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We’ve all heard the phrase opposites attract. This new landscaping trend may be further proof of this phenomenon. Lately we’ve seen more and more designers combining fire and water to create eye-catching focal points. This example is in the small backyard of a Boise townhome. Designed as the hub of the central seating area, this fountain also serves double duty as a fire pit. The homeowners had requested a water feature and fire pit, but there simply wasn’t enough room for both. So designer Terry Sims of The Garden Artist dreamt up this one-of-a-kind combination fire and water element.

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Fire and water features have become especially popular around pools. The addition of three fire and water features along the edge of this pool provides a multisensory experience. The sight of the flickering fire and the sound of the gently splashing water add to the overall nighttime atmosphere of this backyard. The plumbing and gas line for each of these is hidden within the masonry column they sit atop. Pat Henry, owner of Prestige Pools suggests that if you are planning to include similar features near your pool, odd numbers are always best because they are more appealing to the eye.

This custom design combines the powerful draw of dancing flames and cascading water. A wall of mosaic tiles with water running over its surface glistens with the reflection of the flames. Together these two opposing elements create a magnificent feature that mesmerizes onlookers. Because of its height, this type of feature is great for hiding eyesores or adding privacy. However keep in mind that it is also harder for a group of people to gather around and socialize. If this is your desire, you should pick a design that is open on all sides.

Another example of a fire and water feature incorporated into a pool, this one was simply set atop the pool’s raised bond beam. The feature can be enjoyed both from within the pool and from the Adirondack chairs on the patio behind. Features like this are a great way to add a little pizazz to a swimming pool, especially when it is not in use. At night you can even see the reflection of the flame in the surface of the water.

The designers of this pool weren’t afraid to go big even though they were working in cramped quarters. Four tall, tapered stone columns show off large fire features filled with lava rock and spill streams of water gracefully into the pool. Lighting aimed at the center of each column illuminates the falling water, while the flames provide a soft glow for the entire pool area. Fire features similar to the ones here can be ordered in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors from companies that specialize in precast concrete.

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While the flame is not burning in this photograph, this fountain also serves as a fire element. Water cascades over a carved stone column clad in mosaic tile that twists upward to the sky. At night, the flame can be turned on at the top of the column, providing the perfect spot to gather and enjoy a glass of wine. The poured concrete cap around the basin can be used for seating or as a spot to rest your glass. For an added decorative touch, a copper vine was added around the pillar.

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Here two small fire bowls flank a curtain of water. The fire bowls are made of colored concrete and filled with small lava rocks which make the flames spread out. The fire bowls are affixed to either corner of the fountains basin, which may not be a good option for those with small children because of their proximity to the ground. When designing a fire and water element, be sure that the materials you select can handle both moisture and heat.

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