Join the cosy club

Our resident gardening expert Tim Sykes of Garden Proud, discusses the appeal of installing an inviting fire feature in your outdoor space which you can use all year round


OK so it’s time to get the marshmallows out, tuck yourself under a nice outdoor throw, get the Sonos Music system working and get cosy around a lovely warm firepit. Personally, I can’t think of anything nicer, save for some sausages to toast on the fire!

We’ve been enjoying late summer and autumn nights for years around our firepits and chimeneas when we’ve had them. So don’t decamp inside just because it’s dark and chilly outside. As temperatures drop, what could be more fun than huddling around a crackling fire and sharing memories with family and friends as the sun goes down and listening to Adele, Coldplay – or even Fleetwood Mac if you are as old as me?

If you don’t have a firepit already then now’s the time to think about it…

The good news is there are a huge range of different styles, from wood-burning fire bowls to chimeneas and gas burners. If you are really committed you might even think of investing in an outdoor fireplace, or chimney complete with its own outdoor lounge. Interestingly, we are increasingly being asked to build such features like these into new garden designs.

There is a huge amount of information online, so do Google it. But in the meantime here are a few thoughts on the different types of firepits you might consider:


“What could be more fun than huddling around a crackling fire with friends?”



They make and sell in the UK the archetypal fire bowl. We are on our second one! Ours is roughly a metre diameter and it’s amazing as you can pile it up with wood and get really warm (sit at least 1m away). But Kadai also sell a whole host of accessories and I have to say some of the best barbecues we have ever had have been cooked on a Kadai! Check the fire bowls and cooking accessories out at, or if you are in Marks Cross pop into the Marks Cross Nursery where they sell the range.



You probably know them for their incredibly nice indoor fire surrounds. But Chesneys ( have also launched a range of outdoor wood burners. Top of the range is their XL oblong Clean Burn Outdoor Woodburner which retails at about £1900, but also look at their smaller version of the same design at £1600. They are very nice and efficient fireplaces, as you’d expect. Locally, check out Chesneys’ main distributor ( in Paddock Wood.


The Feuerhand Byron fire barrel is a new concept in outdoor heating. It’s about efficiency and maximum heat derived from an effective flow of air to the fire source. This is a concept that other manufacturers such as Solo also promote. But the Feuerhand fire barrel is second to none. It’s a fantastic heater for your garden or terrace. A double-walled fire barrel made of brushed stainless steel. Thanks to the design, the wood fuel sits in just the right place and burns clean and efficiently to create optimum heat. See more about Feuerhand at Or buy it locally at Le Petit Jardin in Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells.


Solus Decor

I saw this firepit at Chelsea this year. It’s rather pretty. You can buy it in three different sizes. Solus make a range of concrete firepits in contemporary designs, ideal for a modern garden setting. The finish is superb and comes in various colour schemes. It typically runs on a gas burner principle. Check out their website at The version I really like is called the Hemi Fire Bowl and this either comes in a 48” diameter, or 36”, or 26”. So make sure you think carefully about the size that might suit your garden before buying.


These are just a few of the options readily available on the marketplace. But you can always go bespoke. One of our clients last year asked me to design a square firepit for a special area we were creating in their garden. This we designed using a double skinned ‘sandwich’ fashioned out of Corten Steel to fit the scheme perfectly. To give the firepit an extended life we also created a Corten Steel tabletop. The whole thing was built for us by a very talented blacksmith based in the Peak District who did this all for an incredibly reasonable price. Let me know if you want a bespoke design and I will happily help you.


For further information about creating firepit areas in your garden contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, or visit


Things to do in the garden this November:

  • Clear up fallen leaves this month. You may have to have three or so goes at this, but it’s worth it! Alternatively if it’s not too bad mulch it with your mower.
  • Plant out your winter bedding plants.
  • Plant your tulip bulbs for your spring display next year.
  • Put out winter bird food to encourage birds in your garden.
  • Clear up any other debris around the garden.
  • Use a seasonal bonfire, when allowed, to dispose of excess garden debris.
  • Clear out your greenhouse and prepare it for new season.

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