Tag Archives: fire

Friday Finds – playing with fire

1 Jun

It’s the first day of winter in Australia, and by our standards it’s getting a bit chilly.  Yes I know that in Sydney we don’t know the real meaning of cold, to us it’s freezing if the mercury slips into single digits, and that’s celsius speak!  In honour of winter today’s Friday Finds is all about fire.  I love an outdoor fire.  Memories of toasted marshmallows on camp fires, bonfires on the beach and if I cast my mind back a long long way we use to have bonfires on cracker night before everyone became safety conscious and fireworks were banned.

Fire pits are becoming a backyard trend at the moment, and they range from a hole in the ground or half a metal drum to some seriously beautiful metal sculptures. It’s the seriously beautiful end of the spectrum I’m coming from today.  I stumbled across this artist when I was researching fire pits for a client.  Rick Wittrig calls himself a functional steel artist, and his company, Fire Pit Art, creates very simple, yet elegant fire pits that look good with or without a flame.

Check out his website at Fire Pit Art.

I’m headed off to find me a heater!



And then it rained.

13 Jun

I think I may have a weather curse. After writing about how nice the sun had been despite the cold, I think the clouds rolled in straight after I hit the publish button.  It started to rain not long after, and it hasn’t really stopped since.  So all those fantastic “get out into it” ideas I had for this long weekend went straight out the window.  I guess if you had a raincoat, gumboots and maybe a small dinghy you could have enjoyed some outdoor time, but if you were like us, you were well and truly entrenched inside, bunkered down for the weekend.

We had great plans for this weekend.  We headed up to the Central Coast on Saturday for my cousin’s engagement party.  A family gathering is never a small or quiet event for us, and the opportunity for a long weekend together proved to be too much to pass up.  A gorgeous sunny weekend would have meant walks, beaches (without the swimming), beer gardens and barbecues.  But a rainy weekend meant 9 kids, and 19 adults locked inside with no chance of escape – cosy, loud and very communal!

So this got me thinking, how can you maximise the potential of your outdoor space during the bad weather and still enjoy actually being outdoors when the weather’s fine, and not build yourself in?

First of all you need to accept that really bad weather does not equal the best time to be outside, and maybe a good game of scrabble or trivial pursuit might be a better option. But, having said that a few things come to mind to minimise the inclement and cold.  Some will work for gardens of any size, some will need a heap of space, and some are just a dream waiting to come true when you finally win Powerball.  But hey, a girl can dream can’t she???

The key component would be shelter – to be completely weather proof this would need to be constructed, and therefore would need some space.  Here are some cute little ideas I found whilst procrastinating researching online.

How good would this be?? from http://www.from-london-with-love.com

This one even looks like it's winter. From http://www.centrodionysia.org

This one has to be one of my favorites photo: http://www.lightlocations.com

So, realistically, if you have an average sized garden you may have space for a covered deck, small awning, or nothing at all.  It’s good to try and locate things like barbecues and outdoor furniture under cover, it keeps them safe from the elements, and you’ll have them for so much longer.  You may just have to be happy with what you’ve got and enjoy a good game of Jenga indoors.

If you do want to build yourself some all weather space bear in mind that you will want to try and maximise solar access so they don’t become dark, dank and miserable, and try and consider how the structure will be used in all seasons.  If it’s shading from sun in summer, will it let enough light through in winter to keep  the space warm and attractive?  There are ways and means of designing to maximise solar access, you just need to think about it a bit before jumping in.

Heat is so important in winter – if it’s not warm you don’t want to be there, and at night time there is only so far beanies and gloves can stretch.  Night time get togethers are so much more fun when you’re crowded around a heater or a fire.  Who wouldn’t love their own fire pit in their garden.  But if, like me, you don’t have the space for a small wood burning bbq, let a lone a fire pit, then a heater will have to do.  There are plenty on the market, so I won’t go into recommendations, but just look for one that’s portable and make sure you have the space to store it undercover in Summer when you really don’t need it.

Here’s an idea from AK47 that looks like it combines both fire and a more compact heater in one, how good would this be?  I just need to work out how to get one.

What a great idea if you'd love a fire but don't have the space!

If you can create them, a shelter and heat work really well when you can create a little “nook” for them.  The smaller the space, the more cozy it feels, and the more attractive in winter, though you won’t be having gatherings for 20+ people!

Another consideration to add to my garden design to do list!


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