The dos and don’ts of back­yard fire pits

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY -

Once a rar­ity, fire pits have grown in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in re­cent years, as more and more home­own­ers turn their homes into pri­vate oases. Fire pits run the gamut from the very sim­ple to the more elab­o­rate, and the fire pits home­own­ers choose of­ten de­pend on the space they have avail­able as well as their bud­gets.

But even home­own­ers with­out any space or bud­get con­straints should give care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion to which fire pit they ul­ti­mately in­stall, es­pe­cially if they plan to make that in­stal­la­tion them­selves. The fol­low­ing are some dos and don’ts of fire pits for those home­own­ers about to add this re­lax­ing and pop­u­lar ac­ces­sory to their back­yards.

DO con­firm you can legally build a fire pit in your yard. Fire pits have be­come so com­mon­place that home­own­ers may think there are no reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing their con­struc­tion. How­ever, it’s still best to con­firm with your lo­cal gov­ern­ment plan­ning or zon­ing of­fices if you can build a fire pit and if any re­stric­tions ap­ply.

DON’T pro­ceed with the project un­til you have been granted of­fi­cial ap­proval. As­sum­ing you have the go-ahead to build a fire pit is not the same thing as know­ing you have been ap­proved. Start­ing early could re­sult in fines if it turns out you aren’t al­lowed to have a fire pit. But you may also be­gin build­ing a big­ger fire pit than the lo­cal gov­ern­ment al­lows, and that could be money down the drain later. Wait un­til you get of­fi­cial word be­fore you pro­ceed with the project.

DO build on flat ground. The fire pit should be built on flat ground to re­duce risk of ac­ci­dent and/or in­jury. A fire pit built on flat ground also means ev­ery­one can en­joy it com­fort­ably and equally once the project is fin­ished. If the ground around the pit is not flat, some peo­ple may be forced to sit crooked or lean for­ward just to en­joy the pit.

DON’T build near flammable struc­tures. Build the fire pit far enough away from ex­ist­ing struc­tures, such as your home, garage or shed, so flick­er­ing flames do not catch some wind and lead to dis­as­ter. Be­fore build­ing in a given spot, mon­i­tor the wind pat­terns for a few days by sit­ting in a lawn chair at the spot you ul­ti­mately want the fire pit to be. If you no­tice the wind is blow­ing to­ward your house, you will want to choose an­other area for the pit so smoke from the fire will not be blow­ing into your home ev­ery night.

DO choose the right size. The size of your fire pit will de­pend on the space you have avail­able, but even if you have a vast swath of space, keep in mind that pro­fes­sional con­trac­tors typ­i­cally rec­om­mend build­ing a fire pit no big­ger than 44 inches wide. Any­thing larger can be un­sightly and may not ap­peal to prospec­tive buy­ers down the road. In ad­di­tion, an es­pe­cially large fire pit may re­sult in po­ten­tially un­ruly flames that can present a fire haz­ard.

DON’T go it alone if your DIY skills are sus­pect. In­stalling a fire pit is a rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive DIY job, but that does not mean any­one can do it. Ground needs to be ex­ca­vated and the slope of the yard must be mea­sured so the fire pit is safe and func­tional for years to come. If your DIY skills are not up to snuff, hire a pro­fes­sional con­trac­tor so your back­yard oa­sis does not be­come a costly headache.

A fire pit can turn a bor­ing back­yard into a re­lax­ing re­treat. But home­own­ers must ad­here to the dos and don’ts of fire pits to en­sure their re­treat is some­thing they can en­joy for years to come.

(Source: Metro Cre­ative)

GRANT SIMEON

Left to right: Grant Morse, Oliver Kori­tar, Jor­dan Hir­tle, Nick De­francesco, Steven Kim­mel, Ross Drew, Jesse Morse, Samuel Vail­lan­court, Steve Piercy, Scot Far­gus­son, Mike Mckenna (Chief), Wade Morse (Lieu­tenant), Dan Mck­elvey (Cap­tain), Robert...

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