How to Put a Fire Pit on a Deck–Design Ideas
Updated: Jun 7
Everyone loves a fire pit. There’s nothing like gathering around a fire and trading stories, roasting a s’more, or just watching the flames dwindle as the night passes. That’s why, when talking to homeowners, nearly everybody wants to include a fire pit in their outdoor living space. Fire pits work best in areas where seating is logical. For this reason, the question of how to put a fire pit on a deck or patio both safely and without disrupting the design often arises.
Today, we’re looking back through a number of our favorite completed projects. From fire pits on a deck, to covered patios, to store purchased, traditional, and modern styles, there’s design inspo for everybody.
Traditional Fire Pit on a Deck
Starting out, we’re revisiting a number of traditional fire pits. By traditional, we are referring to fire pits that are store bought, or prefabricated. These styles are often favored by clients for their heightened affordability and wide range of options.
Clients can choose from portable, stationary, propane, and woodburning, not to mention a huge variety of aesthetic options to find a design that makes sense for their space.
This first project is a great example of how a fire pit can work on a deck space without looking out of place. In this design, we decided to go with a long, propane fire pit unit in a dark gray to compliment the color palette of the space. The size and shape of this fire pit mimics the lines of the deck, and provides enough perimeter space for a crowd to gather. At the same time, this propane model is designed for safe use on the homeowner’s deck.
Above, you see another example of how a traditional, store bought fire pit can look custom in a space. Here, the fire pit is again a long, linear rectangle in a light gray, stone color. This plays beautifully off of the light colored paver patio, making the fire pit seem like a natural extension of the material. Around the flames, a glass barrier is in place for safety. This feature is offered in many modern fire pits on the market, and is great for homes who are worried about kids and pets.
This example showcases exactly the impact that shape can impact design and functionality in a big way. The fire pit in this project diverges from previous models. Instead of a long rectangle, this fire pit is a traditional square space. Its dark color and sharp edges maintain a cozy feel, while its smaller footprint makes sense for the space. This project also combats the common myth that fire pits cannot be placed beneath a pergola. Design correctly and conditions permitting, fire pits are safe for covered spaces.
In this design, a traditional fire pit gets a modern twist. Tucked away on a private corner of the lot, the two-tier design of this pit increases visual interest. Like most of the pits showcased in today’s blog, this is a propane pit which provides optimal convenience and a less smokey experience than wood burning fire pit options.
Here is another example of how a fire pit can be placed on a deck. In this space, the outdoor seating was limited to the deck. There was no sensible third location to place a firepit, and at the end of the day, it wasn’t a problem. The pit seen above is a propane model that is safe for use on the decking material seen here. The dark color compliments the deep tone of the wood, keeping the overall color palette sleek and sophisticated.
Let there be light! We’ve stressed countless times how much even a touch of lighting can increase the design impact of a space. Set atop a patio of concrete slabs, this fire pit mimics the slabs in shape. The lighting installed beneath the bottom edge of the unit creates an illusion-like effect. At first glance, it’s almost as if the fire pit is hovering above the space.
You can put fire pits on nearly every traditional hardscaping material, from decking to classic concrete. Like the previous design, this pit is placed on top of a concrete slab, which is part of a larger checkerboard design. Interspersed with turf, this space feels grounded, relaxed, and invites guests to kick their shoes off while cozying up around the fire.
Concrete Fire Pits
For homeowners who are looking to wander outside of the traditional, store bought fire pit, there is a whole new world of options and materials. Custom fire pits can be finished in a range of materials. One of the most popular is the concrete fire pit.
Sitting on top of a bed of stones, this concrete fire pit is a long, custom build. Designed to service the long bench seating, its concrete finish is modern without feeling cold. Concrete is not a one-tone material, and the finish here is selected to compliment the thin pavers that surround it. Everything in this space works in tandem with each other, making this custom fire pit build feel like a natural extension of the world around it.
Here you can see how concrete can be molded to fit just above any size or shape of fire pit. The above design was a smaller space. In keeping with the modern feel and rounded edge of the seat wall, we constructed a small concrete fire pit in a dark gray. Our clients have 360 degree access to the fire pit, which is low smoke due to the propane fuel.
Another custom concrete fire pit, this pit is placed beneath a pergola for the ultimate indoor/outdoor feel. Like many of the pits seen here, its long shape seats a crowd and mimics the stretch of the seating bench. The concrete ties in with the finish of the seat wall, as well as the gray patio pavers below.
Segmental Wall Fire Pits
Another way to customize a fire pit on a deck or patio is to finish it with segmental blocks, or segmental wall features. You may be most familiar with this material as the material used to finish retaining walls, or other similar features around your outdoor space. Its wide versatility means it is also a great way to upgrade and customize your fire pit and tie it in with the greater design.
In the above space, you can see how segmental concrete bricks have been matched with coping to play off of the concrete pavers on the patio below. The fire pit itself is a propane model, and is sized appropriately for the space. Varying the coloration in the finish of the fire pit gives it a more organic, natural feel that is reminiscent of stone.
In the above design, we focused largely on symmetry. We constructed a round, auxiliary patio that was self-contained by a retaining wall. During the design process, we made the decision to design this containing wall at the perfect height to serve as additional seating. The circular shape means that no matter where you are seated on the perimeter, you can feel equally included in conversation.
Inside, the fire pit mimics the design of the retaining wall in both shape, and materiality. The edges of the fire pit are done in a similar paver, while the shell of the pit mimics the segmented wall forms used throughout the rest of the space. This repetition creates natural symmetry in the design, and helps the eye to glide over the space.
A similar fire pit was built in the above design. Segmented wall builds like these are great when the shape of the fire pit is circular. If you’re planning on regularly entertaining large groups, round fire pits are excellent options due to flexible seating. In a round design, many people can gather around the fire pit without feeling isolated. All guests maintain an eyeline with each other, and everyone has equal access to the warmth of the fire.
Above, you see another variation in a segmented wall fire pit. Here, you can especially see how the material used to create retaining and seat walls can be easily translated to the fire pit. In the above backyard, a combination of colors and finishes were used to create a more visually dynamic design. This is carried throughout the seat wall, planting beds, and the fire pit seen above. The finished look is cohesive and polished, without looking boring.
Natural Stone Fire Pits
Finally, we would be remiss to publish this article without giving a nod to a less popular, but equally beautiful option. Natural stone fire pits are a great way to bring a more organic finish to a modern space. Not only can natural stone hold up to heat, but it easily melds with materials such as concrete and concrete pavers. While natural stone is typically more expensive than concrete finishes, it can serve as a wonderful accent in a space.
In the above space, the homeowners had limited square footage to work with. This meant the number of features that could be included in the design were also limited. However, the property’s best outdoor feature was its magnificent natural view of the river. As a response, we decided to bring some of the beauty of nature into the design. Finishing the fire pit in stone echoed the natural environment around it, while the edges of the pit were finished in the same gray color as the patio below.
At the end of the day, no single solution is right for any one space. Whether you’re looking to put your fire pit on a deck, a patio, or on a bed of stone, there’s an option that’s right for you. From store bought to concrete, to everything in between, Water and Earth will work with you to design a fire pit that not only looks beautiful in the context of your design, but serves you and your family for years to come.