7 Sunken Firepit Ideas That Will Create a Warm Feel in Your Backyard During Cool Summer Nights

Landscaping in a sunken firepit will make this relaxing outdoor space feel even more cozy and intimate — take inspiration from these ideas

a stylish sunken outdoor seating area in a backyard
(Image credit: Aaron Leitz. Design: Lucas Interior)

Firepits are often used as a decorative focal point in a home. Its charm has a way of drawing in warmth on a dull and dark day and it's such a great addition to outdoor living spaces. They are ideal for entertaining, as well as creating a calming ambiance. With many styles, shapes and sizes, the sunken firepit is one I can't help but obsesses over.

The sunken firepit trend is one that I have seen tirelessly on my social media feed. I can't complain though, as they are absolutely beautiful to look at. But how do you effortlessly integrate your surroundings with a sunken firepit?

If you're in need of some sunken inspiration for your firepit ideas, we've created a list of stunning designs to help you on your journey.

1. Have a cozy seating area

A sunken firepit with a stunning landscape

(Image credit: Trex Company)

Adding dimension to a simple space, this sunken firepit demonstrates a subtle, yet elegant way of integrating a deck with a firepit.

Leslie Adkins, Group Vice President of Marketing and ESG Development at Trex Company says, adding benches directly into this deck 'offers plenty of seating for guests, and naturally enhances the visual appeal of the space'. This design creates a 'seamless blend of texture and materials'. Leslie says the 'firepit’s stone exterior complements the paved pathway throughout the backyard, creating a special space for enjoying a late-night fire with friends and family'.

For a modern take on your backyard ideas, why not create a deck around the firepit, like this one? Adding different levels in your yard is also a great way of utilizing the space around you.

This sunken firepit also has a seating area for guests to relax and enjoy. Try Opting for Wood and Cinder Block Benches if you want to create this look around your fireplace on a budget. Feeling inspired? Check out this Bonitta Acacia Outdoor Bench from Wayfair.

2. Draw in elements of nature

A sunken firepit with a stunning wooden landscape

(Image credit: Trex company)

I love the way nature is placed around this sunken firepit. The arid, desert-style planting, including the cacti, brings a rough, yet edgy look to the space.

'The nature-inspired light brown hue of the decking complements the mountainous backdrop, while seamlessly integrated built-in benching frames the sunken firepit area,' Leslie says. 'Accentuated by the addition of a pergola, an outdoor fireplace and softly glowing string lights, the space exudes a cozy, welcoming atmosphere amidst the rugged beauty of the desert landscape'.

I'm quite fond of this backyard as it has a separate outdoor living room area on the upper level. On the lower level, there are table and chairs, giving a distant, yet cozy view of the firepit. If you want to create this in your backyard, try mixing up the seating area, which will allow guests to move around more freely.

3. Bring the indoors, outdoor

A table firepit with a sunken outdoor sofas

(Image credit: Trex Company)

This chic outdoor oasis sits perfectly with its cozy sunken benches installed directly into a backyard deck. This space captures the essence of home, by placing cushions around the firepit benches. The placement of these pillows and different patterns, adds dimension, creativity and color to the dark toned sunken deck.

'This space exudes privacy and luxury,' Leslie says. 'Pillows, potted plants and other outdoor accessories soften the space, turning a simple backyard deck into a personalized paradise'.

If you have rather dull looking benches, try adding some blankets, pillows and sofa throws to add more life into the space. Try opting for this Cavendish Canary Tropical Square Outdoor Throw Pillow Multicolor from Target which will create a colorful and bright look in your yard.

4. Add lighting to brighten up the space

calimingopools Instagram sunken fireoit design

(Image credit: @calimingopools Instagram)

Incorporating modern garden lighting in a sunken firepit not only helps your space practicality at nighttime, but looks great too.

'The seats and stairs have channel set halo lighting which is great for ambiance, but is also used for safety to prevent tripping,' Jesse Escalera, owner of Calimingo Pools tells us. 'The floor of the pit is polished pebbles. They look like tiny dinosaur eggs and they feel really nice on your feet,' Jesse adds.

'The spill over water from the pool appears to magically disappear, but it actually pours into a hidden drain below the polished pebbles and recirculates back through the pool. All of the features are controlled by a phone application, so even if you are out at dinner, you can turn on the features from your phone so it’s all ready when you get home!'

In this design, Jesse has also featured custom cushions which he says are 'upholstered with top graded outdoor fabrics so they stay nice for years to come. Not only that, they are incredibly comfortable! We’ve been making these for 20 years!'.

5. A firepit with a view

Fire features

(Image credit: Fire Features)

If you've got a view that you just can't resist, why not place your firepit opposite the magnificent landscape?

I love this firepit from FireFeatures as it has been placed directly in front of the astonishing view. It creates a special feel and allows guests to easily unwind and enjoy natures beauties, while embracing the warmth of the firepit.

Elena Colombo, founder of the design build firm FireFeatures tells us this 'design concept has a Corten Steel Ikebana Nest as the centerpiece of a stone masonry outdoor seating area that connects the home to its winter woodland backdrop'.

If you want to create a similar look, why not opt for sunken sofa chairs around the firepit. I particularly like this Melbourne 6 - Person Outdoor Seating Group with Cushions from Wayfair.

6. Create a space with hidden storage


(Image credit: Flackbuilt)

Bringing a spa-like feel to the outdoors, this sunken firepit relies on the natural beauty of the decking materials. 'The decking surrounding the firepit was meticulously crafted using merbau wood, chosen for its durability and rich, warm tones,' James Flack, Director of Flack Built tell us.

The decking around the firepit also feature stair stair/step lighting, which James says enhances 'both safety and ambiance during evening gatherings'. Custom storage boxes and wood storage spaces have been integrated into the design, which offers 'practical solutions while maintaining the area’s aesthetic appeal,' James adds.

He continues: 'The firepit, serving as the centerpiece of the space, is constructed from forged steel. This material was selected not only for its strength and durability but also for its ability to withstand high temperatures, ensuring safe and enjoyable gatherings around the fire'.

As for the warm tones around the sunken firepit, James says this was inspired by the natural surroundings and 'the warm glow of the flames'. He adds: 'Earthy tones such as browns, tans, and greens were selected to harmonize with the outdoor environment, creating a seamless transition between the built space and nature’s beauty'.

7. Create a sense of intimacy

There's something about a sunken firepit that fosters intimacy, and it's designs like this one by Lucas Interior that you can imagine spending hours lost in deep conversation.

‘Sunken seating areas create an opportunity for intimate gathering,’ explains David Lucas of Lucas Interior. ‘There is something about being nestled into the earth that gives a sense of security and calm.’ 

‘In this home we used a sunken seating area within the entry courtyard as a way to divide the functions between active circulation and passive repose,' says David. 'Rather than using loose furniture, we built in the seating for a more clean-lined, architectural finish that feels tailored to the garden.'


What fuel should I choose for a sunken firepit?

A firepit area in a garden

(Image credit: Ema Peter. Design: Paul Sangha)

Elena Colombo, architectural designer, sculptor, and founder of the design build firm FireFeatures tell us the best location for a fire feature is 'where you can see it from the house'. This is for both 'beauty' and 'safety reasons'. She says you should also consider fuel type first 'as that will affect infrastructure and site preparation'.

Elena explains that wood - burning firepits are 'less expensive all around, nostalgic, smells great, and is the warmest'. But she says you should consider that wood 'is messy, smokey, needs storage space for logs, is potentially dangerous should sparks land in dry brush, and could be banned in your area'.

Gas fuel on the other hand 'will demand plumbing from your gas meter to the location chosen for your fire feature, some type of ignition system and a plain sight emergency shut - off valve placed in the landscape 10 - 15 feet from the fire feature, so it can be seen by anyone in the vicinity of the firepit if an emergency should take place'.

Advice & Gardens Editor

Faiza is the Advice & Gardens Editor at Livingetc. She previously worked for The Independent as a News Feature Writer, where she wrote articles on lifestyle, entertainment, news and more. She also worked as an Audience Editor for the newspaper for over two years. Spending a few years in the newsroom, Faiza also previously worked for Sky News as an SEO reporter, where she produced stories based on trending topics. Lifestyle and Interior design is a space Faiza has been interested in for quite some time and as she continues to grow in the field, she will be diving into an interior design course to further her skills. Faiza has a background in SEO, social media and reporting. Her passion for writing goes beyond her work as she loves all things poetry and creative writing.