As temperatures begin to cool, it’s that time of the year again to gather around the fire pit. But there are a few things to keep in mind if you, your friends and family are going to enjoy a comfortable evening.

To get the most from your fire pit, you’ll need to create a cozy space that’s still safe. Striking that balance isn’t always the easiest task, so here are a few pointers to guide you in the right direction.

1. Create Some Comfort

Fire Pit

If your patio furniture consists of castaway folding chairs from an event that happened years ago, you might benefit from some retail therapy. It’s more enjoyable to sit around your fire pit when you’re comfortable.

Look for seating with cozy outdoor cushions you can sink into. A porch swing adds a romantic touch. Bring out a few soft throw blankets for added warmth on chilly nights, plus a good novel to get lost in.

2. Smoke Away the Bugs

Are bugs driving you crazy every time you sit outside? If you have a wood-burning fire pit, throw a few sage sticks in with your regular fuel.

These sticks create a pleasant aroma and keep mosquitoes at bay. Once temperatures drop low enough, clean out any ashy residue.

3. Go to the Drive-In

Did you know you can buy inexpensive projectors that connect to your laptop for under $100? Opt for an LED model, which includes a light source that lasts 20,000 hours or more compared to 3,000 hours for lamp projectors. Why not recreate the drive-in movie experience around your fire pit?

Take your laptop and projector outdoors and aim the lens at a wall. You can set it up opposite the pit to enjoy a view of both flames and film. Then, make some popcorn — popped over the fire — and nestle in to enjoy the show.

4. Take Safety Precautions

Fire Pit

As beautiful as they are, fire pits create additional hazards. Keep a garden hose or fire extinguisher on hand in case stray wind carries a spark. Keep your pit at least 10 feet away from any structures to prevent smoke damage or worse. Clear away any combustible materials nearby.

Perform proper maintenance to keep your pit in working order. It’s a good idea to have it inspected each year by a licensed professional. Keep dirt and soot cleaned out and exercise sound judgment when selecting burning material.

5. Enjoy Year-Round Grilling

You should avoid putting steaks directly over your pit, even if it comes with a grill attachment. Fats and oils can drip in and ignite.

Extend your outdoor cooking time by wrapping food in aluminum before cooking. You can marinate meats and veggies in the fridge and quickly move it to the pit.

6. Make Some S’mores

What’s more magical than toasting marshmallows with the kids? As long as you clean away any drippings once the pit cools, you can enjoy a family s’mores night.

Invest in steel sticks with handles, which hold marshmallows more securely than wooden ones that catch fire, and always remember to supervise small children around flames.

7. Find Your Zen

Are you into Bikram yoga, where you exercise in 100+ degree temperatures for more than 90 minutes? Even if you’re not, you’ll still feel serene when practicing in front of a blazing fire.

Drag your mat out on your porch or patio. The heat from the fire helps relax your muscles, making stretches easier. After your practice, you can enjoy a warm, calming session of meditation.

8. Host a Game Night

Fire Pit

Why not host an adult game night outdoors? You’ll have more space to stretch out when playing games like Twister and Charades. Hang some decorative lanterns to illuminate the boards and make pastimes, like Trivial Pursuit and Clue, possible.

Don’t want to light up the neighborhood? You can also enjoy classic campfire games. Play old favorites like Twenty Questions or Two Truths and a Lie. You’ll get to know your friends better while having a blast.

9. Prepare a Romantic Evening

Is it date night? What better way to set the mood than sipping champagne by your fire pit? Go all out and sprinkle some rose petals over the furniture.

Invest in electric table lanterns or candles for additional ambiance. Sit on the porch swing into the wee hours talking about everything and anything.

Get the Most From Your Fire Pit

Did you know how much fun you could have with a fire pit? Apply any of the nine ideas above to get the most out of your outdoor investment!

fire pit