Chimineas have their own aesthetic beauty and also offer the opportunity of outdoor cooking if they have a barbecue rack, but today everyone’s talking about the new boys on the block – fire pits.
It is thought that fire pits originated from the Native American Indians who valued the democratic circular seating arrangement where everyone could be treated as an equal. They were a great focus for social events and easily facilitated talking, dancing, stories and music – something that’s sadly lost to much of today’s culture, though there are signs that it’s making a comeback, and the cubs and scouts and many festivals have kept it going.
Whether you decide to buy a readymade fire pit or have one built into your garden, there are lots of designs and features for you to consider. Do you want it mainly to look good or as a practical tool in your garden, or both? Where will you place it – on the lawn, the patio or other surface or area of your garden? Will it look best around trees or bushes or in the open? What kind of seating will you use around it?
With fire, safety is always the first consideration. Build it at least 10 feet away from the house and don’t have it near low-hanging trees or bushes or near anything else flammable. The amount of heat released can be intense.
What will fuel it – wood or gas? Just like barbecues that are available to burn gas or natural materials, fire pits are made this way too. Some have faux logs, diamond glass and crystals, like an indoor fire place. Gas burning varieties will have automatic ignition that can be controlled by push button, remotely, or from a switch within the home.
Do you want it to be at ground level or above? Above ground are generally safer if there will be children around.
When choosing the material it is designed in, consider harmonising it with those used around the exterior of your home, your greenhouse or other outdoor structures.
If you are building it yourself, once you know the design do check for planning permission or building regulations laws – better check twice, build once!
Fire pits are a great way of extending our all-too-short summer season by providing warmth in spring and autumn too, and even in winter. How about a Winter Solstice get together around the fire pit? Some warming soup or mulled wine could add to the occasion?
Instructions on building your own fire pit can be found at: http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/how-to-make-a-backyard-fire-pit/index.htmlor at http://www.hgtv.com/crafting/backyard-fire-pit/index.html
For some beautiful outdoor designs, see http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/90505/list/Cool-Nights-are-Coming–Consider-a-Fire-Pit