Fire pits do not establish a peppy, party-like ambiance on their own and need the right surroundings for complete decor. Thus, the materials around any fire pit play a key role in updating the space and making it perfect for parties, barbeques, and get-togethers.
However, customizing an area around a fire pit for outdoor living is always tricky, and you might face challenges regarding the layout, material, arrangements, and other factors. Or, you could just be looking for ways to uplift your fire pit area on a budget.
So, today we’ll discuss 20 trendy ideas to revamp a fire pit and set it ready for a barbeque party!
You can put various landscaping elements like sunken gardens, plants, and recycled accessories around your fire pit. Additionally, you can plan aesthetic curved seatings or swings for a better fire-pit experience and add heat-resisting paving materials like stones and gravel to enhance the ambiance.
What Materials to Put Around a Fire Pit?
Fire pits are hardscape elements and often need softening surroundings to curate a balanced outdoor space. So, let’s shortlist the materials and elements that not only eliminate the harshness of a blazing flame but look cozy and organic in any setting.
1. Landscape Elements – Grass, Shrubs, and Pavers
The landscape gives a natural, rustic touch to on-ground and sunken fire pits and brings an earthy ambiance. Also, you won’t need to carry any extra decorations for your backyard fire pit. You only need to pick the right surrounding, depending on the fire pit you have.
For instance, if you have a modern tabletop or chimney fire pit, you can simply put it up against towering bushes and hedges to make it pop out. However, if you have a rustic fire pit like a stone fire bowl, blending your fire a little with the surroundings will give it a more natural appearance.
Grasses to grow around a fire pit: Native perennials like Iron-weeds or Black-eyed Susans, Ornamental grasses, or Variegated Foliage.
Cost: $100-150 for different types of grass and $4000 – 5000 for other design-specific landscape elements.
Quick Tip: Always define the walkway to your fire pit with brick or stone pavers for easy access, but line them with annual blooming plants, shrubs, or bollards for balance. However, never place them too close to a wood-burning fire pit as they catch fire quickly.
2. Concrete or Cinder Blocks
Concrete, Cement, or Cinder blocks are incredibly versatile and can be poured, stacked, hammered, or beaten to design a robust and rustic surrounding for a fire pit. Because of their excellent heat resistance and fire retardant qualities, these materials are not only strong and long-lasting but also suitable for placement next to a conventional fire pit.
Not only that, but you can also use concrete or cinder blocks for fire pit seating. Here, you can use a concrete block for heavy seating and hardscape and pick a lightweight cinder block for temporary stools or seatings.
These will resist the extreme sun, rain, or snow and won’t crack or discolor, thus ever-enhancing the aesthetic of your built-in space.
Cost: Fairly Inexpensive and costs about $1-3 per block.
Precaution: Concrete furniture might get a blackish tinge from soot and ashes around the fire ring. Hence, you may rub it with a 1:2 diluted chlorine bleach solution to retain its finish.
3. Gravel or Decomposed Granite
Gravel or decomposed granite crumble is an excellent material for a dark, natural setting that perfectly contrasts the yellow flames of the fire pit glass. Moreover, it does not show charring or ash stains and is smooth to walk on.
It comes in various colors, and you can even choose multi-colored gravel to adorn your fire feature along the coasts.
However, gravel or granite crumble is highly porous and might trap moisture and heat from your outdoor fireplace, making it prone to explosion or bursting during your campfire.
Best Gravels for your Fire Pit Area: Pea gravel, Crushed Stone Gravel, Decomposed Granite Gravel, Crushed Marble Gravel, and Crimson Stone Gravel.
Cost: Gravel costs about $2-3 per square foot or $1500 wholesale.
Warning: Gravel tends to become hot and might discolor from the continuous emissions from an on-ground fire pit. Hence, place the pit on a stand or add pad support under the fire pit ring before ignition.
4. Bed-Rock or Stones
Stones are durable, heat-resistant, and offer a natural setting to any fire pit. They work with on-ground and above-ground gas fire pits and do not overheat, melt or chip. Putting stones around a fire pit will give a countryside, vintage feel in your backyard.
Moreover, they create a natural barrier around the fire bowl and prevent the spread of fire during a mishap. Plus, they come in assorted sizes, colors, and shapes that fit different camping themes.
Best Natural Stones to Use: Granite, Marble, Slate, Lava Rocks, Slate.
Cost: $100-600, depending on the rock chosen.
Caution: Softer, porous rocks like Limestone, Polymineralic Rocks, River rocks, Pumice and Gneiss might explode due to overheating in the fire pit area and should be avoided.
Sand is a fire-resistant and easy-to-pour material around and underneath a fire pit. Surprisingly, sand absorbs all the excess heat from the fire glass and radiates it uniformly to the surroundings, thus making surfaces colder to touch.
However, you cannot use sand under a wood-burning fire pit as it might be challenging to separate the fly-ash and grout from the sand, but you can use it with a gas fire pit, dry fire pit, or propane fire pit.
And you can always mix a small portion of grass clippings or compost if you want to plant some succulents in the sand along the fire pit.
Types of Sand for an Outdoor Fire Pit: Silica Sand, Beach Sand, Colored Sand, Polymeric Sand, Paver Sand.
Cost: Around 30 – 40$ for a 10-pound bag.
Quick Tip: Use a layer of at least 2-inches underneath and 4-inches around the fire pit for better heat control.
Metal sculptures, covers, fencing, or accessories create a soft barrier around the ground fire pit and look cohesive with the fire bowl. They not only add a sleek, ultramodern look to the fire pit but offer a slightly rustic effect that looks gorgeous with strip lighting. Plus, metal sculptures and bowls are shiny and can be good focal points against your backyard fire.
And you can use them even for your outdoor furniture since they do not dent, blacken or deform due to the fire and heat, thus enhancing your fire pit safety. Alternatively, you can even use a portable fire pit that can adjust with the orientation of your metal sculptures.
Trendy & Safe Metals to Use: Cast iron, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, and Wrought Iron.
Cost: $40 – 500 per square foot for different metals.
Quick Tip: Wipe your metal seats or sculptures with a mild, anti-rust solution to enhance their durability and lifespan. Alternatively, you can even paint them, but it might disrupt the stream-lined ambiance.
7. Walls & Barriers
Low-rise walls provide privacy to your fire pit area and curate small conversation zones and additional group patio seatings. Plus, they protect from the wind, limit the view, and add a textured backdrop to any custom fire pit. You could also use these as a retaining wall for an eccentric fire pit or add cushions on the top for built-in seats around a dry fire pit.
Cost: About $10 per square foot for a fire brick wall and $80 for a stone wall.
Quick Tip: Add tiles to the low-raised walls and put a concrete fire pit in the center for a high-end, industrial edge to custom or DIY fire pits.
8. Fire Table
Fire tables allow you to add a supplementary tabletop fire pit beside the central backyard fire, thus providing a candle-like ambiance with the functionality of a table. It not only offers multiple spaces and storage for food but also raises the fire bowl and keeps the ground grass or gravel cooler.
And, you can pick a wood fire table for a natural and rustic setting along the outdoor fire pit while choosing metal ones for a modern outlook.
Cost: $200 to 3000 depending on the size, shape, and material.
Quick Tip: It’s essential to clean and unclog the burner after each use to prevent oil leakages and table stains.
9. Recycled Accessories
Recycling is fun and free! You can get creative and pick those chicken wires and convert them to vertical gardens, use your old glass bottles to create low-raised walls, or even use broken concrete tiles to refurbish your patio. These endless possibilities add more life and a hand-touch to your backyard fire pit and help reduce waste considerably.
Cost: Zero! As the materials are meant for reuse.
Some Trendy Recycling Ideas:
- Use old doors and windows to create privacy screens around your fire pit.
- Convert cans and tire’s to portable planters.
- Use broken kitchen chimneys to direct smoke away from the fire pit seating.
- Convert metal trash cans or caskets to DIY fire bowls.
10. Sunken Fire Pit Garden
Sunken fire pit gardens are brick, or wood seats dug below the ground level with a thick retaining wall that prevents collapse. These not only mimic the look of a fresco lounge but add an ultramodern appeal to everyday fire pits. However, they might store rainwater or snow during winters and need proper drainage and maintenance to prevent damage.
Also, it’s advisable to pick water-resistant materials like brick, stone, metal, and concrete for the seatings while choosing a sturdier brick fire pit at the center.
Cost: $30,000 – 80,000
Quick Tip: Always add a 60-70cm thick layer of stones and rubble under your sunken garden and have a double-sided slope for adequate drainage.
Fire Pit Seating Ideas for Your Backyard
Seating arrangements are the crux of any campfire party and allow relaxation and comfort instantly. So, let us look at some popular fire pit seating designs to get the party going!
11. Sectional Sofa
Sectional sofas are small l-shaped or abstract sofas with washable cushions and frames to go with your fire pit. These can be tucked into niches, placed at the center, or used to curate small conversational zones with fire tables or portable fire kits.
Further, you can spice them up with different types of throw pillows and string lights for a decorative edge.
Cost: $1000 – 6000
Quick Tip: Use durable, water-proof, and comfortable materials such as Polyester, Rayon, or Satin for your outdoor sofas.
12. Circular Benches
Circular benches are weather-resistant, sturdy, and decorative. They not only add an intimate, rustic touch to the space but even function as a protective wall that keeps the flame from blowing out. Plus, these offer more seating space for people and can even be combined with storage facilities underneath their cushions.
Cost: $700 – 12000
Quick Tip: You can use recycled materials, eco-friendly blocks, or concrete pavers to design temporary circular benches around a dry fire pit.
Hammocks are cozy and spacious. They are made from a tensile, elastic fabric, wood, or bamboo that balances the extra weight without buckling. Hammocks are great for swinging, sleeping, and relaxing and offer a cottage-like ambiance right around your backyard fire pit. Plus, they are lightweight, portable, and easy to hang from any tree top.
Cost: $200 – 1000
Quick Tip: Always coat your bamboo or wooden hammocks with a fire-retardant spray to prevent burning from the fire pit’s sparks.
14. Concrete Stools
Concrete stools are minimalist, industrial, but permanent. These remain cooler and withstand extreme weather conditions, making them a durable choice. Plus, they can be custom-made to any size and shape and can be repainted for a colorful and funky DIY fire pit seating. But, these are not sustainable and might need a retaining wall for curvilinear seats.
Cost: $40 – 100
Quick Tip: Add felt pads, cushions, table runners, or folded rugs on top of the concrete stools to prevent them from discoloring due to heat.
15. Swivel Chairs
Swivel chairs, also called spinny chairs or revolving chairs, have a lightweight, user-friendly design that allows you to move and rotate at your convenience. These have a single center leg and a pulley that turns the chair at 360° and allows a panoramic view. Moreover, these are stylish and add a high-end ambiance against metal fire bowls and pits.
Cost: $60 – 150
Caution: Swivel chairs have wheels and might slide or run down to any place. Hence, use them with utmost caution and never allow small children to use them without supervision.
16. Circular Sofa
Circular sofas are soft and cushioned, Velvet or Rayon sofas that look cohesive with the curves of a fire bowl and offer a countryside ambiance instantly. These can be placed separately with partitioned spaces for groups or attached to make a semi-circle seating for a lounge.
Further, these give a futuristic character to any outdoor space and allow the central firepit to stand out and catch attention. And you can place these directly on the ground, or add a small deck or patio underneath, to define the space better.
Cost: $1000 – 2000
Quick Tip: Never use leather, hemp, silk, linen, or woolen upholsteries for your circular sofas, as they might discolor or blacken due to wood burning.
17. Swing Chair
For a more relaxing and vacation-like effect, opt for a wood or wicker swing chair near your fire pit where you can lie down or have friends inside. They have a cocoon-like shape held by sturdy hanging belts with a slow rocking motion.
You can also match it up with lounge chairs or a sectional sofa or hang them from your patio pergolas for more seating. This perfectly fits near gas fire pits and gives the best visual appeal to the outdoor living area.
Cost: $80 – 200
Precaution: Never use solvents, acids, or bleach to remove soot from your swing chair. Instead, repaint it with epoxy or acrylic paint or stain it for a quick reglaze.
18. Tree Stumps
Natural or artificial stumps give an earthy and naturalistic appearance around the fire pit. You can recycle and use fallen branches to make these or purchase faux wood stumps quickly and conveniently. Further, you can permanently fix them to the surface or carry them whenever and wherever you want.
Cost: These are free gifts from Mother Nature! However, faux wood stumps will cost you $1000 – 2000.
Quick Tip: Natural tree stumps are prone to decay, molds and mildew over time. Hence, coat them with wax, sealers, or stain them with any anti-termite solution to enhance their durability.
19. Lounge Chairs
Lounge or reclining chairs have a sleek, well-proportioned design that provides utmost body comfort and allows you to nap peacefully beside the fire pit. In addition, these sit low to the ground and thus soak more heat and allow a spa-like heat bath on a budget. And you can even opt for the different options like Teak, Papasan, or Cushioned according to your decor.
Cost: $100 – 500
Precaution: Lounge chairs fade away in direct sunlight. Hence, you should paint them or add an umbrella at the top. Alternatively, use them for small DIY fire pits, and keep them in your garage when unused.
20. Adirondack Chairs
Adirondack chairs are the most popular seating option for a cinder block fire pit as they cover all your needs. They sit low to the ground, have a tall slated back, and a higher seat that lets you enjoy the fire pit’s warmth properly. In addition, they have wide armrests for putting plates or glasses, making them the most comfortable and practical choice.
Cost: $200 – 500
Tips to Design Seating Around a Fire Pit
- Avoid placing the fire pit in the center of your patio, as it might disrupt the overall harmony and visual balance. Instead, offset it to one end of the patio and complement it with a grill or bar at the other end.
- Analyze the wind patterns of your backyard fire and place it so that it directs smoke away from your fire pit seating.
- Always place the seating at a distance of at least 10 feet from a wood-burning fire pit to avoid inhaling smoke, fly ash, and other toxic fumes.
- The seating should be at least 4-6 inches wider than the size of the pit to set up enough room for everyone.
- Complete your fire pit seating with softer textures like pillows, rugs, and cushions to create balance and an ambient atmosphere.
- Include furniture with adequate storage facilities and add additional tables to start your party.
How do you Arrange Seats Around a Fire Pit?
You can use similar seating like swivel chairs or match up different seating arrangements. For instance, pick fluid, curvilinear chairs along a circular fire pit and go with cornered sectional sofas and armchairs for a square fire pit. In any case, keep a distance of at least 2.5 feet between the pit and outdoor furniture.
Can you Put Landscape Fabric under a Fire Pit?
Yes, you can place a landscape fabric such as a weed block fabric in the fire pit seating space. But make sure you do not need to keep it directly under your fire pit. Also, use sod staples on different corners to hold the fabric in place.
Can I Put Mulch Around the Fire Pit?
You can put mulch around the fire pit but do not put candles, cigarettes, or fireworks over it.
Can You Put Rubber Mulch Around the Fire Pit?
Yes, you can put rubber mulch around a firepit, but use it in lesser quantities since it’s very unpleasant to smell. In contrast, rubber is an excellent insulator; it will absorb more smoke and not overheat, keeping the surroundings cooler.
A deeper understanding of the various materials you can put around a fire pit will make your job much easier. This will help you prepare a backyard fire pit seating space with proper natural materials around and a seating arrangement that is comfortable and scenic.
However, knowing what to put around a fire pit is not enough; you should also know what you can burn inside it. So, check out our related article on ‘ What you can burn in a fire pit and what you shouldn’t?’ to clarify your doubts.