Fire pits are a must have item in every designer garden they give you a focal point to be drawn to and an area to congregate with friends making the garden a year-round useable space in the home.
When selecting a location for your new fire pit make sure you place it in an area where no plant canopy will be damaged by the heat of the fire. You’ll need good ventilation but try to retain a cosy intimate space. Your fire pit area will spend the majority of its time without a fire in it so make sure you design a space that looks great with or without a flame.
If you have a small garden make the space multipurpose by removing the fire bowl and replacing it with some café seating so you can have a place to enjoy during the day and when the weather cools in the evening.
Consideration should also be given to a fireplace complete with chimney as this looks great all the time and will have a magnetic quality that draws people to it day and night. It may cost a little extra to install but will add a sculptural element to the landscape and it wont take up too much of a footprint.
My preference is for a wood burning fuel fire but if you simply don’t have the room for ‘real fire’, are in a fire zone or simply don’t want the hassle you can use a gas or ethanol burners to give the effect of real fire but without the mess and inconvenience of chopping wood.
The material you use for your fire receptacle can be steel, stone or concrete. With stone make sure when it heats up it doesn’t split or burst and if using metal be warned when it rusts it can stain the flooring beneath.
You’ll need to define your area and paving is a great way to do that. Select a style and colour that not only suits the style of the fire pit but the garden as well, that way your area won’t feel like an afterthought. Rustic recycled bricks work well are easy to install and hide the staining that can occur with charcoal and wood. Other materials that suit that won’t break the budget are gravel or deco granite.
Circular designs work well with fire pit areas as everybody is looking in on the fire so combine practicality with aesthetic and have a gravel centre to your area and radial pattern paving around it for maximum impact.
There is no point having a fire pit without some seating around it to enjoy it so make sure you have something comfortable and in keeping with your garden style. This can be a simple as some timber stools or more structured with built in seating. Stone benches work really well and hold the heat making them enjoyable to sit on in the cold weather.
Lighting may seem like a waste when you’re about to have a fire but some low-level ambient light is a great way to make the area more practical and add some atmosphere to the surrounds of the main feature. Put your fire pit lighting on a separate circuit to the rest of your lighting so you can have it working independently from the rest of the lights for versatility.
Always have at hand the means to put it out your fire too as you’ll never know when you might need it – a bucket of sand or a hose is ideal.