The heat is on

By Jeanine Matlow

Water isn’t the only fabulous feature to appreciate beyond your back door this time of year. Fire pits lend warmth to your outdoor space while creating an intimate gathering spot that sparks conversations. Better yet, new materials along with contemporary styles let you make a personal statement in your outdoor space, whatever your preferred aesthetic.

Contemporary varieties are hot right now. “We’re definitely seeing that trend, and it just seems to be picking up more as we go along,” said Dan Hart, owner of Out Back Casual Living in Grand Rapids (, who explains most fire pits rely on propane or natural gases, with propane being popular because it’s readily available.  

The array of sizes and shapes, as well as materials, range from marine grade polymer to solid aluminum powder-coated tops. Long linear styles tend to accompany L-shaped seating in the form of a sofa and loveseat or a corner piece, while round or square designs are often surrounded by comfy chairs with cushions or curved sectionals.

From classic fireplaces (top right), built out of stone and brick to fire bowls (above), fire pits have become very popular features for outdoor patios. They naturally draw attention and spark conversation.


Many fire pits serve a dual purpose as a piece of furniture. Though most are coffee-table height, Hart says lower styles have been trending lately following the demand for deep seating in outdoor settings.

Though fire elements have much to offer, suppliers say there’s a lot to consider, as well. “Recently, people have become interested in unique fire features, such as fire bowls, linear fire features and innovative fire tables,” said Joshua Robinson, design and sales manager for Todd’s Services in Hamburg ( “Fire pits within the patio are still a classic favorite. This option is cost-effective and a great family gathering place for many.”

In the planning phase, you should consider where you want to be when you sit around the fire and determine how many people you would like to be near the fire at one time. “Be sure the fire element is not in an area where you would constantly have to walk around it,” Robinson said.”
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