Best Gravel For Fire Pit Area Guide

backyard lit up by golde string lights in the evening with two couches and a fire pit in the center above crushed stone

If you are planning for a fire pit, you undoubtedly have considered some of the major factors.  You’ve spent some time determining whether you want a wood burning fire pit or a gas fire pit.  Whether you want it to be round or rectangular. You’ve thought about the backyard flow for entertaining, and chosen where you’ll put it.  Once you have these major factors figured out, it’s time to consider details.  One being the type of paving you want around the fire pit.  Often with a wood burning fire pit it’s best to use gravel where you’ll put the chairs.  You may find yourself wondering what is the best gravel for fire pit area?

Why Use Gravel For A Fire Pit Area?

When choosing the fire pit area gravel, you first want to look at the design for the fire pit.  Do you have a rustic fire pit or a traditional design? Will you be using a gravel that contrasts the fire pit or a gravel that complements the fire pit?  If you have a metal fire pit like the Sunnydaze, the fire pit can be moved around depending on your preferred use patterns.  A gravel paved area makes this simple.  By using gravel, any soot or coals which make their way onto the gravel can easily be raked out and staining becomes a non-issue, unlike a stone slab or paver patio.  

What Is The Best Gravel For Fire Pit Area Settings?

In our opinion, the best gravel for fire pit area settings is sharps.  This may not seem like something you’d choose. After all, who wants sharp pointy gravel?  Yes, this makes walking in bare feet impossible around the fire pit. However, even rounded pea gravel will hurt your feet. Size wise, we prefer the 1/4” to 3/8” size. Smaller than that and you’re practically considering large sand.  Any bigger and it’ll feel like landscape rock.

small rustic backyard showing a seating area around a fire pit and the best gravel for fire pit area settings as small sharps silver gravel

Why Sharps Is The Best Gravel For Fire Pit Area

Why is the best gravel for fire pit area sharp?  The reason for using sharp 1/4” to 3/8” gravel for walkways and fire pit areas is the stability.  Whereas rounded gravel may look better, and appear softer, it’s actually more difficult to find stable footing.  Rounded rocks act somewhat like a liquid when you walk on them.  Think of what it’s like to walk on dry beach sand.  Rounded rocks will slide against one another, and don’t lock into place.  This is why structural engineers often specify ‘broken’ rock for use under foundations instead of just rock.  They want the stability of the sharps.  

When sharp broken rock is used for walkways and terraces, the rock compacts solid and gives you a safe and stable footing.  This is especially important for children and seniors as they navigate landscapes.  This becomes more important once you add in the factor of using these spaces in the dark.  Often fire pits are in use in low light conditions and you certainly don’t want anyone to trip or fall around a fire pit.  

irregularly shaped fire pit in a small backyard displaying the best gravel for fire pit area surroundings as thinly crushed gray stone

How To Choose Gravel Specifics For Fire Pit Areas

When you go to your landscape supply house, ask for 1/4” to 3/8” crushed or broken gravel options with no fines.  ‘No fines’ means gravel is separated with a sieve and the sand is allowed to fall separately from the rock.  You’ll find in different areas of the country, aggregate names and sizes are referred to differently.  By quoting the size range you’re looking for and the fact that you want it crushed or broken without fines, there will be little to no confusion wherever you are.  

Best Gravel For Fire Pit Area Summary

So what is the best gravel for fire pit area? The best gravel you’ll find is the color of sharp 1/4” to 3/8” gravel which works best in your landscape.  If you have trouble choosing, ask your landscape supplier to provide you with samples. To make the job easier for them, bring large ziplock bags to the supplier and ask for gravel color samples.  Given the cost of gravel and how little a bag of it costs, they’ll likely let you take these samples for free, or charge a nominal fee.