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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Convert your outdoor space with a fire pit

Just because the temperature drops, doesn’t mean you can’t still spend time outdoors. A fire pit can easily convert outdoor spaces into a stylish, fun entertaining area.

Here, Melissa King, horticulturalist and Northcote Pottery brand ambassador, shares her professional tips for incorporating a fire pit into your backyard.

Choose the right location

When it comes to positioning your firepit in the garden, it’s important to consider safety. Fire pits are a great heat source on those chilly nights when used in a safe way. However, radiant heat can cause damage to surrounding surfaces and objects, so maintain at least 2 metres clearance both above and around your firepit at all times and ensure you don’t use it underneath any outdoor structures.

Always place your firepit on a fireproof surface, like soil, heat-proof paving or heat-proof gravel. Dry, brown grass and wooden decking will scorch, and is highly flammable, adding unnecessary risk.

Engage the senses

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. 

Year-round use

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!

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