Is Fire Pit Drainage Real — and Do You Need a Drainage System?

As fire pits are becoming more popular, many people are asking themselves if fire pit drainage is real or not.

Unfortunately, there’s no way that the fire will simply go away on its own. So to answer your question, yes, fire pit drainage does exist. However, the good news is that fire pit drainage systems can be installed to keep the area surrounding your fire pit clean and dry!

This blog post will cover what fire pit drainage is, how it works, why you need one, and all the options you have.

Why You Need a Drainage System for Your Fire Pit

If you have a fire pit, then you need to install a drainage system. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Water can damage the fire pit and make it unsafe. A drainage system will keep the area around your fire pit dry, preventing water from accumulating and damaging the fire pit.
  2. Dirty water can create an unsightly mess. On top of being an eyesore, an excess of dirty water can also stain your concrete or patio surface.
  3. A drainage system prevents erosion. Without proper drainage, rainwater and melted snow can wash away soil and even cause erosion in your yard. This not only looks bad; it can also be hazardous if the slope of your property becomes too steep.

So without a proper drainage system, you risk facing a lot of issues.

How to Drain a Fire Pit the Right Way

What’s the right way to drain a fire pit, you ask? Well, there’s no single right method as there are a lot of solutions to this problem, each of which is useful in its own right. Here’s a breakdown of the most commonly used drainage systems to help you pick the right one for your fire pit.

  • Inlet pipe: A good choice if there isn’t an existing gutter system near your fire pit or patio, this device has a drain at its base and diverts water from the surrounding area into the inlet hole. To make sure that it doesn’t get clogged with debris, ensure that the inlet is placed directly under a downspout whenever possible.
  • Outflow piping: This option allows dirty water to flow away from your fire pit by way of pipes with holes drilled through them, which will release excess moisture over time without damaging any property around the fire pit. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to make sure the pipes are high enough off the ground and in an area where they won’t get blocked by firewood or other fire pit implements.
  • Drywell: This drainage system is most effective when paired with a paver patio. It directs water away from your home without compromising on aesthetics. The way it works is simple. The fire pit is installed on a raised platform with a drywell (a hole in the ground that’s been lined with gravel) underneath it. When it rains, the fire pit’s drainage holes lead directly to the drywell. The gravel inside then absorbs excess moisture and prevents erosion.

How to Stop Water from Pooling In Your Fire Pit

There are dozens of ways to stop water from pooling in your fire pit. Among them, the following four are the most effective ones.

1. Buy a Tarp

This is the simplest and cheapest solution, as all you need to do is place a tarp over your fire pit when it’s not in use. Just make sure that the tarp is large enough to cover the entire fire pit so that no water can seep through.

2. Buy Synthetic or Canvas Covers

If you don’t want to have to deal with a tarp every time you use your fire pit, then consider investing in a synthetic or canvas cover. These covers are made from water-resistant materials that will keep your fire pit dry no matter the weather conditions.

Just be sure to store them somewhere safe when not in use. Otherwise, they may get ruined by the rain or snow.

3. Use Lava Rocks or Sand Gravels

This is a popular fire pit drainage solution, as it’s easy to set up and maintain. All you have to do is pour sand or lava rocks over your fire pit before using it. This way, when water seeps through the fire pit’s holes, the stones will absorb excess moisture while keeping all but the smallest debris from entering the fire pit itself.

If you want this method to be effective in preventing erosion and other damage caused by pooling water around your fire pit, then ensure that there are enough of these materials present. They must cover every inch of space surrounding your fire pit. Otherwise, adding just a thin layer could cause issues with airflow and heat loss instead — which is the last thing you want.

Here’s a list of materials that can be used as substitutes for lava rocks and sand gravels.

4. Drill Holes for Drainage

If you don’t want to add any extra materials like sand or gravel, then another option is to simply drill holes into the fire pit itself. This will allow water to escape without causing any damage.

Just be sure that the holes are placed strategically so that they can do their job properly.

For example, drilling them at the bottom of your fire pit will ensure that all the water flows out and away from it. If you have a particularly large fire pit, however, you might also want to consider drilling drainage holes on the sides as well. Just make sure that there’s always one hole near the top so that smoke and harmful gases can escape safely.

As for how many drainage holes you should drill, that depends on the size and shape of your fire pit. A good rule of thumb is to drill one hole for every two square feet of fire pit surface.

How to Measure a Fire Pit to Buy the Right-Sized Cover

The easiest way to find the right-sized cover for your fire pit is to measure it first. To do this, simply use a ruler or tape measure to get the width and length of your fire pit in inches. Once you have these measurements, use them to find the corresponding size on the cover’s sizing chart.

If you’re not sure how to measure your fire pit, or if its shape makes it difficult to do so, then try using this method instead.

Take a picture of your fire pit with all its dimensions visible. Then, either upload it to an online photo editor like PicMonkey or Photoshop or print it out and use a ruler to measure the width and length. Whichever measurement is larger (width or length) is the one you should use when shopping for a cover.

This may seem like more work than just measuring your fire pit directly, but it can be helpful if you have an oddly-shaped fire pit.


Yes, fire pit drainage is real. If you don’t take care of it the right way, you can end up facing a lot of problems. So take the steps discussed in this post to ensure your fire pit and the area surrounding it stay clean and dry.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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