A blazing hearth warms up this northwest terrace

On a cool evening, there’s nothing more appealing than relaxing beside a flickering fire. When the firepit is just outside the back door, it’s like having your own private campground.

A site located at the confluence of the Naches and Tieton Rivers near Yakima, Washington offered a perfect venue for landscape architect Tom Berger to create a backyard gathering place. In designing the in-ground gas firepit, he underscored the mountain view. Large boulders flanking the firepit reinforce the visual connection to the rocky terrain. Backing the flames is a 3-foot-tall wall of terra-cotta-colored concrete; behind it, a taller perimeter wall is planted with birches, Colorado blue spruce, and serviceberry (Amelanchier), to create a leafy transition to the trees beyond. A terrace of cast-in-place concrete unifies the space and makes a handsome platform for outdoor furnishings. The project was a winner in Sunset’s Western Garden Design Awards.

Design: Tom Berger, the Berger Partnership, Seattle (206/325-6877)

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