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Fire in the round: a gravel patio, framed in brick, surrounds a portable firepit.

Twilight calls for the woodsy comforts of drinks and a chat around a toasty fire. Who needs the High Sierra or the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, when you can enjoy such pleasures in your own backyard? Carolyn Temple transplanted the cozy scene pictured above straight out of the mountains and into her suburban garden.

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The secret to re-creating the intimate campfire ambience: layers of plantings that fringe the property line and step down toward the garden's interior, making a richly textured screen.

At the center of the garden is a circle of thickly layered charcoal-colored crushed rock, framed in brick. It surrounds a brick platform that raises and supports a portable metal fire bowl. The design is stylish and safe: If a piece of crackling firewood throws sparks, they fall on the gravel and expire. The understated but sophisticated focal point anchors the wild assortment of plants. Late-blooming roses and canna add spots of color in the border. Pots scattered around the garden are filled with seasonal flowers.

From the outer edge of the circle, the patio measures about 16 1/2 feet in diameter. The brick pad in the center is 40 inches across. Temple purchased the fire bowl at a garden store for less than $350.

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Title Annotation:NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE
Author:Lorton, Steven R.
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U800
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Words:214
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