The warmth and ambiance of fire is a year-round attraction, transcending seasons with indoor and outdoor opportunities. The growing popularity of firepits as a backyard accessory has helped bridge outdoor entertaining opportunities in the fickle Southeastern Wisconsin seasons. As we now jump into the hot summer months, after a typical agonizing and confusing spring season, lake country homeowners are gearing up for 3 months of maximizing time spent outdoors. Incorporating elements of fire is both decorative and practical to light up the evenings.

The tradition of gathering by fires is centuries old, a tribute to our roots and the culture of our ancestors. Stories told around campfires date back tens of thousands of years ago and is considered to have had a significant effect on human culture. It was then as it is today, an invitation for bonding, conversation, story telling and entertainment. Community fires are also important symbols, the sacred center of ritual circles, for many cultural celebrations. Of course there is a practical warming element to bonfires as well, an invitation to share warmth alongside companionship.

Firepits are a nod to these centuries old traditions of various cultures, a modern interpretation of the basic bonfire or sacred ritualistic fires. Many custom homeowners in the lake country area have incorporated firepits or outdoor fireplaces into their backyard landscaping as either a central or ancillary gathering spot. There are several practical and artistic portable options for homeowners that desire flexibility in moving their fire location or are just unwilling to create a permanent spot.

While sitting comfortably around ambient flames enjoying the companionship and conversation of friends and family is appealing enough, having cooking options for firepits/ bonfires add even more dimension to the outdoor entertaining experience. There are many useful enhancements easily placed over existing firepits, from cooking grates to metal racks from which to hang pots. Bountiful gourmet meals may be prepared while sitting around the fire outside, while still enjoying the traditional hot dog on a stick or s’more.

Aside from serving as the focal point for cooking and conversation, two of the most important activities of a social gathering, there are other ways to incorporate fire in the backyard to set the scene. The flame thrown off by tiki torches and decorative lanterns are a magical way to light up a path or enhance the landscape design. Larger lanterns are a wonderful alternative to planters on patios, near pathway or home entrances, an added design element that may tie into the home’s architecture. And while tiki torches add a special celebratory ambient air when lit up along paths or backyard perimeters, they can be particularly useful for bug control as well.

The following Pinterest page offers up some ideas for incorporating more fire into your backyard, from cooking options for firepits to tiki torches: