Fire pits and pergolas are among the most popular landscaping features. Both provide beauty, atmosphere, and the opportunity to enjoy outdoor spaces at times you might not otherwise be able to, such as cold winter nights and hot summer days.
So why not have a fire pit and a pergola together? A fire pit pergola? Maybe that sounds like a great way to burn your pergola down!
Actually, you absolutely can put a fire pit under a pergola! However, there are a number of things to consider before you set about doing that.
Local Codes and Regulations
First, check into what your HOA or municipality does and doesn’t allow, especially when it comes to fire pits. Some places have rules about the height or shape of structures. Some only allow gas-burning outdoor fire pits. And some don’t allow outdoor fires of any kind. You don’t want to invest all the time and money into your fire pit pergola only to find you have to undo it or redo it.
Height, Overhead Clearance, and Material
Is the pergola high enough that heat and embers won’t damage it? Typically, 15’ is a safe bet, but it can vary depending on the materials involved. When planning to install a fire pit beneath a pergola, always check manufacturer specifications.
Also, the makeup of the pergola matters. Aluminum isn’t flammable, and it’s highly resistant to weather. Wood, though very attractive, isn’t such a good idea, especially if the fire pit is a wood-burning one.
Most pergolas naturally have excellent ventilation, but it’s another thing to check into beforehand. Sometimes people use curtains or covers with their pergolas. Those will trap smoke inside, making things less pleasant at the least and quite possibly harmful to people’s health. Plus, ash and soot can cause discoloration.
Gas or Wood?
If your locality allows a choice between the two, you’ll have to consider the pros and cons. Wood-burning fire pits are unbeatable for their ambience, but they also require more maintenance and are more likely to cause a fire. Gas-burning fire pits may lack the classic crackling sounds and the scents of seasoned wood, but they’re easier to control and can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch.
Inside the pergola, you’ll want the fire pit to be centrally located so that people can comfortably move about it without getting too close to the flames. You’ll also want to make sure no flammable items are too close. Speaking of too close, you never want a fire pit too close to a home; having it at least 10 feet away is pretty standard.
All furniture inside a pergola with a fire pit should be fireproof or fire-resistant. Even so, it should still be at least 5 feet away from the fire pit so that it doesn’t get too hot and cause discomfort or even burns.
If you’ve decided having a pergola with a fire pit under it is what you want, a landscaping professional like LandArt Solutions can help from planning to design to installation. We’ll either know the local regulations or be able to find them quickly, and, knowing that you won’t be running afoul of them, you can sit back and let our expert team professionally build and install everything and make sure it’s all working right.
Ask us for a quote today!