Is It Safe To Put A Fire Pit Underneath Your Backyard Pergola?

Pergolas and fire pits can make your backyard look like a wonderland and create a beautiful aesthetic, but if you're putting the two together, you'll need to make sure you're being safe. You should take into account the height of your pergola and what materials it's made of when planning a spot for your fire pit. While it can be perfectly safe to install a fire pit under your pergola, you'll need to consider ventilation, whether a propane or wood-burning pit is best, and local regulations.

It's generally recommended that fire pits be installed at least 10 feet away from your house or anything that could burn. While this seems to be standard, your local regulations may be different, and if your pergola has a height of less than 15 feet and you plan to burn wood, you should consider placing your fire pit somewhere else. If the sides of your pergola are enclosed, this could lead to ventilation issues, which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Safely installing a fire pit under a pergola

When deciding to install a fire pit, the first step is to check local rules. Some communities prohibit any open burning, while some require permits for fire pits. Before going out and buying a brand-new pit, make sure you'll be able to use it without getting into trouble.

There are two types of fire pits to consider when planning your pergola paradise. While wood fires are more traditional and less expensive to install, they produce more smoke and burn at hotter temperatures than gas fire pits. If your pergola is shorter, has any of the sides enclosed, is made of more flammable material, or is used as a trellis, a gas pit is your safest bet. Gas fire pits also turn on or off with the push of a button and don't make as much of a mess.

If you prefer burning wood or charcoal, you'll need to make sure your pergola has proper ventilation and is 15 feet or higher. You can also place a grate over the fire to prevent sparks from flying onto anything.

Pergolas to use above your fire pit

While some pergolas are made of wood, others are built with vinyl, aluminum, or steel. It may seem counterintuitive, but wood and vinyl pergolas can be safe with a fire pit as long as you follow the height and ventilation tips above. You'll want to avoid attached and awning pergolas to ensure the fire isn't close to your house, and make sure the base your pergola sits on is grass or pavement, as wooden decks pose a fire risk. It's common to see pergolas covered with ivy or wisteria, but when using a fire pit underneath, it's best to skip the plants. You should also consider the placement of your pergola and ensure it's not near any trees, branches, or bushes.

Whether you're creating a gorgeous outdoor movie theater, a cabana beside your pool, or simply a cozy place to relax on cool summer nights, a fire pit and pergola will create a beautiful space in your backyard as long as you follow the fire safety guidelines.