Outdoor Fire

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4 cozy backyards to warm up at on crisp Fall evenings.

Stories by Ann Butenas


Summer Days Blend Into Moonlit Nights

When Hoyt Banks of Banks Blue Valley Pool & Spa dove into this outdoor fire pit design, he leaned more towards a deliberate and contemporary voice.

“The homeowner wanted a serious fire pit and a swim-up bar,” noted Banks.

This Wilshire Farms residence in Overland Park has a walkout basement, and that walkout level was continued into the yard where the fire pit is located. From there, the salt water pool was installed in such a manner that its bar and accompanying countertop seamlessly unite with the fire pit area below. The gas fire pit enjoys a classic look with an abundance of black lava rock stones.



The patio pavers are made from Torreon travertine, inlaid in a French pattern. The surrounding fire pit, steps and pool coping are made from the same materials. The swim-up bar is comprised of a Weston cream slab with custom-made bar stools that cozy up next to the counter, each with a travertine cap as a seat.

Ample lighting touches throughout the space invite an afternoon of relaxation that extends clear into the evening hours.

Project by Banks Blue Valley Pool & Spa
Photos by Matt Kocourek


A Perfect Balance of Fire & Water

This backyard fire feature and surrounding outdoor living elements are definitely making some noise. Created by Land Design Group, this space called for all the bells and whistles. For a low-maintenance appeal, the homeowner opted for an exterior porcelain tile floor framed by a sand mold tumbled brick ribbon perimeter. The design includes a gas fire pit, expansive hot tub, kitchen area (complete with smoker, grill, ice maker, sink and refrigerator) and plenty of seating for entertaining or just relaxing with family. Confidently pulling the look together are added touches, such as hand-pitched detail on the kitchen seating wall, fire pit and cap; a newly-remodeled water feature; limestone caps; and a faux stone veneer enrobing the kitchen and hot tub areas.



“We also installed the screen pergola by the hot tub, which not only allows for air to flow through, but also creates a sense of privacy,” noted Chris Feldkamp, owner of Land Design Group, who also incorporated ample amounts of layered brass lighting throughout the space to create a dramatic yet relaxing scene when evening settles in.

Project by Land Design Group
Photos by Matt Kocourek


Heart of the Backyard

When the experts at Kansas City Hardscapes are tasked with taking a relatively plain outdoor living space and transforming into something warm and inviting, the results are smokin’! A bird’s eye view of this space will make you feel as if you are about to land in paradise, as the Belgard paver patio serves as the perfect backdrop for the impressive stone paver block, wood burning (with gas start) fireplace, accented with a limestone cap and adjoining walls. Flagstone stepping stones lead the way to this inviting space, where an outdoor kitchen, complete with a bar, grill station, and refrigerator, all await under the rough cedar pergola painted in white.



“We enlarged this space from its much smaller, original size, adding an additional wall and seating areas, the surrounding landscape elements and the pergola, which breaks off from the fireplace and covers half the patio and the grill station,” noted Derek Nadler, co-owner of Kansas City Hardscapes.

Project by Kansas City Hardscapes
Photos by Matthew Anderson


“Steel”-ing the Show

This fire pit is definitely a conversation starter! One can’t help but notice the dazzling display of steel and fire at its core. The rebar sculpture, referred to as “Fire Stix,” was designed by Jarrett Bertoncin of JSB Designs, a friend of the homeowner, and the surrounding fire pit was uniquely constructed to accommodate this work of art.

Designed and installed by Hoyt Banks and his team from Banks Blue Valley Pool & Spa, the fire pit enjoys a Black Hills flagstone cap with corresponding veneer on the walls. The accompanying seating bench was designed with a tapered back. Banks also installed a 20’ x 40’ free form salt water pool, accented by two fire bowls and a cascading water fall.



“We then added two bubblers with LED lighting, each of which sprays a fountain above the water,” noted Banks.

Located in Mills Farm in Overland Park, the homeowners desired a look and feel reminiscent of a rustic and old school Colorado setting, and when the day turns to dusk, and the embers begin to glow, the masterpiece that is this outdoor living area is one to behold, especially as the fire breathes life into the sculpture.

Project by Banks Blue Valley Pool & Spa
Photo by Matt Kocourek

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