Do You Need A Fire Pit This Fall?

by Ben Bowen

Fire Pits in Portland Landscapes

Summer is gone and fall is here now. What will get you outside to enjoy your landscape in the fall and winter? Nothing draws a happy crowd like a fire on a cool evening.

Stone Fire Pit in Lake Oswego, OR

Stone Fire Pit in Lake Oswego, OR

A fire pit or may be just what your landscape needs,  a surefire (see what I did there?) way to get the family outside, enjoying the landscape, in the fall and winter. They are also fantastic as a gathering place when entertaining.

Wondering what a fire pit costs? We have installed several kinds of fire pits, ranging in price from $1200 to $4500+. What types of fire pits are available?

Types Of Fire Pits

Here in Portland there are two common ways that fire pits are constructed. The first method is to use stacking concrete blocks to form the outer ring. A metal inner ring is used to contain the fire and protect the blocks. These concrete blocks, commonly used for retaining walls, blend well with paver patios and walkways. If you want a simple and economically price fire pit in your landscape, this is your best option.

We also build fire pits out of natural stone. While more expensive, they will last forever and age gracefully. If you have a very natural landscape, and prefer natural hardscape, this is the fire pit for you.

For modern or Midcentury homes, a different approach may be a better fit. A fire pit of poured concrete or Corten steel can set the tone for your yard. Shouldn't your landscape be as sleek as your house? These fire pits from Paloform give you a glimpse of what is possible.

If you have a small space it may be wise to get a modular fire pit that can moved out of the way, preserving the flexibility of the space. Stahl, a Portland based company, makes really great ones out of heavy gauge steel. Check out the embedded Ideabook for some examples I really like.

Wood Burning or Gas Fueled?

What about the fire? Most of the fire pits we build are for burning wood. They have a gravel bottom that allows water to drain and is easy to clean. Nothing beats the sound and smell of a wood fire!

For some, though, gas burning is a better choice. A natural gas or propane fire pit does have some advantages. The fire starts instantly. When you are done enjoying, just turn it off. There is almost no smoke or sparks. And you don't have to keep a supply of wood around. For a formal outdoor living space a gas fire pit can really make sense.

Man made materials, natural stone, concrete and stainless steel, wood burning, gas fired- all these options are available to you and your landscape. Contact our landscape designer today for a free consultation. Let's get a fire pit in your yard for this fall!


For the past 10+ years the water feature has been the most desired outdoor improvement. However, a challenger has arisen: the outdoor fire pit. If you are looking to add a little "something" to your landscape, should it make a splash or add some flare? (Pun intended)

Water Features?

You can't deny that a water feature adds two great facets to any landscape: beauty and sound. A well made water feature is a natural focal point. It pulls your eyes and feet towards it while pushing neighborhood noise into the background.

modern water feature

Add water plants and koi- it becomes hard to argue that anything else in your landscape is more thoroughly engrossing.

But they do have drawbacks...

Water features are not cheap. Spend now for a quality pond or spend later on wasted water, electricity, and repairs. And water features can be a bit needy. They need a little care, especially as they age (who doesn't).

How about fire pits?

A fire pit's appeal is more subtle. Yes, they can be major element- but probably not the anchor for your whole yard. But tell me this: where do you want spend two hours on a late summer evening? Cleaning your pond or enjoying crackling flames in your fire pit.

A fire pit is happy to chill in the background, ready when you need it. But visitors won't ask to go into your backyard to check out the fire pit.

So the real question is not, which is better? But, which is best for you?