by Christy Heitger-Ewing

Living in the era of ever-present technology, when we all seem to have our noses stuck inside of some sort of screen and our pockets are dinging, pinging, and ringing, it can be easy for families and friends to drift apart. That’s why creating a welcoming outdoor environment for entertaining is so great; it invites people to unplug their devices and reconnect with nature, engage in conversation, and simply unwind.

Cory Kroger, President and CEO of Stone Artisans, finds that clients with custom pools love to build either a swim-up bar, a grilling section, or a firepit encased in granite or a natural stone product that’s adjacent to the pool area.

“We’re in the Midwest, but people still want to take the time to enjoy their beverages in the pool,” says Kroger. “It’s called a ‘staycation,’ and it makes sense because frankly, if you’re going to spend a good chunk of money on a pool with a swim-up bar, you might as well stick around town and enjoy it!”

Firepits are wildly popular because as homeowners transition from daytime pool activities to nighttime festivities, it’s nice to have an outdoor gathering spot that is warm, cozy, and inviting.

“Our pool and outdoor living area has become everyone’s favorite place to be in the summer months,” says one of Kroger’s satisfied clients. “We often start our day at the firepit with coffee, move to the pool for midday fun, and retire to the firepit for evening cocktails and storytelling.”

For those who like to pop in and out of the pool in the evening but don’t want to freeze, the firepit provides warm ambiance and hot flames to knock the chill out of the air.

“Having a spot to warm up and just enjoy the atmosphere of the fire itself is a good way to extend the pool and outdoor entertainment area,” says Kroger. He also maintains that, frequently during the warmer months, families no longer regularly gather in the dining room or kitchen for meals.

“The firepit has almost doubled as the dinner table because we put a couch and some chairs around it while we eat and drink,” says Kroger. His family had a firepit by his pool, which they enjoyed immensely. It was the center place of every gathering – even trumping the draw of basketball courts and volleyball nets.

“We were out there every night,” says Kroger. “It was the gathering place in the evening.”

So, if your family is looking to detox from technology or just take a break from the constant hustle and bustle of life, consider creating a luxury outdoor connection space by your pool.

“I encourage you to turn the television and the smart phones off and turn the fire up,” he says. “It’s like a little piece of heaven.”

Stone Artisans is located at 7952 Zionsville Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268. Contact them at 317-874-8955 or visit