Fire pits can range from a simple metal band set in the ground to contain any loose sparks from a wood fire to an elaborate fireproof fire pit bowl set in stone veneer with gas-burning logs. The only design limitations to what kind of fire pit ring may be set up are those placed by local building ordinances. Always have building permits in hand before building a fire pit ring.
Round fire pits are conducive for conversation. This type of fire pit needs to have a low wall, no taller than 12 inches, to keep the fire low to the ground so people can easily see each other over the flames. A wider layer of stone around the top of the fire pit enables guests to sit on the fire pit wall when it's not in use. Built-in seating around the round fire pit ring makes it easier to have conversations with people seated next to you as well as those across the fire pit. Because round is the most traditional shape, it's easier to find a fire pit bowl suitable for this type of fire pit ring.
A square fire pit ring suits a formal garden layout. While arranging seating on all sides of a square fire pit is possible, this style typically has one side along the edge of the setting. Conversational grouping is still possible, but it's not as casual as a round seating arrangement. You can find square or rectangular liners, but more often fireproof concrete creates the liner for these fire pits. Any type of stone or decorative concrete may form the outside perimeter of the pit. A wider layer of stone or concrete around the top of the fire pit offers additional seating when the fire pit is not in use.
Rectangular fire pits have many similarities to square ones. They are for more formal arrangements and often have similar design characteristics. What sets rectangular fire pits apart are their size and their placement. Rectangular fire pits often serve as a wall or edge to a landscape feature. While there may be seats near a rectangular fire pit, this style of fire pit is more often decorative rather than functional. Rectangular fire pits come in a variety of materials, and designers often incorporate different elements, such as fire and water, into the design of rectangular fire pits. This style of fire pit ring may cost more because of customised features.