If it’s cold and windy outside, and you’re stuck in the house already mourning the passing of summer, here’s a guide to incorporating a firepit into your garden to both reignite your love of alfresco entertaining and get you ready for autumn.
Where to position your firepit
Positioning and the base are the key when installing a firepit in your garden. Firstly, decide where you want your firepit to be, bearing in mind that you need good clearance from any overhanging tree branches, you need to consider the impact on your neighbours and you must provide plenty of space around the firepit for guests to be seated at a safe distance from the heat source.
Secondly, a solid, level and sturdy base is required for your firepit or chiminea, and this applies even if you opt for a tabletop firepit. Paving stones, a level patio or a specially prepared section of earth all work well. While firepits can be placed on decking, you need a protective layer between the firepit and the wooden planks, along with a firepit screen to minimise the risk caused by escaping embers and sparks.
Firepit styles and designs
At their most basic, firepits are simple, open bowls on sturdy legs, usually with a protective mesh cover. These simple firepits can be free standing, and they have the advantage of being both portable and inexpensive. A La Hacienda Albion Firepit, for example, is attractive, elegant and affordable. Domes, unusual globe shapes and more architectural designs are also available if you want to make more of a design statement. For something more permanent, you might want to build a dedicated firepit well. If you do want to do this, make sure there’s enough ventilation, and consider using a firepit kit to ensure your structure is safe and effective.
A chimenea is a taller, chimney-shaped burner, which offers the same kind of focal point, but is more about warmth, as the flames are less visible. Chimineas are a great option if you’re working with a more restricted space, although the same safety advice applies.
Increasingly popular are integrated tabletop firepits, which come either as a freestanding unit, around which your guests can stand or sit on bar stools, or as a unit that is placed in the centre of full-sized outdoor dining tables. The advantage of these styles is that they are very safely designed and make for a very atmospheric dining experience.
Get warm and cosy outside
Once the nights draw in and the weather is colder, your firepit will certainly tempt guests outside, but adding soft cushions, blankets and twinkling fairy lights will make your firepit area even more irresistible and cosy.
Maybe it’s the opportunity to bond with friends and family and swap tales in the glowing light of the fire, or a primal instinct that a campfire is a signal a hard day’s work has come to an end, but whatever the source of our love of a campfire, a firepit is a safe, easy way to bring warmth, camaraderie and magic to your garden.