A gas-powered fire pit brings friends together and keeps mosquitoes at bay.

A gas-powered firepit brings friends together and keeps mosquitoes at bay.

Gathering around an outdoor fire with family and friends never goes out of style, even in our warm winters. And if you’ve ever coveted the sleek concrete firepits at modern luxury hotels and restaurants, you’re in luck.

Sarasota designer Jake Brady, of Jake Brady Concrete by Design, has been creating customized firepits out of concrete for 14 years. An example of his large, glowing concrete firepits can be found in the outdoor lounge at Shore on Longboat Key. Now homeowners want the same look. And while the aesthetics might be the first attraction, concrete firepits also come with functional benefits. They’re long-lasting, lightweight, noncombustible and versatile.

Brady’s propane- and gas-powered designs range from nine-foot-long sleek rectangles to low-to-the-ground circular shapes. Some feature flames that leap and flicker to music, while others mimic natural wood logs, minus the soot and smoke. One of his custom designs is a firepit that doubles as a coffee table. When you want to turn it on, the top slides open.

Prices for a Brady firepit range from $2,600 to $14,000. He designs to order, creates a mold and then pours and presses a specialized glass fiber and reinforced concrete into the mold. Once dry, it is both light and strong. Sometimes, he adds recycled crushed glass and pigment for color. In one project, he lined a mold with raw wood. The final outcome was a textured surface that picked up the unique lines of the wood and gave the firepit an organic finish.

All the firepits from Jake Brady Concrete by Design are gas-burning, because the heat of wood coals doesn’t marry well with the concrete. They come outfitted with custom brass burners and don’t need to connect to a homebound gas line; propane tanks will do. Even in low and modern-looking firepits, Brady can create a rollout drawer to hold tanks that lie horizontally.

“If you can think of it, we can do it,” he says.

Perfect for smaller spaces, freestanding, earthenware chimineas have a pot-bellied bottom open on one side and taper off into a chimney for smoke to escape.

Perfect for smaller spaces, freestanding, earthenware chimineas have a pot-bellied bottom open on one side and taper off into a chimney for smoke to escape.

Choose the Right Firepit for Your Space

Outdoor Corners

Perfect for smaller spaces, freestanding, earthenware chimineas have a pot-bellied bottom open on one side and taper off into a chimney for smoke to escape. The whole sits in a simple frame that keeps it up off the ground. Chimineas use wood logs, but the fire is contained enough to limit soot and smoke while delivering the nostalgic smell and sight of natural flames. Find them at Your Farm & Garden, 735 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota, or call (941) 366-4954.

On the Go

If you’ve ever been to the Siesta Key drum circle, you’ve seen a portable fire pit at the center of the dancing feet. This foldable  fire pit uses real wood and stows away in a bag for easy moving. Perfect for the beach; it may, however, scorch grass in the yard.
Find them at DG Ace Hardware at 2876 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, or call (941) 365-8802.

Even in a Condo

Custom granite fire tables can bring clean, gas-burning warmth to a condo terrace. At Backyards N More in Ellenton, owner Philip Yetzer makes custom fire tables in any size, but be warned: Sarasota County rules frown on balcony fires burning above the first floor. Find them at 3904 U.S. Highway 301 N., Ellenton, or call (941) 776-7517.

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