Fire Bowls, Fire Pits and Braziers are a great way of adding some ambience to your outdoor space, as well as providing some heat on mildly chilly evenings. They’re great for lengthening the days and adding a bit of a bohemian touch to outdoor gatherings. There are a variety of options available to you, from decorative and rustic bowls to more functional designs. They also come in a range of different materials.
Fire bowls are typically round or oval-shaped: some resemble a frying pan or wok on legs, while others are deeper or more ornate. They can also come in other shapes, such as the Lyneham Square Pit. Fire bowls, pits and braziers can be functional, or they can add an aesthetic touch to your outdoor space. They can also be used for outdoor meditation, as focusing on the flickering flames can have a peaceful, focusing effect.
Fuels like charcoal and wood can burn equally well in a fire bowl or pit; it's worth checking with individual models though, as sometimes certain types of fuel are not recommended. Often these outdoor units can double up as barbeque stands, or be used for toasting marshmallows.
Cast Iron fire bowls are very durable and long-lasting. They excel at retaining heat, while their rustic quality adds to their charm and attractiveness. Cast iron bowls can, however, require a bit of maintenance.
Stainless Steel fire bowls are relatively lightweight but are still very durable. Higher quality steel bowls will often come with a rust-resistant powder coating, which is invaluable when it comes to protection from the elements.
Portable, lightweight options can easily be moved around the garden or patio as needed. These include the stylish Tintagel Fire Pit, which is made from cast iron and steel and will age and rust beautifully with use. Or how about the Lelant Fire Bowl, which features a latticed steel design and a mesh lid for added safety.
The raised St Austell Fire Pit features a removable safety spark guard and is ideal for toasting marshmallows as well as for evening log fires. Meanwhile the rustic, heavy duty Glasto Fire Bowl (presumably named after the music festival and its semi-mythic camping rituals) has a low-lying tripod design.
Chiminea is actually the Mexican word for chimney; Mexico is where this type of outdoor fireplace originated. The chiminea has a cylindrical or cone-shaped body with a wide opening at the front (or the belly) for adding wood or fuel. It also features a narrower chimney or vent for smoke to escape. As with fire bowls, it can be made from heat-resistant materials like cast iron, stainless steel and clay.
The design of the chiminea creates a draft that draws air into the fire chamber, providing oxygen to the fire and making combustion more efficient. It also has the effect of drawing smoke up and away from where people are seated.
There have of course been plenty of variations on this design, with some more compact or more decorative than others. For example, the Sarsden Chiminea is an outdoor wood burner that resembles the smokestack of a steam engine. It’s crafted in powder-coated steel with a deep matt finish. Raised feet keep the heat off the ground, while a galvanised grill keeps the wood burning above the ashes.
Braziers and Fire Baskets
The term braziers is often used interchangeably with fire bowls, fire pits etc, but braziers do tend to have a distinct design of their own. They are commonly used for log burning in particular, and their grate-like framework means that the flames are more visible. The open basket-style design allows for very good air circulation.
Whether you choose a fire bowl, fire pit, brazier or chiminea - make sure to follow safety precautions when using it. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby, never leave the fire unattended, and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area. Keep an eye on children and make sure they understand the risks of getting too close to it. Don’t light fires near hedges or vegetation. And bear in mind that fire bowls, braziers etc can retain heat for a fair amount of time even after the fire has been put out. Keep safety in mind, and a fire bowl or fire pit can be a wonderful addition to any outdoor space.