Landscape Fire Features

Brian Barth
bowl shaped patio fireplace

Simple and Safe

A fire pit makes the garden a nighttime destination. Tell stories, roast s'mores, or wrap up with a loved one and watch the stars - however you like to enjoy an outdoor fire, having one in your backyard is one of life's simple luxuries.

A step up from just making a ring of stones is to invest in a basic metal pit, which helps to keep things safe. They aren't expensive and some have a wonderfully simple design that brings a style to your patio, besides serving as a focal on cool fall nights.

Mexican style firepit

A Cheerful Chimenea

A type of terra cotta fire pit from Mexico, chimeneas are a step up from basic models in both function and style. They are great fit for a Southwestern-themed landscape and project the warmth strongly in one direction compared to the open top style. Plus the enclosure helps to prevent embers from flying out of the pit if the wind picks up.

fire pit in pool

Mix Fire With Water

Outdoor fire pits aren't exclusively for warmth and gathering around - they can be used for pure ambiance as well. They make a great nighttime focal point to light up the landscape in place of, or together with, an outdoor lighting scheme. Just make sure the flames are placed safely in the landscape - you can't burn anything down in a pool, for example!

deck overlooking city with firepit

Gas Fire Pits

A deck with a view is a natural place to want a fire pit. However, the potential for high winds is great, which is a dangerous combination on a wooden deck. For this situation, a gas fire pit is in order - it looks completely real but there are no embers to blow around in the wind.

fir pit with s'mores

Stylish Gas Fires

Gas-powered fire pits open all sorts of possibilities that are not available with wood. The downside is that you have to install a propane tank and gas lines, which can get costly, but the upside is their ease of lighting and no need for wood. Plus, they come in some really stylish configurations like a strip pit, as well as circular, wall mounted, pyramidal, and many other artistic configurations.

granite fire pit

Match Design With Décor

This is a nicely designed version of the basic, old-fashioned fire pit on the ground. It's a good illustration of the idea that you can create a custom fire pit that blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape or, at the least, attempt to find a pre-fabricated version that matches well with the existing outdoor décor.

custom patio fire pit

Outdoor Living Room

Here is a custom-built fire pit at a whole other level. By designing and building your fire pit as part of the overall patio landscape, you can create an outdoor living space that's as snazzy as any interior. This gas-powered version has logs that look real but don't burn. The gas line was routed out of sight under the patio at the time of construction.

patio fireplace with pergola

Outdoor Fireplaces

Another custom-built outdoor fire installation, this one is in the form of a fireplace rather than a pit and has handy storage areas for firewood built into the design. In general it's great to think about how the fire will be framed and the pergola featured here is a nice example.

Fireplace overlooking ocean

Create Your Own Paradise

Not everyone has such a grand setting in his or her backyard, but homeowners can still design a grand fireplace as part of their personal paradise. The craftsmanship of this fireplace is sublime, truly worthy of its backdrop. By digging deep into the details of your outdoor fireplace design, you can transform a mundane yard into something almost as spectacular.

outdoor pizza oven

Party Time

Fireplaces are always a big magnet at social gatherings. This one is even more so, as it's actually a wood-fired pizza oven. In contrast to most ovens that heat the food with a flame from below, this approach involves building a really hot fire inside the oven itself. The outdoor shell is highly insulated and when it's hot enough, you remove the embers with a shovel, place the pizza inside, close the door and in just a short time - presto, it's pizza time.

large fireplace in desert setting

Under the Desert Moon

The sweltering desert sun doesn't make one yearn to sit around a fire, but when the sun drops, so does the temperature - sometimes 40 degree or more. That is one reason why desert-themed landscapes often include outdoor fireplaces, plus it just fits well with the stucco and terra cotta decor. However, by considering your design motif carefully, you can come up with an outdoor fireplace to fit any stylistic approach.

modernist desert landscape with fire pit

Southwestern Chic

This is another outdoor fire feature in a desert/Southwestern setting, but it's designed for a sleek modernist look. It's gas, so there's no wood, no ashes, and no mess - only clean, serene lines and two very alluring bench seats to enjoy the warm glow.

fire pit on deck with screen

Playing Safe

The simple maxim that children always hear - play safe with fire - is true for all ages and is something to always keep in mind when using your outdoor fire pit. Not all the photos of fire pits depict their fire screen on, but they all come with one, as it's required by law.

Play it safe and only use a fire pit in a place where there is hose access nearby, just in case. Otherwise, be sure to let your fire pit entice you outside for a little evening play. There are few things as relaxing as sitting by a fire and even on a tiny deck or balcony, it's something that can be enjoyed.

Brian Barth
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Landscape Fire Features