Homeowners, contractors, and hospitality businesses alike are recognizing the value of extending their indoor living spaces into the great outdoors. From comfortable seating areas to well-equipped outdoor kitchens, these spaces provide the perfect setting for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment of nature.
If you have, or plan to have, a pool on property, you may be looking for ways to complete the design with features like fire and water bowls.
These stunning elements can transform a standard pool area into a three dimensional oasis, blending the elements of fire and water to create a truly captivating environment. Fire bowls not only provide warmth and ambiance on cool evenings, but they also serve as a striking focal point in any pool design. Water features, such as waterfalls and fountains, add a sense of tranquility and sophistication, while also enhancing the overall aesthetics of the space. You can even combine the two into a fire and water bowl.
We wrote this to serve as a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for residential customers, contractors, vacation homeowners, and hospitality firms looking to incorporate fire bowls and water features into their swimming pool designs. Whether you are a homeowner seeking to elevate your backyard retreat or a contractor working on a high-end resort project, this guide will provide valuable insights and practical tips for creating an unforgettable outdoor space that seamlessly blends fire and water elements.
Material options (copper, stainless steel, GRFC concrete)
When selecting a fire bowl for your pool design, the first thing to consider is the material. Fire bowls are typically crafted from copper, stainless steel, or GRFC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) to provide durability and withstand the outdoor elements. Each material has its unique characteristics:
Copper fire bowls offer a classic, timeless look and develop a beautiful patina over time. They are highly resistant to corrosion, making them an excellent choice for long-lasting beauty.
Stainless steel fire bowls provide a sleek, modern appearance and are known for their durability and low maintenance requirements.
GRFC concrete fire bowls offer a natural aesthetic and can be customized in various colors and textures to suit your design preferences.
Burner options (bullet burners, torpedo burners)
The burner is the heart of your fire bowl, providing the flame and heat. Two popular burner options are bullet burners and torpedo burners. HPC Fire and The Outdoor Plus offer their own proprietary designs that can be ordered with most configurations of fire and water bowls, fire bowls, and fire pits.
- Bullet burners are designed for high-performance and efficiency, producing a taller and fuller flame while using less gas. These burners are ideal for creating a dramatic visual impact.
- Torpedo burners are designed to produce a linear, ribbon-style flame, providing a more contemporary and streamlined appearance. A well known brand in the space, HPC Fire manufactures the most highly rated torpedo burner.
Design styles and finishes (patina, scuppers)
Fire bowls come in a variety of design styles and finishes to complement your pool's aesthetic. Some fire bowls feature a natural patina finish, which adds a touch of rustic charm. Others may incorporate scuppers, creating a beautiful combination of fire and water elements as water cascades from the fire bowl into the pool.
Consider various types of water features
Scuppers are a popular water feature option that can be integrated into pool designs. Fire and water bowls inherently have a "scupper" on their side which is what allows the water to flow out. Scuppers can also be ordered on their own in a variety of shapes and sizes from The Outdoor Plus. These narrow openings or spouts channel water from a raised wall or similar, creating a sheet or cascade of water that flows into the pool. Let us know what you have in mind for aesthetic preferences and needs for your project.
Waterfalls are another stunning water feature option that can be incorporated into your pool design. These features create a natural, soothing ambiance as water flows over rocks or other structures into the pool. Waterfalls can be designed in various sizes and styles, from a gentle trickle to a dramatic cascade.
Fountains are a versatile water feature that can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your pool design. Available in numerous styles, fountains can be freestanding or integrated into a pool wall, with water shooting into the air or gently trickling down a surface.
Combining fire and water elements
For a truly mesmerizing effect, consider combining fire and water elements in your pool design. This can be achieved by incorporating fire bowls with scuppers or designing a custom feature that blends the two elements seamlessly. The interplay of fire and water creates an enchanting, captivating atmosphere that will elevate your outdoor space to new heights.
Planning Your Pool Design
Assessing your available space and layout
Before incorporating fire and water bowls into your pool design, it's essential to assess your available space and layout. Consider the size and shape of your pool, the surrounding landscape, and any existing structures or features. This will help you determine the ideal placement of fire and water bowls, ensuring they complement your pool design and enhance the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space.
Determining your desired ambiance and style
Next, think about the ambiance and style you want to create in your pool area. Are you aiming for a serene, relaxing oasis or a vibrant, lively entertainment space? Your desired ambiance will guide your decisions when selecting fire and water bowls, as well as other design elements like lighting, landscaping, and seating options. Be sure to choose fire and water bowls that align with your vision and contribute to the overall atmosphere of your outdoor space.
Considering safety and local regulations
Safety should always be a top priority when designing your pool area, especially when incorporating fire and water elements. Consider the proximity of fire bowls to seating areas, walkways, and structures, ensuring that they are placed at a safe distance to minimize potential hazards. Additionally, be aware of local building codes and regulations related to fire bowls, water features, and pool design. This may include restrictions on the type or size of fire bowls, as well as requirements for gas lines, plumbing, and drainage systems.
Collaborating with a professional pool designer or contractor
Incorporating fire and water bowls into your pool design can be a complex process, involving many technical and aesthetic considerations. To ensure a seamless integration and a successful outcome, it's highly recommended to collaborate with a professional pool designer or contractor. These experts can help you navigate the planning process, recommend the best fire bowls and water features for your specific needs, and oversee the installation to guarantee a safe, visually stunning result. By partnering with a professional, you can confidently create the pool of your dreams and elevate your outdoor living experience to new heights.
Matching the fire bowl and water feature materials to your overall design
When selecting features for your pool, it's important to choose materials that complement your overall design aesthetic. Consider the style of your home, your outdoor furniture, and any existing structures or landscaping elements. By selecting features with materials that harmonize with your existing design, you'll create a cohesive and visually appealing outdoor space. For example, if your outdoor area has a rustic or natural theme, GRFC concrete fire bowls might be the perfect choice, while stainless steel fire bowls may be better suited for a sleek, modern aesthetic.
Choosing the appropriate size and scale for your pool
The size and scale of your bowls should be proportional to your pool and surrounding area. Avoid choosing fire bowls that are too large or too small, as they may appear out of place or overpower the overall design. Similarly, consider the size and flow of water features like waterfalls and fountains, ensuring that they don't overwhelm the space or create excessive noise or splashing. By carefully selecting features that are appropriately sized and scaled for your pool, you'll create a harmonious and inviting environment for relaxation and enjoyment.
Balancing aesthetics and functionality
While the visual appeal is undoubtedly important, it's also essential to consider functionality. Think about how you and your guests will interact with these elements and whether they will enhance or detract from your poolside experience. For example, consider the heat output of fire bowls and their impact on the surrounding seating areas, as well as the potential for water features to create splashing or noise that may be disruptive to relaxation or conversation. By striking a balance between aesthetics and functionality, you'll ensure that your fire bowls and water features not only look stunning but also contribute to a comfortable and enjoyable poolside experience.
Incorporate Everything Into Your Pool Design
Strategic placement is crucial for achieving optimal visual impact. Consider sightlines from various vantage points, such as your patio, outdoor seating areas, and inside your home. Place fire bowls and water features where they will be clearly visible and create a striking focal point. Additionally, take into account the interplay of fire and water elements, positioning them in a way that highlights their complementary nature and enhances the overall aesthetics of your pool area.
To ensure a seamless and functional integration, fire and water bowls must be properly connected to your pool's plumbing and gas systems. This may involve running new gas lines or plumbing pipes, as well as installing necessary components such as pumps, valves, and control systems. It's essential to work with a qualified professional who has experience in installing fire and water bowl features to guarantee a safe and efficient setup. Additionally, consider incorporating automation features that allow you to easily control the flow of water and the intensity of flames from a single remote or smartphone app, simplifying operation and enhancing your overall pool experience.
Proper drainage and water flow are also critical for the long-term performance and maintenance of your fire bowls and water features. Ensure that water features are designed with appropriate drainage systems to prevent standing water, which can lead to algae growth and damage to the feature itself. Additionally, consider the flow of water into your pool, ensuring that it does not disrupt the pool's circulation system or create excessive splashing.
When installing fire and water bowls in your pool design, it's highly recommended to work with a professional installer. These experts have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure a seamless integration, while also adhering to safety standards and local regulations. A professional installer can help you navigate the complexities of plumbing, gas systems, and drainage, as well as provide valuable insights on the best placement and setup for your specific pool design. By partnering with a skilled professional, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that everything will be installed safely and efficiently, providing long-lasting beauty and enjoyment.
Safety is of the utmost importance when fire features. To minimize potential hazards, it's crucial to ensure proper clearances between fire bowls, water features, and other structures, as well as to maintain safe distances from seating areas and walkways. Additionally, consider the placement of features in relation to wind patterns, ensuring that flames and smoke do not create discomfort or safety concerns for guests. Always consult local building codes and regulations for specific requirements regarding clearances and safety measures. By prioritizing safety during the installation process, you can create a stunning and secure outdoor space that will be enjoyed for years to come.
Regular cleaning and maintenance tips
To keep your fire and water bowls looking and functioning at their best, regular cleaning and maintenance are essential. For fire bowls, remove any debris or ash buildup and clean the burner and surrounding areas to ensure proper flame performance. Additionally, inspect the gas lines and connections for any signs of wear or damage, and address any issues promptly.
For water features, clean and remove any algae or mineral deposits that may accumulate over time, and ensure that the pump and filtration systems are functioning properly. Regularly check for any leaks or blockages in the plumbing and address them as needed. By staying proactive with cleaning and maintenance, you can extend the life of your fire bowls and/or fire and water bowls and enjoy their beauty for years to come.
Troubleshooting common issues
Occasionally, you may encounter issues. Some common problems include low flame output, irregular water flow, or pump and filtration issues. In many cases, these issues can be resolved by cleaning and maintaining the affected components, or by adjusting the settings on your control system. However, if you're unable to resolve the problem yourself, consult a professional technician or the manufacturer for guidance and support.
Winterizing your fire and water bowls in colder climates
In colder climates, it's important to winterize features to protect them from freezing temperatures and potential damage. Before the winter season arrives, drain any water from your water features and disconnect their plumbing systems to prevent freezing and bursting pipes. For fire bowls, turn off the gas supply and disconnect any hoses or lines. It's also a good idea to cover your fire bowls and water features with weather-resistant covers to shield them from snow, ice, and harsh winter elements. By taking these steps to winterize your fire bowls and water features, you can help ensure their longevity and continued enjoyment when the warmer months return.
No matter the style, there's a feature that can fit well with your pool. Fire and water bowls can do wonders for your the ambiance of your backyard.
Creating inviting seating areas around your fire bowls
Fire bowls not only add visual appeal to your pool area but also provide a natural gathering spot for friends and family. To create inviting seating areas around your fire bowls, consider incorporating comfortable outdoor furniture that complements your overall design aesthetic. Arrange seating to encourage conversation and interaction while maintaining a safe distance from the fire. Adding plush cushions, cozy blankets, and decorative throw pillows can enhance the comfort and ambiance of your poolside seating areas, creating a warm and welcoming environment for guests to relax and enjoy the flickering flames.
Incorporating ambient lighting for nighttime enjoyment
To fully enjoy your pool area during evening hours, consider incorporating ambient lighting that highlights your fire bowls and water features. Strategically placed landscape lighting can accentuate the interplay of fire and water, creating a captivating nighttime display. Additionally, using soft, indirect lighting around seating areas and walkways can enhance safety and visibility while contributing to a relaxing atmosphere. Consider options like solar-powered lights, LED string lights, or even underwater pool lights to create a magical poolside experience that extends well into the night.
Curating a serene atmosphere with soothing water feature sounds
The sounds of gently flowing water can have a calming effect, creating a serene atmosphere for poolside relaxation. When selecting water features for your pool design, consider options that produce soothing sounds, such as cascading waterfalls, babbling brooks, or softly trickling fountains. These water features not only add visual interest to your pool area but also contribute to a tranquil ambiance that promotes relaxation and rejuvenation. By carefully curating the sounds of your water features, you can create an outdoor oasis that encourages guests to unwind and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
The transformative impact of integrating fire bowls and water features into pool designs
Integrating fire bowls and water features into your pool design can have a truly transformative impact on your outdoor living space. These stunning elements not only enhance the visual appeal of your pool area but also create a dynamic and inviting environment for relaxation and entertainment. By thoughtfully incorporating fire and water elements into your pool design, you can elevate your poolside experience to new heights and create a captivating outdoor oasis that will be enjoyed by friends and family for years to come.
The importance of proper planning, installation, and maintenance
To ensure the success and longevity of your fire bowls and water features, it's crucial to invest time and effort into proper planning, installation, and maintenance. From selecting the right materials and sizes to working with a professional installer and adhering to manufacturer guidelines, taking a proactive approach to each step of the process will result in a seamless integration and a stunning final result. Regular maintenance and prompt troubleshooting of any issues will also help extend the life of your fire bowls and water features, ensuring their continued beauty and functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are fire and water bowls?
Fire and water bowls are decorative features that combine the elements of fire and water, enhancing the visual appeal and ambiance of outdoor spaces, particularly around swimming pools. They consist of a bowl, often made from materials like copper, stainless steel, or GRFC concrete, which houses a burner for the fire and is designed to incorporate water flow as well. Fire and water bowls create a stunning and inviting atmosphere, making them a popular choice for luxury outdoor living spaces.
How do fire and water bowls work?
Fire and water bowls work by combining a gas-fed fire feature with a water feature. The fire is fueled by either natural gas or propane, and a burner within the bowl ignites the gas to create a flame. The water feature is typically integrated with the pool's plumbing system and may take the form of a scupper, waterfall, or fountain. The water flows through or around the fire, creating a captivating interplay of the two elements.
What materials are commonly used for fire bowls?
Fire bowls are typically made from materials such as copper, stainless steel, or GRFC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) to ensure durability and resistance to outdoor elements. Each material offers unique aesthetic and functional qualities, with copper developing a beautiful patina over time, stainless steel providing a sleek, modern appearance, and GRFC concrete offering versatility in design and color options.
Can you add a fire bowl to an existing pool?
Yes, it is possible to add a fire bowl to an existing pool. However, this process will require some modifications to your pool's plumbing and gas systems to accommodate the new feature. It is recommended that you consult with a professional pool designer or contractor to ensure proper integration and adherence to safety standards.
How much does it cost to add a fire bowl to a pool?
The cost of adding a fire bowl to a pool can vary depending on factors such as the type and size of the fire bowl, materials used, burner options, and installation expenses. On average, fire bowls can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 or more, with additional costs for installation, gas lines, and electrical work.
What is the purpose of a fire and water bowl?
The primary purpose of a fire and water bowl is to enhance the visual appeal and ambiance of an outdoor space, particularly around swimming pools. They create a striking focal point and offer a unique combination of fire and water elements, which can provide a captivating and relaxing atmosphere for entertaining and enjoyment.
What are the different types of water features that can be combined with fire bowls?
Several types of water features can be combined with fire bowls, including scuppers, waterfalls, and fountains. Scuppers are openings in the bowl through which water flows, creating a sheet of water that cascades into the pool. Waterfalls can be designed to flow over or around the fire bowl, while fountains can spray water into the air, creating an eye-catching display.
What are the benefits of integrating fire and water bowls into pool designs?
Integrating fire and water bowls into pool designs offers several benefits, including:
- Enhanced visual appeal and luxury aesthetic
- A captivating focal point for outdoor spaces
- A unique combination of fire and water elements
- An inviting atmosphere for relaxation and entertainment
- Increased property value
What do you put under a fire and water bowl?
To protect the surface beneath your fire and water bowl, you can install a heat-resistant, non-combustible base or pad made from materials like concrete, stone, or brick. This base will help prevent potential damage to your pool deck or surrounding area caused by heat and water.
Are fire and water bowls safe to use around children and pets?
Fire and water bowls can be safely used around children and pets when proper precautions are taken. Some safety measures to consider include:
- Installing a barrier or fence around the pool area to prevent unsupervised access.
- Ensuring proper clearances and adhering to local regulations and building codes.
- Using burner covers or screens to minimize the risk of accidental contact with the flame.
- Regularly inspecting and maintaining your fire and water bowls to ensure their safe operation.
Educating family members and guests about the potential hazards and establishing rules for using the pool area can also help to enhance safety.
How do I choose the right fire bowl for my pool design?
To choose the right fire bowl for your pool design, consider the following factors:
- Material: Select a material (copper, stainless steel, or GRFC concrete) that complements your overall design and meets your durability requirements.
- Size and scale: Choose a fire bowl that is proportionate to your pool size and the surrounding outdoor space.
- Burner options: Consider the various burner options, such as bullet burners or torpedo burners, to find one that meets your performance and aesthetic preferences.
- Design style and finishes: Select a fire bowl with a design style and finish (e.g., patina, scuppers) that aligns with your desired ambiance and pool aesthetic.
Consulting with a professional pool designer or contractor can also help you make an informed decision based on their expertise and experience.
What are the different burner options for fire bowls?
There are several burner options available for fire bowls, including bullet burners and torpedo burners. Bullet burners are designed to produce a taller, fuller flame with improved fuel efficiency, while torpedo burners create a more linear flame pattern. The choice of burner will depend on your aesthetic preferences and desired flame effect.
How do I maintain and clean my fire and water bowls?
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your fire and water bowls will help ensure their longevity and performance. Some maintenance tips include:
- Removing debris and cleaning the bowl's surface with a mild detergent and water.
- Inspecting and cleaning the burner, gas lines, and connections regularly to ensure proper function.
- Checking for signs of corrosion or damage and addressing any issues promptly.
- Cleaning and maintaining the water feature components, such as scuppers or waterfalls, to prevent clogs and maintain optimal water flow.
- Winterizing your fire and water bowls in colder climates by draining water, disconnecting gas lines, and protecting the bowl with a cover or storing it indoors.
What are some common issues with fire and water bowls and how can I troubleshoot them?
Common issues with fire and water bowls may include low or uneven flames, water flow problems, or ignition difficulties. To troubleshoot these issues:
- Inspect the burner and gas lines for blockages or damage and clean or replace components as necessary.
- Ensure the water feature components, such as scuppers or waterfalls, are free of debris and functioning properly.
- Check the gas pressure and consult with a professional if adjustments are needed.
- Refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for specific troubleshooting steps related to your fire and water bowl model.
Can fire and water bowls be used with both natural gas and propane?
Most fire and water bowls can be configured for use with either natural gas or propane, depending on your fuel source preference and availability. However, it is essential to check with the manufacturer or consult a professional to ensure compatibility and proper configuration for your specific fire and water bowl model.
What is the best material for a fire bowl in terms of durability and appearance?
The best material for a fire bowl will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Each material - copper, stainless steel, and GRFC concrete - offers unique benefits in terms of durability and appearance:
- Copper: Develops a beautiful patina over time, giving it a timeless, classic appeal. It is also highly resistant to corrosion and has excellent heat resistance.
- Stainless steel: Offers a sleek, modern look and is highly durable, with excellent corrosion and heat resistance.
- GRFC concrete: Provides versatility in design, color, and texture options, while also being highly durable and resistant to outdoor elements.
Ultimately, your choice of material should be based on your desired aesthetic, maintenance requirements, and budget.
How can I enhance the visual impact of my fire and water bowls?
To enhance the visual impact of your fire and water bowls:
- Place them strategically around your pool to create a captivating focal point.
- Consider using multiple fire and water bowls to create symmetry or a more dramatic effect.
- Choose fire bowls with unique design elements or finishes, such as patina or scuppers, that align with your desired pool aesthetic.
- Incorporate ambient lighting around your fire and water bowls to highlight their features during nighttime use.
How can I ensure my fire and water bowls operate efficiently?
To ensure the efficient operation of your fire and water bowls:
- Regularly inspect and maintain the burner, gas lines, and connections.
- Keep the bowl and water feature components clean and free of debris.
- Consult with a professional for optimal configuration, installation, and fuel pressure adjustments.
- Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for proper use and maintenance.
How can I create a serene atmosphere around my pool using fire and water bowls?
Creating a serene atmosphere around your pool using fire and water bowls can be achieved through:
- Strategically placing fire and water bowls to create a visually captivating and harmonious layout.
- Incorporating soothing water feature sounds, such as the gentle flow of water from scuppers or a waterfall.
- Creating inviting seating areas around your fire bowls for relaxation and conversation.
- Using ambient lighting to enhance the overall ambiance and create a warm, inviting atmosphere.