Autumn has descended and with the cool down in the temperature, we have been thinking more and more about how much we love outdoor fire pits.
They are the perfect way to stay warm while outside in the cooler months while adding ambience to an outdoor living area. Plus, who can resist sitting fire-side with a glass of wine?
Landscape Designer, Rory Graham gives details into the landscapes Joanne Green has created and how we went about adding fire pits to these designs.
A Mediterranean-inspired retreat in Artarmon, complete with metal fire pit.
When we look at incorporating a fire pit into a landscape, the design or style of the structure is dependent on factors such as; who will use the fire pit, budget and the existing style and size of the garden that we are working with. Our project in Artarmon had a level and spacious lawn with a Mediterranean plant palette so we wanted something which was moveable but still complemented the garden, which is why a portable (although very heavy!) metal fire pit was selected.
Fire pits can be above or in-ground and vary in shape and size. Depending on the design, fire pit materials range from traditional materials such as stone, brick or concrete, to metal, copper and glass.
There are numerous designs to consider such as freestanding fire pits, built-in stone or brick fire pits, fire bowls and Chiminea.
Where will you position your fire pit? We consider a number of aspects to determine where best to locate an outdoor fire pit in a landscape design, including:
Wind direction: A relatively sheltered area is needed so that it will be a comfortable place to sit and smoke will be kept to a minimum.
Foot traffic: It’s important to position your fire pit where there is enough space to easily and safely walk around. If young children are likely to be around, an above ground fire pit is a better option.
Surface: A suitable surface material is important. A fire pit must sit on a firm and level base and be heat tolerant. Fire pits which are positioned on a lawn can be moved to maintain the condition of the grass.
Surrounding objects: Fire safety is extremely important, so we always look at where fixed furniture items are placed, proximity from the house or structures, and surrounding vegetation. Firewood must be stored safely away from the fire pit in an area which can also be kept dry.
When choosing seating for a design we will look at the natural setting, immediate surrounds (surface finishes, architecture and so forth), the number of people likely to be accommodated and budget of course. Our Balgowlah Heights project has a large space to work with, however there was a significant amount of natural rock to consider. We were able to incorporate seating for up to 10 people and used sandstone cladding to blend with the surrounding features.
Sandstone cladded seating area surrounds this in-ground fire pit in Balgowlah, Sydney.
There are a few options here when choosing which fuel to use for an outdoor fire and choosing this will be based on personal preference but also the location of the fire pit.
Timber is a traditional fuel source, easily available and creates a campfire ambience. A timber fuelled fire pit can release embers and be messy to clean, so is best suited for larger spaces.
If you would still like a traditional experience, another option is fake logs which are fuelled by gas, ethanol or gel and are suitable for smaller spaces.
Two other fuel types are clean-burning ethanol and gel.
Fire pits can create a lot of interest within an existing garden or new landscape design, provide a viewpoint and give a warm ambience to outdoor evenings throughout the year.
Now is the perfect time to plan your outdoor area and perhaps even have your fire pit installed before the true winter months arrive.
Have a question for Rory? Contact our Landscape Design team now at firstname.lastname@example.org.