Warm summer nights are for sitting outside with family and friends, soaking in the warmth from your fire pit, and catching up on the day. A fire pit is an interesting addition to your outdoor space, not only to create the campfire ambiance but also to provide warmth and to do some roasting.
In this post, we will help you understand the answer to what to put under a fire pit on grass.
But fire is fire, and so you want to be careful about where and how you place your fire pit. Naturally, you don’t want to ruin any of your landscaping, and certainly not leave a scorch mark on your lawn that will take all Summer to disappear.
What to Put Under a Fire Pit on Grass
Patio slabs are the most effective option to use as surfaces for a fire pit. Slabs are very flat and stable, and they will readily absorb any heat conducted or radiated from the fire pit, protecting your lawn from becoming scorched. Additionally, the flat surface evenly distributes the weight of the pit, reducing the risk of crushing the grass below.
Arrange your patio slabs according to the shape, size, and number of legs on your fire pit. Each leg should be standing on one patio slab. Once you’re sure that the pit is stable, you can fill the pit with wood, briquettes, or whichever fuel source you’re using. Check that the fire pit is stable again, and then you can light your fire.
Once you’re done, leave the pit in place overnight – DO NOT attempt to move or touch it as fire pits can heat up to a whopping 1200°C depending on their external material. If you want to use it for a few days consecutively, you can leave it in the same spot, but this flattens the grass. An alternative is to move the pit to a different flat spot each evening.
In the absence of patio slabs, invest in a portable heat shield. Heat shields are not just made for use on grass – you can place them on composite or wooden decks, concrete surfaces, and other floor surfaces. Regardless of the location of the fire pit, putting a heat shield under the pit will protect the surface from fire and heat damage.
Heat shields are fairly portable and easy to use. No assembly is needed; simply place one under the fire pit on a flat surface, and light your fire without any worry. However, heat shields are only recommended for use with fire pits, not as a direct surface on which to place a burning fire.
When buying a heat shield, choose a high-quality brand, and remember to check the shield’s maximum capacity. If the heat exceeds its capacity, you risk damaging the heat shield itself and the surface underneath.
VEVOR Fire Pit Heat Shield
Heat shields are portable, but they can still be bulky depending on where you want to use them. On backpacking or camping trips, for instance, they are bulky unless you’re car camping; use a fire-resistant mat instead. You can easily fold and stuff it into your bag – it is compact when folded and doesn’t get damaged.
Fire-resistant mats are also easy to set up – just lay it on the grass or other surface and place your fire pit on it. If coals or embers spill onto the mat it won’t immediately catch fire. The mats are also bigger than heat shields, so you can protect a larger surface around the fire.
The downside with a fire pit mat however is they don’t lift the fire pit up away from the grass. You still need some height between the base of your fire pit and the grass below, otherwise, the heat from your fire pit will still burn the grass.
Check out my list of best fire pit mats, where I’ve found some that need as little as 4 inches clearance, compared to others that need up to 12 inches clearance.
New to the scene is a company called FireProof Pros
FireProof Pros Fire Mat
This company claims they have the BEST fire pit mat for deck, patio, concrete, and grass protection on the market and… they may be right!
US-Based FireProof Pros came to market in March of 2021 with a completely thicker designed three-layered fire pit pad that offers improved heat resistant material and new ember-protecting layers.
If you’ve ever wondered if a regular 1mm fire pit mat is thick enough to protect your flooring from scorched earth, many times you’d be right! FireProof Pros offers a mat that is 6X thicker than other mats and they have multiple sizes and shapes of these robust heat shields soon being added to their lineup to help you protect the ground under your fire pit, Solo stove, chiminea, burn bowl, kettle BBQ, or grill.
So, what makes this mat so special? Most fire pit mats are relatively thin and often are made of a single layer of fiberglass fabric with some sort of coating (usually aluminum to reflect heat). While this may work for a few uses for a few fire pits types, these mats do not offer great protection when the fire starts to roar, for longer or repeated uses, or when a lump of coal or log falls on the mat for any length of time.
FireProof Pros improved every potential weakness of its product. Their top fabric is a custom-reinforced reflective aluminum that is much harder to peel off under high heat. This also makes the mat easy to clean and waterproof to protect from grease, stains, and sparks. The top and bottom fabric layers are a different combination of silica, fiberglass, and other materials that increase the temperature it can withstand.
They also added a separate middle layer that is custom engineered with more fiberglass and carbonized fiber cotton, so that heat from embers doesn’t easily penetrate through. They added an additional flame-resistant bottom layer that is coated in a non-slip material to keep the mat from sliding. All of these layers are strongly bound together with a fire-resistant Kevlar stitching that is both beautiful and robust. If that is not enough, their stitching is finished in a flame-resistant coating to further ensure that every inch of this mat will endure the intense heat.
The FireProof Pros mat comes in very elegant packaging making it a great gift. Each mat also includes a weatherproof storage case which is a great addition for when you are not using the mat or when you are taking your portable grill on your next camping trip.
Putting a small paver or brick under each leg of your fire pit can help elevate it up off the grass. Combining pavers on top of a fire pit mat offers an extra layer of protection and height to help stop your grass from dying.
Fire Pit Ring
If you have a smokeless fire pit, such as a Solo Stove, you need a fire pit ring before using it on grass. A fire pit ring sits underneath your smokeless fire pit to help elevate it up off the grass. Depending on the type of grass and the heat of your fire pit, it may help to alleviate a burnt patch or dead grass.
Avoid using a smokeless fire pit directly on grass, as it will cause burning. If you have a Solo Stove, read my tips on using a Solo Stove on grass here.
Getting the right surface is only the first step in keeping your lawn protected. Even with a heat protection surface, below are a few tips to remember to keep your lawn completely protected from potential damage.
Eliminate the Risks
Always ensure the surface on which the fire pit will sit is well-balanced and sturdy – you don’t want it to topple and start a fire or hurt someone.
Start by choosing a light outdoor fire pit, which won’t exert too much weight on the surface below and cause flattening or discoloring. Next, ensure that you choose a spot of ground that is completely level so that the surface under the pit remains steady.
Clear away any twigs, cuttings, and other debris to make the surface completely flat and remove potential combustibles near the fire pit.
Check out this excellent fireproof mat, made for decks and patios.
Huigu Fireproof Fire Pit Mat
Have a fire extinguisher or water hose close anytime you light a fire around your home. Should debris fly out onto the lawn, you can quell the fire immediately.
Use a hose to wet the grass under your fire pit completely, as well as the area surrounding the pit. Wet grass is harder to burn than dry grass.
Never use any fuel in your fire pit, such as lighter fluid or gasoline, and you could create a fire too big for the pit. Instead, light your fires using a simple matchbox and dry twigs, papers, wood shavings, or dry leaves.
If your grass does burn or die, take a look at my tips on fixing burnt grass.
Now you know how to place a fire pit on your lawn without risking damage to the lush greenery below the pit. If you go for store-bought products, be sure to check reviews thoroughly and pick the brands with the highest customer satisfaction.
And finally, never leave a burning or smoldering fire unattended. Take care to put out the fire completely before going back indoors.