There are certain wonderful smells that define summer and good times. Camp fires and roasted marshmallows have to be on the top of that list. There is something almost magical about sitting around a crackling fire with friends and family on a cool summer night. Now many homeowners are increasing the value of their homes and improving the relaxation potential of their backyards with permanent fire pits. Now a backyard in Rhode Island can be as warm and inviting as a New York campground, but you don’t have to burn gas to get there.Concrete and stone fire pits have inspired artists and designers. There are dozens of different styles to consider for almost any landscape. You’ll want to check on local fire codes for regulations – then let your imagination soar.There are many designs and materials to consider. Let’s take a look at some of your choicesShape – Although the round concrete campfire may be the most popular, don’t limit yourself. They can be round, square or rectangular. The long, flat fire hearth design creates an organic feel that blends with other landscape elements.Size – The size of your outdoor fireplace can include the pit itself, the ledge around the fire area, and the ground area around the stone structure. Do you want this area to be intimate or a social center?If you are planning on having a wide edge, don’t build it too high. If you plan to put up your feet, keep the edge low enough to optimize circulation in the legs. This will prevent your legs from getting drowsy and overheated.Placement – A fire adds charm to almost any setting, but some locations can also create drama and extra visual dimensions. A fire pit at the edge of a pool or lake will be reflected on the water’s surface and create dramatic effects. Consider placing the fire near other landscape elements such as a pond or water fall to enhance existing features.Water and Fire – If you are in search of a landscape centerpiece, consider combining water and fire with a fountain fire pit.Materials – As you page through magazines or surf the web, you’ll discover many different looks for these concrete campfires achieved by using various materials. Stone masons are stone experts, so use their expertise to choose the best combination of stone for your project.The base of the pit may be prepared with sand and gravel then filled with concrete. Square sandstone or other stone bricks may build up the walls or a smooth even basin can be built with concrete.You can change the color and intensity of the flame by adding different material into the pit. Lava rock will create a yellow hot flame. Crushed glass on the other hand will produce a cooler blue flame. Ask your stonemason about the advantages of incorporating a metal fire bowl or stainless steel ring into the design.Don’t forget the ground around the fire pit. You can go for a natural or patterned design using gravel or patio stones.