Trying to find the perfect fire pit for your new space? Let us provide the inspiration!

By Betsy Cribb
April 03, 2017
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When evening temps start dipping, diehard outdoor dwellers know the key to staying cozy well into the wee hours is an easy-to-ignite fire pit. This gorgeous gathering space is carpted in perfectly manicured grass, encircled with comfy lounge chairs, and has a beautiful view to boot.

Photo: John Ellis, Design: Jude Samuel

Warm summer days belong to the beach – to playing in the sand, soaking up the sun, and splashing in the surf – but breezy summer nights? Well, those belong to chasing sunsets, dining al fresco, and cozying up under the stars with a cocktail … or two. Transform your backyard into the ultimate après-beach gathering place with an outdoor fire pit, where your friends and family can kick back, catch up, and stay warm long after the sun goes down.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with swoon-worthy inspiration photos of beach house fire pits you’ll want to steal for yourself, from a custom courtyard setup in a Los Cabos, Mexico, hideaway to a tree-shaded outdoor room on the water in Beaufort, South Carolina. Plus, we have plenty of ideas on how to craft an outdoor fire pit that suits your style, whether you’re looking for a swanky setup for dinner parties or something that’s a little more laidback and low-key. Finally, we’ve rounded up all of the accessories you’ll need for hosting magical summer soirees in your own backyard, from fire pit cooking grates – hello, oyster roasts! – to pretty outdoor seating that makes room for a crowd.

Fire Pit Ideas

Custom built or straight from the store? Perched on the patio or nestled in the yard? A style that stands out, or a look that blends in? There are lots of elements to consider when planning the outdoor fire pit setup that will work best for your home and your family. No matter what you’re looking for, we’re ready to help, with all the tips and tricks you’ll need to craft a dynamic (and dynamite-looking!) place to put your feet up and enjoy the warmth of a crackling fire on chilly summer nights. Plus, we’re highlighting some of our favorite beach house fire pit designs ever: Each of them is loaded with genius ideas – from clever seating to convenient portability – to consider as you set out to create your dream outdoor entertaining space.

Photo: David Tsay; Stylist: Liz Strong

Idea #1: Be smart with your fire pit design, and take advantage of what’s already there.

The courtyard of this Los Cabos, Mexico, beach house (above) is a dreamy spot for a fire pit, as the high walls offer protection from winds coming off the beach and give the owners plenty of privacy. Architect Roberto Contreras designed the square fire pit to blend with the existing stonework, thereby preserving the charming, laid-back character of the courtyard, while also outfitting it for easy entertaining. An L-shaped teak sectional with big, French welt cushions fits snugly into the corner of the courtyard and echoes the lines of the square fire pit for a perch that feels especially cozy and tucked away. “There’s a real around-the-campfire feel when everyone piles on,” says homeowner and designer Charlene Petersen.

The take-aways here? Work with the existing architecture of your home to carve out a fire pit area that feels like a hidden jewel, and choose fire pit materials that will complement its surroundings.

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Idea #2: Double down on fire pit seating.

"Just as in a living room indoors, people tend to congregate around the fire," says Savannah architect Eric Brown, who partnered with Robert Turner, president of Habersham, to design this beautiful outdoor entertaining space in the waterfront community in Beaufort, South Carolina (above). "Building a central fire pit creates a natural gathering spot." Play up the fire pit’s role as the center of all the action by choosing a design with wide borders that can double as extra seating or serve as a convenient place to put down drinks or plates. The custom fire pit shown here is made from local Savannah brick and has an 18-inch border so that guests have a roomy, comfortable place to plop down with a cocktail even after the chairs have already been snagged!

Photo: David Tsay; Styling: Shéhérazade Arasnia

Idea #3: Swap wood for a natural gas fire pit.

While we’ll always love a wood-burning fire for its comforting crackling sounds, inimitable smoky scent, and summer camp nostalgia factor, a gas-fueled fire pit is a smart alternative for those of us who never nabbed that fire-building badge in Scouts. Not only can you start the fire with the press of a button, a natural gas fire is a breeze to clean up because, well, there’s nothing to clean up!

Worried you’ll miss the throwback feel of a wood-burning beach bonfire? Channel the organic, barefoot vibes of the beach in your fire pit’s surroundings. At this Santa Cruz, California, home (above), a gas-fueled fire pit with steel logs sits on a stone patio bordered by tall grasses and a boardwalk-inspired wooden walkway that reference the beach that’s just a block away.

When evening temps start dipping, diehard outdoor dwellers know the key to staying cozy well into the wee hours is an easy-to-ignite fire pit. This gorgeous gathering space is carpted in perfectly manicured grass, encircled with comfy lounge chairs, and has a beautiful view to boot.

Photo: John Ellis, Design: Jude Samuel

Idea #4: Move the fire pit to the grass.

Placing fire pits in the grass, rather than on terraces or patios, is a genius way to minimize backyard hardscape and transform unused patches of grass into entertaining hot spots. Set up pretty outdoor furniture around the pit for a look that’s polished and inviting, then bring out the picnic blankets when you have more guests than chairs.

This grass-surround setup is also a great choice for handy DIY-ers looking for a weekend project. Home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot make it super easy to build these kinds of backyard fire pits with kits that include everything from the sand you’ll need to craft the fire pit’s base, to the heavy-duty steel fire pit ring that fits snugly into the circle of concrete pavers.

Accessory Ideas

If you’re not ready to commit to a custom, permanent fire pit in your backyard, many retailers sell ready-to-use fire pits in a variety of sizes. The largest of these fire pits, which typically measure around three feet across (or wider!), are a great option if you plan to craft a semi-permanent setup, as they are too heavy to move easily. Mid-size fire pits, which usually measure around 30 inches wide, still hold a decent amount of wood and are a fan favorite because they’re more reasonably priced than their bigger counterparts. They’re also easier to move around, so you can move your cozy setup from the patio to poolside and everywhere in between. The smallest portable fire pits, like this one from Wayfair, have foldable legs and carrying cases, so you can take the party with you wherever you go. Plus, going the store-bought route hardly limits your style options: You can choose fire pits made of everything from hammered copper to intricately designed steel.

Photo: Courtesy of Manufacturer

Accessory #1: Outdoor Furniture and Fire Pit Swings

For a fire pit setup that will make your guests want to linger long after sunset, treat your outdoor entertaining space like an extension of your beach house living room, and surround the fire pit with pretty outdoor furniture that scores big on both comfort and style. We especially love deep-seating pieces, which extend standard seat depth by a couple of inches on average, for a lounge-worthy place to kick back. Go with a sectional if you want to squeeze more people around the fire (we like the looks of these from Target, Pottery Barn, and West Elm), or simplify the shopping process by choosing a fire pit set that comes with seating, like this one from Hayneedle (above), which includes a fire pit table and four deep-seating, eucalyptus wood club chairs. Add a fire pit swing to the mix for an extra dose of fun.

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Accessory #2: Fire Pit Cooking & Grilling Grate

Dub your fire pit the backyard entertaining MVP – and your new favorite grilling station – by outfitting it with a removable cooking grate. From chrome-plated round grates made for fitting snugly into the bowl of the fire pit for serious hot dog grilling to steel tripod grilling sets that give your fire pit a campfire feel, there’s something on the market for every kind of backyard grill master.

Of course, we’re all about custom pieces infused with a little local flair, too. In an outdoor oasis in Habersham, a gorgeous waterfront community in Beaufort, South Carolina, architect Eric Brown and Habersham president Robert Turner next-leveled the outdoor entertaining space’s central fire pit with a large cast iron grate, designed and crafted by Savannah blacksmith Russell Browne, for roasting oysters over the fire.

Photo: Courtesy of Manufacturer

Accessory #3: Fire Pit Cooking Tools

Because what’s a night around the fire without good snacks? Keep the party going – without having to run back and forth from the yard to the kitchen – with these fun tools.

For the cheese lover: Toast up a grilled cheese for yourself (grill marks and all!) with this handheld cast aluminum and stainless steel sandwich press. Plop it on top of your fire pit’s grill grate for melted, cheesy goodness.

For the salty snacks fanatic: Make three quarts of light, fluffy popcorn in just five minutes with this steam-vented popper. Non-stick coating means cleanup is as easy, breezy as the popping!

For the sweet tooth: These stainless-steel-and-rosewood Twig Marshmallow Skewers let you roast five jumbo marshmallows at once, and at only $10 a pop, you can order one for every s’mores lover in the family!

Accessory #4: Fire Pit Covers

Protect your fire pit ring from the elements, dirt, and debris by outfitting it with a cover. Fabric covers are a good option, as they’re generally made from sturdy materials that are water-repellant and fade-resistant, like commercial vinyl or finely woven polyester. A good fabric fire pit cover should also have waterproof seams and a secure hem so that your fire pit will be protected from wind and rain. If the fabric covers on the market won’t properly cover your backyard fire pit or you don’t like the look of the fabric covers, consider purchasing one made of steel. Also called snuffer lids, these types of covers help put out fires in a shorter period of time, and because they’re generally flat, the covers can double as additional serving surfaces when the fire isn’t lit.

Accessory #5 – Fire Pit Screens

For wood-burning fire pits, a spark screen is a wise investment. In addition to preventing embers and sparks from escaping the fire pit and possibly burning holes in outdoor furniture, fire screens also help control airflow. Without a screen, the fire’s airflow is completely unregulated, so wood burns quickly, and the fire needs to be fed frequently. A fire pit screen regulates airflow, consequently allowing the wood to burn more slowly and the fire to last longer. When choosing a screen for your fire pit, be sure to select one with handles, so you can easily remove it when it’s time to add more wood to the fire. And of course, be sure to choose one that’s wide enough to cover the entire diameter of the fire pit ring.