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A fireplace or fire bowl can provide a great outdoor focus – just make sure it doesn’t create too much smoke.

The other Friday evening we asked some friends over for supper. When the time arrived, I was unprepared and flustered, while the Husband was tetchy after a stressful week. Then he announced I would be lighting the fire bowl. Spark and tetch levels rose: more fuss, smoke, complications.

But come 3am, we were still all out there, chilled, chatting and enjoying the glowing embers, oblivious to the odd shower. The combination of mellow wood smoke, evening air and semidarkness is captivating and relaxing.

One of the problems with having fire bowls or outdoor fireplaces near the house, of course, is smoke. I have been experimenting and talking to experts about how this can be avoided, or at least reduced.

We invested in a Kadai fire bowl, a simple design that looks good even when not in use. I asked Christo Mckinnon, who imports the bowls to the UK, for advice.


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