There is something instinctively wonderful about relaxing around a fire, and as a result we find ourselves incorporating fire into most of our outdoor living spaces. Fire features, as we Landscape Architects call them, can take on infinite forms and aesthetic styles to fit seamlessly into a designed space. Here are a few of the ways we use fire features as beautiful and functional elements in the landscape.
BRINGING THE INDOORS OUT
Outdoor fireplaces bring the comfort of the indoors to an outdoor living space. Just like a hearth inside the home, they create an irresistible setting for a seating area. We find that materials often tend towards the traditional, as in this design above, where brick, stone, and wood look as much at home as they would in a traditional living room. Wood-burning or gas, either way the charm is undeniable! For traditional wood fires, fireplaces also have the benefit of channeling smoke up and away from the gathering space, unlike a fire pit or fire bowl which is at the mercy of the wind.
Fire pits are a must when camping, and bringing the tradition of a fireside gathering home to the backyard landscape is also a must for many outdoorsy people! Fire pits range from small, mobile fire bowls to striking architectural features, and the circular seating space they create is a wonderful addition to a patio, deck, or poured-gravel garden nook. Wood-burning or gas once again are options. The convenience of gas is a clear advantage, but some people feel that they are missing part of the experience. We don’t miss the smoke in the eyes ourselves, but we have to admit that s’mores might taste better over a wood fire, which might be enough of a reason for many people to stick to wood!
Few things look better in the contemporary landscape than an ultra-cool modern fire feature. The clean lines of architectural and geometric features show off fire in a way that we can’t quite explain. The design above makes use of clean-hewn bluestone and recycled brick for a fun take on the modern look, and like most features of this style, it runs on gas. We really enjoy the variety of new materials that can be used to fill the surface beneath the flames in a gas fire pit. Black lava rock, handmade ceramic balls, and heat-proof crushed glass turn a fire feature into a work of art, even when it’s not in use.
MIX AND MATCH
Here at the J. Montgomery studio, we’ve gone rogue! Combining modern crushed glass with an antique-style steel gas fire bowl created the perfect modern/traditional transition effect for our transitional landscape. Mixing materials and styles is one way we keep our designs unique and full of personality. We had a blast trying out our new fire feature this summer, and we hope to get many more nights by the fireside as the weather turns cooler. It doesn’t get much better than that! Now, where did we put the marshmallows?
Getting all fired up about your own landscape? The Landscape Architects at J. Montgomery Designs are always up for creating outdoor living spaces, including yours! We’d love to spark up a conversation about your new landscape. Contact our studio anytime!