Consider a Fire Pit
The weather in Southern California is ideal for enjoying fire pits, especially since even summer nights tend to be cool. While some beaches provide fire pits for free, on a first-come, first-served basis, wouldn’t it be great to have your own backyard fire pit, perfect for family gatherings and entertaining friends?
Before you buy anything, it’s best to check whether your community’s CC&Rs or homeowner’s association allow fire pits. Then, you should review San Diego County Ordinance 9111, paying special attention to four sections:
- Section 7 – Spark Arresters
- Section 13 –Outdoor Fires
- Section 14 – Incinerators and Fireplaces
- Section 20 – Disposal of Ashes
If your fire pit project is a go from a legal standpoint, you’ll need to select from four types of fire pits and decide where it should be located. With respect to placement, some good rules of thumb include:
- A wood-burning fire pit shouldn’t be placed closer than 7 to 10 feet from a structure or any foliage.
- Don’t place it under building eaves, a pergola, or overhanging trees or vegetation.
- Don’t place it where wind is channeled or in an area where wind will blow sparks and embers toward combustible material.
- Don’t place a wood-burning fire pit too close to the area where you store your wood.
Some other safety considerations should be common sense:
- Have a fire extinguisher close by in case of emergency (and make sure all family members know where it is and how to use it).
- Don’t place combustible materials within 10 feet of the fire pit.
- Use a steel screen mesh spark arrester guard to cover the fire pit at all times.
- If you place a wood-burning fire pit on a wooden deck, use a heat shield pad beneath it so your deck doesn’t discolor.
Your four fire pit options are classic wood burning, natural gas, propane and ethanol/gel. Each design has pros and cons, but a wood-burning fire pit will come closest to matching the natural outdoor atmosphere, and will provide the biggest and toastiest fire.
Authentic Designs & Remodeling can counsel you in the benefits and challenges of each type of fire pit, and see the project through to completion. A fire pit is a great place for intimate conversations, reading or simply gazing into the fire — a very desirable form of relaxation.