Firepit Placement and Use to Avoid Damaging Trees

Are you considering adding a firepit to your lawn? Firepits have become increasingly popular in Nashville. They are a great way for a family to share a “campfire” experience without actually having to sleep in a tent out in the woods. They also make great entertainment centers for more sophisticated gatherings.

One of the reasons firepits are enjoying such popularity is the wide range of choices offered by manufacturers. Firepits come in both portable and fixed installations. The price range runs from $200 for a simple steel bowl, wood fueled and portable, to thousands of dollars for a copper bowl, combination gas and wood fuel, permanent installation.

Regardless of the model or type of firepit you select, installation will be easier and safer if you use a professional landscaping service like the Parke Company. Known for our landscaping and tree trimming service, we also have extensive experience in “hardscaping,” or the installation of firepits, water features, gazebos, and more.

Considerations When Installing a Firepit

There are obviously aesthetic considerations when choosing a firepit. You want one that is sized appropriately for your lawn. Too big and your firepit will look like a pagan sacrifice altar. Too small and it will look like a misplaced Weber grill. If you are installing a permanent pit, it’s best if it is constructed from the same materials as your house, if possible.

But there are other, more serious concerns to address, including safe operation of the firepit. In fact, if you live in Nashville there is a regulation that says:

  •        Firepits must be constructed of steel, concrete, clay, or other noncombustible materials;
  •        They must be kept at least 15’ from the dwelling;
  •        They must burn wood or other solid fuels;
  •        The firepit must be attended by a responsible person equipped with a means to immediately extinguish the fire.

If you live outside of Nashville, call your local fire department to see if there are any restrictions.

More Safety Tips for Firepits

Then there are the obvious issues. In Nashville the pit has to be 15’ away from your home, but if that 15’ puts you under a tree or a tree’s overhanging branch, you have to move the pit. Trees represent the biggest threat of fire. The pit will be built on concrete, gravel, brick, or slate, so it won’t overheat and catch fire. However, a spark from a wood log can travel (particularly on a breezy night) and catch a tree on fire.

People like to buy firewood as fuel because you get the crackling, smoke, and aroma of a fireplace fire. Wood fuel comes with its own set of problems, though. Avoid using softwoods like pine and cedar as they have a tendency to “pop” and send embers flying. A hardwood like oak makes the best firewood. Obviously, you’ll need to keep a supply of split wood nearby and feed the fire when needed. Lastly, you need a plan to safely remove and dispose of ashes when the gathering ends.

Seating should be three feet back from the pit, constructed of a non-flammable material, and definitely not include any cushions. A concrete or brick sitting wall is a nice alternative to chairs.

Contact Us!

If you would like advice on planning a firepit, don’t hesitate to call the Parke Company now. We are happy to help!