The weather is a bit chilly and simply perfect for having a nice bonfire or a tasty meal prepared over a wood fire. This has probably got you wondering where to put your fire pit and if you can have your fire pit in your backyard.
Now you might have a great backyard that’s mostly grass, and unless you have a purpose-built firepit specially set up, your fire’s ideal placement could be on the grass. Hence, this gives you another question to consider; do fire pits go on grass and how can you put a fire pit safely without ruining your backyard?
If you are in any of these situations, then read on for concrete answers to your questions and a few extra tips.
Should You Put a Fire Pit on Grass?
Just because you are able to do a thing does not mean you should necessarily do it. Most times we have to think of other alternatives and weigh the pros and cons of the action. This greatly applies to this question.
Just because you have a backyard that’s mostly grass, doesn’t mean you should put your fire pit on the grass. This is why there are laws and regulations governing the use of recreational fires. Even though each city or town might its own set of rules, they mostly follow similar guidelines and laws.
However, if you can find a level area in your backyard, which is a safe distance (ideally twenty-five feet from any combustible material or surface including your house and vehicles) then you can safely place your fire pit directly on top of the grass. The other major category of issues that should be considered is damage to the lawn, with the main issue in this category being heat stress.
Issues Resulting in Damage to the Lawn
Heat stress can come in various ways and is both a cosmetic and health issue to grass. Every lawn and backyard experience some degree of heat stress during the summer/dry seasons. This is due to the excessive-high temperatures and lack of moisture which both contribute to weaken the grass and make the conditions harder for the grass to grow. Sometimes, it could also increase the rate at which weeds grow and make your grass susceptible to both insects and diseases.
However, the heat experienced in these summer seasons is negligible when compared to the extreme heat that a fire pit produces. Also, it is important to note that this heat will be concentrated on the area the fire pit will occupy and not spread around the lawn.
This is why heat stress is such a critical factor when it comes to placing a fire pit on grass. The exceedingly high temperatures will indisputably destroy the grass beneath the fire pit, and over a period of time, might result in killing the grass entirely due to the dryness and the heat.
Ghost Prints is another issue that should be considered. To explain this, imagine stepping on the grass in the springtime, after a while you notice that the grass regains its natural shape after being flattened. Now imagine stepping on unhealthy grass in the dry season, you notice that it takes a much longer time for the grass to regain its shape, if it does at all.
The pressure from anything left on grass for a long period of time makes it hard for the grass to regain its natural shape and this leads to a “ghost print” of the object on the grass. Fire pits on grass could result in flattened, discolored grass and over an extended period of time; no grass in that area.
In order not to completely destroy the grass in an area of your backyard, it is crucial that you find ways to keep from the full effects of the heat of the fire pit. One way to do so is to place something underneath the fire pit. The next section will cover this in detail.
What Can You Put Under a Fire Pit on Grass?
What to put under your firepit is a very crucial consideration. You need to engage in measures to protect the grass by insulating them from direct heat contact.
Luckily, there are various materials that act as a protective heat resistant barrier and can be used to protect the grass from fire pit damage and also as a stabilizer for the fire pit if you are unable to find a level ground. One important point to note is that no matter the material used; it has to be fire-resistant.
Here are some options to consider.
1. Brick Pavers or Patio Slabs
Raising the firepit to a platform of brick pavers is a simple and cost-effective solution for protecting your grass from the heat of the firepit. They work by creating some extra distance between the firepit and the grass and acting as a heat shield. They also provide a flat and stable area for you to place the firepit on.
The brick pavers or patio slabs should be placed in a grid formation, so as to provide a robust and inexpensive barrier between the firepit and the grass. The Fire pit is then placed in the middle of this grid formation. The brick pavers or patio slabs can be easily picked up at a few local hardware stores.
When you are done making use of the firepit, ensure to remove the patio slabs and firepit so that they do not damage the grass. This practice will help to lessen the chances of compression or other undesirable effects on the grass.
2. Fire Pit Pads or Mats
In order to ensure safety and protection while using your firepit on the grass or even on a wood deck, consider using the firepit with a protective fire mat. Protective fire mats have been designed specifically to be used with firepits or as a deck protector. They have the advantage of being able to catch any hot droppings that spill or splatter from the firepit.
Recent technology has increased the effectiveness of the design and protection offered by these firepit pads. Some are made with heat-resistant materials such as volcanic rock fiber or carbon fiber.
Some are fabricated using a combination of various materials. And still, some are made with the same material used in military aircraft to protect them from fire and heat.
Some firepit pads come with a reflective surface which provides extra protection. Also if you are looking for extra durability and sophistication, you could consider purchasing a hand-crafted all-metal fire mat that is designed to protect against extreme heat. They are constructed with multiple layers of metals with air spaces in between them to create a natural insulating effect.
The material the firepit pad is made of will determine the protection your grass gets and ultimately the price you pay. Also, ensure to pick a mat that matches the size of your firepit.
3. Heat Shields
Heat shields are an alternative to firepit mats; however, they might be bulkier than the mats. Ensure that you check the recommended maximum heat capacity of the heat shield and make sure to keep to that recommended heat capacity.
A good quality heat shield should be able to reflect more than 90% of the radiant heat on it. It essentially means that the heat shield should withstand about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit of continuous radiant heat and about 500 degrees Fahrenheit of direct contact to heat.
A firepit shield protects your grass and also helps your firepit work more effectively by radiating the heat both upwards and outwards. Fire pit shields are usually made from a quarter-inch ceramic pad placed in between two heavy-duty foils with a stainless steel mesh around the edges. The heat shields are both versatile and flexible and mold into any shape.
Other Options that Protect Your Firepit from Fire
· Soaking the grass with water before placing the firepit down
You will want to liberally soak the grass enough to protect it from extensive heat but also not to be waterlogged.
· Moving the firepit around the yard
This helps to avoid compression. Always make sure that as you move it around it always remains in a safe location.
How to Protect the Grass From Fire Pit Damage?
Placing something underneath the fire pit is the easiest way to protect your grass from damage like heat stress, ghost prints, and scorch marks as shown by the various options in the previous section. Not only will this help to ward off potential damage, but they also offer a level surface to put the firepit on.
What to Consider When Choosing Protection For Your Fire Pit?
1. A Level Area
You need to find a level area to place your firepit because when the ground is not level the firepit will not be able to stand correctly and is at an elevated risk of toppling over. This is a foremost safety hazard and while it can really damage your grass, it can also injure any individuals nearby through flying embers.
2. Enough Room
Another important consideration is the size of the barrier. You need to choose a barrier that is large enough to give some space between the support and the edge of the barrier.
This space is important so as to ensure that the firepit does not fall of the barrier and that the barrier also catches any falling embers or spills or splatters while you make use of your firepit. This helps to maximally protect you and your grass from injuries and damage.
How To Fix the Grass That Has Been Damaged by the Fire Pit?
Fixing grass that has been damaged by a firepit is not easy but is very doable. The first thing you need to do is remove the firepit from the damaged grassy area and then assess the extent of the damage to the lawn.
If the damage is minimal and contained in a small area of the backyard, then you can simply leave it alone. The grass should grow back to normal within a week or two with regular watering and if it is left alone.
On the other hand, grass that has been heavily damaged will require more care than the minimally damaged grass. In some circumstances, the grass will have to be re-seeded. There is also the option of replacing with sod or transplanting entirely new grass to that damaged location.
Are Backyard Fire Pits Safe?
Backyard firepits are very safe as long as you follow safety precautions and measures while using them. Some firepits come with specific instructions on the manuals also. Here are some crucial things to take note of while placing the firepit:
- Ensure that there is enough distance between the fire pit and any nearby structures or trees.
- Make sure you remove any dead grass or other flammable materials in the area where the fire pit is to be placed.
- Ensure the grass around the area isn’t dried out, either as dry grass has a higher tendency to catch on fire.
- Always place your fire pit on a level spot or make one.
- Never Leave the Fire Pit Unattended