An above-ground fire pit is a permanent garden element, handsome and useful whether or not there is a fire going. If topped by a wide ledge it provides a perfect perch for roasting marshmallows.
Earth, wind, water and fire – yes, fire in the landscape. The glow of a flickering flame invites guests to relax, and it’s a great way to create an interactive environment in your garden. Fire lures guests in and provides a connection with the garden that’s enjoyed both physically and visually. Fire adds a mesmerizing element of mystique and magic to your landscape.
A well-designed fireplace or fire pit can also provide a beautiful focal point in your yard. They have become quite popular in recent years, especially for those who do not like to limit time spent outdoors to summertime.
|The traditional fireplace is the kind of design most people associate with fire. Most of these traditional outdoor fireplaces are pre-fabricated and come with spark-protection screens. They can be built into a wall or be free standing.|
When searching for the right outdoor fireplace, there are a few things to consider. First, before beginning you should always check with your city and county building inspectors to verify established ordinances, permits and licenses.
Bowl-shaped burners are often called fire pits or fire bowls. This type of outdoor fireplace usually has an open fire design, is portable, and most come with handles and wheels. This is a less expensive option, but keep in mind it has poor ventilation, resulting in improper burning of firewood and smokier output.
Fire baskets are the newest rage in outdoor living. Larger ones, placed strategically in the landscape or poolside, provide a romantic ambience.
Then choose the location. Fireplaces or pits should be located a safe distance from your house and other structures. It should be clear of trees and overhanging vines and branches. Start with a level surface to aid in construction, and if you plan to build your structure on an existing deck, make sure the deck can support the weight and is heatproof.
Finally, research the different options and choose the one that fits your landscape design. With those cool autumn nights upon us, take the initiative to implement the element of fire into your landscape. The hot cocoa, marshmallows, laughter and stars are all waiting for you!
A version of this article appeared in Carolina Gardener Volume 22, Number 8.
Photography courtesy of Kelly Bledsoe.