Contemporary Fire Pit Ideas For Your Outdoor Retreat

If the pandemic years have left us with something positive, it’s the rekindled importance of being able to get together with our family and friends. The restrictions placed on indoor gatherings catalyzed a shift, and people migrated these social events outdoors with a newfound appreciation for open spaces. While those dark days are behind us, the social patterns are engrained, and today, many homeowners are seeking ways to transform their backyards to host year-round lounging, dining, and entertainment. 

Although myriad elements contribute to the appeal of outdoor gatherings, fire pits stand out as something special, combining form and function, tradition and innovation. They have an almost irresistible allure, evoking nostalgia and creating an ambiance for wild summer parties or quiet family dinners. 

If you want to incorporate fire into your outdoor space, here are a few fire pit ideas to inspire your alfresco living experience. 

1. Keep it Sleek and Stylish

72 inch fire pit

This family home in Forest Glen, Toronto, has a minimalistic design against the backdrop of a lush, tree-lined ravine. The backyard built by Betz Pools unfolds in carefully curated sections, featuring art installations, a spacious pool, a dining section, and a lounging area. 

Strategically positioned within the lounge area, the Robata 72 linear fire pit is encircled by sofas of a similar color. The low-lying, sleek shape of the fire pit blends with the other architectural choices of the patio and commands quiet attention. 

2. Consider Modern Fire Bowls

Soba fire bowl

Modern fire bowls, with their low stature and compact footprint, are evocative of campfires – primordial gathering spots for conversations. 

The Soba Fire Bowl is featured at the center of an apartment’s common area in Milpitas, California. The understated dove concrete stands in sharp contrast to the bright blue upholstery of the surrounding chairs. This intentional design choice places the fire bowl as a focal point and balances the playful space with the organic substance of raw concrete. 

48 inch fire pit bowl

The designers of this Toronto home chose a much more subtle, harmonious approach. Looming large on this spacious patio, the Miso 48 Fire Bowl in Nougat matches the muted hues of the accompanying upholstered chairs. The cozy balcony with its glass railing creates an intimate dining area that offers a generous view of the lower lounge and fire. The space is tied together with horizontal cedar, wrapping the entire yard and balcony.

3. Discover the Allure of Corten Fire Pits

Fire Pit Ideas | Corten Steel Fire Pit

In this expansive backyard in Jamestown, Rhode Island, a wood-burning Caldera Corten Fire Pit anchors a social space strategically created in the grassy lawn. Standing like a beacon in the yard, the fire pit encourages the family to pull their Adirondack chairs close for an intimate marshmallow roast. The rugged beauty of the corten fire pit stands against the backdrop of the house, each organic and alive in its aesthetic. The cedar shakes age and grey naturally while the corten gains richness and character.

4. Harmonize with Nature

Sunken fire pit

In this project by Toronto-based firm Flattery Design, the backyard of the residence is flanked by tall trees and hedges that offer a serene retreat. Amidst this greenery, the family’s outdoor escape embraces organic hues that integrate with the surroundings. The corten steel of the Bol Fire Pit and the custom garden edging, along with the cedar planks of the linear deck, are left untreated to age and patina naturally.

5. Create a Private Haven

Backyard fire pit

This house in Thornbury boasts a multi-level outdoor space defined by trees and carefully planted shrubs. The Fold Fire Table features in the midst of this private sanctuary, surrounded by sleek sofas and side tables, making it a relaxed gathering spot. 

6. Use the Fire Pit as a Divider

linear fire pit

If you have a backyard with separate sections for cooking, dining, and lounging, consider siting your fire pit to serve multiple vantage points. 

The design team behind this contemporary Australian house strategically places the Komodo Fire Pit as a divider between the dining and pool areas. Equidistant from both the pool and dining sections of the house, the flickering flames of the fire pit radiate warmth and add atmosphere to outdoor meals and a relaxing swim.

7. Explore Wood-Burning Fire Pits

Bol wood-burning fire pit

Located in Muskoka, this residence by Eden Tree Design features the wood-burning Bol Corten Fire Pit perched on a dramatic viewpoint overlooking the lake. Where wood-burning is permitted, Paloform’s corten fire pits provide beautiful, modern vessels for traditional campfires. The awe-inspiring landscape is up to you.  

8. Place Multiple Fire Pits

fire pit ideas | fold fire table

This Ontario residence, designed by Wentworth Landscapes, features an expansive and multifaceted patio with all elements for luxurious outdoor living. In addition to the cooking and dining areas, the “conversation area” is centered around a Fold 72 Fire Table that provides warmth to intimate evening chats. A second Fold Fire Table, the 48-inch square version, is positioned next to the hot tub, where you can soak and relax with the glow of fire on one side and a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree view of Georgian Bay on the other.

The yard’s main feature, however, is the truly epic landscape of lake and forest, from which the design takes its cues, utilizing a color palette of natural greys punctuated with bright blues.

9. Introduce Unexpected Industrial Design

grey fire pit

Though this Kleinburg house is traditional, the owners have a love for industrial design and materials. Layers of grey concrete as well as stainless steel are found throughout, along with more traditional stone and brick.

For one of their upper decks, the ash-colored concrete and stainless steel top of the Robata 72 Fire Pit are natural fits and are complemented perfectly by the choice of outdoor sofa. 

10. Choose Strategic Shapes

Charcoal fire pit

While remodeling your space, one approach is to choose a fire pit that complements the shape of the surrounding furniture. This can create a rhythm of geometric volumes that is both pleasing and architecturally modern.

Take inspiration from Jeff King and Company’s renovation of this home in California. The rooftop deck features an outdoor kitchen, stunning views of the Bay Area and Golden Gate Bridge, and plenty of sitting space. At the heart of their lounge arrangement lies a Bento 42 Fire Pit. The silhouette of the fire pit aligns with the sofas and echos the geometry of the entire project. Their choice of ceramic fire spheres provides just enough of a foil to offset the space’s angularity.

11. Let the Fire Define the Space

72 inch steel fire pit

Here’s an idea from Porth Architects: if you have an outdoor area in Big Sky Country where the land seems to go on forever, let your fire define the space.

In this project, the designers demarcated an area with a concrete pad set against the mountains and sky. At its center, they placed a Robata 72 Corten Fire Pit. In the day, the bright orange chairs stand in stark contrast to the landscape and make a pronouncement of the space. As the sun goes down, the fire creates a bubble of warmth and light, an intimate place for gathering under an endless black sky.

12. A Fire Pit Dining Table

Nimbus fire pit dining table

In a town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, a Nimbus Fire Pit forms the center of this family’s outdoor dining area. Though unambiguously modern, the fire table is well-matched to the clean lines of cedar and concrete in this West Coast home. Nimbus is designed at table height, offering ample space for dinner settings and fiery conversations. Alternatively, it can be fitted with a flush burner cover to provide additional table space and a more modest dining experience. The powder-coated aluminum finish and understated minimalist design result in a sculptural element that is durable, beautiful, and highly functional. 

13. Play with Color and Texture

backyard fire pit ideas | linear fire pit

Instead of adhering to a neutral palette, you can add pops of color and pattern to your outdoor space. 

In this contemporary home in Toronto, the mix of cedar, brick, and concrete provides the foundation upon which the designers layer geometric fabrics, polished stones, and graphic plantings. These structural elements combine to create an inviting and modern home.

The outdoor space, designed by Mark Hartley Landscape Architects, is divided into distinct sections, with a Komodo 84 Linear Fire Pit in bronze powder coat acting as a separator between the garden and the lounge areas. 

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