What are the Best Materials for a Garden Fire Pit?

Dan Cavallari

The options for a garden fire pit generally boil down to two options: permanent structures or removable structures. Like any other type of fire pit, a garden fire pit must be constructed with materials that are non-combustible, materials that will not catch on fire. Most metals are non-combustible, as are stones, brick, and concrete, so these are all good choices for fire pits. Wood should obviously be avoided as a garden fire pit material, as should any fabrics, materials coated with combustible materials such as paints or stains, and synthetic materials such as vinyl. Remember that all components of the pit must be analyzed for combustibility, even if the component is minor.

A garden fire pit.
A garden fire pit.

Stones work well as a garden fire pit material for several reasons, one of which is aesthetics. In a garden, stones look natural and visually pleasing, so they are a great choice for the aesthetic of the space. Stones will conduct heat as well, which means as the fire gets hot, so too will the stones, thereby enhancing the function of the fire. Stones can simply be laid in a circular pattern to contain a dirt pit within, thereby making a campfire-style fire pit. The stones can also be laid and mixed with concrete for a more solid structure.

Metal garden fire pit models can often be purchased at home improvement stores.
Metal garden fire pit models can often be purchased at home improvement stores.

Metal garden fire pit models can often be purchased at home improvement stores. These portable pits are essentially stoves, and they can be placed anywhere within a garden as long as they are not placed too closely to living plant matter or other combustible materials. These fire pits often feature metal bases and metal mesh or grates that surround the fire within. The metal will heat up as the fire heats up, thereby distributing more heat in the immediate vicinity of the fire pit.

Brick is a great choice for a permanent garden fire pit, though it may become costly to build such a structure. Brick laying can be a difficult process, which means a professional will most likely need to be hired to build the structure. Brick conducts heat well, making it a good choice for distributing the fire's warmth, but it is also non-combustible, meaning it is safe. A brick structure will be quite durable and will last a very long time, and the visual appeal of brick is highly sought after. Concrete can be used for a fire pit material as well, though it tends to be less attractive than other materials.

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