With kids heading back to school, the last vestiges of summer are slipping away and soon the crisp chill of fall will be here. Help your clients get the most out of their backyards by creating a fire feature that fits their specific needs and extends the amount of time they can enjoy the outdoors.
With fire features, the options seem almost endless. Try to keep things simple so your customers won’t become overwhelmed by the choices. Remember, too, that safety precautions are a good topic to discuss at the outset.
There are three main modes you can use to fuel the flames. The first is good old-fashioned wood. Some of your clients may love the smell of wood smoke, others may not. Make sure you know whether burning wood outdoors is allowed under your client’s local ordinances.
Also stress to your clients the importance of using dry, seasoned wood to reduce wood smoke, which can create health hazards, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Propane and natural gas are the cleaner fuel options and the portability, cost and efficiency are what set them apart from each other. Propane allows your client’s fire pit to become portable, whereas natural gas has to be attached to a gas line. Although stationary, natural gas fire features can be designed to light by the flip of a switch or a remote control.
Where cost is concerned, natural gas is cheaper than propane. Some would say gas is also more convenient, since using propane will require your client to go the store for another propane tank occasionally.
However, propane gives off about 2,500 BTUs while the same amount of natural gas only produces approximately 1,000 BTUs, making propane more efficient, according to Propane 101.
The intended purpose of the fire feature will help narrow your client’s ideas down. If they want a visually stunning addition to their landscape but aren’t planning to actually use the fire to keep people warm, suggest a combined fire-and-water feature for a unique decorative touch.
Other customers may want a fire they can actually roast marshmallows on. A fire table may be the way to go for them.
For those wanting the social aspect of how flames draw people in like the clichéd moths, they must decide, much like a pool, whether they want the fire pit above ground or in ground.
Other decisions are more aesthetic, such as what shape they want the fire pit to be, or if they’d rather go with a bowl – perhaps one filled with blue fire glass to create a reflective contrast.
No matter what options your client ends up selecting, safety is key. Hardscaping the area around the fire feature will not only prevent embers from sparking any unexpected accidents, but will also draw the eye. Stone borders or retaining walls can likewise keep the nearby greenery out of harm’s way.
While a fire feature does serve as an anchor in the landscape, always choose a location that is separated from tall or overhanging foliage. The pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structure or neighboring yard.
Consider built-in seating or heavy pieces of furniture that will keep guests from sitting too close to the blaze.
Fire pits have something to offer just about everyone, so don’t let the fall pass you by without floating the idea of a fire feature to clients and prospects.