A roaring fire is a pleasure that needn’t only be enjoyed indoors, which is why a boma is a fashionable addition to large and small gardens alike
Not only does a boma provide an extra living and entertaining space that’ll encourage you to spend more quality time with your family and friends, but it’ll also help you to destress as you reconnect with nature; you just have to step outside with the basics – wood, matches, blankets, a bottle of red wine and some marshmallows for the kids.
“A boma immediately transports you away from the hustle and bustle of city life,” says garden designer Jan Blok of Blok Designs. “It has all the charm of escaping to the bush, without the stress of packing and travelling.”
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
- Ideally a boma should be tucked away in a quiet part of the garden out of the wind and away from the noise of traffic.
- Place your firepit a safe distance from other structures, trees and boundary walls.
- As you can position them on your patio or in the garden, free-standing fire baskets are a flexible option. You can also take them with you when you move.
Bomas are not restricted to indigenous gardens or bush lodges and make a great addition to both modern and classic gardens. “It’s important that both the look and scale of your boma is in keeping with the rest of your garden and home,” advises Neville Orsmond of Create a Landscape.
“Aim to have an equal ratio of negative and positive spaces in your garden’s design; the areas of planted garden and the boma itself should be balanced by a similar amount of free-flowing spaces like pathways and lawn.”
To create a more intimate feel, Jan suggests taking a built-in amphitheater approach and sinking the boma area below ground level. “Alternatively you can plant densely around it to give that enclosed feeling,” he says, “but you want the focus to be on the fire itself more so than on the surrounding elements.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR YOUR BOMA
- Keep the space as natural looking as possible by using raw materials such as wood, stone, paving, ornamental gravel or a stucco finish.
- Don’t lawn up to the boma. Allow for a boundary of hard landscaping materials to give the area emphasis.Incorporate built-in storage for firewood into the design.
- Light the area with subtle uplighters illuminating the seat walls or LED strip lighting beneath the rim of the seating.
- Use the character of the site to direct your plant selection. The most attractive gardens are the ones that have textural depth and look better as they age. Make well-established trees a feature by encircling them with plants such as asparagus ferns.
- The fire itself should be safely contained in either a metal fire basket or a raised pit that’s anything from 150mm above ground level to 350mm, which will make the edge the ideal height to rest your feet on.
- Include a built-in drain to prevent rain water from collecting in the firepit and so you can easily wash the ash away.
- If the brickwork is exposed, use a fireproof grout to avoid the aggregate in the concrete from overheating and igniting.
- Don’t paint the surrounds. “Paint tends to peel,” says Neville. “Rather opt for a finish such as Cemplaster from Cemcrete which is extremely durable and ages naturally with the garden.”