Ready to relive your summer camp days (minus the tents and shared bathrooms, of course)? Then consider adding a fire pit to your backyard. Perfect for toasting s’mores, chatting over a glass of wine, or taking the chill out of early summer nights, a fire pit is a cozy place to gather your friends. But they don’t have to look like the campfire spots you remember from childhood: Modern versions made from upscale materials and in striking shapes and sizes – are chic enough to earn a permanent spot in your own great outdoors.
Pick a Pretty Metal
An extra-deep copper fire pit (like the SH101 from CobraCo) allows for more wood – and a fire that lasts even longer than those in shallower tubs. But if you’re going to be spending more time sitting around it for conversation, drinks, and snacks, then you’ll want it to look good, too, which is where the hand-hammered metal, the raised stand, and the gorgeous, striking color come in. The freestanding fire pit can be moved from the front yard to the back, depending on your party, and looks beautiful no matter where you put it.
Building a stacked stone fire pit gives a traditional campfire a subtle upgrade: The use of natural materials helps tie it in with the outdoor surroundings, but intricate stonework and rough slabs make for a more visually appealing finished product than building a fire right on the ground. You can build your own – Instructables offers one method – or choose a kit that gives you a similar look without the bicep-building work.
Choose a Modern Shape
Branch out from the traditional round, bowl-shaped fire pits with modern versions that are almost works of art – like the handcrafted King Isosceles curved iron triangle; the sleek, rectangular Napoleon Linear Flame; or the Firenze glass fire pit, which lets you watch every crackle and pop while protecting you (and the kids) from jumping embers. Whichever shape you choose, the out-of-the-ordinary look will take all your backyard gatherings from summer camp-inspired to grown-up glam.
Skip the Wood
Don’t want to worry about keeping a stack of wood around, or fiddling with lighting a fire? That doesn’t mean you can’t have a fire pit: Just choose a gas version instead. You can find plenty of options that look similar to wood-burning versions, including round and square shapes; stacked wood, tiled, and glass outers; and a variety of heights – all without the hassle of logs and matches.
If you’re really dedicated to outdoor fires, then maybe a fire pit isn’t enough – maybe you need an outdoor fireplace. These built-in versions come in both gas- and wood-burning models, and provide a stunning focal point for your porch, patio, or backyard. Plan to use them long after s’mores season is over for warming up on cool fall nights with a mug of hot cider, or taking the chill out of late spring cookouts after the sun goes down.