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  • Writer's pictureTom Cavan


Since the beginning of time, homo-sapiens have been mesmerized by fire and its limitless power. Through the ages, we have managed to capture and harness its unparalleled beauty. It changed the course of evolution when we began to utilize its energy for cooking food, warming our shelters, and gathering around the bonfire in the evenings spellbound to share stories with family and friends.

As a designer and builder of landscapes, the summer functions of backyard patios and entertaining beckons for a fire feature and virtually every client requests "Where can we have a firepit?" There are so many different ways to establish a fire element in the landscape either in-ground or above ground it is imperative that first and foremost is the significance of safety! With our ever-changing climate and seasonal extreme drought conditions, we must at all costs contain the beast.

Inground firepits with granite boulders and a broad stone patio are always a safe installation for natural settings. Never use limestone as it will disintegrate very quickly, especially if used during winter months. Also, know that small limestone rocks have been known to explode with intense heat.

Approximately 4' in diameter is a generous space to contain your flame along with a granite bottom (again, not limestone) for ease of cleaning out the ash. We always create a drain stone undercarriage for excess water to disperse and your pit doesn't fill up with water.

A hand-crafted stone bench is a pretty cool addition. Add a few throw pillows and you will be all set.

Iron Bowls are popular for a stylish addition blending old thyme with modern time design and are surprisingly affordable.

This Iron Bowl feature in a picturesque woodland setting is a minimalist work of Art.

If wood burning is not desirable there are numerous options for gas-fired features in the marketplace. Maintenance-free and clean for the modern accent. Be sure to spend the extra money and use the fire-retardent stone for the insert recommended by the manufacturer. Nothing is more alarmingly dangerous than exploding stones.

A combination of grey and black granite centre feature in this patio is stunning both day and night.


Check your regional by-laws and be sure to contact your local Fire Dept. about size and when you can ignite your feature. Seasonal bans are the norm during extended periods of drought.

And above all play safe.

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