Debbie Clark is a certified advanced master gardener, freelance garden writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. Visit her blog at

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Warming Up With a Fire Feature
by Debbie Clark       #Decorating   #Hardscaping   #Misc

Imagine sitting around a naturalistic rock fire pit, such as this one, enjoying hot dogs and s’mores with your family.

Imagine yourself sitting around a warm fire. Can you hear the snapping and crackling of the wood? Do you feel the warmth of the fire on your hands and face? Can you hear and see your family and friends talking and laughing as they sit around the fire, toasting marshmallows? That could be your backyard, if you had a fire feature.


This natural gas fire feature is a combination of fire and water. It is decorative, functional and an eye-catcher in any garden or patio. • This gas fire feature is made of a concrete pillar and a copper bowl. It heats up those cold fall days, yet it is also a decorative element for any garden or patio. • This Chiminea is made of wrought iron and copper. It is small, portable, inexpensive and available in most retail hardware stores. It is a fire feature that a homeowner can add to their landscape without expertise knowledge or help.

Fire features come in all sizes, shapes and styles and there is one for every budget. If you have been considering adding a fire feature to your landscape, take the time to do your homework. Here are several things to consider:

This is another fire feature that is easy to build from precast concrete block. This one is fueled with natural gas and features lava stones and metal decorative logs.

• How much do you want to spend? An outdoor fireplace can be expensive to design and build, but a portable fire pit can be inexpensive and purchased from a local hardware store.

• Where do you want to locate the fire feature? How far away from your home should it be to be safely located?

• A fire feature is a focal point of your landscape. Will it complement your property and house architecture? Will it add value to your property?

• What type of building materials do you want to use?

• Do you want natural gas, propane or a wood-burning fire feature?

• Will you need to have a gas line installed?

• Do you have local and state laws restricting outdoor burning or seasonal restrictions?

• Do you have neighborhood or association restrictions?

• Will you need construction permits?

If you have been thinking about adding a fire feature to your landscape, start with a budget. Then shop around for the best choice for your family. A fire feature makes a great focal point in any outdoor living space, and it creates a warm, wonderful place to entertain family and friends all year round.


A version of this article appeared in a May/June 2014 print edition of State-by-State Gardening.
Photography courtesy of Debbie Clark.


Posted: 06/20/18   RSS | Print


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