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All fired up

04 April 2012 swimart

All fired up

All fired up

From the crackling of an open fireplace to the mesmerising sight of a flickering flame, the element of fire has always captured our senses and imagination. It has also become an integral ingredient in outdoor living thanks to its ability to create intimacy and warmth to a space. And today's range of alfresco heaters will enhance the way you use your backyard.

"Outdoor living rooms have become one of the hottest trends in home design - and with householders wanting to use them throughout the year, outdoor fireplaces have become very popular," says Stephane Thomas, director of The Fire Company, whose range of EcoSmart Fires take pride of place in outdoor living spaces around the world.


"Akin to the kitchen being the heart of the home, a fireplace is widely considered the centrepiece of an outdoor room. It's the ultimate drawcard, adding a comfort factor much like plush cushions and furnishings do indoors."

Stylish and sustainable
Brainchild of visionary Australian design group The Fire Company, EcoSmart Fire is a breakthrough concept in environmentally friendly open fireplaces. Initially known for its range of super slick indoor heaters, EcoSmart Fire's alfresco collection is making a huge impact around the world for its combination of style and substance.

Smartly designed and intelligently engineered, the ever-evolving range of EcoSmart Fire outdoor models are all ideal for garden and swimming pool areas and outdoor dining and entertaining spaces. And they run on a renewable energy called bioethanol, which is eco-friendly and energy efficient.

Plus you can choose from a range of portable fires that you simply place where you want them, or sleek stainless steel burners and fireboxes that enable you to create bespoke solutions.

"EcoSmart Fires aren't just for the cooler months. They have numerous benefits - providing warmth, adding a simple but stylish design element to the outdoor room or garden, creating a focal point, creatively illuminating spaces, and enhancing the ambience," explains Stephane Thomas.

South of the border
Originating from Mexico, the original Chiminea is a large clay pot that has one open side and a vertical smoke vent that acts like a chimney. While they are traditionally made from clay, you can also find them in cast iron, aluminium and stainless steel.

This freestanding, front-loading fireplace emits a tremendous amount of heat thanks to its unique looking, bulbous design. It also takes up relatively little space when compared to traditional outdoor fireplaces, making it ideal for decks, patios and gardens where space is a premium.

Fashionable fire pits
A fire pit can mean anything from a depression dug directly in the ground to a large, open container made from stone, brick or metal.

The concept of a fire pit is as old as time itself; however these days, fashion forward homeowners are leaning towards contemporary designs to add style and substance to outdoor living areas. Some people prefer to have permanently installed fire pits, with a number of models connected to an underground gas line. Others opt for portable designs that can be moved around the property with relative ease.

Firewood is the most popular fuel for fire pits though you will find propane and natural gas used in some of the more modern styles. It's also important to note that metal fire pits can leave rust marks on expensive tiles, which is why they are commonly placed on gravel or older style surfaces such as brick paving.


Having an open flame in your backyard is a potential safety hazard for both people and property, so it's important to follow a few simple common sense measures when they're in use.

  • Remove dead leaves and other flammable debris around outdoor fires to avoid them igniting from stray sparks.
  • Placing a screen over the fires not only contains sparks underneath but also reduces the wind's impact on potentially enlarging the fire.
  • Outdoor fires can be captivating for small children and animals, so ensure they’re supervised at all times.
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