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3 in 1 Fire Pit

The built-in fire pits of the 1970s used only on cooler nights during milder seasons has been reborn. This multi tasking design makes a highly useful and visually appealing element in the landscape. AK47-Design has developed a fire pit that works on many levels for the modern aesthetic. A circular steel cap gives the Zero model a broad seat, and when fire is present it becomes radiant to create a comfortable place to warm tired or aging seat bones. Ingenious design allows plenty of fire wood storage within the unit so you need not create a storage area nearby. Finally, it's portable, which means it can move around with seasons, future redesign or just a change in lifestyle.

Learn more about this fire pit: Rusted Steel Fire Features with Wood Storage

Boulders are Better With Flat Tops

The cost of adding boulders to your landscape project may far exceed their visual benefits. For the same price you can select boulders with a flat top to double as seating to alter this cost-benefit ratio. In fact, you save money when flat top boulders replace the expensive design and construction of seat walls. Also unlike walls, boulders are not defined by code setbacks so they can be located close to perimeters. The sheer weight of a flat top boulder provides a surface that you can dance upon, and while relaxing it also supports lunch, drinks or a good book out in the garden. Here they've been arranged around a fire pit for teens to congregate far from the peaceful spaces of the parental grilling and dining zone.

Learn more about this backyard: Northwest Landscape Designer Creates a Backyard Retreat

Get more ideas for landscaping with boulders

Wall Is Theater While Solving Problems

Solving a problem and creating an amenity at the same time is the essence of good design. The need to screen pool equipment at the far end of this pool offered the opportunity to stop the eye with an ever changing plane that functions like a movie screen. The base color is in itself is appealing , but using the lighter color makes the perfect background for shadow effects created by day, and lighting by night. This technique can be applied to a variety of other walls in different style landscapes. Exploit the plain vertical surface to background exotic potted plants, art, treillage or even a fountain. Pool equipment problem solved becomes the birth of new ideas.

Learn more about this pool: A Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Pool

Pergola Doubles as A Space Apart

Reclaiming the front yard for additional outdoor living space is challenged by the exposure to the street, neighborhood and passing motorists. To create a patio that's appealing, it must feel like a space apart as defined by all three dimensions. First, the wide open nature of streetscapes requires the sky to be brought down to a human scale. Second is a need for enclosure to create a sense of intimacy for the users. This pergola attached to the front of the house extends living space into the open air, not as a shade giving structure, but one that defines space while contributing privacy.

Learn more about this patio: A Small Front Patio Serves as a Relaxing Haven

Is It A Wall, A Sculpture or both?

Mexican architect Luis Barragan showed the world how color empowers structures in the landscape. Nowhere is it more illustrative than with walls that defined his unique style. Simple walls in any landscape serve as partitions to divide space, but often the embellishment of masonry is precluded by budgetary constraints. When a wall is painted a powerful color within a more ordinary garden, it becomes, like Barragan's walls, a freestanding structural form. This doubles when the wall curves or jogs. For a new landscape that includes walls, make them high color carefully coordinated with the landscape palette. Thus the money spent on a simple partition can double with a single can of paint.

Get more info: Adding Unexpected Color to Garden Walls

Maximize Investment When Low Walls are Seat Walls

When subtle changes in grade demand retaining walls, or when planting areas are raised up for a reason, there's a great opportunity. The cost of footing, forming and finishing can be offset by doubling the value of these constructed elements. Only if they are designed from the start to suit human dimensions can these make a lowly concrete retaining wall into year around seating. Whether poured concrete or constructed of block, the key to this double duty is a comfortable surface on top that's wide enough to sit or even lie upon to take an impromptu sunbath.

Learn more about this project: Contemporary Home Gets a Matching Landscape

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