Fire pits and more: Keeping warm while entertaining outdoors this year

There is little doubt that this winter will be a harsh one in Atlanta, so now is the time to plan how...

There is little doubt that this winter will be a harsh one in Atlanta, so now is the time to plan how to keep guests warm while still enjoying your outdoor entertaining space. Fire features require a combination of masonry, gas and plumbing, and are available in a wide variety of options that will complement any landscape design style. The Fall Atlanta Home Show provided some excellent samples of this year's most popular trends for outdoor living, including some great ideas to get you started as you plan your outdoor winter retreat.

Fire pits

When most people think of adding an element of fire to a landscape design, they think of fire pits. Fire pits are a gathering point for outdoor entertaining, and typically range in size from 3 feet to 6 feet. They can be fueled by wood, much like a campfire, or may have a natural gas line running to the unit. While fire pits can be purchased at home improvement stores, there are many more options available if you have one designed to fit your landscape style. Fire pits made from stone are generally at least 12 inches tall and can be made from a variety of stone types, allowing for immense flexibility of design.

Outdoor fireplaces

Outdoor fireplaces provide a gorgeous focal point for your entertaining space and are designed much the same way as indoor fireplaces. Outdoor fireplaces provide a more intimate social space, as chairs typically face the fire, allowing for the use of love seats and other close seating arrangements. In Atlanta, many people place outdoor fireplaces near pools for a romantic or subtle lighting effect. Most commonly, outdoor fireplaces will be powered by gas logs to avoid sparks.

Fire channels

Fire channels are a unique design feature that run a straight line of fire, ranging from just a few feet to a few dozen feet. These custom-designed fire features are a focal point of outdoor design trends this year. The fire channel can be used as a wall and is often paired with water features for a dramatic and elegant look. Fire channels require natural gas plumbing and should be a permanent structure of your design. For safety reasons, hiring a landscape company is the best bet when adding fire channels.

Fire pots

Fire pots provide a dramatic aspect of outdoor design. They function similar to a fire pit but are contained in a piece of pottery, such as a bowl, or a small square of masonry. When strategically placed, they can help provide gathering spots for warmth, but they are most commonly used to accent a larger fire feature while providing continuity in design.

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