Warm up your garden with a hearth outside

Tonight is bonfire night, according to ancient tradition. Here’s nine outdoor fire ideas


As the sun sinks this evening, a night traditionally known as bonfire night, one of the nation’s ancient fire festivals, flames would illuminate peaks and vales across the countryside burning until well after midnight. Animal bones were thrown onto the flames as an offering to the gods for a good harvest, hence the bone-fire reference, but alas, with rural communities shrinking and less children living in our townlands to gather fuel for these fires, families in some parts of the country have taken to holding small celebrations on their own lands instead. One such household is the Bonds in Belmullet, Co Mayo, who run Lunasa tea rooms and craft shop. Rosaleen, Tom and their three kids, Francesca, age 2 and the twins, Joe and Ciaran, 7 months, have invited their cousins and neighbours around for an soiree of food and celebration.

You can join in the festivities by bringing a sense of bonfire night to your own back yard with this tall Angle design by Danish fabricator Rais. Its stainless steel body costs €1,344 with the grate costing another €313 and is available from Greystones-based Fenton Fires. Fentonfires.ie; Rais.com

 A very easy way to bring fire into your life is Morso’s Forno, a tabletop hearth that is shaped like an Italian stone oven and as well as radiating heat its cast iron firebox can cook a crisp based pizza in minutes making it a great multi-tasking outdoor investment. Pictured are several component parts of the Danish design and includes the stove, €999, steel trolly on casters, €599, long-handled pizza paddle, €79, for ease of access and fire pot, €109, all available to order from TJ O’Mahony, Ballymount or McCarthy’s of Prosperous. Tjomahony.ie; McCarthys.ie

 If you live in an apartment or have a small townhouse terrace the Eva Solo Fireglobe is a really good option. Its curved shape cleverly shields its open flame from the wind. The globe is 64cm in diameter, has a grid at its base to ensure good ventilation and a handle that makes it easier to move about the garden – but not while hot – wait until it cools down first. It costs €299.95, ex delivery, and is available online from the brand’s own website. Evasolo.com

The Slide 700 by Konstantin Slawinski is a fire bowl that comes with a barbecue function. Its lacquered stainless steel frame, 84cm by 57cm by 70cm, comes with a grill and a plate that you can alternate to cook classic BBQ, teppanyaki, or just a warming wood fire. All you have to do is move the cooking grate and griddle from its position atop the steel frame to over the fire bowl. The design comes with a small hook that can be used to rearrange the grate and griddle. Best of all the two attachments can fit in the dishwasher to keep arguments about whose turn it is to clean the grate to a minimum. It costs €799 through German sites Einrichten Design or Konstantin Slawinski. einrichten-design.de; www.konstantinslawinski.com

If you were a fan of the old-fashioned gas-fuelled patio heater then Celbridge-based The Orchard’s new sleek designs might be just what you’re looking for. The form has a sci-fi feel and comes either freestanding as pictured, where it stands about 7ft tall and comprises two parts with the stand normally costing €789, and heater itself another €469. Neither the device nor its stand retain residual heat so it is also safe to wall-hang. Available in black only it is operated using 9kg bottle gas cylinders and its heat strip throws out heat to a distance of about one metre within its 180 degree radius. Both versions of the design can also be used on either a balcony or a roofed terrace as long as there is a minimum clearance of 500cm between the top of the heater and the roof.  The combined stand option is currently at a special offer price of €869. Theorchard.ie

Kate Gould’s snazzy design uses glass, polished stainless steel and mirror to bring not just heat but illumination and colour to your garden. Photograph: The Garden Builders
Photograph: The Garden Builders

An outdoor fireplace makes a garden sustainable all year round, says London-based garden designer Kate Gould whose snazzy design uses glass, polished stainless steel and mirror to bring not just heat but illumination and colour to your garden – the hearth changes colour according to the mood you want to create. Before you decide on a design your first consideration should be the kind of fuel you plan to burn as this will dictate its style and build cost, she counsels. Natural wood smells delicious but needs a proper flue to draw the smoke upwards; piped gas is expensive but really easy to use and bioethanol, used here, is more affordable but while considered a green fuel it can be a hassle to source and to store, especially in smaller homes. This design, installed in London, cost in the region of €22,850. Kategouldgardens.com

Weathered steel gives exteriors an instant rust-effect patina that makes the structure look like it has been in situ for eons. It works really well when paired with cut stone and contrasts beautifully with lawn and green foliage. At this swish hotel, Areias do Seixo, on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, about 65km north of Lisbon, decorator Rosarinho Gabriel of Coisas da Terra has created a gorgeous outdoor enclave where a Corten steel surrounded open hearth creates a glow that can be appreciated equally well from the indoors as outside in fine days. If you plan to burn solid fuel rather than gas you will need to ensure that the chimney is high enough to draw the smoke upwards and not into a neighbour’s garden. Areiasdosseixo.com; Coisasdaterra.pt

If you want to really enjoy an outdoor fireplace all year round then invest in a proper pavilion to house it in is the advice of London-based Charlotte Rowe Garden Design who suggests you position it either close to the house or at the bottom of the garden where it is less likely to be overlooked. This sunken room has a concrete base and half walls that have been tiled with a concrete hearth its focal point. Its louvered ‘walls’ and roof are made of weather-proofed timber that will keep much of the wind and rain at bay. The sofas are upholstered in an outdoor fabric, Tiana by Designers Guild, about €70 per metre. This design, in London, cost about €46,000 to build. Charlotterowe.com

 This two-piece fire pit comes with a fire bowl with handles and a separate tri-pod stand that is perfect for loading into the car and taking on a road trip or picnic. By Danish design firm House Doctor, the bowl and stand can be stored separately. It comes in black steel that weathers to a rust colour over time. measures 55cm by 62cm and can be used to burn wood. You can clean using a wire brush and the bowl can be used on its own and will work especially well within the shelter of sand dunes on a beach. It costs €365 from Temple Bar-based April and the Bear. Aprilandthebear.com