000 to $10,000. So, even if they cost money and time to plant, it will pay off in the form of a higher home value.

#4) Umbrellas

Another simple shade solution for your umbrellas is an umbrella. No, I’m not talking about a traditional umbrella that hold while walking to protect yourself from the rain. There are special types of large, heavy-duty umbrellas designed specifically for use on patios and other outdoor living spaces. They offer a larger coverage area than traditional umbrellas, and they are usually made of durable materials to withstand the harsh outdoor environment for long periods of time. Some of these patio umbrellas mount directly to the top of a table, while others are freestanding. If you already have a table on your patio, consider the former. If you don’t have a table, the latter is probably the best choice for your patio.

#5) Pergola

A lesser-known shade solution for the patio is a pergola. Typically found in gardens, it consists of multiple horizontal beams that are often covered with plants, flowers or fabric. Some people assume that pergolas are the same as arbors. While they share some similarities, though, they are two unique designs with their own specific characteristics. An arbor, for example, is usually characterized by a wooden bench or seats with an overhanging roof that’s enclosed by lattice panels, whereas a pergola is a larger and more open  structure that doesn’t necessarily have seating underneath.

#6) Roof

Finally, you can always a build a roof over your patio for shade and protection from the sun. This is probably the best solution in terms of sun protection. However, it’s also the most expensive. According to The Nest, a wood-framed root can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. If you’re on a tight budget, consider a lattice-top roof, which usually runs around $1,000. You can then cover the lattice with a fabric or other material to block sunlight.

These are just a few ways to create shade on your patio. Regardless of which one you use, make sure the design flows cohesively with the resto f your patio decor.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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9 Must-Have Items for an Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor living isn’t just another fly-by-night trend that’s here today and gone tomorrow. It’s here to stay — and for good reason. Patios, porches, decks, gardens and other outdoor living spaces allow homeowners and families to enjoy the outdoors. But if you want to take advantage of your home’s outdoor living space, you should include the following “must-have” items.

#1) Lighting

When the sun goes down, you’ll need lighting to illuminate your outdoor living space. Granted, you may already have an overhead fixture available, assuming it’s a patio or back deck. However, you can still incorporate other, more stylish lighting options into your outdoor living space. This includes string lights, globe lights and free-standing lamps. Just remember to stick with an energy-efficient bulb type, such as compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). While CFL bulbs cost more than incandescent, they last longer and consume less energy, making them a smart financial investment in the long run.

#2) Insect Protection

Depending on where you live, you may have trouble enjoying your outdoor living space due to the presence of insects. Mosquitoes, for instance, are a common occurrence throughout the Southeast. Although small in size, these blood-sucking insects can create serious chaos for homeowners and their families. There are a few ways to keep them away from your outdoor living space, however. One option is to enclosure the space with a mesh screen. Alternatively, you can install citronella tiki torches around your outdoor living space. Either way, you need some form of insect protection to enjoy this space.

#3) Fire Pit

A third must-have item for an outdoor living space is a fire pit. This versatile, multi-purpose item will open the doors to a whole new world of activities for you and your family. With a fire pit, you can grill foods, roast marshmallows, create warmth and provide a more relaxing ambiance. And unlike a fireplace, you can always move your fire pit to a new location. Perhaps this is why fire pits consistently rank as one of the top accessories for outdoor living spaces.

#4) Shade

It’s also a good idea to incorporate some type of share over your outdoor living space. Whether it’s a table-top umbrella, awning or a newly constructed roof, shade is an invaluable component for a relaxing and enjoyable outdoor living space. Without shade, the blistering-hot summer sun can make it difficult to fully enjoy this space.

#6) Seating

You can’t expect to fully enjoy your home’s outdoor living space without comfortable seating. Don’t just toss some old plastic chairs here and call it a day. Instead, consider using more comfortable, stylish chairs that flow cohesively with the space’s decor. High-quality wood chairs are always an excellent choice, although they typically require staining to protect against mildew and mold. One exception is teak wood, which contains natural oils that repel mildew, mold and decay. Alternatively, another idea is to use wicker chairs. We talk about wicker chairs in a previous blog post, but basically they consist of woven organic material that’s lightweight and inexpensive. The only downside to using wicker furniture is its susceptibility to damage.

#7) Storage Chest

Why do you need a storage chest for your outdoor living space? Well, to store small items when you aren’t using them. Assuming you use your fire pit to cook foods, for instance, you’ll probably need a wire grill brush and tongs. If you have a storage chest, you can stash these and other similar-sized items inside. A popular storage solution for patios and other outdoor living spaces is a storage ottoman. Like indoor storage ottomans, it doubles as a footrest and storage chest. You can place it in front of your chairs or seating to use a footrest. And when you’re ready to go inside, you can lift the top to stash small items inside.

#8) Outdoor Rug

You should also include an outdoor rug in your outdoor living space. A rug will define your outdoor living space while adding new color and style to the decor in the process.  Keep in mind that any rugs used in your outdoor living space should be made of a synthetic material that’s not going to mildew or otherwise become damaged from the outdoor elements. Traditional all-wool rugs are a poor choice. Instead, synthetic materials like polypropylene are recommended. You’ll still need to wash your outdoor rug on a regular basis, but it shouldn’t sustain damage from being outdoors.

#9) Table

Finally, your outdoor living space needs a table. It doesn’t have to be a full-sized table. On the contrary, smaller tables often look and function better in small spaces. You can use your table to place drinks, plates and other items. However, you should choose a table that matches the chairs and surrounding decor.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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7 Reasons to Include Trees in Your Landscape

Trees are an invaluable element of a home’s landscape. Unfortunately, some homeowners view them as nothing more than added maintenance, so they avoid growing them. However, trees can benefit your home and landscape in several ways, some of which we’re going to discuss in this blog post.

#1) Creates a Shaded, Cooler Outdoor Space

Thanks to the natural shade they produce, adding trees to your landscape will create a cooler outdoor space. The actual temperature underneath a tree isn’t lower than a non-shaded area. However, it feels cooler here because there’s less solar radiation. The temperature of a shaded area and non-shaded area are the same, but the former feels cooler due to the lack of solar radiation. So, growing trees on your landscape will create a cooler outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy.

#2) Encourages Outdoor Living

Of course, trees also encourage outdoor living. It’s difficult to fully enjoy your home’s outdoor living space in the summer with the blistering-hot sun. As the mercury rises, you and your family may be forced to seek shelter from the heat. This isn’t an issue if your landscape has trees, however. The natural shade will keep you and your family cool while also protecting against sunburn. As a result, you’ll be able to fully enjoy your home’s outdoor living space.

#3) Increases Home Value

Can growing trees in your landscape really increase your home’s value? Quite possibly. The Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers (CTLA) says that a single mature tree adds roughly $1,000 to $10,000 to the respective home’s property value. Other studies have shown that homes with an attractive landscape are worth 10% to 15% more than their counterparts with poorly designed landscapes. The bottom line is that homebuyers want landscapes with trees, so growing them in your landscape can potentially raise your property’s selling value.

#4) Lowers Stress

You might be surprised to learn that trees can lower psychological stress. Statistics show that 77% of U.S. adults experience physical symptoms caused by psychological stress, some of which include high blood pressure, sweating, headaches and trouble sleeping. When symptoms such as these manifest, it can affect other aspects of your life. Growing trees in your landscape, however, can help by lowering your stress levels and potentially eliminating some of the symptoms associated with stress.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and University of Illinois conducted a study in which participants were asked to rate their level of stress after viewing images of forests in varying densities. Researchers found that the participants were the least stressed after viewing the most dense forests. Basically, viewing images of trees and forests reduced participants’ stress levels by making them feel calmer and more relaxed.

#5) Promotes Energy Efficiency

There are countless ways to reduce energy usage in a typical home, including the use of compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), installing blackout curtains, low-flow showerheads, and adding extra insulation to the basement and attic. However, growing trees in your landscape can also reduce your home’s energy usage. The National Arbor Day Foundation (NADF) explains by saying that trees planted on the east, west and northwest sides of a home will lower its cooling needs during the summer by up to 35%. Trees essentially prevent solar radiation from reaching the windows and siding; thus, keeping the home cooler and subsequently taking some of the burden off the central air conditioning system.

And don’t assume that it will take a tree forever to grow. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a 6- to 8-foot deciduous tree will begin shading the home in its first year. Furthermore, trees typically begin shading the home’s roof within 5 to 10 years. So, go ahead and plant a tree today if you want to reap its energy-saving benefits.

#6) Low Maintenance

Trees require very little work or time to maintain. Unlike grass or flowers, you typically don’t have to water or fertilize trees. The only exception is during a young tree’s first few seasons, in which case you should water it. Once the tree has matured, however, the only maintenance you’ll need to do is inspecting it for disease and damage, as well as occasionally pruning away unnecessary branches. Other than this, trees don’t require much effort to maintain.

#7) Creates Cleaner Air

Finally, growing trees in your landscape will create cleaner air. Just because the air looks clean outside your home, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Air pollution is a serious threat that’s particularly problematic in busy cities. Growing trees, however, is one of the easiest way to promote cleaner air. Trees absorb airborne pollutants, such as nitrogen, ammonia and sulfur dioxide, and they also release fresh oxygen back into the atmosphere. This, of course, is one of the reasons why many cities and municipalities grow them.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Create an Outdoor Living Space On a Budget

70% Seventy percent of all homes in the United States have an outdoor living space, and roughly 70% of these households use their outdoor living space at least once per week, according to a study conducted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA). An outdoor living space allows homeowners and family members to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Rather than staying cooped up indoors, they can go outside to cook, host parties or simply relax.

However, one of the most common reasons cited by homeowners for not creating an outdoor living space is the cost. Some homeowners assume that outdoor living spaces are too expensive to create. Like most renovations, it usually requires an upfront monetary investment, but there are ways to reduce these costs. So, if you want to create an outdoor living space without breaking into your savings account, check out the following tips.

Create a Privacy Screen with Lattice

You don’t have to spend a fortune on an expensive privacy fence for your outdoor living space. An easy do-it-yourself alternative that costs a fraction of the price is a lattice fence. You can typically buy large panels of lattice for about $10 to $50 bucks a piece. Using just a few of these panels, you can create an attractive privacy fence that’s perfect for your outdoor living space.

When choosing lattice for your outdoor living space, make sure it’s pressure treated to protect against rot, decay and termites. Additionally, consider the color and how it conforms to the surrounding decor. The color of the lattice should flow cohesively with the space’s decor.

Use a Portable Fire Pit, Not a Fireplace

No outdoor living space is complete without a source of fire. When the sun goes down and the temperatures drop, a fire will allow you and your family to continue enjoying this space. If you’re on a budget, though, you should choose a portable fire pit instead of a fireplace.

As explained by ImproveNet, the average cost of a professionally installed outdoor fireplace in the United States is between $1,400 and $20,000. A more budget-friendly solution is a portable fire pit. High-quality fire pits are available for just a few hundred bucks. As an added bonus, you can easily move them to different areas — something that can’t be said for an outdoor fireplace.

Clone Plants

You can enhance the decor of your outdoor living space by adding some potted plants to it. Before buying new plants at your local gardening center, however, try cloning some existing plants in your landscape. Cloning involving cutting a steam off a parent plant and placing it in damp compost, either with or without growth hormones. When done correctly, the stem will grow into a new plant. It may sound difficult, but it’s actually pretty easy. And best of all, it allows you to grow new plants for your outdoor living space without paying a dime (except for the pots and containers).

Patio Umbrella

If your outdoor living space isn’t shaded or covered, consider investing in a large patio umbrella. This otherwise simple accessory will protect you and your family from the sun’s blinding rays as well as rain, snow and falling leaves.

You can find patio umbrellas available in free-standing models or table-attached models. Free-standing patio umbrellas are designed to stand upright on their own, without the need for additional support. A table-attached umbrella, on the other hand, is designed to sit atop a table, covering the surrounding space. Both styles are perfectly fine, though the former usually costs more than the latter.

Seating

Perhaps the most important element of an outdoor living space is seating. Without seating, neither you nor anyone else will be able to enjoy this extension of your home. You can check out some of our previous blog posts for more ideas on outdoor seating, though some of the top choices include wicker chairs, teak lounges, benches, hammocks, Adirondack chairs and swings.

Use Tall Decorative Accessories

According to the decorating experts at HGTV, you can enhance the decor of small outdoor living spaces by using tall decorative accessories. Tall vases or bamboo plants in a container, for instance, create the perception of a larger and more open area. Furthermore, tall decorative accessories such as these add color and vibrancy to the surrounding space.

Paint or Finish Furniture

If your existing outdoor furniture is approaching the end of its lifespan, you might be able to squeeze a little more use of out it by painting or finishing it. Buying an new set of outdoor furniture can be expensive. However, painting and finishing is a cheap alternative to revitalize your old, aged furniture. Just remember to choose a color that matches out outdoor living space’s existing decor.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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8 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Curb appeal refers to the collective landscape, colors, furnishings and other visual elements of a home’s exterior. By investing in a little time and energy into your home’s curb appeal, you’ll create a more pleasing outdoor environment for you and your family to enjoy. Furthermore, studies show that home’s with an attractive curb appeal have a higher selling value than their counterparts with little-to-no curb appeal. So, whether you plan on staying in your home or selling it, you should follow the tips listed below to enhance its exterior.

#1) Repaint the Front Door

A fresh coat of paint on the front door can make a world of difference in your home’s curb appeal. Over time, paint will fade due to sun exposure, resulting in a lackluster appearance. Your home’s once fiery-red front door may now have more of a dark maroon tone. With a gallon of paint and a brush, however, you can revitalize it with new color.

#2) Create an Attractive Entryway

In addition to repainting the front door, you should also decorate the area around the front door. If you have a wooden patio deck, ensure that all boards are secure and not loose or otherwise damaged. Next, place a doormat in front of the door, using a color that corresponds with the surrounding decor. You can also enhance your home’s entryway by adding attractive light fixtures, door knobs and planters.

#3) Touch Up the Mailbox

A commonly overlooked element of curb appeal is the mailbox. While it may seem insignificant compared to the front door and entryway, the mailbox still plays an instrumental role in setting the tone for your home’s exterior. The real estate experts as Zillow recommend using a heavy-duty “premium” mailbox along with statement house numbers. A high-quality mailbox should only cost about $150 to $300, while house numbers run about $5 to $10 a piece. For the price, it’s a smart investment that will pay off in the form of a better looking home.

#3) Lounge Furniture

While there are dozens of different seating and furniture options from which to choose when designing your home’s exterior, lounge furniture is arguably one of the best. According to the 2017 Houzz Landscape Study, lounge furniture is the most popular outdoor living element among homeowners. As the name suggests, lounge furniture places an emphasis on comfort and relaxation. A chaise lounge, for instance, features a long and adjustable reclining back. Often made of premium teak hardwood, it’s the perfect addition to any patio or outdoor living space.

#4) Add Mulch to Flowerbeds

Adding a layer of mulch to your flowerbeds will create a cleaner and more complete curb appeal while also protecting your flowers from frost. In winter, the sub-freezing temperatures can send flowers into a state of shock, causing them to either go dormant or die. With a layer of mulch, however, your flowers will have an extra layer of protection from the winter weather. Mulch acts as insulation, reducing the rate at which your flowers lose heat. Most importantly, though, mulch prevents the growth and intrusion of weeds; thus, creating a cleaner and more attractive landscape for your home.

#5) Firepit

In addition to lounge furniture, another accessory to consider using on your patio or outdoor living space is a fire pit. According to the same Houzz Landscape Study cited above, fire pits are the second most popular outdoor living element; they are even more popular than grills and patio heaters. Installing a fire pit on your patio will create a more “lived in” appearance while also providing functional benefits in the process. With a fire pit, you can cook, roast marshmallows or simply enjoy a quiet evening with friends or family.

#6) Manicure Shrubs

Of course, you should also manicure any shrubs and trees in your home’s landscape. Neglecting this basic form of lawn maintenance will result in overgrown brush, which doesn’t exactly help your home’s curb appeal. Whether you do it yourself or choose to hire a professional landscaper, you need to manicure all trees and shrubs on your property.

#7) Container Plants

A few strategically planed container plants can brighten your home’s curb appeal. Even if you have flowers or plants growing around your home, you should still consider adding container plants next to the front door. Doing so adds color and vibrancy, which can help define your home’s exterior decor.

#8) Pressure-Wash It

Finally, consider pressure-washing your home’s exterior. Depending on the material of which it’s constructed, it may develop mildew, dirt and grime. A simple solution, however, is to pressure-wash it. The pressurized stream of water will make easy work of even the dirtiest siding. And for stubborn areas, you can pre-treat it with soap or detergent for maximum cleaning power.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Guide to Wicker Patio Furniture

If you’re planning to update your patio with new furniture, you’ll need to choose the right material. Patio furniture is designed using a wide range of materials. However, one of the most popular is wicker.

What is Wicker?

While most people have seen or at least heard of wicker, few know what the material really is. As shown in the photo to the left, wicker furniture is characterized by a woven design, typically using natural cane materials like rattan, reed, bamboo or willow. Because of this, wicker isn’t a material itself. Instead, it’s a type of furniture featuring a woven design with one or more cane-like materials.

It’s a little-known fact that wicker has origins dating back to Ancient Egypt, specifically around 3,000 BC. Archeologists have unearthed wicker furniture made of reed and grasses from the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. The reed and grasses used in the wicker furniture were native to the surrounding Nile river. In addition to furniture, Egyptians also made wicker baskets, wig boxes, toys and other items.

Characteristics of Wicker Patio Furniture

While this doesn’t apply to all types of wicker furniture, most have some common characteristics, including the following:

  • Lightweight, often weighing just five to 10 pounds
  • Wicker chairs have wide armrests
  • White or neutral colors
  • Unique woven design
  • Stylish appearance

Natural vs Synthetic Wicker Furniture

Most wicker furniture is made of natural, organic plant matter, such as reed or rattan. However, some are made of a synthetic material. Also known as “resin wicker,” synthetic wicker furniture is made of PVC, nylon, polyethylene or a combination thereof. These are the same synthetic materials that you’ll find in other furniture, especially outdoor patio furniture.

To the unsuspecting eye, both natural and synthetic wicker appear similar. They have the same woven construction with similar-looking material. However, natural wicker furniture is made of organic material, whereas synthetic wicker is made of inorganic, man-made material. This is the fundamental difference distinguishing the two.

Benefits of Wicker Patio Furniture

So, why should you use wicker furniture on your patio? Wicker offers several noteworthy benefits, one of which is aesthetic value. With its woven construction, wicker furniture will enhance your patio decor to create a more attractive living space. This isn’t something you’ll find in other types of furniture either. On the contrary, only wicker furniture boasts this unique woven design, which is one of the reasons why homeowners choose it for their patio.

As previously mentioned, wicker furniture is also lightweight. It may take two people to move a heavy hardwood lounge chair, but wicker chairs are easily moved by just a single person. Therefore, you shouldn’t have a problem moving it. If you want to bring your wicker furniture inside, for instance, you can easily do so without straining your back.

Furthermore, wicker furniture is relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of furniture. If you’re looking to decorate your patio without spending a fortune, you should consider wicker for this very reason.

Disadvantages of Wicker Patio Furniture

There are also some disadvantages to using wicker patio furniture, however. Compared to other types of outdoor furniture, wicker is somewhat large and bulky. Assuming you have a large patio, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you have a small patio with limited space, you may want to choose a different type of furniture.

Natural wicker furniture is also susceptible to damage. Granted, synthetic resin furniture can sustain damage too, but it’s stronger and more durable than its counterpart. Over time, it’s not uncommon for natural wicker furniture to become torn and unraveled. And when this happens, there’s usually no easy way to fix it.

Wicker Patio Furniture Tips

If you’re interested in using wicker furniture on your patio, you should first plan the design. In other words, determine what pieces of wicker furniture you want to use and where you want to use them. Wicker chairs are always an excellent choice, though you’ll also find wicker sofas and recliners as well.

Sitting on a hard wicker surface isn’t exactly comfortable. Thankfully, most manufacturers offer soft cushions with their wicker furniture. Depending on the company, however, you may have to pay extra for it. If you intend to use the wicker furniture for decorative purposes only, you probably don’t need the cushions. But if you plan on sitting and using the furniture — which you probably will — it’s recommended that you invest in cushions.

Whether it’s natural or synthetic, all wicker furniture is lightweight. And because of its lightweight properties, it may blow over during storms and bad weather. To prevent this from happening, you should either anchor it to your patio or bring it indoors before it storms. Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of wicker patio furniture.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Keep Pesky Bugs Away from Your Patio

It’s hard to enjoy an evening out on your patio when you’re constantly being attacked by pests. Whether it’s mosquitoes, gnats, bees, etc., they can prevent you from enjoying this outdoor extension of your home. And while there’s no way to completely avoid all pests, there are ways to discourage them from being on your patio.

Grow Garlic in Containers

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a relatively small bulbous plant that’s easy to grow. Aside from its countless culinary purposes — used primarily as a seasoning — it also works as a natural insect repellent. Place some garlic plants in potted containers, arranging them around the area of your patio where you sit. The natural chemicals produced by the garlic plants deters mosquitoes and other insects, all while adding color and life to your patio in the process.

Other insect-repelling plants to consider growing on your patio include the following:

  • Basil
  • Lemon balm
  • Pennyroyal
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Pineapple weed
  • Tansy
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree

Remove Standing Water

If you have a mosquitoes problem on your patio, check to see if there are any standing pools of water around your home. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in containers that collect water, including buckets, overturned furniture, cups, gardening tools and water pitchers. Even small amounts of standing water can yield hundreds to thousands of new mosquitoes. Therefore, you need to remove all standing pools of water from around your home. Without water-logged breeding grounds, female mosquitoes will look elsewhere to lay their eggs.

Citronella Tiki Torches

Tiki torches are a fun and unique decorative accessory for the patio. Featuring a wick atop a source of fuel, they will enhance your patio’s aesthetics while also illuminating the surrounding environment. Rather than using just any tiki torch, however, consider using citronella torches. They look and function just like a regular tiki torch, but they contain citronella oil mixed into the fuel. So, when you light it, it releases insect-repelling citronella oil into the air; thus, helping to keep your patio insect free.

Alternatively, you can make your own citronella candles for use on your patio or elsewhere. This involves melting beeswax, pouring it into a mason jar with an affixed wick, and mixing in a few drops of citronella oil. Once the candles have hardened, you can light for them instant insect relief.

Light a Fire Pit

Sometimes all you need is a little smoke to keep the bugs away from your patio. Insects hate smoke, preferring to keep their distance even if it means missing out on a meal.

Building a campfire on your patio is out of the question, though a viable alternative is to use a fire pit, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pit. If you’re lighting a fire pit for the purpose of deterring bugs and insects, try using wood with a higher moisture content. Normally, it’s best to use dry, seasoned wood, as it burns the easiest and most efficiently. Wet wood, however, is particularly effective at keeping bugs away because it produces more smoke. Just remember to supervise your fire at all times.

Screened Patio Enclosure

Of course, another solution to keep mosquitoes, gnats, bees and other pests away from your patio is to use a screened enclosure. As shown in the photo to the right, a screened enclosure creates a barrier between your patio and the outside elements. Without a roof, rain may still drip onto your patio, but insects won’t be able to break through.

There are a few downsides to using a screened enclosure, one of which is the cost. Depending on the size of your patio and the type of enclosure, it may cost up to $1,000 (or more). An enclosure may also restrict access to your patio. These are just a few things to consider when deciding whether or not an enclosure is a good idea.

Turn on the Fan

Turning on a fan can help keep your patio free of pests. Whether it’s an overhead fan or standalone oscillating fan, the increased airflow will literally blow insects off your patio.

Sodium Vapor Lights

Ever notice how insects migrate towards your patio lights? Sure you have! Most insects are attracted to light, which is why you see them buzzing around bulbs at night. Rather than turning off your patio lights, however, you can deter insects by replacing traditional incandescent white bulbs with sodium vapor bulbs.

Sodium vapor bulbs use sodium in an activated and “excited” estate to produce light, typically with a wavelength of roughly 589 nm. Technical jargon aside, they produce a more yellowed-colored light as opposed to the white light of an incandescent bulb. And because of their yellow light, sodium vapor bulbs don’t attract insects. As a side benefit, they also consume less energy than their incandescent counterpart.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Brighten Your Patio with These Lighting Ideas

It’s hard to enjoy your patio in the evenings if it’s dimly lit. Without lighting, you won’t be able to cook, relax or simply enjoy this extension of your home once the sun goes down. Thankfully, there are several different patio lighting options from which to choose, some of which we’re going to discuss.

String Lights

String lights offer the best of both worlds in terms of aesthetics and function. As shown in the image to the left, they look like regular Christmas tree lights, featuring long rows of individual light bulbs. You can run them across your patio, the side of your home, or even across the top of your yard. Once activated, they illuminate the surrounding area with a touch of style. Because of their stylish appearance, string lights are a popular lighting choice by homeowners when hosting outdoor parties and gatherings.

Uplighting

Uplighting is a relatively new outdoor lighting option that’s becoming more and more popular among homeowners. Uplighting receives its namesake for the direction in which it projects light. While traditional fixtures project light down, uplighting projects it up. Therefore, it’s often used to enhance and highlight specific areas around a home, such as gardens, flower beds, sides and windows. It’s even used by real estate agents to increase curb appeal and make homes more attractive to prospective buyers.

Uplighting is best when used in conjunction with other lighting solutions. A traditional overhead fixture, for instance, will illuminate the areas where uplighting can’t reach.

Wall Lanterns

Assuming your patio is directly adjacent to your home, you can use wall lanterns to illuminate it. Wall lanterns are installed on the side of a home, creating uniform lighting for the surrounding area. The only real downside is the fact that they are somewhat difficult to install, which usually requires the experience and skills of a professional electrician. Nonetheless, wall lanterns are a viable lighting option for the patio, especially if you want a long-term solution.

However, you should consider the following things when choosing wall lanterns for your patio:

  • Material of construction
  • Size
  • Ease of installation
  • Ease of replacing bulbs
  • Cost
  • Durability

Track Lighting

We can’t talk about patio lighting options without mentioning track lighting. Track lighting involves the use of a fixed track on which individual fixtures and bulbs are installed. The great thing about track lighting, however, is that lights can be moved on the track. If you want to illuminate the center of your patio instead of the outside, for instance, just move the light towards the appropriate area.

As explained by Lightology, track lighting has become an increasingly popular lighting solution for patios, gardens and other outdoor living spaces. It offers an unmatched level of flexibility, allowing homeowners to adjust the lights according to their needs. You should check to see what bulb types the track light supports. Some use standard incandescent bulbs, whereas others use energy-efficient CFL or LED.

Tiki Torches

With its natural bamboo design with a flaming top, tiki torches are a fun alternative to traditional patio lighting options. While they’ve been around for centuries — originating from the Tiki culture — they experienced a newfound revival in the 1930s and following years, during which homeowners began using them in outdoor decor. The standard tiki torch design features a bamboo stick with liquid fuel and a wick on top. Once the wick is lit, it continues to burn while drawing fuel from the container below. Tiki toches can be free standing or mounted in the ground.

Granted, tiki torches don’t provide the same level of lighting as the solutions previously mentioned, but many homeowners prefer them for their unique ambiance and stylish appearance. The subtle flame burns slow enough to enhance the decor without being overwhelming.

Fire Pit

Of course, a fire pit can also illuminate your patio when it’s dark outside. As long as you leave the lid off, it will brighten your patio decor without relying on electricity.

If you choose tiki torches, a fire pit or any other fire-burning method for illumination, however, you should supervise it all times. Leaving a fire unattended — even if it’s for just a few minutes — poses a serious risk of property damage and injury. While the risk may be low, this isn’t something that you should take a chance on. Always supervise your fire to ensure it’s controlled and contained.

These are just a few patio lighting ideas to consider. If you’re still undecided after reading this, take a trip to your local home improvement store to browse other solutions. With a little work, you’ll find the lighting option that’s perfect for your patio. And remember, you can always remove and replace any lighting solution if you aren’t completely satisfied.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Top 7 Benefits of Bench Seating for the Patio

Seating is an essential element of a well-designed patio. Without proper seating, you won’t be able to relax and unwind on your patio — not without standing, at least. But while there are dozens of different seating options for outdoor living spaces, few offer the same level of versatility as a bench. So, if you’re looking to update your patio with new seating, you should consider a bench for the following reasons.

#1) Encourages Conversation

The #1 benefit of bench seating is its natural ability to encourage conversations. After all, a bench is where Forest Gump spent most of his time telling his life story in the hit 1990s blockbuster movie. When two people are sitting together on a bench, they’ll feel a closer connection, both literally and figuratively. So, while traditional seating options like chairs create a distance between two people, benches bring them together; thus, encouraging conversation.

#2) Durable

A high-quality bench is perhaps the most durable seating option for the patio. As most homeowners already know, chairs made of plastic and other low-quality materials are susceptible to breakage. They may hold up just for fine for several months or even years, only to fall apart the next time you sit down. And when a plastic chair breaks, it’s nearly impossible to fix. Fixing a broken wooden chair may or may not be possible, depending on where the damage occurred.

Benches, however, offer a superior level of strength and durability. You don’t have to worry about it falling apart or otherwise breaking. Assuming it’s made of genuine hardwood, it can literally last for generations when properly cared for.

#3) Saves Space

A benefit of bench seating that’s often overlooked is its ability to save space. Due to their inherit design, benches are naturally a great seating option for tight spaces. If your patio has a limited amount of space, you’ll need to carefully choose the right furniture. Rather than cramming four bulky chairs into your patio, for instance, maybe you can use a single bench with a side chair.

How exactly does a bench save space? Well, it does so by allowing multiple people to sit. Depending on the specific type of bench, it may support two, three or even four people. That means a single bench offers the seating equivalent of up to four chairs.

#4) Easy to Clean

Of course, benches are also easy to clean, typically requiring nothing more than an occasional wipe down with a damp washcloth. For more stubborn dirt — pollen, mud, mildew, etc. — you can add some liquid laundry detergent. In addition to making your bench look 10 years younger, laundry detergent will also leave it smelling nice and fresh.

Alternatively, you can often clean minor “surface” dirt by rinsing your bench with a garden hose. As long as the dirt hasn’t settled into the bench’s pores, this should do the trick. Some people assume that pressure washing is the best way to clean a bench, but the high pressure could actually strip away the coating or even take chunks out of the bench’s wooden material. To prevent this from happening with your bench, stick with the garden hose and washcloth methods.

 

#5) Stable

Benches aren’t just durable; they are also stable. This is particularly important for homeowners living in areas prone to hurricanes and severe weather. If a storm front rolls through, the strong gusts of wind may blow over patio chairs and tables. Benches, however, can typically withstand severe weather by remaining in place.

The exceptional stability of benches is also good for theft prevention. It’s not something that most homeowners want to think about, but there are thieves out there who will steal just about anything, including patio furniture.

#6) Decorative

We can’t talk about the benefits of bench seating without mentioning aesthetics. Granted, benches are available in dozens if not hundreds of different styles. Whether you prefer the classic wooden style, rustic or a newer and more modern style, you can rest assured knowing that it will look great on your patio.

#7) Weather Resistant

Finally, most benches are designed to be weather resistant. Manufacturers add a protective coating on the outside that prevents the intrusion of moisture and germs. Furthermore, some benches are designed with a UV-protectant coating, which as the name suggests, protects against fading caused by the sun’s ultraviolet light. And even if your bench doesn’t have a protective coating such as this, you can easily apply one using a standard paintbrush.

 

These are just a few reasons why benches make the perfect seating for patios and outdoor living spaces. When choosing a patio, however, you should consider the material from which it is made as well as the size. Wood is the most popular choice of material for benches, though cast iron is a popular alternative.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Campfire-Building Tips for Wet, Rainy Weather

Wouldn’t it be great if the weather was warm and sunny every time you went camping? Weather such as this is ideal for camping. You don’t have to worry about your gear being washed away, nor do you have to worry about starting your campfire.

Unfortunately, there will be times when mother nature throws you a curve ball by bringing severe rain and storms during your camping trip. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or first-timer, you probably know that campfires are difficult to make in wet conditions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should pack up and head home, however. With the right approach, you can successfully build a roaring campfire in rainy weather.

Choose a Covered Location to Build Your Campfire

Perhaps the most important step in building a campfire in the rain is choosing the right location. If it’s raining, conventional wisdom should tell you that a covered campsite is necessary to your fire going. While it’s possible to build a campfire in a location that’s directly exposed to rain, you’ll have a much easier time if the area is covered.

Look for an area that offers some form of natural coverage and protection from the rain. Assuming you’re camping in the middle of woods, you probably won’t be able to find an area with complete, 100% coverage. You can, however, choose an area with a thick, dense tree canopy to shield your campfire from at least some of the rain. Tree canopies offer excellent protection from the rain, catching and distributing the water away from the base of the tree. Therefore, you’ll have an easier time building a campfire under a dense tree canopy if it’s raining.

Use a Fire Pit

In addition to building your campfire under a covered area, you should also consider using a fire pit. Using a portable fire pit, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pit, you can further protect your campfire from the rain by keeping it off the ground.

Moisture from rain doesn’t come strictly from the skies; it also comes from the ground. When it rains, the ground will absorb and hold moisture, making it difficult to start a campfire. Instead of trying to build a campfire on the wet, water-logged soil, however, you can build it in a dry fire pit.

Strip Away the Outer Bark

You’ll need to collect the driest firewood possible to get your campfire going in the rain. Not surprisingly, downed limbs under dense canopies are usually the best source for such firewood.

After collecting a decent amount of firewood, use a sharp knife to remove the outer layer of bark. Even if the firewood looks dry, it’s probably holding some moisture due to the increased humidity levels accompanied with the rain. Being that the inner core of the wood is typically drier than the outside, however, you can strip away the outer layers so it lights more easily. Using a sharp knife, carefully scrape away the outer layers of your firewood, after which you should place the firewood directly in your fire pit until you’re ready to light it.

Use Lots of Kindling

Want to know the secret to building a roaring-hot campfire in the rain? It’s using kindling, lots of kindling. Basically, wet wood requires hotter temperatures to ignite. And in order to create these hot temperatures, you need plenty of kindling. Tinder — the smaller stuff — is still important, but it’s the kindling that will ultimately create the hot flame needed for a campfire in the rain.

When gathering small sticks and twigs to use as kindling, make sure they are relatively dry. Like larger pieces of firewood, you can also strip away the outer layer so they light more easily. Once you’ve gathered the kindling, arrange it at the base of your campfire with the larger pieces of firewood on the outside. The key thing to remember is that the center of your campfire should be somewhat open so that air can flow through.

Beware of the Smoke

Wet firewood doesn’t burn as “completely” or efficiently as dry, seasoned firewood. This means campfires built in rainy weather or other wet conditions will produce more smoke — and that smoke could pose a risk to your health.

While some people prefer the distinct smell of campfire smoke, you should keep your distance and avoid inhaling it, especially if the wood is wet. Wet firewood produces more smoke when burned than dry firewood, making it more hazardous to your health. The good news is that you can easily avoid your campfire’s smoke by positioning yourself in the opposite direction of the wind. If the wind is blowing south, for instance, position yourself north of your campfire.

Building a campfire in the rain isn’t always easy. You’ll need to choose a covered location, find dry or semi-dry firewood, use plenty of kindling and more. However, once you get it going you’ll be able to enjoy the warmth and relaxing ambiance it offers during this otherwise messy weather. Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of how to create a campfire in rainy weather.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Use a Chimney Starter When Grilling

There are several advantages to grilling food over a coal fire. With charcoal briquettes reaching temperatures of 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit, they tend to produce more heat than conventional wood-burning fires. And with this heat, you’ll have an easier to creating a nice charred outside on your grilled meats and foods. Additionally, charcoal burns more efficiently and produces less smoke than wood. Of course, there are still benefits to grilling over a wood fire, but for these reasons many people prefer charcoal.

One of the problems of using charcoal, however, is getting it lit. Dry, seasoned wood easily burns when used in conjunction with kindling and tinder. Coal, however, can take a little bit of work to get going. Rather than wasting an entire box of matches, you should consider using a chimney starter. This otherwise simple tool will make lighting a charcoal fire ten times easier.

What is a Chimney Starter?

Also known as a charcoal chimney, a chimney starter lives up to its namesake by simplifying the process of starting a charcoal fire. As shown in the photo above, it’s a cylinder-shaped metal device (usually steel) that holds coals. Most chimney starters are about 8 inches in diameter and 12 to 18 inches tall. A few inches from the bottom is a grate with several small holes, allowing air to flow from the bottom and through the charcoal.

You’ll also notice that most chimney starters have a single handle attached to the exterior, along with a safety heat guard to protect the user’s hand from injury. The handles are insulated, so you don’t have to worry about burning yourself when using them. However, you should still use extreme caution when moving or even touching a chimney starter that contains hot coals.

Benefits of Using a Chimney Starter

Chimney starters have one primary purpose: to make lighting charcoals easier. Lighter fluid may sound like an effective alternative, but it isn’t recommended for several reasons. First and foremost, lighter fluid is dangerous and can cause serious injury when used incorrectly (hundreds of people are injured each year from using it). Secondly, lighter fluid produces noxious fumes when burned. Do you really want these fumes reaching the food you are about to grill?

A chimney starter is a simple solution to getting a stubborn charcoal fire going. You don’t have to use any lighter fluid. Just fill the chimney with coals, add your newspaper, and it does the rest. And contrary to what some people may believe, chimney starters aren’t expensive. Even if your grill didn’t come with a chimney starter, you can usually buy them for about $10 to $20 bucks at most major home improvement stores, which is a small price to pay for the convenience they offer.

Now that you know a little bit about chimney starters and the benefits they offer, let’s take a look at the steps to using them…

How to Use a Chimney Starter

To use a chimney starter, you should first remove the cooking grate from inside your grill. Next, fill your chimney starter with your preferred charcoal all the way to the top. You may need to gently shake the chimney to help knock down the coals if they get stuck.

Once your chimney starter is full, place a piece of a newspaper inside the bottom of your grill, after which you should place the chimney starter over it. You can then light the newspaper, which should ignite the bottom of the chimney starter and eventually all of the charcoal. As the bottom of your chimney starter heats up, it will easily ignite the coals with the help of increased airflow.

Now comes the waiting game. As most backyard chefs know, coals are ready for grilling once they’ve reaches a glowing orange-white color. This characteristic color indicates the coals are hot and ready to be used for cooking. Depending on the size of your chimney starter, the condition of your coals and the surrounding humidity, it should take between 20 and 30 minutes for your coals to reach this state.

Next, carefully lift the chimney starter by the handle and dump the hot coals into the bottom of your grill. You may want to wear heat-resistant gloves to further protect your hands from injury when performing this step. Once you’ve dumped the coals into your grill, use a poker or similar tool to spread them evenly across the bottom. Congratulations, your charcoal grill is now ready for cooking! Keep in mind that coals won’t stay hot forever, so don’t wait too long to add your food.

This is the traditional method for using a chimney stater. Some people, however, cook foods directly over the chimney itself without ever dumping the coals. It produces intense heat, making it an excellent tool for searing the outside of meats.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Why Your Patio Needs a Fire Pit This Fall Season

For many homeowners, fall signals the end of outdoor parties and gatherings. Once the summer comes to an end and the temperatures begin the drop, they head indoors. While there’s nothing wrong spending some extra time indoors during the fall, you can still enjoy your patio and other outdoor living spaces this time of year with the help of a fire pit.

Provides and Promotes Social Gathering

This alone should be reason enough to update your patio with a fire pit this fall. When the weather begins to cool, you may find staying outdoors is simply too uncomfortable. With a fire pit, however, you can create a warm and cozy environment on your patio or outdoor living space. Fire pits are capable of producing significant heat, usually around 20,000 to 50,000 British Thermal Units (BTU). That’s more than enough to keep you and anyone else around the pit comfortably warm providing a cool space to socially gather and entertain your guests. 

It’s a Top Design Trend

According to the 2016 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), fire pits are one of the top outdoor design trends for homes and residential properties. According to the survey, homeowners prefer fire pits over rain gardens, water-efficient irrigation and a reduced lawn area. The only outdoor design trends that ranked higher than fire pits was a lighting and wireless connectivity.

Cooking

Of course, you can always use your fire pit for cooking as well. Just because summer is over doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop your backyard barbecues. A fire pit is the perfect outdoor cooking accessory, as it allows you to easily grill and cook food over an open fire. Whether it’s burgers, hamburgers, pork chops, chicken, shrimp, etc., the possibilities are endless. And because it uses an open, wood-burning flame (not a propane flame), food cooked over fire pits typically have a distinct smokey flavor that many people prefer. Just remember to clean the grill grate on a regular basis to protect it from rusting.

Portable

Not all fire pits are portable; some are stationary and cannot be easily moved. Assuming you buy your fire pit here at S&S Fire Pit, however, you can easily transport it. This opens the doors to a whole new world of options, allowing you to take your fire pit camping, tailgating or to your other people’s homes. If you plan on moving your fire pit, though, make sure it’s completely cool before touching it.

Roasting Marshmallows

Even if you don’t plan to cook over your fire pit this fall, you still use it to roast marshmallows, S’mores or other goodies. Just skewer up some marshmallows and hold them over the fire for a fun and delightful treat. Roasted marshmallows and s’mores are particularly fun treats for children. So, if you’re planning an outdoor party or get-together with children this fall, make sure you have a fire pit set up.

 

Lighting

When you think of the benefits of owning and using a fire pit, lighting probably doesn’t come to mind. After all, most people use them for cooking and warmth. While fire pits are excellent for cooking and creating warmth, however, they can also be used to illuminate your patio or outdoor living area. If you’re tired of replacing the overhead light bulb on your patio that keeps blowing, consider using a fire pit as an alternative. Once lit, it will illuminate your patio, even on the darkest of nights.

Ambiance

Let’s face it, fire pits offer a uniquely relaxing and enjoyable ambiance that’s not found elsewhere. When you’re enjoying a nice evening on your patio this fall, you can spark up the fire pit to create a more relaxing atmosphere. Studies have shown that fires — whether from a campfire or fire pit — reduce stress and anxiety. Perhaps this is why we’ve been gathering around them for thousands of years. When used on your patio, a fire pit will have a similar effect, creating a relaxing ambiance that you and your guests are sure to appreciate.

Focal Point

Finally, including a fire pit on your patio will also create a natural focus point. Rather than randomly arranging your chairs and seating, you can arrange them around the outside of the fire pit, facing towards the fire pit. Not only will this create a more effective design layout for your patio, but it also encourages guests to use and enjoy the fire pit.

These are just a few reasons why your patio needs a fire pit this fall. The truth is that you’ll probably find more uses once you actually own one.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Exploring Primitive Fire-Building Techniques

Fires have been essential for the survival of humankind. For thousands of years, we’ve relied on fires to cook food to a safe temperature, create warmth to protect against hypothermia, and create light. While we continue to use them for these very same reasons today, fire building is also something that many people take for granted.

You can buy a box of matches for about a buck at most grocery stores. Instead of the exhausting and tedious task of trying to rub two sticks together, you simple strike the match head against the box, at which point it will ignite into fire. Holding the lit match head under your tinder and kindling should then spark your campfire. And using a safety lighter is equally as easy, requiring nothing more than a flick of the thumb.

While matches and lighters are both effective tools for building fires, many people prefer primitive fire-building techniques. Primitive fire building is a survival skill that may one day prove useful. If you’re ever lost or otherwise stranded without access to modern fire-building tools, you can use these methods to create a fire. Furthermore, primitive fire building is always fun show off when camping with friends, even if you have access to matches or a lighter. So, what are some of the most commonly used primitive fire-building techniques?

The Hand Drill

If you watch survival TV shows, you’ve probably seen the hand drill method. It involves the use of a small but sturdy softwood stick with one end carved down to a rounded point, as well as a softwood fireboard. Once you’ve acquired these two items, you’ll need to grind the stick into a notch at the base of the fireboard. By grinding the stick back and forth between your hands, you’ll create friction — and this friction creates heat, which will hopefully create a hot coal that you can then place in your tinder. The hand drill is often preferred over other primitive fire-building methods because of simplicity.

The Bow Drill

Another popular primitive fire-building technique is the bow drill. It’s similar to the hand drill but with a few nuances. Both the hand drill and bow drill method use friction to create heat; however, the latter requires a shorter and wider spindle that’s driven by a bow. By using a bow to drive the stick into the fireboard, this technique allows for easier strokes while minimizing fatigue and exhaustion in the process. Furthermore, the bow drill method of fire-building protects the user’s palms from injury, which is a huge benefit when you don’t have access to medical supplies.

The Fire Plough

Also known as the fire plow, the fire plough is a primitive fire-building technique that involves the use of a softwood stick with a dull point and a long fireboard made of similar material with a groove in the center. When you hear about making fire by “rubbing two sticks together,” this is usually the method being discussed. You press the softwood stick into the groove of the fireboard and rub it together between the palms of your hands in a plowing motion (hence the name). Eventually this will create a hot coal, which you can place in tinder to get your fire going.

Fire Saw

A lesser-known primitive fire-building technique is the fire saw. To create a fire using this method, you’ll need to saw into a piece of thick wood using another piece of wood. The fire saw method requires two basic components: the saw and hearth. The saw is the piece of wood that you physically move and back and forth to create friction. The hearth is the piece of wood that you saw into. Although simple in design, the fire saw method can be tedious and physically exhausting to perform.

There’s a variation of the fire saw method known as the fire thong. It’s performed in a similar manner, but it uses a pullstring consisting of wood fiber or rope. The fire thong method is most commonly used in Southeast Asia by native tribes.

Other Tips for Primitive Fire Building

Regardless of which primitive fire-building technique you prefer, there are a few things you can do to increase your chance of success. First and foremost, use the driest wood possible. If the wood contains too much moisture, you may struggle to create coals, let alone getting your campfire lit. You can often find dry wood, tinder and kindling under large tree canopies that’s covered and protected from the rain.

The primitive fire-building techniques listed above are designed to create hot coals, which you can then use to start your fire. You shouldn’t just drop these coals onto your firewood, however. Rather, place place them on a ball of tinder, at which point you should gently blow to help spread the heat. When performed correctly, the heat from the coal will ignite the tinder into a ball of flame. And once your tinder is lit, you can place it under your firewood to ignite your campfire.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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9 Mistakes to Avoid When Grilling Steak

Nothing compares to the rich flavor and tender texture of a grilled steak. It’s the preferred choice of meat for countless home chefs. But if you’re planning to grill steaks, you should avoid making the following mistakes.

#1) Not Covering Steaks in Butter or Oil

Why do you need to cover your steaks in butter or oil? Well, doing so serves two specific purposes: first, it encourages the seasoning to stick to the steak. Secondly, it prevents your steak from sticking to the grill. So, try to get into the habit of covering your steaks with butter, olive oil, vegetable oil or some other oil before seasoning them.

#2) Using Lighter Fluid

If you’re having trouble lighting your coals, you may feel compelled to douse it with lighter fluid. Unfortunately, this is a serious mistake that will negatively affect the flavor of your steak. The chemical-rich lighter fluid will release fumes when burned that soak into the steak, essentially altering its flavor. Rather than using lighter fluid, a better way to your fire starter is to use a charcoal chimney. After placing newspaper at the bottom, fill it with charcoal and light the bottom.

#3) Placing Steaks on a Dirty Grate

Another common mistake that you’ll want to avoid is placing steaks on a dirty grill grate. If you don’t clean the grate after each use, food particles will harden onto it. In addition to making your steaks stick, this also promotes rust and corrosion. You can clean your grill grates using a basic grill brush and a little bit of water.

#4) Not Letting Steaks Sit Before Cooking

Many home chefs toss their steaks on the grill immediately after removing them from the refrigerator and seasoning them. A better solution, however, is to let your steaks sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, no more or no less, so the protein enzymes will begin to break down. The general idea is that allowing a steak to sit at room temperature helps it become more tender. So, start a timer once you remove your steaks from the refrigerator, and when it hits the 20-minute mark, toss them on the grill.

#5) Cooking with Too Much Heat

The general belief is that the hotter the fire, the better the steak, as heat creates a nice seared/charred texture on the outside. The truth of the matter, however, is that too much heat will burn the outside of your steaks. If you’re looking to achieve a Pittsburgh-style steak, this is perfectly fine. For all other occasions, though, you should avoid this by evenly distributing your coals across the bottom of your grill or fire pit.

#6) Lifting the Lid Too Frequently

When you’re grilling some delicious filet mignon, you may want to check and see how it’s doing on a regular basis. But each time you open the lid, it disturbs the heat while subsequently affecting the way in which your steaks grill. For traditional charcoal-flamed grills and fire pits, opening the lid allows air to enter, which then increases the heat. To promote an even, thorough cooking, avoid lifting the lid while your steaks are cooking. You should only lift the lid when you need to flip or remove the steaks.

#7) Choosing the Wrong Cut

Not all steaks are created equal, and it’s important to choose the right type when grilling them. Generally speaking, the most common cuts of steak include filet mignon, sirloin, ribeye, New York strip and Porterhouse. Of all the different cuts, filet mignon is the most tender with the least amount of fat. However, it’s also the most expensive (by weight). In terms of flavor, most chefs will agree that a ribeye is the best, simply because it contains more marbling (fat). Familiarize yourself with the different cuts of steak and choose the one that’s best suited for your personal taste.

#8) Grilling Too Many Things at Once

Try to limit the number of foods you grill at once. If you’re grilling steak alongside shrimp, vegetable skewers and other foods, it may cause cross-contamination. Bacteria from the steaks may seep into the nearby foods, essentially contaminating them. And even if it doesn’t cause cross-contamination, grilling steaks next to other foods will affect the flavor at the very least. Your steaks may have a hint of flavor from the other foods. To prevent problems such as these, either grill your steaks separately or keep them far away from the other foods.

#9) Cutting Into the Steaks Immediately After Grilling

Yet another mistake that you’ll want to avoid making is cutting into your steaks immediately after grilling them. Maybe you want to see if they are cooked all the way through, so you cut the center with a knife. Seems harmless, right? Unfortunately, if you cut your steaks immediately after removing them from the grill, the juices won’t have time to settle; thus, they’ll run out of the steak, resulting in a dry texture and lackluster flavor. Let your steaks sit for at least three minutes before cutting into them.

These are just a few of the most common mistakes home chefs make when grilling steaks.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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8 Simple Tips to Make Your Fire Pit Last

36 Elliptical Decorative

30 Mid Century Modern PitHumans have been building fire pits ever since the Stone Age. While these were rudimentary — consisting of nothing more than holes dug into ground — they were still critical in allowing our ancestors to cook meat and survive the harsh winter temperatures.

Today, we continue to use fire pits for these and other reasons. According to a survey conducted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), fire pits are the second most popular outdoor furnishing, only behind chairs. But if you plan on buying a fire pit, you’ll need to maintain it. By following the tips listed below, you can make your fire pit last for countless years to come.

#1) Choose a High-Quality Fire Pit

Arguably, the most important thing you can do is choose a high-quality fire pit, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pit. While other companies mass produce their fire pits overseas, we handcraft each and every fire pit here in the United States. On average, it takes at least four hours for us to complete a single fire pit, so you can rest assured knowing you are getting the highest quality available.

#2) Watch What You Burn

When using your fire pit, you should avoid burning trash or pressure-treated lumber. Instead, choose natural, locally sourced wood that’s dry and not wet. Burning trash and/or pressure-treated lumber may release toxic fumes and chemicals, some of which may damage your fire pit over time (not to mention it’s bad for your health). And wet wood simply doesn’t burn as easily, so you may struggle to get it lit.

#3) Don’t Use Lighter Fluid

Assuming you use dry wood, you should be able to light your fire pit using nothing more than small pieces of tinder and kindling. You shouldn’t, however, use lighter fluid to get it going. Aside from the risk of bodily harm and property damage it poses, lighter fluid may damage the finish on your fire pit. It’s doubtful any noticeable damage will occur after just one or two uses of lighter fluid. Nonetheless, it’s best to err on the side of caution by avoiding lighter fluid altogether.

If you struggle to light your fire pit, check out our previous blog post here for some helpful tips.

#4) Allow Fire to Extinguish Naturally

Sure, it’s easier and faster to extinguish your fire pit by dousing it with water, but this increases the risk of damage. Unless it’s an emergency situation and you need to get the fire out ASAP, you should await for the fire to extinguish naturally. Dousing a still-burning fire pit with water causes sudden temperature changes. The 1,000-degree fire is suddenly cooled, which can lead to weaken the fire pit’s structural integrity.

#5) Clean the Grate Before and After Cooking

If you use your fire pit for cooking — as most owners do — you should clean the grate both before and after cooking on it. A wire grill brush is an excellent accessory that every home chef needs. Using a wire brush, you can scrub your fire pit’s grate to remove any stubborn food or debris. Failure to do so will result in food particles hardening onto the grate.

Also, consider applying a cooking oil over the grate before adding your food. A thin layer of vegetable oil will “season” it, while also discouraging rust and corrosion. You can experiment with different types of cooking oils, though many home chefs prefer traditional vegetable oil because of its high smoking point and ease of use.

#6) Keep it Covered

Fire Pit Party01Don’t leave your fire pit exposed to the elements. Ideally, you should either place it under a covered area or use a grill cover to protect it from the rain. Without some type of protection, your fire pit will get soaked — and this can lead to rust and corrosion. Keeping your fire pit dry is essential to preserving its structural integrity and original appearance. This isn’t limited strictly to fire pits, however; this applies to all steel and iron-containing metal accessories.

#7) Remove Ashes

When you are finished using your fire pit, wait at least 24 hours for the fire to extinguish and the ash to cool. Once it has cooled, you can dispose of the ash by scooping it out with a shovel and transferring it to a safe, non-flammable metal container. Never attempt to remove ash that’s still hot. Even if it looks gray and cool-to-the-touch, it could hold enough heat to spark a second fire.

#8) Wipe Off Soot and Residue

When fire pits burn, they’ll produce small amounts of smoke. And within this smoke is soot, which can stick to the surface of your fire pit. Soot isn’t a serious concern, but it’s a good idea to remove it nonetheless. After your fire pit has cooled (about 24 hours), wipe down the surface with a damp paper towel. You don’t have to use any special cleaning products, as a small amount of water should suffice, leaving your fire pit looking nice and clean.

Following the tips listed here will allow you to get more use and enjoyment out of your fire pit.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Recipe for the Perfect Fourth of July Backyard Bash

sparklers-923029_960_720The Fourth of July is right around the corner, offering the perfect opportunity for homeowners to host backyard parties and get-togethers. Being that it’s a federal holiday, everyone who works for the government or a government-run service gets the day off work. And even many privately run companies are closed to celebrate Independence Day. So, if you’re planning to host a backyard bash this Fourth of July, here are some tips to make it a success.

Prepare Your Backyard

One of the first steps towards planning the perfect Fourth of July backyard bash is to prepare the area in which you will host the party. Whether it’s your patio, garden or even the driveway, you need to clean and prepare it before inviting friends over. This means mowing the lawn to ensure the grass isn’t overgrown, edging sidewalks and walking paths, and sweeping or blowing any standing debris.

You can also use this time to prepare seating for your guests. Think about how many people you intend to invite, and use this number to determine how many seats you need. It’s a good idea to “overshoot” your seating, however. If you plan on inviting 12 people, set up 15 or so chairs. It’s always better to have more chairs than not enough.

Choosing Your Fourth of July Foods

No Fourth of July party is complete without plenty of delicious food and beverages. Statistics show that Americans consume approximately 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day weekend. Of course, this shouldn’t come a surprise given that Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is held during this time of year. When most people thing of Independence Day foods, they immediately envision hot dogs. They are delicious, inexpensive, and can be prepared any number of different ways.

While hot dogs are always a great choice for the Fourth of July, there are other foods from which to choose as well.

Some popular grilled food ideas for the Fourth of July include:

  • Hamburgers
  • Hotdogs
  • Steaks
  • Chicken
  • Corn on the cob
  • Pork chops
  • Bratwurst

To keep your beverages cold, you may want to prepare a cooler (or several). If you’re hosting the party in your backyard, and it’s a long walking distance to your home, a cooler will allow guests to retrieve ice-cold beverages without walking up to your home. Be warned, though, many gas stations and convenience stores sell out of ice early on the Fourth of July weekend, so buy it ahead of time.

Dishware and Cutlery

You’ll also need dishware and cutlery to kick off your Fourth of July backyard bash. Rather than using your own plates, dishes, cups, etc., consider using disposable ones. No one wants to spend hours washing dishes after hosting a party, which is why disposable dishware is preferred. Guests can grab their own plates and cups, and they can dispose of them when they are finished (keep a trash can near the food and eating area).

An alternative to plastic is compostable dishware and cutlery. As the name suggests, compostable dishware and cutlery turns to compost after a short period of time, breaking down into nutrient-rich food for plants. Assuming you have a compost bin, you can ask guests to place their compostable dishware and cutlery into your compost bin. This eliminates waste while creating fertilizer for your plants and flowers in the process. The only downside is that compostable dishware and cutlery tends to cost more than traditional plastic dishware and cutlery.

Send Invitations

Don’t wait until the last minute to send your invitations. With Independence Day fast approaching, you should get them in the mail ASAP. You can create basic invitations using card stock paper, or you can buy pre-made invitations. In your invitations, let guests know where the party is taking place (e.g. your backyard, with a street address), how long it will last, whether food will be served, and what they need to bring (if anything). You can include your phone number on the invitations in case guests have trouble finding your home.

In addition to an actual invitation, you should also call and invite guests over the phone. This ensures they get the message regardless of whether the invitation arrives in their mailbox.

Fireworks Safety 101

burgers-1839090_960_720If you plan on shooting fireworks off this Independence Day, you should follow some basic safety tips to protect against injury and property damage. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), roughly 230 people receive medical treatment at hospital emergency rooms every year on Independence Day for fireworks injuries.

Here are some fireworks safety tips to protect against injury and property damage:

  • Follow all local and state laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Never attempt to relight a “dud” firework.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • Do not shoot fireworks from bottles or buckets.
  • Beware of sparklers, as they can burn at temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep a bucket of water of garden hose nearby in case of an incidental fire.

Following the tips listed here will help make your Fourth of July backyard bash one to remember.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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3 Safety Rules to Follow When Disposing of Fire Pit Ash

1280px-Leave_No_Trace_FireA fire pit is the perfect addition to any patio or outdoor living space. It introduces new style, while also allowing you and your family to enjoy the warm ambiance of a fire. Perhaps this is why fire pits consistently rank as one of the top additions to outdoor living spaces.

But if you plan on owning a fire pit, you’ll need to know how to properly dispose of the ashes. Allowing ash to sit in your fire pit isn’t recommended, as it encourages rust and corrosion. By following the tips below, you can safely dispose of your ash while preserving the integrity of your fire pit.

#1) Wait 24 Hours Before Touching

A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 24 hours after your fire has been extinguished before attempting to touch or otherwise move the ashes. Even if they look cool, ashes may contain enough heat to spark a fire long after the original fire has gone out. This is why it’s best to wait at least one full day before touching the ash.

#2) Use an Ash Shovel

After the ash has thoroughly cooled, you can use a shovel to remove it. It’s best to use a metallic shovel designed specifically for ash removal, just in case the ash is still hot. Ash shovels are inexpensive and readily available at most home goods stores. Simply scoop the ash out of the bottom of the fire pit, at which point you can transfer it to an approved container.

#3) Place in an Ash Bucket

And when removing the ash, be sure to transfer it into a dedicated ash bucket. Never attempt to dispose of fire pit ash in a trash can, as this may cause an unwanted fire. Instead, use a designated ash bucket that’s made of metal. If any ash is still hot, you don’t have to worry about it sparking a second fire.

If you’re looking for things to do with your fire pit ash, check out this previous post published here. We reveal the top 10 uses for wood ash, some of which may surprise you.

Following the tips listed here will allow you to safely dispose of your fire pit ash.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Why (and How) to Oil Your Grill Grate

IMG_0948Whether you cook over a fire pit or a charcoal/gas grill, you should oil the grate before adding the food. It only takes a few minutes, but doing so offers several key benefits, some of which we’re going to discuss.

Protects Grate from Rusting

Grill grates — like all metallic objects containing iron — have a tendency to rust. This isn’t something that happens overnight. Rather, it takes months or years for them to develop any noticeable rust. Once this occurs, however, the corrosion can eat its way through the metal if left unchecked.

There are ways to protect your grate from rusting, one of which is covering your fire pit or grill so it’s not exposed to the rain and elements. Rust occurs when iron “oxidizes” with oxygen or moisture. So, covering your grate is an simple and effective way to prevent this from occurring. Furthermore, you can protect your grate from rusting by applying oil to it. Oil acts as a barrier between the metal within the grate and the moisture in the air.

Prevents Food from Sticking

In addition to protecting your grate from rusting, applying oil also keeps food from sticking. As any backyard barbecuer knows, food shouldn’t stick to the grate when grilling. If it does, the outer layer — along with all of the delicious seasoning — will be ripped off. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to oil your grate before adding the food. With a coating of oil over the grate, there’s a significantly lower risk of your food sticking.

How to Oil Your Grill Grate

Before we begin, it’s important to note that you should only oil the grate before starting the fire. Do not attempt to oil it if the coals are burning, as some cooking oils are flammable.

Assuming your grill is cool, you can oil your grill in one of several ways: one of the easiest is to apply a spray-based cooking oil. Simply spray the oil over the grate, after which you can add your food. Alternatively, you can brush the oil over the grate using a cooking brush. You don’t need a lot of oil. Place a small amount in a bowl, dip the brush into the bowl, and rub it across the grate until there’s a nice, even coating throughout.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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What’s the Best Wood to Burn in a Campfire?

bonfire-1835829_960_720111This is a question many campers ask. While all North American wood can burn, some is better than others. Choosing the right type of wood is important because it allows for a hotter, more efficient campfire that’s less likely to go out. So, which type of wood should you use?

Oak

Arguably, one of the best wood types to burn in a campfire is oak. Assuming it’s dry, oak produces substantial heat while burning slow and steady. Oak is also readily available throughout much of the country, making it easy for campers to find. According to Wikipedia, Northern and central America have the largest number of oak species.

Hickory

Hickory firewood is one of the best woods for burning. Hickory is even hotter burning than oak, maple and other popular hardwoods.  Hickory is a dense hardwood that can be tough to split, but holds little moisture and burns very well.  Hickory is also very popular for cooking.

Ash

Fraxinus, or what’s more commonly known as ash, is a genus of trees in the Oleaceae family. There are about 50 different species, some of which are evergreen while others are deciduous. Ash wood is known as some of the best firewood in the world. It burns easily, retains minimal moisture, and doesn’t produce a lot of smoke. These characteristics make it ideal for use in a campfire. And unlike other wood types, ash will even burn when green. If you find some ash wood lying around your campsite, try burning it.

Cedar

If you’re building a campfire to stay warm, look for cedar wood to burn. It doesn’t produce as large of a flame as some of the other wood types mentioned, but what it lacks in flame size it makes up in heat. Cedar produces excellent heat, making it the perfect choice for firewood to burn on an otherwise chilly night. Furthermore, cedar has a unique and pleasing aroma that’s not found elsewhere. It’s a subtle yet distinct aroma that most people enjoy. Of course, this is why some furniture polish and other consumer products feature the cedar scent.

Some of the wood types that you should avoid burning in your campfire include the following:

  • Poplar
  • Spruce
  • Willow
  • Alder

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How to Make the Perfect Grilled Chicken

grilled-923097_960_720Chicken is one of the most delicious and versatile meats on the planet. It’s low in fat, loaded in protein, and you can prepare it hundreds of different ways. While baked chicken can be delicious, it pales in comparison to the distinct smokey flavor or grilling it. However, there are a few things you should know to make the perfect grilled chicken.

Thaw Before Grilling

If you want to grill frozen chicken, let it thaw before tossing it on the grill. Cooking frozen chicken will release a substantial amount of moisture, and it also prevents the meat from cooking evenly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t grill frozen chicken to a safe temperature, but rather it won’t turn out as delicious as grilling thawed chicken.

Marinate Chicken Before Grilling

One of the biggest problems home chefs encounter when grilling chicken is having it come out to dry. This isn’t limited strictly to chicken; grilling many types of meats causes dryness. You can keep your chicken moist, however, by marinating it beforehand. To do this, fill a large Ziplock bag with 1-2 tablespoons of olive olive, 2 tablespoons of water, salt, paper, garlic and any other seasonings you prefer. Place your chicken inside and let it sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator, after which you can toss it on the grill. The marinade will soak into the chicken, making it nice and moist when it’s done grilling.

Wait for the Grill to Get Hot

Whether you’re grilling over charcoal or a gas grill, wait for it to get hot before adding your chicken. This allows the outside of the chicken to char, essentially “locking” in the juices. If your grill is still warming up, it may make your chicken dry. So, wait for it to get fully hot to ensure moist, delicious chicken.

Scrub the Grate

It’s also a good idea to scrub your grill grate before adding your chicken. If there’s any old food or debris on the grate, it may cause the chicken to stick — and that’s never something you want to see happen when grilling. When chicken sticks to the grate, the outer skin will likely tear, along with all of the seasoning. Scrub your grate before adding the chicken and lubricate it with cooking it to prevent this from happening.

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Turn Your Fire Pit Into an Outdoor Focal Point

36 on split rim

36 on split rimMore and more homeowners are upgrading their patios and outdoor living spaces. While there are dozens of ways to upgrade an outdoor living space, one of the most effective and versatile solutions is a portable fire pit. Using a portable fire pit, you can create a more relaxing atmosphere that’s perfect for parties and gatherings. However, it’s recommended that you turn your fire pit into an outdoor focal point by following the tips listed below.

Choose the Right Location

The first step towards turning your fire pit into an outdoor focal point is choosing the right location. Conventional wisdom should tell you that fire pits should not be placed right against the side of a home, shed or any other structure that may ignite. Instead, place it in an open area with at least 10 feet of clearance on all sides. An open area also provides plenty of room for seating, which is another key element to consider when designing your outdoor living space.

Arrange Seating Around the Fire Pit

Once you’ve chosen the right location for your fire pit, you should surround it with comfortable seating. The term “focal point” refers to a specific area where people look by default. When guests enter your outdoor living space, you want them to look at your fire pit — a task that’s easily accomplished through comfortable seating.

There are countless seating options available for outdoor living spaces, some of which include Adirondack chairs, chaise lounge chairs, hammocks, swings and lawn chairs. Just remember to arrange them around the fire pit, pointing towards the fire pit instead of away.

Place Fire Pit Eye Level

It’s also a good idea to place your fire pit at eye level. Upon sitting down, guests should immediately fixate their attention on the fire pit. Placing it eye level helps you achieve this goal by naturally drawing attention to the fire pit. Furthermore, placing your fire pit at this height provides optimal warmth, which is particularly important during the late fall and winter months.

Some fire pits are tall enough to achieve eye level without any assistance. Others, however, are shorter and require the use of an elevated surface, such as brick pavers.

These are just a few tips to turn your fire pit into an outdoor focal point.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Build a Campfire with Wet Wood

fire-1725843_960_720When it comes to building campfires, the drier the wood the better. Regardless of variety, all wood is highly porous with thousands upon thousands of small holes. These “pores” absorb or release moisture depending on the surrounding atmosphere. If the atmosphere is humid, wood will absorb moisture, making it difficult to burn. So, how do you build a campfire with wet wood such as this?

Find Dry Tinder

Even if the firewood is wet, you may still be able to light it using — but you’ll need dry tinder first. If it’s been raining, it’s probably best to bring your own tinder, such as newspaper, wood shavings, or even pocket lint. Assuming it’s dry, tinder such as this should easily ignite. If it’s wet, try placing it in direct sunlight for a few hours, allowing the moisture to evaporate.

Find Dry Kindling

Next, you’ll need to find dry kindling. Kindling is bigger than tinder, though still smaller than conventional firewood. It consists of small twigs and branches of relative size. To determine if kindling is dry enough to use in your campfire, try breaking it in half. If the kindling is dry, you should hear a loud “snap,” indicating that it’s not too moist. If the kindling doesn’t make this “snap” sound, you should find a different source that’s drier and more suitable for use in your campfire. You’ll need dry tinder and kindling to build a campfire using wet wood.

Find the Driest Firewood Possible

Just because firewood is wet doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t burn. However, it’s best to find the driest firewood possible. If you’re searching for firewood in the woods, look under sheltered areas where there’s natural protection from the rain. Underneath a large tree canopy, for instance, is a great place to find semi-dry firewood. The tree canopy acts as a shield, blocking a significant amount of rain from reaching the ground. Any fallen logs here should be drier than logs in exposed areas of the forest.

Create Your Fire

When creating your campfire, arrange the logs in the shape of a teepee, while placing the tinder and kindling underneath. After lighting the tinder, place the kindling over the flame. And once it’s lit, gently blow on the flame to help spread it to the firewood. It may take a little nurturing, but this should get your campfire up and goinf.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Grilling Tips for Kebabs

barbecue-84671_960_720Kebabs are the perfect food for grilling. Whether they are chicken, steak, veggies, shrimp or a combination thereof, there’s nothing quite like the smokey flavor of grilled kebabs. If you’re thinking about grilling some kebabs, however, you should consider the following tips.

Use Metal Skewers… or Soak Bamboo Skewers

One of the problems many people encounter when attempting to grill kebabs is burning their skewers. If you use wooden or bamboo skewers, there’s a good chance they’ll burn, especially when placed in close proximity to the flame. To prevent this from happening, try using metal skewers instead. Not only are they burn-proof, but they are also reusable.

Alternatively, you can soak bamboo skewers in water before placing them on the grill. By soaking them in water, they are less likely to burn. They may still “char,” but they shouldn’t burn all the way through.

Coat the Grate

Kebabs have a tendency to stick to the grate when grilled. When this happens, the outside of the food will harden to the grate, forcing you to rip it off. And in doing so, you’ll remove the seasoned exterior of the food, making it less palatable.

You can coat the grate in vegetable or olive oil beforehand to prevent kebabs from sticking. Using a brush, apply a small but thorough amount of cooking oil to the grate before lighting the coals. Once the oil has been evenly distributed, you can light the coals and add the kebabs. In addition to preventing your kebabs from sticking, the oil also helps to lock in the flavor.

Cut and Prepare Food Proportionately

Another common mistake you’ll want to avoid when grilling kebabs is preparing your food in different sizes. If you have a large steak medallion next to several small pieces of onion, conventional wisdom should tell you that the onion will cook faster. And assuming they are on the skewer, you won’t be able to remove the onion when it’s done; thus, resulting in burned onion and/or an underdone steak medallion.

To prevent this from happening, cut and prepare your food proportionately. As long as the skewered food is about the same size, it should cook at roughly the same pace. There may still be some nuances regarding cooking times, but it shouldn’t cause any major issues.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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How to Control Your Campfire and Prevent it from Spreading

campfire-1031162_960_72011There are approximately 100,000 wildfires every year in the United States. While lighting strikes are a common cause of these wildfires, another cause is uncontrolled campfires. Campers who fail to take the necessary precautions to control their fire may inadvertently spark one of these hard-to-extinguish wildfires. So, how can you better control your campfire and prevent it from spreading?

Choose the Right Location

When choosing a location for your campfire, look to see where nearby trees and brush are located. Ideally, your campfire should be at least 10 feet away from flammable brush and plant life. A stray ember can easily travel to a nearby tree, sparking a major wildfire.

Use a Fire Ring

Setting up a fire ring around your campfire is a quick and easy way to keep it under control. In the most basic sense, a fire ring is nothing more than a circle of medium-sized rocks placed around the perimeter of the campfire. It’s sole purpose is to control the fire and prevent it from escaping. Depending on where you are camping, there may be existing fire rings left by other campers, which you can typically use to build your won campfire.

Dig a Hole

Even if you use a fire ring, you should still dig a small hole in the center to better control your campfire. It doesn’t have to be deep, as just a few inches is usually enough to keep the fire under control.

Consider the Wind

Both the speed and direction at which the wind is blowing can affect your ability to control your campfire. If you build your campfire downwind, and there’s brush a short distance further downwind, it could spread out of control. This is why most outdoor experts recommend building campfires against a natural windbreak, such as a ridge or large rock.

Keep Water Nearby

It’s a good idea to keep some water near your campfire. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen, but if your campfire spreads out of control, you can extinguish it by dousing the flames in water. And even if your campfire doesn’t spread, it’s a good idea to douse the flames and ash in water before leaving. Doing so gives you peace of mind knowing that it’s fully extinguished.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Why Does My Campfire Keep Going Out?

2440742452_f823970f98_zCan’t seem to keep your campfire lit? Whether you’re camping deep in the woods or right in your backyard, keeping your campfire lit is important for several reasons: it provides warmth, cooking fuel, a relaxing atmosphere, and it even repels insects like mosquitoes. The good news is that most campfires will stay lit without any additional work on your behalf. There are times, however, when an otherwise perfect campfire will go out. So, what causes a campfire to go out and how can you prevent it from happening?

It’s Not Getting Enough Air

Going back to the basics of fire-building 101, every campfire needs three things to stay lit: fuel (wood), heat and an oxidizing agent (air). Assuming you have wood in your campfire — and your campfire is burning — neither fuel nor heat are likely the problem. A lack of air, however, can certainly make it difficult to keep a campfire burning through the night. This is why many outdoor survivalists recommend building a teepee-style campfire, which is characterized by an open center through which air flows.

The Wood is Wet

Another common reason why campfires go out is because the wood is wet. In order for wood to light — and stay lit — it needs to be dry. If it’s too dry, combustion won’t happen; thus, the campfire will likely go out. If you’re camping in an area where there’s little-to-no dry wood, consider bringing your own.

The Wood is Too Thick

When choosing wood for your campfire, select a combination of small, thin pieces, as well as larger, thicker pieces. If all of the wood is thick, it may struggle to ignite.

It’s Humid

Not surprisingly, the climate can affect whether or not a campfire stays lit. If it’s raining outside, the water will saturate your campfire and wood, causing the fire to go out. Even if it’s not raining, however, excessive humidity in the air can cause a campfire to go out. Humidity is defined as a measurement of moisture vapor in the air. Although you can’t see it, moisture vapor is all around us. When it’s particularly humid outside, the moisture vapor will saturate wood, making it difficult to keep a campfire burning through the night.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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6 Reasons Why Your Patio Needs a Fire Pit

familyfirepit_fullA fire pit is a must-have accessory for any patio or outdoor living space. If you’re still on the fence, here are 6 reasons why you need one.

#1) Aesthetics

This alone should be reason enough to decorate your patio with a fire pit. Some people assume that fire pits are strictly functional, but in reality they offer aesthetic benefits as well. They fill your patio with a new visual element while helping to balance the color and design.

#2) It’s Relaxing

Decorating your patio with a fire pit will improve its aesthetics, setting the mood for a more relaxing, stress-free environment. Humans have been gathering around campfires since the dawn of mankind. Studies have shown that fires — whether a campfire or fire pit — have a naturally relaxing effect

#3) Easy to Move

Assuming you buy a portable fire pit, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pit, you can easily move your fire pit. If you’re planning a vacation to a nearby park or the beach, for instance, you can pack up and bring your fire pit. And when you return, you can place it back on your patio.

Of course, not all fire pits are portable. Some fire pits are designed to be stationary, which ultimately restricts their utility.

#4) Provides Warmth Later in the Year

As summer comes to a close, many homeowners stop using their patio, preferring the warmth of their home instead. With a fire pit, however, you can keep your outdoor parties going later in the year. A well-made fire pit will provide a source of warmth for you, your family and friends. Whether it’s spring, summer fall or winter, you can enjoy your patio thanks to the fire pit.

#5) Keeps the Bugs Away

Mosquitoes can turn an otherwise pleasant evening into a nightmare. The good news is that a fire pit can keep these and other pests at bay. Smoke produced by a fire pit acts as a natural insect repellent, discouraging mosquitoes and other pests.

#6) It Doubles as a Grill

A fire pit even doubles as a grill, allowing homeowners to cook delicious food. Whether it’s burgers, steaks, chicken, pork chops, hot dogs, veggie kebabs, etc., you can cook just about anything on a fire pit.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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5 Tips for Starting a Campfire on the Beach

sea-1804591_960_72011What’s better than the relaxing ambiance of a campfire? A campfire on the beach. However, there are a few things you should know about starting a campfire on the beach.

Check the Rules

Before sparking your campfire, check to see if campfires are even allowed on the beach. Many beaches throughout the United States prohibit campfires, either for safety or environmental purposes. Others, however, have restrictions, such as using an existing fire ring or building the campfire a certain distance away from the water.

Create a Sand Pit

Assuming the beach doesn’t require campers to use an existing fire ring, consider building your campfire in a sand pit. One of the hurdles you’ll face when building a campfire on the beach is the wind. Whether you’re on the east coast or west, beaches have little-to-no protection from wind. By digging and using a sand pit, though, you’ll create a natural barrier of protection around your campfire.

Hurdle Around

Even with a sand pit, you may still struggle to get your campfire lit. If wind is a problem, have your group huddle around the campfire to create a wind-break of sorts. By using your bodies as shields, you’ll block the wind from reaching the fire, making it easier to start.

Look for Firewood

Of course, you’ll need plenty of firewood to keep your campfire burning. Again, some beaches have restrictions regarding what you can burn (e.g. no local firewood; must bring your own), so check beforehand. Assuming you are allowed to collect local firewood, look for driftwood that’s washed ashore. Driftwood is typically dry and hard, making it an ideal source of fuel for your campfire. Once you’ve lit some tinder and kindling, allow the heat to rise and ignite your driftwood.

Keep it Small

It’s a good idea to keep your beach campfire small. There’s no need to create a blazing bonfire on the beach, regardless of how many people with whom you are camping. Keep your campfire small to prevent disturbing the local wildlife and ecosystem. As your fire burns down, add more wood to keep it going. A rule of thumb is to keep your campfire no larger than three feet tall or three feet wide.

These are just a few tips to follow when building a campfire on the beach.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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6 Campfire Safety Tips to Follow

fire-1748705_960_720No camping experience is complete without a campfire. In addition to allowing campers to cook food, it creates a social ambiance that’s more relaxing. However, you should follow a few basic safety tips when building a campfire.

#1) Check Restrictions

Depending on where you are camping, there may be restrictions on building campfires. Some national parks prohibit campfires when it’s particularly dry, while others require campers to build fires in existing fire rings. Always check to see what, if any, restrictions there are on building a campfire.

#2) Stack Firewood Upwind

If you plan on staying for a while, you may have some extra firewood — and that’s okay. However, you should store extra firewood upwind to reduce the chance of an incidental fire. If it’s stored downwind, a stray ember may ignite the firewood.

#3) Keep Your Campfire Small

There’s really no point in building a large, roaring campfire. On the contrary, doing so only increases the risk of a wildfire. You can cook food and create warmth using just a small campfire. And a small campfire doesn’t pose the same risk of damage and injury as a larger one.

#4) Don’t Burn Trash or Debris

Burning your trash may seem more convenient than bagging and carrying it with you, but this practice is frowned upon for several reasons: for starters, burning trash, especially plastic, releases toxic fumes into the air. Secondly, some trash won’t burn down 100%, meaning remnants will be left behind. The bottom line is that you should only burn firewood in your campfire, not trash or debris.

#5) Wet Ashes Before Leaving

Even if your campfire “looks” like it’s out, it’s a good idea to douse it with water before leaving your campsite. The ashes can store enough heat to spark a second fire for up to 24 hours. By pouring water over them, however, you’ll prevent this from happening, protecting the surrounding plant life and vegetation from a wildfire.

#6) Don’t Leave Campfire Unsupervised

I know this probably sounds like common sense, but it’s still worth mentioning that you should never leave a campfire burning unsupervised. According to National Geographic, more than 100,000 wildfires occur in the United States each year, burning some 4 to 5 million acres of land. Many of these wildfires are the result of unsupervised campfires.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/