This is a question that actually seems to come up a lot. A lot of our customers really enjoy their gazebos, and they want to be able to enjoy them in winter too.
After all, the wind chill isn’t always below zero, and the snow isn’t always unbearable. We can definitely understand the desire to get outdoors in front of a fire in your favorite outdoor space.
The thing is, it’s not a good idea. Even a small fire pit with a screen presents complications. There’s nowhere safe for the smoke to go, especially if your gazebo is enclosed. You’re also bringing a fire inside of an enclosed wooden structure, which isn’t the world’s best idea.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors with your firepit. You can place it on your patio, even if you’ve got a pergola roof. In fact, this might be a deciding factor if you’re trying to make decisions about whether or not you are going to invest in a gazebo or a pergola. If you know for sure that you’ll want to sit under your structure with a fire pit you’re going to want to go with a pergola.
A pergola’s going to have big gaps which will allow the smoke to escape. Just make sure you observe two safety rules.
First, if you’re on a wooden deck and not, say, a stone patio then you’re going to want to get a gas fueled pit so flying sparks don’t become an issue. Or you can add a stone safety zone right onto your deck.
If you’re going with a wood-burning pit get one with a screen. This will also prevent sparks from becoming an issue.
We’ve also seen some people set their firepits just outside of the pergola’s reach, so that they can continue to sit under the pergola themselves, but so the smoke isn’t rising up to damage the wood, as in the photo below. This looks like the safest option of all.
You should also check your local government’s regulations on campfires and camping pits. For example, here’s the burning permit and campfire rules for the City of Mequon.