Out­door fire fea­tures are hot

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We haven’t seen a worker in days.

The site is idle be­cause “we’re wait­ing for an in­spec­tion,” which is con­trac­tor code for “we can’t get back to your job right now.”

The al­leged in­spec­tion is for the gas line that will al­legedly fuel, Lord will­ing and the creek don’t rise, the yard’s cen­ter­piece: a 48-inch round ce­ment fire bowl that my hus­band and I en­vi­sion our­selves sit­ting around with friends and fam­ily, look­ing at stars and mak­ing s’mores — in our wheel­chairs while wear­ing bibs.

“Our yard will never be fin­ished,” I whine to my hus­band, DC.

“We’re not that far be­hind,” he says, try­ing to put the project in per­spec­tive.

“Get­ting new land­scap­ing is like be­ing preg­nant,” I say to any­one who will lis­ten. (No one). “You’re stretched to your break­ing point, have chronic heart­burn, and the only thing that keeps you go­ing is know­ing that no preg­nancy lasts for­ever, though you think yours might be the first.”

“Your back­yard is go­ing to rock,” our land­scape con­trac­tor keeps telling me. “That fire fea­ture is go­ing to be killer.”

As the con­trac­tor tries to pacify me, I try to pacify the neigh­bors, who are al­most as fed up with the big dig as we are.

“What’s go­ing on with your back­yard?” they po­litely ask.

“We’re in a com­pe­ti­tion to be named the next Great Dust Bowl, and we’ve made it to the fi­nals.”

Ev­ery day, the wind scoops up a layer of fresh dirt and coats the back of the house and pa­tio with sand and grit. When the dogs go

OUTLAND LIV­ING

The pop­u­lar­ity of out­door fire fea­tures has grown steadily over the past decade as more home­own­ers want to add mag­netic warmth to their yards.

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