Sitting outside under a starry night sky, gazing at the flickering flames of an open fire is one of life’s true pleasures.
There’s something incredibly relaxing and mesmerising about watching a camp fire. Add a comfy chair and a glass of wine or cup of tea in hand, and it doesn’t get much better.
Having a fire pit is also a great way to get the family outdoors, away from screens, and learning some essential life skills. Get the kids involved with collecting sticks and, if they’re old enough, learning how to build and light a fire (under careful supervision of course). If you’re not sure when is the right age to teach your kids how to light a fire, Scouts start learning how to safely light fires from eleven years old.
You can also add an extra dimension to your fire night by using your fire pit to cook a dinner or dessert to remember. Even if it gets a little charred or smoky, that’s all the more memorable right? But more about that a little later.
So, if you’re thinking about setting up a fire pit or want to improve on the one you’ve got, we’ve done a fire pit round-up to give you some ideas for your place.
You’ll find an elegant example of a bowl fire pit at our gorgeous Anniversary Prize Home in Flaxton.
Bowl fire pits are great for small yards, terraces or when you don’t want to commit too much space in your yard to a firepit. They also offer the flexibility to move your fire pit around to suit your needs or the weather.
Hot Tip: If your space is limited and your neighbours are close by, choose a fire pit that comes with a mesh cover to help contain any sparks and embers.
These fire pits can be as simple or as spectacular as you like. One of the simplest and cheapest options is to build your fire pit out of retaining wall bricks. You can purchase these from a landscaping centre or there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find second hand bricks on your local Buy, Swap, Sell page. Simply find a flat spot in your yard and stack the bricks into a circular shape. You’ll need about 12 bricks per layer (give or take a couple). There are lots of DIY instructions online for building this type of fire pit so check them out if this is the way you decide to go.
Other popular materials for building fire pits include stone blocks, stacked stone or even rocks and boulders. From setting them into the ground to incorporating built-in seating, there really is no limit, as long as you have the budget. Type fire pit into Pinterest to see some amazing designs or talk to your local landscape designer about creating a bespoke design to suit your home.
For those looking for a contemporary, minimalistic look, gas fire pits are becoming more and more popular.
One of the greatest benefits of gas fire pits is how easy they are to use. Forget chopping wood and gathering kindling – if you’re looking for something quick and easy to light a gas fire pit is a great option. But if you enjoy the ceremony and challenge of building and lighting a fire, a traditional wood fire might be a better option for you.
Gas fire pits are also clean burning (in other words, smoke-less) and they can be turned off instantly without you having to get the hose out or wait for the fire to die down.
Gas fire pits can be fuelled by natural or propane gas and need to be installed by a professional, so they generally come in more expensive than their wood-burning counterparts.
But just remember, if the main purpose of your fire pit is for keeping you warm, gas fire pits don’t give off as much heat as a wood-burning fire pit. Decisions, decisions.
If you’re not a traditionalist and like doing things a bit differently, your fire pit is a great chance to get a little creative. After all, your home is your castle so you’re the one that makes the rules. As long as it’s fire-proof and suitable for being outdoors, you can make your fire pit out of pretty much anything you like.
In the interest of recycling and re-using, here are a few everyday things you can repurpose into a totally unique and memorable fire pit.
Get your hands on an old 44 gallon (225 litre) drum and you’ve got the makings of a great fire pit. There are a couple of ways you can transform a steel drum into a fire pit with cred:
1. One way is to lop the top off and use it standing up. The amount you cut off just depends on the height you would like the finished pit to be. You can either sit it on the ground (or some pavers) the way it is or attach some metal legs underneath to get it up off the ground to improve air circulation around it.
2. The other option is to cut it lengthways to create not one but two potential fire pits. Attach some simple legs at either end and you’re good to go. You can either paint your firepit to give it a lease of new life or keep it rusty and rustic for a cool, understated look. Keep one pit for yourself and give the other away or sell it and make a tidy profit.
Yep, you read that right. An old washing machine drum can actually make a pretty spectacular fire pit. The perforations in the drum can create some beautiful effects when there’s a fire blazing inside. No one would guess what your designer fire pit was in a former life.
An old metal wheelbarrow makes a fabulous fire pit and is a great conversation starter when friends come around. It also offers the added advantage of being able to carry the wood to said fire pit location. Winning.
Taking things one step further, a steel shopping trolley also makes a cool and quirky fire pit. Of course, you need to source your shopping trolley in an appropriate (and legal) way rather than just walking it home from Woolies.
The best way to make everyone linger a little longer around the fire is to feed them. Sounds logical, right? What’s even better is if you can do the cooking using the fire you’re all gathered around.
Cooking over your fire pit is a fantastic way to get everyone involved, keep them entertained and feed them all at once. And you don’t have to be a chef to do it.
However, if the only thing you can think of is roasting marshmallows, here are a few yummy ideas for fire night eats:
One of the easiest options is to simply cook sausages over the fire. All you need to do is thread your sausages onto clean pieces of stiff steel wire and hold them over the fire to cook. Make sure the wire pieces are nice and long so that hands don’t get too hot while waiting for the sausages to cook. You can get fancy and bend one of the ends of the wire to make a handle so it’s more comfortable to hold. You can also use the exact same method to roast cobs of corn. When they’re done, slather with butter and salt and tuck in.
Campfire jaffles A jaffle iron is another great option for easy and fun campfire cooking. Along the lines of an electric jaffle maker, the campfire version is made of cast iron with a long handle so it can be held directly over a fire or coals to cook delicious, crunchy savoury or sweet jaffles. For fillings, you could go with classics like cheese, baked beans or leftover stew. Or why not try out some creative dessert options like banana and Nutella, or jaffle s’mores filled with marshmallows and melted chocolate? Try using indulgent slices of brioche in place of standard bread and your dessert jaffles will be truly next level. You’re welcome.
If you don’t have one already, why not pick up a handheld grill basket from a camping or outdoor sish over an open flame for a delicious smoky flavour. Or you could even get fancy and use tore. This double-sided grill clamps together at the handle, holding your food in place while you rest it over the fire. With one of these babies in your kit, the culinary options are almost endless. You can easily grill hamburgers, steak and fyour basket to cook butterflied pork or Portugese roast chicken. Vegetable slices (think eggplant, capsicum or zucchini) lightly basted with olive oil also taste amazing cooked this way.
Turning your fire pit into a woodfired barbeque is easier than you think. The easy DIY option is to throw a piece of steel mesh or steel plate over the top of your fire pit and voila – backyard BBQ.
If you’re looking for something a little more pro, some fire pits are sold with a BBQ plate or grill as an accessory that fits snugly into the top rim of the bowl. You can also buy BBQ plates with legs so that they sit over the top of your fire pit. And then for a really versatile, but easy to set up system, there are hotplate and grill combos that swivel off a spike that’s driven into the ground next to the fire.
Check out online camping and outdoor stores to see all the options
Cooking with a camp oven is a great way to impress everyone with your outdoorsy cooking skills. You can either sit the camp oven directly on the coals or suspend it over the fire with a stand.
Start out making something simple like damper, then work your way up to a camp oven roast or curry. There are loads of mouth-watering recipes available online to try out over winter. And the good news is that everything tastes better outdoors, so whatever you cook it is sure to taste amazing.
If you’re looking for the perfect spot to set up a fire pit, look no further than our $1.16 million Anniversary Prize Home in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. With spectacular views out to the coast, it’s just the place to spend a cool winter afternoon curled up in a classic lawn chair in front of a toasty fire. To find your spot, take a virtual tour of this beautiful Queenslander home now.