When that first drop of pumpkin spice hits your lips and jacket weather calls your name, the inevitable next step is to take advantage of fall’s arrival with a warm, cozy fire. Before you run inside and make a beeline for a spot near the mantle, head outdoors and curl up to the roaring flames of a fire pit.

Though fire pits can be as simple as a hole dug into the ground, the ones we’re focused on are chic, astounding structures that resemble artistic sculptures rather than a poorly used “pit.” Today’s fire pits, fire tables and fire bowls are outdoor accessories that transform a backyard into a magical, luminous space. So hold onto your s’mores because today’s fire pits send sparks into any aesthetic (and may burn a hole in your wallet).

“Fire creates a mood,” says Eric Brenner, owner of AuthenTEAK, a luxury outdoor furniture and accessories store in Atlanta. “Whether festive or romantic, the ambiance of a roaring fire and dancing flames invites.”

Dekko Avera outdoor fire pit

Handcrafted from 100% concrete, the DEKKO Avera fire pit can handle extreme temperatures. The linear shape offers more opportunities for placement in narrow backyard spaces. Image: DEKKO

Pebble Fire Table from Prism Hardscapes

The Pebble Fire Table looks just like … well … a pebble. A luxe, handcrafted, flaming pebble, but a pebble nonetheless. This oblong fire table has a natural vibe, created from glass fiber reinforced cement, and it provides heat for several people. AuthenTEAK includes 50 pounds of natural lava rock and customizes the Pebble Fire Table in five finishes (pewter is pictured here). Image: Prism Hardscapes

Since many of us are spending more time together outside, congregating around a warm fire pit seems like the perfect way to enjoy a crisp evening. Whether freestanding or built-in, fire pits offer a safe way to socialize on your property and appreciate the simplicity of nature. A fire pit’s glow not only attracts stimulating conversation and happy feelings, but they can also be used to host a meal (with or without the marshmallows), spark conversation and help the kiddos get outdoors from a day spent behind the computer.

“Fire pits have gained popularity for years,” says Eric. “The new multipurpose home has only increased in popularity. People are looking for opportunities to socialize with a hand-selected group in a private setting. Fire pits take the chill out of the night.”

When you hear the words fire pit, you may think of the traditional wood-burning types from your camp days. And though wood is still popular, specifically in metal fire pits, gas-powered options, especially in concrete fire pits, have also gained traction. According to Eric, concrete and natural stone products are the “it” material for today’s fire pits, in styles ranging from rustic to modern.

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Keep it simple when designing your outdoor retreat and selecting the right fire pit for your style and needs. Fire tables have ledges that allow more functionality and might work better on a deck or patio; fire bowls are typically round and look lovely surrounded by comfortable seating on the lawn.

Fire Pit Art's Third Rock 36-inch outdoor fire pit

There is nothing subtle about Fire Pit Art’s stunning Third Rock 36-inch round orb, with a finish that changes and darkens over time. Crafted from heavy-duty carbon steel, this sculpture outlines each continent and is individually numbered by the artist on the brass plaque mounted at the base. Third Rock can either burn wood or be connected to natural gas or liquid propane. Image: Fire Pit Art

Modfire outdoor fire pit

There is a fire pit for everyone, including those that love mid-century modern design with a colorful flair. The Modfire is four feet tall and comes in a variety of colors, from avocado to tangerine. Besides upping your backyard’s style, this cool … or rather hot … fire pit can be transported easily to a campsite, beach hang or anywhere else. Image: Modfire

Lumacast's Paolo fire table

The PAOLO fire table, custom-built in four sizes and eight colors, seems to defy engineering. Lumacast’s dreamy creation was inspired by the ellipsoidal shapes of astronomy and transforms any surrounding into a sleek space. Image: Lumacast

Besides private backyard fire pits, outdoor design elements are making appearances in communal settings. Either at the end of a cul-de-sac or built as part of a planned residential development, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces build a sense of community and create a safe place for friends and families to forge new relationships. One such real estate project, environmentally focused Splinter Creek, near Oxford, MS, offers several fire pits throughout the property for residents to gather and experience nature in a new way.

“The allure of gathering around a fire with friends and family goes back as far as time and fire itself,” says Andrew Harris of Belgard, a brick and concrete paver manufacturer. “An outdoor fireplace and fire pit are the natural destinations for brisk fall evenings to roast a marshmallow or share a toast with friends.”

RELATED: 9 Luxury Outdoor Fireplaces You Need to See

Splinter Creek's community porch in Oxford, MS

This custom-built stone fire pit is found on Splinter Creek‘s community porch, outside Oxford, MS. Located on a peninsula on the North Lake, the community porch belongs to all Splinter Creek residents. It features a fire pit, boat ties and a covered pavilion with seating. It’s a place for people to gather, sit on a chair, have a cocktail, watch the sunset and stars, and sit next to the fire. Image: Elizabeth Keckler

Outdoor fire pit at Splinter Creek

This fire table comes from Restoration Hardware and is part of a privately owned lake house at Splinter Creek. Image: Elizabeth Keckler

Splinter Creek barn fire pit

Splinter Creek’s built-in barn fire pit, surrounded by flagstone sitting area and Adirondack chairs, encourages social engagements and helps build a sense of community. Image: Splinter Creek

Here’s to enjoying a cool night around a luxurious and warm fire pit!

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