A fire pit is an elegant way of making gatherings more interesting. Whether with family or friends, surrounding the fire during the cold winter makes these kinds of reunions much closer and special. So, it’s no wonder that some would consider placing a fire pit in the front yard.
The front yard is special in that it’s also a connection to the world outside the house. It connects you to your neighbors, your neighborhood, and also to acquaintances who may be passing around. It’s an inviting part of your property, while the backyard is a more private part.
So, would having a fire pit in your front yard be possible? There are some considerations you have to account for, but in general you should be. Continue reading to know more.
Having a firepit in your front yard: regulations
Like with many kinds of property modification, you have to follow federal, state, county and municipal laws in order to do those modifications.
Regarding fire pits, those laws were created to lessen the risk of wildfires, as they can damage both your property and the properties in the neighborhood. Those laws can be different from one location to another, but there tends to be some common ground among them.
Following the regulations, you are likely free to build and use the fire pit in your front yard as you please. It may even not be necessary to obtain a permit beforehand. But it’s important to follow them to the letter to avoid having problems in the future.
You can expect the size of the pit to be limited. It will probably not be able to be greater than three feet in diameter nor three feet in height. Smaller fires are naturally easier to control than greater fires, so this is a reasonable limitation.
The materials which can be used as fuel are also likely to be regulated. Some materials are more pollutant, meaning they emit offensive odors or toxic substances, which can be detrimental to the people surrounding it as well as to the neighborhood.
This means that using materials such as paper, newspapers, magazines, dry leaves, and other easily combustible everyday materials is unlikely to be permitted, as they may release large quantities of unknown, possibly toxic substances to the air.
Instead, you will likely need to have a supply of appropriate wood fuel, such as oak, ash and cedar, which were previously prepared to for burning (that is, firewood).
It is also forbidden to use the firepit to burn waste products, as those tend to emit the largest quantities of toxic substances, aside from generating an offensive odor to the surroundings.
The surroundings of your front yard firepit
What surrounds the firepit can also be regulated, to prevent the fire’s sparks from initiating uncontrolled fires in the vicinity, as well as to prevent possible accidents in the process of lighting up or putting out the fire.
The firepit will likely need to be positioned at least 10 feet away from any other buildings, both your own and your neighbor’s, but some regions may require as much as 30. Consider previously if you will have enough space for it.
It also cannot be built within an enclosed space. The presence of fires within an enclosed space without any way of funneling out the smoke generated can lead to the build up of carbon dioxide and monoxide. Those two substances are toxic in large amounts, and can lead to long term health problems. If the build up is too great, it can also lead to suffocation.
Be aware that both carbon monoxide is odorless and does not make you feel out of breath. It is also a frequent cause of poisoning, hence why some regions have adopted the domestic use of carbon monoxide detectors.
Depending on your county or municipality, having a cover over the firepit may also not be possible, unless it has some way of releasing the smoke onto the air above.
The floor around the firepit must also be well prepared to receive it. You cannot allow the build up of dry leaves nearby, as well as dry grass, so you should consider paving the surroundings and maintaining the place clear of flammable residuals (such as packaging and paper) to prevent accidents.
Regions that have dry seasons and frequent problems with wildfires may also institute “no burn days” as a way to reduce the likelihood of such problems. Those may apply to any kind of fire, or just to open burning, that is, the burning of uncontained or lightly contained fire, a category which the firepit may fall into.
In this case, you must follow the regional news in order to be attentive to the occurrence of no burn days, otherwise you run the risk of being fined or suffering some other kind of punishment.
It is also possible for those kinds of regions to prohibit open fires of any kind, so also be wary of that.
Call for professional help
Fire pit regulations can be rather long and complicated, and the fact that they change from one place to another makes it a more difficult endeavor. And along with that, you can expect them to be written in the usual law jargon, which can make them much harder to understand.
Fortunately, there are many companies that are used to building different kinds of structures that involve fire, such as brick barbecues and firepits.
Here at JS Brick, we have over twenty years of experience with bricks and pavers, and could very helpful. We will help you not only to design and place your firepit, but also the entire structures that will surround it, guaranteeing a one-of-a-kind experience for you, your family and friends.
If you live in or near Sarasota County, FL, call us at +1 941 586 9140, or contact us using the buttons at the bottom of your screen. We would be glad to help you give new life to your front yard!