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Long summer days fade into soft cooler nights, and the later the season the longer everyone loves to linger outside, savoring the closing days of summer down to the last drop. As Fall approaches and the time change occurs, the chances of a chill in the air go up, and that’s when the outdoor fireplace comes into its own. There is nothing to compare with the primitive attraction of a fire—the flames draw people together late into the night, talking, drinking, toasting marshmallows, singing or just sitting and watching the flames and letting the dark close in.
As a source of warmth, a fireplace serves as a means to enjoy the outdoors late into the year, but it is also a very sophisticated design element that contemporary landscape architects and designers are increasingly exploring for its value as an architectural feature and focal point, moving the warm social heart of the home out of the living room and into the garden, opening up the possibilities of the “outdoor room” as never before. The 10 examples shown here, collected by Garden Design editors on their travels in quest of great gardens, are just a glimpse of the design potential of the outdoor fireplace. Enjoy!