Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

AUG 2017

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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32 LC DBM Washburn recommended placing seat- ing about 18" away so "that way you can sit there and roast a marshmallow with - out getting too cooked." For Karp, who placed movable chairs around the fire pit, the distance for seat - ing depends on the size of the fire pit as well as how many people are around it. "You're probably going to be two or three feet away typically, but you can push as far as five or six feet if you had to," he said, citing one of the benefits of mov- able furniture. At the residence where contractor Stan - islaw Krupa installed a fire bowl, seating is provided by a cast concrete and stucco seat with Mangaris wood slats to empha - size the curve. Designer Debbie Gliksman from Urban Oasis explained that in this case the seating is 30" away from the fire bowl, right on the edge of her ideal 24-30" range. "Permanent seating should be 36" away from the inside of the pit to allow for you to walk around," said Nathan Bo - liek. "If you want to rest your feet on the pit you should be between 24-30" from the inside of the pit." Fuel and Ignition Gas units are easy to start and require almost no effort to create a warm fire. Wood units take longer to ignite and re - quire periodic maintenance. Some sys- tems incorporate an electronic ignition to light logs at the flip of a switch while using wood as a fuel. "A wood fire pit is harder to get started and needs to be cleaned," said Boliek. "Some customers love their wood burn - ing pits, but also love being able to flip a switch and have fire. This is where a remote log igniter comes into play." "You turn the gas on and light it, which ignites the wood in the fire pit. It's an easy fire start," explained Kelly Karp. With a gas fire pit, the homeowner can "turn on a switch and have a fire, and not have to worry about making a wood fire," according to Tyler Washburn. Composition After a licensed professional has in- stalled any necessary gas lines, the fire pit can be built. Castellanos constructed his pit us - ing retaining wall stones topped with a stamped concrete coping. The inte - rior of the pit was lined with white firebricks to protect the exterior stones from the heating and cooling effects of regular use. "Most bricks and masonry stones can - Above Jorge Castellanos, owner and lead landscape contractor for New-York based landscape contracting firm Aztlan Outdoor Living, designed and installed a circular wood-burning fire pit and surrounding hardscape for a home in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Below Castellanos lined the interior of this fire pit with specialized firebricks designed to withstand the heating and cooling effects of regular use. Standard bricks and masonry are not ideal for use in areas with prolonged exposure to open flame. Exterior masonry can change color, crack or even explode. Above Karp used a gas igniter for the wood burning fire pit. Because it has an open bottom, when winter rolls around and snow starts to fall, the homeown- ers don't need to put a protective covering over the fire pit. "They use it all through the fall and even sometimes into the snowy season," he said. "All the materials we used are fine here in our elements."

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