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.