Since we’ll all be spending a whole lot of time at home this winter, it’s the perfect year to make your backyard a relaxing escape for your whole family.

It’s a La Niña year, so Boulder County home owners can probably expect warmer, dryer conditions than normal this winter. That means you can look forward to spending more time out back, enjoying the 300 days of sunshine that Colorado sees a year.

But once the sun goes down, even warm winter days turn into chilly winter nights. A backyard fire pit is the perfect way to keep the party going — while staying safe and socially-distanced.

Coronavirus has changed the way we can host and spend time with others this winter. A toasty backyard fire pit means you can sit outside comfortably with a friend or two, while staying safe and socially-distanced.

Keeping 6 or more feet away from your guests becomes much easier when you have a friendly fire between you, creating physical space between you while keeping everyone warm and cozy from a distance. And being outside is the best-case scenario for seeing anyone who isn’t in your household.

Whether your fire pit will bring friends together (not too close together!) or be the fodder for great family night under the stars, there are a few things you should know before buying your fire pit, including features, the décor of your outdoor area, and more.

What to Know Before Buying Your Fire Pit

Know How You’ll Use It

If you’re entertaining, you’ll want it to be able to accommodate seating. It also helps to have a ledge for guests to safely set drinks on.

Or, if you’d like to roast marshmallows with the kids, you may want a shorter fire pit so everyone’s legs stay nice and warm. Figure out the main uses for your fire pit, and choose one with the design and height that will best accommodate.

Type of Flame

It’s important to keep Colorado’s fire restrictions in mind — after the fires of this summer, the state is on high alert.

Gas is what we’d recommend – it’s the safest way to control your fire. Propane and natural gas fires are allowed and don’t need permits, making them an excellent choice.

What Compliments Your Outdoor Space

Some materials may compliment the aesthetic and style of your space better than others – the type or color of stone or metal and the shape.

Keep the fire pit in proportion with your yard – if you have a large seating area that you’d like to heat, a small fire pit may not be enough for you. On the other hand, a fire pit that’s too large could overcrowd the area.

Our Favorite Fire pits for Colorado Backyards

Now that you know some of the things you may be looking for, it’ll be easier to find the right fire pit for you and your space. Here are our top picks for your Colorado backyard:

Living Accents Square Propane Fire Pit

25 in. height x 30 in. width x 30 in.
$269.99

  • This square table sits about 2 feet tall, making the perfect table to lounge around.
  • A wicker look stamped steel base, with a hinge door, fits a 20lb LP tank inside for a sleek look.
  • It’s designed with a lid so that it can easily convert into a coffee table when the fire isn’t in use.
  • Perfect for a happy hour quarantine-style or telling ghost stories with your family around the fire.

Living Accents Square Propane Fire Pit

25.5 in. height x 28 in. width x 28 in.
$159.99

  • A similar top as the previous fire pit, but with an almost-trapezoid base, this pit also fits a 20lb tank inside.
  • It comes with a lid which converts into a table when not in use.
  • With a push and turn ignition, this model is easy to turn on safely.
  • Completes an outdoor area to keep the party going, like a movie night with your family on a projector – you’ll stay nice and cozy with this addition!

Living Accents Round Propane Fire Pit

25 in. height x 42 in. width x 42 in.
$449.99

  • This is a great option for cocktail-type parties, as it hosts a 42” round wood look cast stone top with a rim perfect for resting drinks on.
  • A steel lid is available for this model, which transforms it into a functioning table for days when you don’t have the fire on.

Sunnydaze Decor 25-in W Copper Steel Wood-Burning FirePit

12.5 in. height x 25 in. bowl diameter
$135.00

  • Constructed ofsteel with a copper red finish,this pit is the classic design for a backyard fire pit.
  • It includes a spark screen, fire poker, and fire grate so tending the fire won’t be a hassle.
  • Highly durable with a high-temperature paint finish, this pit will make your home an annual destination for winter outdoor festivities like roasting marshmallows.

Sun Joe 35-in W Brown Stone Wood-Burning Fire Pit

13 in. height x 35 in. diameter
$176.45

  • This design is incredibly strong and made of stone, sitting directly on the ground without the need for any kind of feet or additional base
  • A bold eye-catching piece that will create a natural area to congregate and catch up with old friends
  • With a wood grid, airflow can reach the base of the flames to keep them going while protecting your guests from runaway sparks

36″ Elliptical Short Fire Pit on Flanged Base

15.5 in. height x 36 in. diameter
$645.00

  • This hand-crafted bowl matches well with rustic décor and gold accents
  • With a sturdy base, this piece of art is also highly practical
  • Inside is a ½ inch drain hole that will ensure rain will not collect and overflow it while it’s not in use
  • Its artistic design will be sure to add a cozy feel to your outdoor area while making a statement at your next gathering.

Essential Fire Pit Safety

There are some important safety practices to follow when you have a fire pit. Keeping your family and neighbors safe should be your #1 priority, especially with living in a dry state like Colorado.

The extensive fires from this past summer were some of the worst our state has ever seen. To prevent anything from getting out of hand, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Place the fire pit on and around fire-resistant surfaces like concrete, stone, and metal. Keep it a minimum of 10 feet away from houses and buildings.
  • Check wind direction before lighting a fire. If there are high winds, it’s best to wait until they have died down, as it can make fires much more dangerous and unpredictable.
  • Don’t use flammable products like gasoline or lighter fluid to ignite fires.
  • Don’t wear clothing that may be more susceptible to catching on fire like nylon or any loose-fitting clothing.
  • Be sure children and pets keep a safe distance away of at least 3 feet from the fire.
  • Avoid using soft woods that can unpredictably “pop” and send sparks flying into the air, like cedar or pine woods
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or easily accessible water source nearby just in case the fire gets out of hand

This winter will look different than we’re used to for many reasons. Restrictions on gatherings are making it difficult to safely see friends and loved ones, especially with the colder season coming up.

This winter may be warmer than normal because of the La Niña weather cycle occurring this year. For Colorado homeowners, the warmer temperatures can cause frequent freezing and thawing, which could lead to roof, lawn, and gutter damage.

Learn more about what a La Niña year could mean for you this winter >