Not just for Californians anymore, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are making their way north and east from the southwest.

Design Details: Fire Pits

Not just for Californians anymore, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are making their way north and east from the southwest.

  • Ten Fifty B, San Diego, Calif.

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    Christian Costea

    This LEED Gold high-rise, a 2011 Builder’s Choice Grand Award Winner, houses lots of people, but it features outdoor spaces that encourage gathering.  Architect: Tony Cutri, Martinez  + Cutri Corp.; Builder: Carmen Vann, Turner Construction; Landscape Architect: Mohamed Zaki, DeLorenzo Incorporated

  • The Lotus House, Atlanta, Ga.

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    James R. Lockhart

    A sitting area mimics a welcoming interior fireside, but with plenty of space to embrace being outside.  Architect: William T. Baker; Builder: Warren Sirzyk, Renaissance Development Corp.; Landscape Architect: Joe Gayle, Joe Gayle and Associates

  • The Fitzgerald at UB Midtown, Baltimore, Md.

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    The Bozzuto Group

    Outdoor fireplaces aren’t just for Californians. In Baltimore, a rustic-looking fireplace anchors a courtyard space in a mixed-use community that’s LEED certified—and a mix of young professionals, university professors, and empty-nesters. Architect: Sam Rajamanickam, Design Collective, Inc.; Builder: Mike Schlegel, The Bozzuto Group; Landscape Architect: Catherine Mahan, Mahan Rykiel Associates

  • Äkta Linjen, Siloam Springs, Ark.

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    Matt and Meghan Feyerabend

    Scandinavian design informs this house, with an outdoor fire pit whose design follows the building’s modern lines. Architect: Matthias J. Pearson; Builder: Edward Ernst, Upriver Construction Company; Landscape Architect: Matthias J. Pearson

  • Assembly House, Kona, Hawaii

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    Matthew Millman

    The theme of Assembly House, a 2011 Builder’s Choice Grand Award winner, is gathering and interaction.  Here fire meets water, providing a dramatic punctuation mark to a reflecting pool. Architect: Shay Zak, Zak Architecture; Builder: John Metzler, Metzler Contracting; Landscape Architect: Todd Cole, Suzman Cole Design Associates

  • Fusion, Sunnyvale, Calif.

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    Christopher Mayer

    There’s plenty of seating area at this fire pit, located in a mixed-income development of townhouses and low-rises. Architect: KTGY Group; Builder: O'Brien Homes/Sunnyvale Associates; Land Planner: KTGY Group

  • Fireplace Wall, Austin, TX

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    Paul Bardagjy

    In this backyard, a two-sided fireplace does double duty as fire pit and patio wall. Architect: Jay Corder; Builder: David Wilkes, David Wilkes Builders; Fireplace Design:  David Wilkes, David Wilkes Builders

While grills are still the number one most requested feature for a home’s outdoor space, a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects reveals that fire pits are, well, on fire. According to the ASLA survey, fire pits and fireplaces are among the top three most sought-after features for outdoor spaces, just after a place to grill and an undemanding landscape (hello, xeriscaping).

“For us, the fire pit was integral in extending the home’s design out into the landscape—it increases our family's interaction with nature,” says architect Matthias J. Pearson, who included a fire pit in the design of his own home, Äkta Linjen (EK-ta LIN-yen, which is Swedish for “Authentic Lines”) in Siloam Springs, Ark. Contained fire in an outdoor place is a special touch: adding light to the darkness, bringing variety to gathering places, and helping everyone make each day last as long as possible.

Hot on the heels of fire pits are seating and dining areas, then lighting, and then installed seating, such as benches, seat walls, ledges, steps, and boulders. Weatherized outdoor furniture comes after that, perhaps signaling a trend toward low-maintenance and natural-looking features that will serve as memory points for potential buyers. Also worth noting is that all these features appeared several rungs above a swimming pool in terms of desirability. For inspired ways to illuminate buyers’ imaginations with fire pits, check out the slideshow.

Get inspiration for your next outdoor project with this slideshow on award-winning outdoor spaces.