Firebowls are useful and beautiful garden features. They can be used to burn woody garden wastes which would otherwise need to be transported to a waste disposal site. Fire bowls should not be used where they will cause nuisance to the householders or to neighbours. Also, they should only be used for woody garden materials. Herbaceous wastes should be composted and plastic or artificial materials should not be burned, because they give off toxic fumes. See blog post on the health risks of bonfires. Wood ash is a good source of the potash required by many flowering plants but can be alkiline, which is undesirable for ericaceous plants and some vegetables.
The term 'fire pit' is sometimes used interchangeably with 'fire pit' but they meanings should be kept separate: a bowl is above ground and a pit is below ground. Although they can work well, fire pits have several disadvantages: they cannot be moved when not in use or positioned according to wind conditions, they give less heat, and more smoke, to spectators; they form an unsightly 'black hole' when not in use.