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How to warm up your garden

By Hosea Omole | June 16th 2016

The cold season is here and living and enjoying your outdoors could become unbearable unless you have some means of warming it up. Luckily, you have many options to choose from. Whether your garden is a tiny intimate outdoor room or an expansive outdoor recreation space, there will be something that is just right for you.

Warming up your garden goes beyond simply lighting a fire or turning up a heater in the outdoors. You will need a bit of planning prior to installing any of these options. Among the most important considerations would be the location, orientation and exposure of the outdoor living space itself.

An outdoor living area to be used during the cold season needs to be located and oriented away from prevailing winds. Some kind of screen would also be necessary to keep in the heat and give the space a sense of enclosure.

Fireplaces and chimneys

An outdoor fireplace resembles and works in the same way as its indoor counterpart. They are typically built in masonry and lined with firebricks on the inside. The chimney directs the smoke up and away from the hearth and the living area.

Fireplaces create dramatic focal points within the garden space. Because of their prominence and permanent nature, proper planning and design in essential to ensure that they fit in well with the architectural style of the home and function optimally.

The smaller, portable rather rudimentary version of a fireplace are called chimineas. They are typically fire urns made of clay or steel.

They provide an elevated, portable outdoor hearth with an opening that lets out heat.

The upper, narrower part acts as a chimney that directs smoke away from the hearth and the living space. If you are looking for a quick, low budget solution, then perhaps chimineas would be something you may want to consider.

Fire pits

Fire pits have become quite popular lately due to their beauty and convenience. They are also a lot less expensive as compared to fireplaces and offer greater versatility in terms of design.

In their most basic form, they resemble the traditional campfire, radiating heat in a complete circle.

Fire pits may be permanent or portable, raised or sunken and may be fashioned from a wide range of materials, including masonry blocks, bricks, steel or clay. Others come with or may be fitted with a grill for cooking as well.

Whatever the case, they offer many fuel options, including wood logs, gas logs or pellets. The latter are gas burning accessories made to resemble logs or coal chips.

They not only provide warmth but also unlock the possibility to vary the ambience with the different flame colours and log styles. They are also less messy and more efficient than traditional logs.


There are many types of outdoor heaters, but most are either electricity powered or gas heated. Electric heaters are perhaps the most versatile in that they can take any form - from wall mounted types to the hanging kinds and the more common pedestal types.

You will be sure to find something that just fits into your space. Gas heaters are also very popular these days. Their designs are, however, limited and tend to be bulkier since they have to accommodate the LPG canister.

-The writer is a landscape architect

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