Outdoor rooms and alfresco dining spaces are highly coveted in homes nowadays. And what takes a concrete patio from basic to beautiful? Incorporating a fire pit, of course! Adding this mesmerizing fire feature creates an incredibly cozy backyard vibe that you, your family, and guests will all adore. It also expands the prime patio season late into spring and early fall here in Des Moines.
This upgrade is heating up as one of the most popular landscaping projects that local homeowners are investing in. But where do you start in choosing the perfect fire pit to complement your concrete slab? We will walk through key considerations in fire pit design and material choices so you can achieve backyard bliss!
Critical Things to Consider Before Installing a Backyard Fire Pit
Top priorities when planning a concrete patio fire pit are safety, codes/permits, weather protection, placement, materials, and operating fuel source. Always check with local municipalities and homeowner associations before installing a pit feature to your concrete patio. Most residential areas in Des Moines permit outdoor recreational fires under strict guidelines, so review all codes carefully.
General safety rules include placing portable pits at least 15 feet from structures and ensuring a non-flammable base surface underneath, such as concrete, stone, or sand. Have a fire extinguisher on hand and do not leave fires unattended. In windy spots, use gas burner inserts instead of open wood flames which can spill embers.
Overhead shelter from precipitation will make fire pit usage more enjoyable during Des Moines’ rainy shoulder seasons. Determine if you’ll need a freestanding awning or integrated patio cover when positioning your pit.
Mind prep work too! Adding a fire feature to your concrete patio means running gas lines for fuel supply, or digging trenches to bury conduit for low-voltage lighting around the pit. Include these costs when budgeting.
Fabulous Fire Pit Styles Perfectly Suited for Concrete Patios
When planning your concrete patio fire pit design, opt for durable masonry construction that matches the geometric shapes and neutral hues found in popular patio building materials:
Rectangular Fire Pit
For a seamless flow between patio and fire spot, a long rectangular table-height pit is ideal. Use existing concrete edges as two sides for efficient construction. Or frame it out entirely in stone or landscape block to contrast. Tan concrete caps on short pillar legs work well too. Then fill the fire brick-lined interior cavity with drainage gravel and top with a sleek metal insert and spark arrestor screen.
Round Fire Pit
Circular styles feel less imposing for smaller patio proportions. Use round cobblestone, stucco blocks, or poured concrete borders. Allow an air gap between fire brick inner walls and exterior facade. Install a matching rounded gas burner kit or black metal wood-burning bowl. Encircle with smaller garden stones or pea gravel for visual interest.
Square Block Pit
Crisp, clean lines suit modern architecture and hardscape materials like gray concrete slabs. Make it a DIY project with stackable landscape blocks (no mortar required) or frame in reinforced poured concrete. Both options can then house prefabricated steel fire bowls. For contemporary style, illuminate the vertical fire pit walls with LED lighting strips.
Custom Designed Fire Pits
Dreaming of a built-in showstopper pit? Work with landscape designers to sketch plans for an integrated custom fire feature before pouring new concrete patios. Or hire masons to construct pit walls from regional sandstone and lidded caps for existing slabs. Get creative with carved limestone cladding too! Budget-friendly poured concrete can also be stamped and stained like native flagstones and topped with an elegant granite mantel ledge.
Building a Concrete Patio Fire Pit (DIY Guide)
Does the DIY bug have you interested in constructing your own in-ground concrete fire pit? The process of building wood formwork and pouring concrete is very comparable to creating a smaller patio slab or footing. Here are some step-by-step tips:
Analyze the substrate below where you’ll locate your pit. Dig down at least 8-12 inches and create a base layer of crushed gravel for proper drainage.
2. Build Forms
Assemble wooden forms using 2×4 lumber or plywood. Soak boards well before pouring concrete for easy release later on. Line form walls with high heat-resistant firebrick before pouring.
3. Pour Concrete
Use concrete mix containing lava rock or other aggregates for strength and insulating properties. Allow freshly poured concrete to cure for at least 28 days before exposing it to fire.
4. Finish Surface
Get creative with stamp patterns, embedded stones, tiles, or concrete stain in coordinating earth tones once fully cured. The possibilities are endless!
5. Insert Fire Bowl
Top off your custom concrete creation with a decorative metal lid, spark screen, and even gas burner components if desired.
Take Your Backyard Glow to the Next Level
However you design and construct your Des Moines concrete patio fire pit—whether DIY or installed by pros—the impact creates such warmth and welcoming ambiance like no other backyard feature. Follow proper protocols when sourcing construction materials as well as operational fuel to ensure your fire pit provides eco-friendly joy for years to come.
Some added enhancements put the wow factor over the top! Incorporate mood-setting low-voltage landscaping lights pointed at the fire bowl itself or the surrounding patio area and planting beds. Light up architectural facets like custom cladding materials, tall stacked stone borders, or overhead shelter beams and recessed ceiling planes if your pit resides under an attached patio cover structure.
Don’t forget cozy seating either! Source all-weather woven chairs in deep seating silhouettes. Sturdy wood or rattan styles work nicely near flames. Heavy-duty patio furniture cushions add comfort no matter the season here in Iowa. Then accessorize with firewood storage boxes (or discrete propane tank housing) plus a rolling bar cart for beverage service nearby.
With the right concrete patio fire pit design suited for both your entertaining lifestyle and Midwest weather conditions, your backyard now becomes Des Moines’ hottest spot for relaxing evenings at home. Let those flickering flames and good times with family and friends commence for years to come!