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Adding Inviting Warmth through Landscaping and Fire Features

unique and custom fire features in FlagstaffAccording to the American Society of Landscape Architects, fire features, such as pits and fireplaces, are the number-one-requested design feature today.  The climate in Flagstaff is perfect for enjoying a fire pit for many months of the year.  They add ambiance to a cool evening, and provide a great focal point for an intimate gathering or entertaining friends and family.   People naturally gravitate to the flicker and warmth of an outdoor fireplace, and it’s relaxing to just sit and be mesmerized by the dancing flames.

If you don’t have an outdoor fireplace, summer is the best time to install one.  Fire pits can be very simple, or they can be a more elaborate feature, custom-designed to complement your landscaping. Fire pits are also desirable to buyers; a properly styled fire pit can earn an ROI of 150%, as long as it’s purchased at installed at a reasonable price. If you’re considering a fire pit, here’s what you should know:

Be Aware – 

Always be aware or our city-issued fire safety warnings and follow the rules for each stage.

Positioning

  • Keep your fire feature a minimum of 10 feet away from any structure or neighboring yard, though 25 feet is preferable. 
  • Do not position a fire pit under a covered porch or low hanging tree branches.
  • Always place a fire pit on a non-flammable surface, such as patio blocks or concrete.
  • Do not put a fire pit on a wooden deck or directly on grass.

Preparing Your Fire Pit

  • Pit should be at least 6 inches deep at the center and 2 feet across- to keeps the embers and flames contained.
  • Clear all flammable materials at least five feet away from your fire pit- this “break” will help prevent an escaped fire from spreading
  • Piling dirt/rocks around the pit will help prevent any fire on the ground from escaping

Lighting Your Fire Pit

  • Always check wind direction – remove anything flammable downwind of the pit
  • If it is too windy – do not light your fire pit
  • Do not use any flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires

Using Your Fire Pit

  • Always use a wire mesh cover – it keeps embers inside and prevents children or pets from falling in
  • Never leave a fire pit unattended, especially with children or pets nearby
  • No garbage or paper products –  they easily spark and throw off embers
  • Keep a container of water and a hose nearby in case of an emergency

Fuel

  • Propane/Natural Gas: The safest fires are with propane or natural gas 

    • The fuel is completely ignited and there are no embers that float into the air
    • They are easy to light
    • Remember to ignite your lighter before turning the valve on
    • Very cool effects can be created like with our patent pending new “fire fountain” (please check out our web site to see it) or fire and water creations.  
  • Firewood:  Use pinion, alder, cedar, oak, hickory, mesquite, pecan, apple and cherry

    • Don’t burn soft woods like pine or cedar – they can “pop” and throw sparks
    • Don’t burn pressure-treated wood because it may contain harmful toxins
    • Limit the fuel – just use what’s necessary to keep it burning gently
  • Extinguishing Your Fire Pit
  • Have a shovel nearby – to extinguish any escaped flames and to put out the fire
  • Extinguish with water: drown it and stir it with the shovel to make sure it’s fully extinguished
    • Dispose of the ashes in a safe manner – keep a metal can that is used solely for ash storage —   even after 2 or 3 days, ashes can still be hot enough to cause a fire
  • It’s funny how often the simplest things can mean the most.  Life is better around a campfire.
  • Turn off your new TV and spend time with family around the world’s oldest TV… The fire pit!  
  • Enjoy our summer nights!
  • Next week we will address the return on your investment for outdoor improvements. RealEstate.com, reports that for every dollar spent on upgrading a backyard or outdoor space, a homeowner can expect to get back anywhere from 60 cents to two dollars.  We’ll tell you how.
Sean Andersen, Owner
Mountainscapers Landscaping

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