Five hot tips to make your backyard glow this winter

Five hot tips to make your backyard glow this winter

Now the cooler months have arrived and the vast majority of Australians have adapted to spending more time at home, the addition of a fire pit is a simple way to convert your outdoor space into a stylish and fun entertaining area.

Melissa King, horticulturalist and Northcote Pottery brand ambassador has a range of landscaping ideas for incorporating a fire pit in your backyard, ensuring cosy memories for years to come.

Choosing the right location

When it comes to positioning a fire pit in the garden, safety considerations should be paramount. While fire pits are a great heat source on chilly nights, radiant heat can cause damage to surrounding surfaces and objects, so it's important to have at least two metres clearance both above and around your firepit at all times, remembering not use it underneath outdoor structures.

Lidded fire pits, such as Northcote Potter's Glow Hive fire pit, are great for extra safety - it also converts into a table when not in use.

Always place your fire pit on a fireproof surface, such as soil, heat-proof paving or heat-proof gravel (check with your landscaper, gardener or paver/gravel supplier). Dry, brown grass and wooden decking is highly flammable and will scorch, adding unnecessary risk.

Designated design

Depending on the size of your garden, you could a 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 such as the Glow Ironbark fire pit, which has a rustic design with decorative gum leaf detail, the perfect accompaniment for deck chairs or a rock wall.

Alternatively, transform a courtyard into a sophisticated retreat with the Glow Tambo cast iron fire pit (pictured below). Its compact design also has built-in log storage. Add a selection of armchairs or an outdoor couch for a cosy look and a throw rug for ambience.

COSY: A fire pit with built-in log storage is a wise option for big or small spaces.

COSY: A fire pit with built-in log storage is a wise option for big or small spaces.

Recycle fire ashes

Once the fire has died down, shovel out the cold ashes and use them on the garden. Ash is a great source of potassium and other elements, so add them to the compost bin or sprinkle them around plants. It's also alkaline in nature, so can be used to raise the Ph level in the soil. Just be sure not to use it around acid-loving plants, such as azaleas and gardenias.

Scents check plants

Create different looks and feels in your fire pit area with some strategic planting. Incorporate hedge varieties and evergreens, such as gardenias and dwarf lily pillies, for a classic, formal look.

Alternatively, craft a natural Australian bushland feel using native plants such as 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, such as cinnamon sticks for spicy warmth, rosemary for a hearty ambience or dried fruit for a tropical atmosphere.

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.

Rustic designs, such as the Glow Ironbark firepit, look striking with ornamental grasses and succulents, or decorative foliage plants such as heucheras.