Controlling fire is what helped define humans and separate us from other animal species, and fire still captivates us. Adding an element of fire can instantly transform an otherwise ordinary space into one that is inviting and warm. A backyard fire is just the thing to keep you outside on cool summer nights, and it can be a nice winter feature in more mild climates.
A backyard fire can be as cheap and basic as a hole in the ground, or it can be as elaborate as a marble gas-fueled fireplace -- it all depends on how much you want to spend. One practical solution for urban communities is a portable fire pit, which is an elevated fire bowl with a screen that can be used in a variety of spaces. DIYers can also make their own fire pits using anything from bricks to flagstones. Another popular and attractive option is the chiminea, which is an outdoor fireplace that has a short chimney. Whatever type of fire pit or fireplace you choose, it's a good idea to look up local fire codes and to make sure it's legal to have an open fire in your town before lighting one in your yard.