Landscape Rendering to Fire Pit Construction

The Original Rendering:

A few weeks back I posted about this drawing for a pergola design. The idea was to anchor a fire-pit seating area.

This drawing was to give the client an idea on how an anchor structure would look/hold down/define the back side of the area.

firepit rendering

[ A simple rendering for fire pit. ]

This rendering was enough info to go ahead and install the patio, fire pit, and seat walls as part of the large patio behind the house.

Rendering to Construction:

However this was not enough to make a decision on the final pergola design. Also more information would be needed to be shown on a plan/drawing for those involved in the construction of the pergola.

firepit and seating area
From Misc #01

[ The completed area, without the pergola. ]

Take a look at the corners in the seat wall and you’ll notice that the corner columns are a little heftier than the rest of the masonry. They were built to receive the wood columns for the pergola, and act as the anchor for the structure.

Now what:

My next job is to design a pergola that will anchor the end of this structure, hold a few sconce lights, and provide some spatial definition-creating a room-like space.

What I come up with here has to provide all the above and at the same time take nothing away from the view down to the lake.

Okay then . . . . 2 posts, create some depth, and 2 or 3 levels to the overhead wood work. I need to remember to add the sconces for light and ambiance, which were agree on when the clients had reviewed the rendering(s).

This will be a fun little design it allows for some nice creativity in a pergola structure, and at the same time I get to pull a little off of the house structure and add it to the landscape.

This idea of pulling off the architecture of the house has always been a strong design principle for me. It creates strong work.

The unifying of the house and landscape creates strong ties and balance, while allowing for design creativity in just how you pull those structural elements together. this will be more apparent when we all look at my drawings and I’ll post a pic of the cross beam supports on the house.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Hi Rick,

    What architectural style is the house? Are the beams on the house massive or diminutive.

    It looks like the columns and lintel beam you have in your rendering are larger say 10″ x to 12″ x.

    Will you use cross pieces on the lintel?

    Yes a photo of the house would be nice to see.

    What kind of wood do you see use here


  2. Hello Rick,
    It is always nice to see a peer post progression photographs of their work.
    The brick wall work looks very nicely handcrafted but I can’t see this wall ever being used as a seating wall for a couple of reasons:
    1. It is set too far back away from the source of the fire. Generally speaking 1.5 to 2.5 feet away is about where people naturally sit from the outer ring of a fire pit area, – just enough room to stretch their legs and let their feet settle on the edge of the ring.
    2. The height of the wall looks too high for average comfort.
    Comfort level is somewhere between 16 and 18 inches in height
    3. No back rest. This is not always needed but it sure is a comfortable commodity to have in fire ring rooms.

    I’m also having a feeling of discomfort when looking at the rigid square room set out in this landscape. Perhaps it is the angle of the photograph , but I don’t see how this square connects to the surrounding landscape or how it seamlessly responds to the surrounding landscape architecture or architecture.
    For this reason I would love to see how it connect to the house.

    Looking forward to the next installment on this project.

  3. Hi Rick;

    Can’t believe it’s after Christmas, almost another year and I’m just catching up with you. I bought a new piece of land and am moving our nursery so things have been busy.

    Just wanted to say the I continue to enjoy your ideas and use of stone. I correspond with a well known webmaster in Iowa who enjoys photography and often sends out pictures of old homesteads. Many, I guess too many, of these are stone construction and falling down. In Vermont out-of-staters would be grabbing them up right and left but out there it just doesn’t seem to happen based on the pictures. I have often thought it would be worth it to start a recycling company and bring the stone back east. Maybe if I was younger I would do it instead of just thinking about it.

    I had a chance to hear a great lecture by a drywall stacker named Dan Snow. He lives and works in Vermont and his brother lives a few miles from me. Santa finally brought me his first book In The Company of Stone. It’s been out for 6 years but like stone it will be around a long time. Take a look if you haven’t run across it yet.

    Best wishes for 2008

    George Africa
    The Vermont Gardener

  4. That seems like it need some serious snow shoveling and lots of pain for the back. Spend a little money and buy a snow blower and use your time to enjoy yourself.

    Sounds like a good idea!

  5. Hi Rick

    I am also a designer in the Greensboro, NC area. Originally from Buffalo,NY where it looks like home with all the snow.

    Fortunately in NC we rarely see it…yippee!!!

    I love love love what I do and see that you do too.

    I will check around your site and just drool.

    Thanks a Bunch
    Happy Planting

    Diana Gardner-Williams

    Yep, a born and raised Gardener!!!

    Thanks for the shout out. I appreciate it very much. Hope to see you comment on here again. Is the business good down there this year?-since we supposedly have such a bad economy right


  6. I constructed a pondless water fall that falls into a circular bed of river rock. I originally planted low plants to outline the circle. I am thinking of changing it to a propane gas fire pit. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can do this. Do you think the pit can be even with the ground. I did not want to create a ledge for an above ground structure. Thanks

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