Fire Pit Benches
Cozy up to your backyard fire pit with fireside seating. Discover tips for fire pit benches, from built-ins to portable pieces.
Add a finishing touch to your backyard fire pit with fireside seating. Free-standing chairs offer a low-cost option for campfire seating, but fire pit benches introduce a new design element to scene. These benches feature sturdy materials presented with a twist: curving angles to make encircling a fire pit easier. You can also find fire pit benches with traditional straight line designs. Learn tips for selecting, maintaining, and storing fire pit benches.
Fire pit benches feature two basics styles: built-in benches that are part of the fire pit and portable benches that you can shift throughout your yard. Regardless of which type you choose, it’s important to make sure that your fire pit design includes enough space for seating. A basic rule of thumb for fireside seating is to include at least seven feet of space around the edge of a fire pit. This provides ample room for the furniture itself, as well as for guest movement around the benches. It also gives guests the option of shifting benches away from the fire if they’re feeling too warm.
As you’re planning your fire pit design, use a piece or rope, garden hose, or tape to mark the outer edges of where your seating will be. If you have it on hand, set the furniture into place. If it’s not available yet, use something as a placeholder so you can visualize the space and make sure it works.
Built-in fire pit benches are a little trickier to position. Placed too close to the fire, family members will get too hot. Placed too far away, and guests will huddle and shiver. If you’re feeling uncertain about placement, consult with a local landscape designer or contractor who specializes in fire pits.
Select a fire pit bench that accentuates the ambience you’re trying to achieve. Rough-hewn log or stone benches underscore a rustic look, while wrought iron suits a more traditional style. Recycled plastic in bright or neon colors suggests a carefree mood. Resin-coated wicker with cushions creates a homey, cozy setting, and traditional wooden designs are a can’t-miss option for any fire pit.
In terms of durability, wrought iron tops the list. A pre-season washing with soap and water gets it ready for use, and occasional paint touch-ups may be needed. Aluminum benches provide a lightweight option with good durability and a more affordable price. Powder-coated steel blends heft with stylish lines, strong durability, and a higher price tag. These materials adapt well to gravel or grassy fire pit surrounds.
Resin-coated wicker may or may not be wrapped around an aluminum or steel frame to enhance durability. It usually looks better in a cozy patio setting. Depending on the finish and wood, wooden fire pit benches can require on-going care, such as painting or staining, to ensure longest life. Lightweight materials, like recycled plastic, provide a portable option that’s a snap to clean with soap and water. In a windy location, plastic may need to be stored after each fire.
Freestanding fire pit benches with curving seats are designed to fit together loosely to form a circle. They can be used in other areas of your yard, but if you want your fire pit benches to pull double duty as table seating, the curves might prove cumbersome. For benches that will stay outdoors all season, choose seats with slats or mesh that permit water to percolate through.
To make furniture last, portable benches should be stored in the off-season or protected with a sturdy cover. Get the most seat for your money by shopping outdoor furniture sales, which typically start after July 4. You can also scour flea markets and yard sales for outdoor furniture pieces you can adapt as fire pit benches. You may need to freshen pieces with some paint, but you’ll save a bundle.