Column: Calm the soul and create a gathering place
Interestingly, the recent “Hot and Wet” trend really isn’t all that recent and has actually been a staple in traditional patio designs for decades. Now, however, it’s approachable in everyday outdoor living. An occasional reality check reminds us where we live and acknowledges that most zip codes simply do not entertain, relax and live outdoors in the festive manner we do. We like nice things. We like comfort. We like luxury.
Both fire and water features are imagined for most of the spaces we design/build/install but don’t always survive the realities of budget. Fortunately, there are several cost-friendly ways to implement each and deliver loads of drama, that can elevate your space to something extraordinary. And, they can be phased in later, too.
Greg Pierceall, professor emeritus of landscape architect at Purdue University and acknowledged “rock star” in our industry, recently stated (actually commanded) at a design symposium, that all great outdoor living spaces deserve some sort of water element. While his thought may be extreme, it certainly offers perspective.
Formal brick and mortar fireplaces are ideal, but at a $15,000 entry fee, sometimes difficult to accomplish. Stunning pre-fabricated copper fire bowls through Frontgate and elsewhere are a great way to test your appetite. And one of my favorite solutions is a natural boulder fire pit that fits almost any style. Lets marry the style of your home and budget with creative solutions.
Although we appreciate dramatic koi ponds, micro water features speak to most of our lifestyles. Low maintenance bubbling boulders, gurgling birdbaths that spill over the side and self-contained formalized fountains often prevails for costs and simplicity.
There’s an earthy luxury about water and fire features. They calm the soul and gather friends around them for spontaneous celebration. We like that.