simpatico

An incredible outdoor entertaining area makeover

Simpatico Interior Design
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

Our aim was to create an outdoor entertaining area appropriate for the Victorian coastal climate and to have a functional garden feature that could be enjoyed with family and friends whilst being immersed in nature.

Before:

Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info


Wind was a major consideration in the design. We needed to ensure respite from the constant southwesterly sea breeze so we decided to sink the seating area. This also created interest with variation of ground levels as well as imparting a sense of privacy and tranquility, without the use of regular retaining walls.

Before:

Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info


Drainage was of the utmost importance for this project as the sloping, clay soil had historically been waterlogged. Subsoil, there is a maze of Ag pipe and drainage pits. After the removal of dozens of cubic meters of clay soil to allow the fire pit to nestle sympathetically into the landscape, we then had to bring in dozens more cubic meters of quality garden soil. Apart from the initial clay removal (and Kikuyu grass scraping on the non-fire pit side), this was all done by hand due to access limitations.

Before:

Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info


Reinforcing the block wall was imperative as the uphill seat section retains tonnes of soil. All walls are tied with vertical and horizontal steel, as well as core filled and then waterproofed.

Before:

Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info


Once we had calculated the correct slope of the seat and seat back, we had to consider the logistics of constructing this. We used a large, hand made compass to maintain the concentric circles throughout the build which couldn’t be moved or knocked over – a small but very consequential challenge! We needed to utilize several old-school building methods throughout the project and practiced much lateral thought. Working out how to get the asymmetrical curve to the top of the seatback was achieved with conduit, clamps and a steady hand with the angle grinder.

Before:

Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info


In terms of the design overall, after deciding on the circular fire pit, we focused on the empty space’s shape (the lawn). We wanted this to be defined rather than given “leftover” space. The paths were functional, so this ultimately determined the shape of the centre bed (donned “shark fin soup”). After deciding against the use of boulders in the garden beds (logistics as well as priority given to planting space and diversity), we decided to use them in the path to act as retaining elements for the path level changes. Further boulders retain each side of the Corten steps into the pit area and we were thrilled to include this majestic rock, despite having to maneuver most of it by hand.

Before:

Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info


With site and budget constraints, we let this piece of land speak for itself and different elements became obvious as we progressed, which is what we had known would be the case from the beginning. The garden is still in its infancy, but in a couple of years, the area will be even more cocooning and immersive which was our ultimate endeavor.

After:

Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info



Sunken Fire Pit & Outdoor Entertaining Area · More Info


Check out the entire project here!

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