29 Apr Big Bowl O’ Zen Sculptural Firebowl In A Rustic Setting
A fire pit is the most essential part of any rustic campsite— it doesn’t need to be fancy, but as the center of social activities it must be pleasing to the eye. That’s why Michael in Olivette, MO chose the Big Bowl O’ Zen 37 inch Sculptural Firebowl™ when he built a gathering spot at his home in the forest.
He wrote me:
“The Bowl of Zen looks awesome in our woods. Makes a heck of a fire, too.”
The warm rust patina of the firebowl feels organic in this woodsy spot. A ring of stumps harvested from local trees serve as inexpensive, DIY seating— understated, yet a perfect way to blend the landscaped area into the natural surroundings. Primitive, but comfortable, natural yet organized. Tree mulch keeps the area around the fire uncluttered and prevents undergrowth from creeping in. Natural river stone gravel surrounds the firebowl itself to protect the mulch from overheating or catching sparks. The mulch and gravel serve several purposes in this design: as a safety feature, they keep the space organized, clean and prevent tripping hazards; as a design choice they relate back to the forest by using natural materials that don’t look out of place in the woods.
Although the house is quite nearby, this fire ring feels like a secluded retreat because the indigenous plants have been largely undisturbed. This setting feels like one that could have existed at any time in the last several hundred years. It could be the hunting camp of any number of peoples through history, a Viking camp, a waystop for Settlers pressing west, a summer camp, a mining camp of the California Gold Rush or a place where knights rested between jousting and dragon slaying. This timeless quality creates the perfect ambiance for storytelling because it becomes so easy to imagine yourself within the land of the legend being told.
While many people prefer the convenience of a gas fire, Michael has an endless supply of firewood close to hand. He prefers the crackling sounds and the nostalgic aroma of a wood burning fire pit. The scent of smoke brings back memories of childhood camping trips and the process of gathering firewood can be almost a meditation in and of itself, or game of hunting and gathering, or a good workout.
By the time the fire has kindled, all the stress of the day has dropped away, replaced by soothing contemplation or lively conversation. With ten stump seats surrounding the bowl, there is room for a good sized gathering. A downed log nearby provides extra seating or a place to retreat if the fire gets too warm.
This landscape design is perfect for stargazing, a gathering of storytellers, or for simply relaxing around the fire after a day in the woods.