Fall is here and we are getting that ol’ nesting feeling . . . wanting to stay inside, cozy-up with a hot chocolate and a good book. The BBQ has seen its last dogs and burgers for a while. But, hey we are Californians! We don’t really want to stay inside, do we?
Don’t live in the dark! You don’t have to stay indoors during the fall and winter months, especially those of us that live in California. Our autumn evenings are cool and crisp, but certainly not unbearable . . . especially if you can enjoy the warmth and beauty of a fire pit. It is the perfect time of year to light up!
Have you ever thought about the advantages of having a fire pit or outdoor living area? Not only do they add warmth and light in a cool evening, but also they can extend the life of your backyard while increasing your home’s value, especially a well-designed outdoor living space. Also, a very real benefit in California is the fact that they provide a fantastic drought-tolerant solution for our yards. They can be designed for the most sustainable living-conscious people out there! The other obvious advantage is the simple fact that people are drawn to heat, warmth, and good company. A well thought-out fire pit and outdoor entertainment area will surely make your home the “go-to" spot for all the seasons festivities.
Things to weigh when considering installing a fire pit
• How many people will typically be together at the same time at the fire pit? You need to think about having adequate “traffic flow” area and enough seating for everybody in your party. Think Space.
• With space in mind, many communities require a minimum of a 10-foot distance from your house and neighbors’ yards. Some don’t require a permit if the fire pit fits within set size requirements; others require a site inspection from local fire officials to make sure your proposed location is safe (away from fences, structures, overhanging branches, etc). And, some communities have outright bans on open fires. Local officials should be contacted for information before starting.
• Convenience – If you are thinking you would like to cook with your fire pit occasionally, then you need to consider accommodation to your regular indoor kitchen. You may want to plan your outdoor cooking area where you can conveniently access food and cleaning supplies.
Safety Tips for Using Fire Pits
• Check wind direction before you light a fire
• Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc) to light or relight fires
• Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fit clothing
• Avoid using soft woods like pine or cedar, because they can “pop” and throw sparks.
• Know how to safely dispose of ashes.
Autumn is my favorite time of year! Using my fire pit is one of the many reasons. You should think about one too.