As the cooler months draw closer and the vast majority of Australians adapt to spending more time at home, the addition of a fire pit will convert outdoor spaces into a stylish, fun entertaining area with ease.
Melissa King, horticulturalist and Northcote Pottery Brand Ambassador, shares her professional tips, landscaping ideas, and creative uses for incorporating a fire pit into your backyard and make cozy memories for years to come.
Choosing the right location
When it comes to positioning your firepit in the garden, safety considerations should always go into its placement. Fire pits are a great heat source on those chilly nights when used in a safe way, radiant heat can cause damage to surrounding surfaces and objects, so it is important to maintain at least two-meters clearance both above and around your firepit at all times, and ensure you don't use it underneath any outdoor structures. Lidded fire pits, like the stylish Glow Hive Fire Pit from Northcote Pottery (from $299), are great for extra safety. It also converts into a table when not in use. Always place your firepit on a fireproof surface, like soil, heat-proof paving or heat-proof gravel. Please check with your landscaper, gardener or your paver/gravel supplier. Dry, brown grass and wooden decking will scorch, and is highly flammable, adding unnecessary risk.
Depending on the size of your garden, create a private haven using hedges or screens to separate your fire pit area from the rest of the backyard. Achieve a campfire-feel using a style like the Glow Ironbark Fire Pit (from $129). It offers a beautiful, rustic Australiana design with decorative gum leaf detail, perfectly accentuated with deck chairs or a rock wall. Include a few cushions for a soft touch. Alternatively, transform a courtyard into a sophisticated retreat with the Glow Tambo Cast Iron Fire Pit (from $69). Its compact design offers built-in log storage, too. Add a selection of armchairs or a stylish couch for a cosy, modern look, and a throw rug for ambience.
Scents Check Plants
Create different looks and feels in your fire pit area with some strategic planting. Incorporate hedge varieties and evergreens, like Gardenias and Dwarf Lily Pillies, for a classic, formal look. Alternatively, craft a natural, Australian bushland feel using native plants, like Grevilleas and Banksias. Include fragrant plants to engage the senses, such as Daphne, Winter Sweet or Viburnums. If you enjoy burning incense or scented candles, consider adding ingredients to your fire, like cinnamon sticks for spicy warmth, rosemary for a hearty ambience or dried fruit for a tropical atmosphere.
Recycle Fire Ashes
Once the fire has died down, shovel out the cold ashes and use them on the garden. Add them to the compost bin or sprinkle them around plants. Ash is a great source of potassium and other elements. It's also alkaline in nature, so you can use it to raise the PH of your garden beds. Just be sure not to use it around acid-loving plants, like Azaleas and Gardenias.
There's no reason why you should let your fire pit just sit there as the weather warms up. Be creative - most fire pit bowls come with a drainage hole. If yours doesn't, simply drill a hole in the bottom. They make great ice buckets for summer get togethers, or, alternatively, you can plant it up! The rustic designs, like the Glow Ironbark Fire Pit (from $129), look striking with ornamental grasses and succulents, or decorative foliage plants like Heucheras. Northcote Pottery Glow Fire Pits are available from Bunnings Warehouse and selected independent hardware stores nationally.
For more information, visit www.northcotepottery.com.