If you have a bit of spare room in your garden, a fire pit is essential. My husband Alex bought me one for Christmas a few years ago. It's an antique curry bowl from India that he drilled a hole in the bottom and made an elaborate drainage system underneath (it rains a lot where I live!).
Then he collected some rocks from around our place and made a wall to enclose the space. He used limestone mortar as we like those ramshackle stone walls in Italy, but it needed to be secure so people could sit on the rocks without them toppling over!
The finishing touch was some gravel, and some sanded-back tree stumps (so we don't get splinters in our butt!).
It goes without saying that we use this fire pit all the time. We gather there for drinks with friends, wrap potatoes in foil and roast them, barbecue meat. I've even done a mexican breakfast where I've scrambled the eggs and toasted tortillas!
We also have a Bosnian Sutch we cover with coals, where we throw different cuts of meat, vegetables, tins of tomatoes, garlic, herbs from the garden and a few pinches of smoked paprika and a few hours later we have a one-pot dinner.
Kids live to toast apples and marshmallows on the fire, and they love throwing sticks into the fire and watching them burn. They'll play with fire for ages (under supervision, of course!)
Anyway, after a big day in the garden, or a busy weekend of sport, this is the place we gather to swap stories and chill.