Whether you’ve recently purchased a fire pit or you’ve been gifted one, you might be wondering where to put it. This is especially true if your backyard is simply fence-to-fence grass, with no seemingly safe area to light a fire.
But can you put a fire pit on grass? And, if so, how can you do it safely? If this is a problem that you’re currently facing, you’ve come to the right place!
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about placing a fire pit on grass. We’ll discuss whether or not it’s possible, some precautions you need to take, and explore the best (and safest) way of doing it.
Can You Put a Fire Pit on Grass
Need an answer fast? Let’s get straight to the point. Yes, you can place a fire pit directly on top of grass. However, there are certain things you need to think about before you do.
First of all, you need to know there is a high risk of the grass underneath the fire pit getting damaged. Even if it’s a wood-burning fire pit that is supported by tall legs, the heat generated by the bowl will cause it to singe and burn.
For this reason, it’s usually best to place a heat-proof mat or other material on top of the grass first. We’ll look into this in more detail a little later.
It’s also a good idea to water the grass before putting your fire pit on top of it, as this will reduce the risk of any wayward embers setting it on fire. It’s also worth investing in a spark screen to cover the fire pit while it’s burning.
Things to Consider
When it comes to putting a fire pit on grass, the first thing you should do is explore whether there are any other areas where you can place it instead. Just because you can put it on grass, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
Any level-area that is made from cement, stone, or anything else that isn’t combustible would be a better place to put your fire pit compared to grass. If this isn’t possible, you can put a fire pit on grass, but there is one very important thing that you’ll need to think about.
Unfortunately, there can be a tradeoff between having a perfect lawn and having a fire pit, and grass damage is fairly inevitable. Here are just a couple of issues you may face when you place a fire pit on grass:
The biggest problem that can come from putting a fire pit on grass is heat stress. This doesn’t only affect the appearance of the grass, but it can severely damage its health. But what is heat stress?
Think about your lawn during the scorching summer weather? Unless it’s watered, fed, and cared for properly, it can start to scorch, looking dry and unhealthy as it does. During this time, the roots also suffer and it becomes increasingly difficult for the grass to grow strong and healthy. Even worse, it becomes susceptible to damage from pests, diseases, and weeds.
This is all caused by high temperatures and the intensity of the summer sun beating down on your grass. Now, imagine how it would cope with a roaring fire sitting directly on top of it! The closer proximity and even higher temperatures are almost guaranteed to severely damage the underlying grass and, over time, it may end up dying altogether.
Another issue that your grass might suffer from when a fire pit is placed on top if it is ghost prints. These occur when anything heavier than the grass itself is left on top of it for an extended period of time, damaging the structure of each blade and making it difficult for it to stand upright again.
Think of ghost prints a bit like the indents you find in a carpet when you move a piece of furniture off it. In the case of grass, however, it’s left discolored, flattened, and extremely unsightly! If left long enough, the grass will die altogether and when it comes to putting your fire pit away for the winter, you’ll be left with bare patches of earth.
How to Protect Your Grass from Fire Pit Damage
Both of the issues above are likely to happen if you place a fire pit on your grass. However, there are certain things you can do to prevent them or reduce the severity of the issue. What’s more, some of these will also help to provide a better-leveled surface and, as such, will make using your fire pit safer.
Stabilizing Your Fire Pit
First things first, you want to find a level area to place your fire pit. Lawns are notorious for undulations and dips, making the ground pretty uneven. This means that your fire pit won’t stand safely and is at a much higher risk of toppling over.
A spirit level is your best tool for finding even ground. But, if you’re finding it difficult to locate any level ground on your lawn, there are some things you can do to create stability. The most important thing to remember, however, is that you need to use something that is non-combustible.
Patio Slabs / Concrete Pavers
Patio slabs and concrete pavers are the number one choice here. They are simple and cost-effective, and you may even have some lying around your property already. Even if you don’t, you can usually pick a few up at a local hardware store for a very reasonable price.
Stack them on top of your lawn and use your spirit level to make sure they are even. Once you’ve done that, simply place your fit pit on top and ignite it! It is worth removing the slabs once you’ve finished and the fire pit is completely cool.
Doing this will prevent ghost prints from forming on the grass underneath. If, however, you’re planning on using your fire pit as a permanent feature, you don’t have to remove the slabs.
Using a heat shield is another excellent way to protect the grass underneath your fire pit, especially if you’re looking for something a little less labor-intensive than moving patio slabs!
A heat shield works by protecting the surface of the grass from heat damage, absorbing it before it’s able to reach the delicate blades. They are also suitable for almost any type of flooring, so you can even set up your fire pit on wood, concrete, or anything else in the future without worrying about heat damage.
This A-Team Performance Heat Shield is a fantastic choice if you prefer this method of grass protection. It’s powerful enough to create a barrier for up to 2000ºF and it’s also fairly inexpensive. However, at 32-inches, it’s better for smaller fire pits as it may not catch any embers that spark up from a larger fire pit.
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There can be some confusion between fire-resistant mats and heat shields, and this is pretty justified as they essentially do the same thing. The difference, however, is that fire-resistant mats are a little more user-friendly.
They are lighter and easier to maneuver, so they are ideal for rolling up and storing compactly when they aren’t in use. This doesn’t mean that they lack anything in terms of quality, performance, or size, though. In fact, in most cases they are bigger than heat shields, offering you a greater area of protection.
This Ember Mat from Campfire Defender Protect Preserve is an excellent option if you like the sound of using a fire-resistant mat to protect your grass from fire pit damage. It features a high-quality silicone coating and 8 stainless steel grommets that can be used to secure it to the ground. It also meets all USFS & BLM Fire Blanket Regulations.
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Soak the Ground
If you’re trying to keep things as low-budget as possible, one of the best ways to protect your grass from fire pit damage is to soak the ground with water. This will reduce the intensity of the heat as the water will evaporate before any damage can occur. It will also stop any embers from causing a fire.
It’s important not to completely saturate the ground, though. If you do, it could easily become waterlogged and this won’t create a safe, level surface for your fire pit. It could also create drainage issues, which can be just as damaging to your grass as heat damage.
Move the Fire Pit Frequently
Leaving your fire pit directly on top of grass in a single location will soon lead to compression which, in turn, will damage and potentially destroy it. One easy way to stop this from happening is to move the fire pit around between uses.
Wait until it’s completely cool before you move it and under no circumstances should you try to move a fire pit while it’s still burning.
Although each of the methods we’ve looked at above is ideal for protecting your grass, you don’t necessarily need to use any of them. You can still place a fire pit directly on top of your grass without any protection, you’ll just have to be comfortable in the knowledge that the grass will become severely damaged.
While you can put a fire pit on grass, it’s important to put some safety precautions in place before you do. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best things you can do to keep everything as safe as possible when you’re using a fire pit on grass.
Assess Your Surroundings
The first thing you need to do is assess your surroundings. Don’t be tempted to simply head outdoors with your brand new fire pit, place it down on the grass, and ignite it. Instead, take a moment to see how close you are to certain things and whether there are any potential safety hazards around.
This includes nearby structures (such as your home, a shed, garage, etc), as well as overhanging trees and tall plants. Also, take into account any garden furniture and consider the proximity of the fire pit to where you’ll be sitting.
Here is a guide to how far away your fire pit should be placed from certain things:
- Place your fire pit at least 20-25 feet away from any structures, garden furniture, tents, or other combustible items.
- Place your fire pit at least 10-15 feet away from trees and tall plants.
You also need to make sure that you’ve removed any dead grass, pine cones, and other items from the ground that an ember could set on fire. Dead, dry grass is particularly susceptible to catching on fire, so if you’ve recently mowed your lawn make sure you’ve raked up all of the clippings and dispose of them properly.
Ensure the Surface is Level
Once you’re confident that you’ve found the best place for your fire pit and you’ve removed any potential fire hazards, you need to create a level surface for the fire pit to sit on. If you don’t do this, it could easily tip over. This is especially true if it’s a wood-burning fire pit, as the weight distribution inside the burning bowl will shift as the wood burns.
A spirit level is the best tool for this job. Whether you’re using patio slabs, a heat shield, a fire-proof mat, or you’re simply placing your fire pit directly on the grass, a spirit level will show you whether the surface is completely even.
Never Leave the Fire Pit Unattended
Once you’ve ignited your fire pit, it can be tempting to walk away and grab a drink or a snack to relax next to it with. However, under no circumstances should you leave it unattended. All it takes is for one ember to fly out of the fire pit or a shift in logs to create an imbalance, and you could have a very dangerous situation on your hands.
Even when the fire looks as though it’s starting to die out and you’re ready to head inside, you need to stay with it until it’s completely extinguished. Don’t leave it until you’re certain all of the embers have gone out and, if necessary, pour some water over the top.
Avoid Using Fuel Unless Necessary
While it may seem like a good idea to use lighter fluid or another flammable liquid to ignite your fire pit, these should be avoided. This is because, if used incorrectly, they can create huge, unmanageable fires that will result in a visit from the fire department and a potentially expensive fine.
If you’re not confident with lighting a fire, it’s best to ask somebody with a little more experience to do it safely. You can also use fire starters, which are far safer than flammable liquids.
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You should also use smaller items such as twigs, wood shavings, or newspapers to spark the first flames. Once things are burning, add larger logs one at a time and only add more when necessary.
Purchase a Spark Screen
A spark screen is an excellent tool for keeping both the fire and any embers it kicks up into the air contained within the fire pit. This doesn’t only keep you and your family safe but stops any potential damage to the underlying grass.
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Another fantastic thing about spark screens is that they still allow you to see and feel the warmth of the fire while keeping you protected at all times.
Finally, it’s super important to stay alert at all times, especially when you’re placing a fire pit on top of grass. Even with the above safety precautions in place, fire can behave unpredictably and you need to be ready to act at a moment’s notice.
Make sure you have a hose, a bucket of water, or a fire extinguisher close to hand at all times. This will give you the power to extinguish any embers that land on the grass and, even more importantly, allows you to extinguish the entire fire pit if it gets accidentally knocked over.
How to Fix Fire Pit Damaged Grass
Occasionally, despite your best efforts, your fire pit may still cause some heat damage to your grass. However, if you act quickly enough, you may be able to salvage it and help the grass grow back strong and healthy.
The first thing you should do is remove the fire pit from the damaged grass. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see the extent of the damage it caused. If there is only a very small amount of heat damage, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. Grass is pretty tough and it should be able to recover quickly by itself.
If the weather is particularly dry you can help it by watering the affected area and, in a week or two, you should see new growth.
However, if your grass has been severely damaged by your fire pit, you’ll need to put a little more effort into repairing it. In this case, dig up the affected area and re-seed it. Cover with some muslin to stop birds from eating the seed and water regularly. You should see fresh growth in a few weeks.
You can also buy a roll of turf and transplant it where the affected area was. This is the best way to get immediate results, but you’ll still need to make sure it’s watered regularly so that it can establish well.
Best Fire Pits for Placing on Grass
If you know that you want a fire pit but you’re only able to place it on grass, it’s important to choose a fire pit with certain features that will make it safer to use. Below, you’ll find two of the best fire pits for placing on grass.
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Lean, lightweight, and easy to set up, the Fireside Outdoor Pop-Up Fire Pit is ideal for placing on grass. It weighs just 7.2lbs, so it’s unlikely to create too much compression damage, even if it’s left in place for a few days. It’s also inexpensive, so it’s an excellent option for anybody working with a limited budget.
Here are some of the features that make the Fireside Outdoor Pop-Up Fire Pit a perfect candidate for placing on grass:
- It features a large burn area and a safe, elevated base
- The base also prevents any ash from falling through, further protecting the grass from heat damage
- Can be set up and taken down in less than 60 seconds
- The stainless steel mesh construction ensures stability while improving airflow and reducing smoke
- Works with both wood and charcoal
- Can safely hold up to 125lbs of fuel
This first pit also comes complete with a 50 fire / 1-year guarantee, acting as a testament to its quality and performance.
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If you’re not too keen on the idea of a pop-up fire pit and would prefer something a little more permanent, the Sunnydaze Outdoor Fire Pit is also an excellent option for placing on grass. It is slightly heavier, weighing 29lbs, so there is an increased risk of compression. However, moving it around regularly can stop this from happening.
Some other features that make the Sunnydaze Outdoor Fire Pit a good choice for placing on grass include:
- A large, deep basket that is good for containing flames and embers
- The 1.7mm durable gauge steel is finished with a temperature resistant paint, so it’ll stay looking good for years to come
- Comes with a metal spark screen that is ideal for stopping embers from flying onto your grass
- Features a built-in wood-burning grate that improves air circulation
- Includes a fire poker that allows you to safely add more wood when needed
- Thee sturdy legs even distribute the weight of the fire pit and create excellent stability
- Quick and easy to set up and dismantle as needed, which is perfect for storing away over winter
This fire pit also comes with a 1-year warranty, giving you peace of mind and covering you for repair or replacement in the unlikely event of something going wrong.
In conclusion, it is possible to put a fire pit on grass. However, there are some things that you need to consider before you do. You need to think about the damage that your grass may suffer from as it’s subjected to high temperatures.
You also need to make sure the ground is level, that you’ve cleared the area, and that you’re using a fire pit that is suitable for placing on grass.
And, most importantly, you need to make sure that you constantly monitor the fire pit while it’s in use.
Get all of these things correct, follow the advice outlined above, and you’ll be able to enjoy the warm glow of a fire pit without having to worry about finding a concrete surface to place it on.