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As late summer arrives, some key considerations before adding a fire bowl to your backyard

By John Kirchner August 1, 2011

It may seem preposterous now, but eventually, the heat will break, providing those perfect late summer nights to gather around a fire.

While it’s become increasingly common for builders to weave a fire pit into the patio design for new homes, there’s an alternative for those who want to avoid a full-scale backyard renovation: outdoor fire bowls.

Houzz has published a list of 10 tips for using outdoor fire bowls and many of them relate to safety. Here’s some important things to consider:

Consult with building officials, local codes and certified professionals. Be sure fire bowls are allowed on your property. It may be a good idea to speak with an insurance agent, too. In other words, know the laws and weigh the risks.

Set a screen. These come included with most fire bowls. The screen will prevent sparks and embers from spreading and possibly causing a fire. If nothing else, try using a grilling surface.

Don’t put your fire out with water. Not only is water ineffective — it can be dangerous. (The bowl usually erupts in a swirl of steam and ash.) Instead, use a bucket of sand or dirt and rake the coals to expose the bottom layers to the cover. Also, separate burning logs so they cool faster.

Know the winds. If there’s a prevailing wind, consider which direction the smoke and ash might blow, factoring overhanging foliage and your home.

You can read the rest of Houzz’s tips here.

[Photo from New Inspiration Home Design]