Wednesday 30 May 2018

A Guide To Enhancing Your Outdoor Space With A Fire Pit!

Who doesn't love roasting marshmallows into a gooey delicious mess and sipping hot chocolate with their loved ones around a beautiful fire on a winter's evening? I do! But before we can get down to enjoying a crackling fire, there are a few do's and don'ts to setting up and using a fire pit in your backyard, especially, if like us you've decked your yard and are in a conundrum about what to do!

As you may know, we recently got rid of all the crazy paving, grass, garden beds, literally everything and decked our entire backyard to create a more family friendly outdoor space. The deck's become an extension of our living space and we use it all the time to entertain our family and friends. As we had so much fun enjoying our beautiful deck during the long summer months, we wanted to do the same during winter. Yes it's cold out, but that's what fire pits are for!

When I received a Glow fire pit from Northcote Pottery, I was super excited till I realised that you cannot use a fire pit directly on wooden decking! With my spirits taking a hit, I set out to do some research and found solutions that I'd like to share with you especially if you have a wooden deck. I've also compiled a list of do's and don'ts that are extremely important to keep in mind and follow if using a fire pit on a wooden deck.
A fire pit is a simple accessory that enhances your outdoor living space. It creates a warm, inviting atmosphere for you and your family to admire and enjoy. However, if you’re planning to use your fire pit on a wooden deck, there are a few things you should know. 

Clean Your Deck 
It's autumn turning to winter and if you have deciduous trees in your backyard, I'm sure there are dry leaves galore! Before setting up your fire pit, check for overhanging tree branches and remove all dry leaves, branches and general debris. Start with a clean slate! Also ensure that the fire pit is a fair distance away from your home, the fence and all other flammable structures.
Council Regulations
Some councils and municipalities may have regulations in place regarding the use of fire pits and open flames, for example using fire pits on decks only when they are at a distance of 20 feet or more away from your property. There could be other rules enforced in your area. So make sure you check them before you buy or use a fire pit.

Have Water Handy
Always have a water source close to hand. In our backyard our garden hose and tap are literally one second away from the fire pit in the unlikely event of an emergency. In case you don't have a garden hose, keep a large bucket of water or a fire blanket or fire extinguisher close by. If in the unlikely event the fire starts to spread outside of the pit, douse it immediately with water. Better safe than sorry!

Placing Your Fire Pit 
Do not place the fire pit directly on the wooden deck! When in use, the fire pit becomes extremely hot and the bottom of the pit may singe or burn your wooden deck causing irreparable or at the very least expensive damage! Placing something between the fire pit and the deck will help protect the wooden planks. I've used four thick pavers to cover the spot currently, but before using it, I'm going to speak to someone from Bunnings to ensure that we understand and know exactly what to do. There are heat-resistant fire pit mats available to withstand the extreme temperatures of a fire pit however, I would strongly recommend seeking professional advice i.e. give Northcote Pottery a call or speak to a professional from your closest Bunnings Warehouse before you light this bad boy up!

Ash disposal
After the fire pit has cooled down, dispose of the ash by emptying it into a container or you could use it as garden compost. Also, when not in use, cover the fire pit or store it away. Do not allow water to pool on the surface of the fire pit for extended periods as it will erode the surface. And most importantly do not touch the fire pit till it has cooled off completely!
Using the Fire Pit
Depending on the type of fire pit, cover the bottom of the fire pit with sand and use dry, seasoned wood, to ignite the fire. You could also add some tinder and kindling to get it going. Don't use any lighter fluid or charcoal as it may cause damage to your deck. These fire pits are only ever meant to be used with untreated wood and logs.
Here are some additional elements you can add to create a more festive ambience:
~ Burn eucalyptus or fruit tree logs to add a fresh, modern scent to the traditional log fire smell.
~ Add some simple home / garden ingredients for extra aroma, such as cinnamon sticks for spicy warmth (ideal for any Christmas in July), or dried oranges for a citrus twist.
~ Keep mozzies away naturally by burning sage or rosemary in your fire pit, alongside adding a delicious perfume to the surrounds.

Safety First
Never ever leave your fire pit burning unattended. An unattended fire could easily spark a secondary fire and could cause injury to people or even significant property damage. If you have little ones or pets running around, take a moment to think where you could place your fire pit and never leave them unsupervised around fire. Choose a design that is conducive to your backyard and your family. Also be careful of flying embers with an open fire and dry winter branches and leaves. Placement and safety is key to enjoying your fire pit in covered or open outdoor spaces, so have a quick chat with the experts when you buy your fire pit.

Caring For Your Fire Pit
When exposed to air, the rust-like coating of the fire pit will continue to generate and form a protective layer to prevent natural erosion and corrosion. The fire pit can be left untreated, however an annual coating of Penetrol, fine oil or metal primer can help preserve the rusted surface. This may also help reduce the likelihood of staining of your deck, surrounding pavers and others surfaces. In case the pit gets scratched or marked, do not attempt to fix or sand away the marks. Allow the natural corrosion process of the weathering steel to begin again and heal itself. Since the fire pit has a rust like appearance and texture, over time it will age and weather naturally starting from the very first use. There could be slight flexing or warping of the metal but this is completely normal. So don't panic!

Enjoy Your Fire Pit
And lastly enjoy your fire pit! Whether it be cool summer evenings or chilly winter afternoons, gather your kids, friends and family and roast those marshmallows and make those memories!In case you're wondering I have the VIVO fire pit from the Glow collection by Northcote Pottery. You can see the new range of stylish fire pits here or on their website.

I would always recommend using your fire pit on cemented or paved backyards away from decking or flammable surfaces such as grass, wood chips, leaves, house fence or decorative bark. However, if your entire backyard like ours is decked then ensure that you speak to a fire pit professional about placement and do your research prior to using it. 

**Winter Giveaway!**
Ok so now for some cool news... Would you like to win a VIVO Glow Fire Pit? Well today is your lucky day! I've partnered with Northcote Pottery to giveaway one brand new VIVO Fire Pit! Head on over to my instagram account here and follow the easy peasy steps and win yourself a backyard beauty! Don't miss out!
*Giveaway open to all Australian residents over 18 years of age.

Till next time... enhance your outdoor space this winter with a stylish fire pit and Good Luck!

This post and giveaway is in collaboration with Northcote Pottery. As always, all design choices, thoughts and opinions are all mine and genuine and I only ever work with brands that I love and I think you will too.

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