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Checkers by day, marshmallows by night.

On mild summer evenings, a friendly fire is a great place to gather with friends and family. But a firepit doesn't always look great; more often than not it's a big hole in the garden when it's not being used.

Landscape architect Steve Martino designed this solution for Connie and John Wayland of Paradise Valley, Arizona. A redwood cover fits over the firepit, doubling as a tabletop or bench. For outdoor parties and family marshmallow roasts, the cover simply lifts off.

Built of stuccoed concrete blocks, the 4-foot-square, 1-foot-high firepit occupies a small recessed alcove to one side of the swimming pool and spa. To help keep it out of sight, Martino dropped the alcove two steps lower than the rest of the garden. Near the steps, a 32-inch-deep, waist-high wall (behind the girls in the photograph above) serves as a space divider, sunbather's bench, and convenient serving counter for entertaining.

A low retaining wall offers ample seating around three sides. Adobe-colored slumpstone blocks cap the sitting wall; slumpstone pavers cover the alcove floor.

The 5-foot-square firepit cover was made of 2 by 4's nailed to two 2-by-4 crosspieces; mitered 2 by 6's form the fascia.
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Date:Jun 1, 1984
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