Angie's List: Benefits of a backyard fire feature - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Angie's List: Benefits of a backyard fire feature

 Fire pits are a popular backyard feature for many homes, even in colder weather.

"Fire pits are absolutely not a fad. It is a lifestyle," said landscaping expert, Randy Sorrell.

Sorrell says fire pits are a hot choice for outdoor home design, helping to extend backyard use through fall and winter.

"So, it's almost a tradition or a dare to have a fire on Christmas, New Year's, certainly Thanksgiving. We're enjoying it," said Sorrell.

Fire pits can typically be built year-round, but Angie's List says make sure you get the go-ahead before breaking ground.

"If you are installing a fire pit you really need to check with your homeowners association first because you certainly don't want to get sideways with their rules. Also check local regulations. You want to know what the fire code is for having that fire pit," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks.

"You want to keep it a minimum of ten feet away from your home and we gotta look for the canopy under trees. So, you want to stay away from that," said Sorrell.

Experts say fire pits come in all sizes, shapes and a variety of materials, from stone and concrete to metal. It's best to determine a budget before designing.

"Boulder fire features are typically around a $1,000 if we're building them," said Sorrell.

If you have the skills, patience and time, tackle the project yourself.

"Some of the big box retailers now sell kits that look pretty good and you can customize them and make them look phenomenal," said Sorrell.

With fire comes liability, so make sure you're covered whether you build the fire pit or hire a pro.

"Don't forget to check with your insurance agent about your homeowners insurance. You want to make sure you fire pit is covered under your policy," said Hicks.

If your fire pit plans require digging, Angie's List reminds you to call 8-1-1 for help. You don't want to risk hitting any underground lines, pipes or

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