How to Design a Patio Around a Fire Pit

Written By Benjamin Eyth

Published on April 26, 2024

patio around a fire pit

Do you want to turn your backyard into a cozy gathering place to enjoy year-round? You might consider building a patio with a central fire pit. This creates a comfortable and stylish area for socializing around a crackling fire — perfect for cool evenings in the Great Northwest!

Designing a patio around a fire pit is a significant project best left in the hands of professionals. Skilled, experienced, and trustworthy contractors have the expertise to ensure everything is safe and functional.

When hiring a contractor, there are certain steps they will take and specific things you can do to help the process go smoothly. We cover tips on everything you need to know — from creative layout ideas to spark your imagination to different materials to consider for your project.


Tip #1: Pick the correct location.

Your fire pit can be the heart of your patio, but remember: It needs room to breathe! There should be ample room around the fire pit for safety and design considerations.

Here are some pointers on choosing its location:

  • Always keep your fire pit at least 10 feet from your house and other structures. It should be at least 15 feet from your garage.
  • Mind the wind. Ideally, the fire pit should be located where it naturally draws smoke away from the seating area, mainly if you use wood.
  • Check your local regulations for fire pit placement. These may specify minimum distances from structures and property lines.
  • Don’t forget to think about your neighbors. Consider placing the fire pit where proper levels of privacy are maintained for both parties.


Tip #2: Consider your fire pit’s size and shape.

The size and shape of your fire pit will essentially dictate your patio’s design.

  • Think about how people will use the space. You want them to feel comfortable lounging by the fire, with enough room to quickly pull chairs in and out.
  • Safety is also crucial. The fire pit should have ample space so people don’t have to walk too close to the flames to access seating or move around the patio.


Tip #3: Plan your entire outdoor space.

There’s something magical about a patio built around a fire pit—it creates a natural gathering place perfect for socializing with the warmth of the flames. However, for maximum enjoyment where everyone feels comfortable and safe, you should plan your entire space effectively.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind for fire pit size and seating:

  • Fire pits are typically around 4 to 5 feet wide. Aim for an additional 4 to 6 feet of patio space on all sides so that people can sit comfortably.
  • How do you intend to use the space? Will you have large groups or mainly small gatherings? Plan seating arrangements accordingly. Seat walls can define the area and provide extra seating, but be careful — you don’t want to enclose the space completely. Leave room for foot traffic and standing areas. The shape of your fire pit can also inspire your seating layout.
  • For round fire pits – Create inviting conversation areas with curved sectionals or Adirondack chairs placed around the perimeter.
  • Rectangular fire pits – Put a long sectional sofa or bench on each long side, and finish with Adirondack chairs tucked along the shorter sides!
  • Square fire pits – Put loveseats or Adirondack chairs on each side for a classic layout.

Consider that bulky furniture like Adirondack chairs require extra space, so plan for this when laying out your seating arrangement.


Tip #4: Create conversation zones.

Try to create two or more conversation zones around your patio to enhance the entertainment experience. This allows groups of people to gather separately for intimate conversations while allowing social butterflies to jump from one area to another.


Tip #5: Choose versatility.

Can’t decide between wood and gas fire pits? A hybrid option could give you the best of both worlds. Use gas for a quick and easy start for those nights when you won’t be out long (you can even connect it to an intelligent system). Then, you can switch to wood when you desire the crackling flames and earthy scent that’s essential to a classic campfire experience. With a hybrid system, you have the flexibility to set the environment according to your mood and plans for the evening!


Tip #6: Make it cozy.

Entertaining outdoors doesn’t mean enduring the discomfort of hard surfaces. Make your new patio much more comfortable and welcoming by adding throws, pillows, organic design features, and decorative accessories.

  • A water feature and creative landscaping can bring more depth and texture to your space while adding a sense of privacy.
  • Throws and pillows physically and visually soften your space while allowing you to create a cohesive look by matching their colors with your patio’s color palette.
  • Get creative with a faux rug look created with patio pavers! They go a long way in adding a touch of whimsy and visual interest.
  • Consider adding layers to your space by building a deck that takes advantage of sloped areas with terraces to create interesting visuals and unique gathering spaces.


How big should your patio be relative to your fire pit?

The size of your patio will depend on the size and shape of your fire pit. Here’s a quick guide:

  • For a medium-sized round fire pit, aim for a total patio diameter of at least 15 feet. This should provide enough space for comfortably seating 4 to 6 people, either in individual chairs or a curved sofa arrangement.
  • If you have a larger square or rectangular fire pit, your patio should be at least 18 feet long. This allows for seating 6 to 8 people with individual chairs or a medium-sized sectional sofa.

Essential: These are minimum recommendations. It’s always best to add extra space around the fire pit for safety and comfort. The goal is to have at least 4 to 6 feet of clearance between the fire pit and the edge of your patio to make it easy to move around the fire and keep people a safe distance from the flames.


Choosing patio pavers for your fire pit

Choose pavers that complement the material your fire pit is made of and fit with the overall landscape. Of course, your choice should also reflect your personal style!

  • If you have a stone fire pit, try flagstone pavers to create a seamless and unified aesthetic.
  • Do you want your fire pit to be the star of the show? Go for two contrasting paver colors. Use one color for the main patio area and a different colored paver to create a border around the fire pit and draw attention to it.
  • Choose pavers with a subtle surface texture for a comfortable feel underfoot. You can also combine these with decorative accent pavers for that dash of personality.


Get more expert tips from Outdoor Cedar Structures, LLC.

Let us eliminate the guesswork from designing and building a patio around a fire pit in Spokane, Washington—Contact Us or call (509) 329-6054 to schedule your free design consultation with our experts.